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Sustainable ammunition

Hunting ammunition - the need for a long-term sustainability strategy in nature and wildlife management

Sustainable ammunition: Despite strong evidence of lead's environmental and health risks, lead shot is still widely used for hunting both in and outside wetlands, within Europe and globally. Lead is widely used in rifle ammunition, and there is increasing evidence of its harmful impacts on consumers, wildlife and ecosystems. Despite scientific evidence of lead’s harmful effects, the transition to alternatives is very sluggish. We contribute with new knowledge on key issues and analyze what causes the unwillingness to replace lead.



The objective is to ensure that components and materials used in hunting ammunition pose no threat to species, ecosystems and consumers of game meat, thus supporting the long-term sustainability of hunting.

Project description

The main theme will cover the issue of lead ammunition usage in the context of sustainable hunting, as well as other elements, including the dispersal of plastic components in the natural environment. The subprojects are:

  • Basic evidence: Sustainability, identifying barriers for using alternatives, assessing dispersal (quantity/location) of the residues of ammunition, economy, law, etc.
  • Technical aspects: Efficiency, precision of lead-free bullets. Degradability, etc.
  • Compliance with the lead shot ban in Denmark: Hunting waste, collection of shot in hotspots, study of bird gizzards, interviews with arms dealers and other stakeholders, etc.
  • Hunting ammunition as a source of micro-plastics.
  • Hunting ammunition in the future: hunter interests, populations and opportunities / need for hunting/regulation, public acceptance and political understanding, evaluation of future dispersal potential.
  • Lead-free rifle ammunition: A voluntary phase-out in Denmark.
  • Training and competition: Toxicity aspects, technology, economies, collection, spillover effect on hunting and environment. Olympic Games.


Arnemo, J.M., Andersen, O., Stokke, S., Thomas, V.G., Krone, O., Pain D.J. & Mateo, R. Health and Environmental Risks from Lead-based Ammunition: Science Versus Socio-Politics. Ecohealth. 2016; 13(4): 618–622.

Johnson, C.K., Kelly, T.R. & Rideout, B.A. Lead in Ammunition: A Persistent Threat to Health and Conservation. EcoHealth (2013) 10: 455. doi:10.1007/s10393-013-0896-5