Can California condor biologists and hunters unite to save a species from extinction?

special jury award
official selection
honorable mention

Notes from the Director

This project began with one simple goal: to convince hunters to switch to non-lead ammunition to prevent condors and other scavengers from being poisoned. While we were shooting video, what had started as a small local issue exploded into a national political debate when it became clear that lead particles were being consumed, not just by scavengers, but by hunters and their families. As the details of this debate played out, it became clear that the voices of the biologists who were most directly involved were grossly under-represented. Organizations that had little to no involvement in biological research and management were arguing back and forth over the issue of a nationwide ban on lead-based ammunition. Meanwhile, this small group of hunters and biologists in Northern Arizona had quietly convinced 90% of hunters in the region to use non-lead ammunition voluntarily.
Our goal with this film is not to say that a voluntary effort is the best or only solution to the problem. Instead, we hope that this film will allow hunters to get the credit that they deserve for the effort that they have put forth to protect one of the world’s most endangered bird species. We hope to show that despite the ever present rhetoric from gun rights organizations like the NRA and the NSSF, hunters truly are America’s greatest conservationists.