Several states have banned the use of small lead sinkers or split shot. The photo above shows how hard it can be to distinguish the shot from creek pebbles. The small size and the fact that they are often lost by fishermen means that they can cause some severe problems for wildlife that ingest them as part of their food.
"All it takes is one of those sinkers, one, a single one, to kill a bald eagle or a trumpeter swan," said Gibson, executive director of the Raptor Education Group Inc. at Antigo in northeastern Wisconsin. "It stays in the stomach or crop. It’s almost impossible to get it out."