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MDC proposes requiring nontoxic shot on 36 dove hunting areas

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is proposing regulations that will require the use of nontoxic shot for hunting doves on 20 conservation areas with heavy, concentrated dove hunting. MDC is also proposing adding 16 areas to its existing 21 conservation areas where nontoxic shot is required for all hunting with shotguns.

The proposed regulations were developed during MDC’s midyear review of the Wildlife Code of Missouri and approved by the Conservation Commission at its Aug. 24 meeting.

The proposed effective date is March 1, 2019.

MDC welcomes public comment during October at short.mdc.mo.gov/Z49.

Lead is a well-known poison that hurts the health of both people and wildlife. Research shows that doves, waterfowl, and many other species of birds can suffer from lead poisoning after consuming lead pellets from spent shotgun shells. Lead poisoning can be fatal to birds and other wildlife, including bald eagles that feed on waterfowl with lead shot in the carcasses.

Waterfowl hunters have been required by federal law to use nontoxic shot since 1991 and must use nontoxic shot for all duck, goose, and coot hunting in Missouri regardless of where they are hunting. Requiring the use of nontoxic shot has reduced the incidences of lead poisoning from lead-shot ingestion by birds and other wildlife.

The proposed nontoxic-shot requirement for the following 20 conservation areas managed for dove hunting would prohibit the use of lead shot for dove hunting: Bilby Ranch Lake, Bois D’Arc, Busch (August A.), Crowley’s Ridge, Davisdale, Harmony Mission Lake, Lamine River, Logan (William R.), Maintz Wildlife Preserve, Pacific Palisades, Park (Guy B.), Peabody, Pony Express Lake, Reed (James A.) Memorial Wildlife Area, Reform, Talbot (Robert E.), Truman Reservoir Management Lands (Bethlehem), Weldon Spring, Whetstone Creek, and White (William G. and Erma Parke) Memorial Wildlife Area.

The proposed nontoxic-shot requirement for the following 16 bottomland conservation areas prone to flooding would prohibit the use of lead shot for hunting with shotguns: Aspinwall Bend, Church Farm, Corning, Deroin Bend, Diana Bend, Franklin Island, Frost Island, Lower Hamburg Bend, Nishnabotna, Perry (Ralph and Martha), Platte Falls, Plowboy Bend, Thurnau (H. F.), Rose Pond, Rush Bottom, and Wolf Creek.

The 16 areas would be added to these 21 conservation areas that already require nontoxic shot for hunting with shotguns: B. K. Leach, Bob Brown, Black Island, Columbia Bottom, Cooley Lake, Coon Island, Duck Creek, Eagle Bluffs, Fountain Grove, Four Rivers, Grand Pass, Little Bean Marsh, Little River, Marais Temps Clair, Montrose, Nodaway Valley, Otter Slough, Schell-Osage, Settle’s Ford, Ted Shanks, and Ten Mile Pond. Many of these areas are part of managed wetlands and are very popular with waterfowl hunters. They also offer good dove and upland game hunting in the same fields where waterfowl hunting occurs.

The price of nontoxic shot compared to lead shot varies depending on the type of shot and brand and can be the same price per box or up to about 25 percent higher for nontoxic shot. According to the 2014 National Dove Hunter Survey — a cooperative effort by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Flyways Council, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – most dove hunters (82%) spend less than $100 annually on ammunition and nearly all dove hunters (95%) spend less than $200.