Cloud Seeding: Does artificial change,
change our future hunting?

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FEB 11, 2022

Cloud Seeding

Category: Conservation

Cloud seeding has become a controversial topic around the world today as several countries has started to us this scientific technology. However, we are going to focus this piece on how it is affecting our wildlife. It goes without saying but weather patterns effect the quarry we chase all over this great land.

What is Cloud Seeding?

Let’s Talk Science defines it as modifying a cloud’s structure to increase the chance of precipitation. Cloud seeding adds small, ice-like particles to clouds. Usually, silver iodide particles are used. They go on to say there are two primary ways that cloud seeding happens, first is a cloud seeding cannon that is on the groud pushing these silver iodide particles into the sky. The other way is through dropping those same particles from a plane.

Cloud Seeding is becoming big business at least 23 countries have these programs running currently in varying degrees since the 1950s. However, here in the United States of America it has been limited to few draught occurrences and major ski resorts.

The days have past when that final statement is true in our home country. Several states in have started to do some form of weather medication in 2021 and 2022. Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Texas, North Dakota, and Idaho have cloud seeding programs that range from privately funded to government programs. The real question though is does effect wildlife and if it does will affect hunting opportunities.

Positive Effects of Cloud Seeding on Wildlife

As of this writing there are not many positive effects of cloud seeding on wildlife as it just has not been studied much of the impact, but there a few assumptions that can be made based on the overall change in precipitation.

Increasing rain and snowfall can be benefit to wildlife because it can increase the amount of vegetation available for animals to eat. Potentially making animals healthier, which healthier animals typically will have biggger antlers or horns and have been proven to have healthier offspring. Then the more obvious benefit is there is more water around for elk, deer and others to consume. Habitat for hunted animals requires healthy fauna, flora surrounding them.

Negative Effects of Cloud Seeding on Wildlife

Johnny Micou wrote on that some major consequences to cloud seeding are rain suppression, flooding, tornadoes and silver iodide toxicity. Furthermore in 2004 study the NIH published as hypotheses from Mark Purdey suggests that cloud seeding could causing increased levels CWD because of the increased rate of Silver, Barium, and Strontium in the ground.

Rain suppression would have negative effects after cloud seeding because he suggests that the increase precipitation is temporary then afterwords it is actually worse than before creating a perpetual cycle of having cloud seed to keep the water coming.

As you could expect flooding can harm wildlife, first and foremost because they can drown the animals. Flooding can also increase that amount of dirty and polluted water. Polluted waters also can carry diseases that can kills animals. Flooding also reduces the available vegetation for wildlife to consume, vital food sources such as grass and crops can wash away. Tornadoes have very similar effects to landscape so produces similar outcomes.

Another negative effect of cloud seeding on wildlife is silver iodide toxicity. Silver iodide is classified as an Environmental Hazard. Even though it has been studied to not impose any environmental danger in 70’s. More recent studies suggest that it can make all vegetation and water dangerous to wildlife if not monitored extremely closely. Though it presents the greatest risk to those animals that live in water the potential effects may impact the health of your quarry.

As suggested by Mark Purdey if increased rates of silver iodide are in the soil and this causes an increased risk for deer in developing CWD, it has the potential hurt other quarry that we hunt.

What Can We Do?

Cloud seeding does not appear to be going away any time soon it really has just begun. That could be bad news for the future of hunting but long-range effects are still being studied, but the more that they are exposed to silver iodide the better chance that they will have adverse effects. The question that needs to asked, is it worth the risk? If we really are conservationists then the question here is probably easy to answer. Why would we continue to put a toxic chemical into the environment with understanding that it is hazardous material? Are we going to allow this to become the norm until we can’t go back and conserve the land and animals with desire to hunt? Now is the time to reach out conservation groups and politicians before it maybe to late.