The Case for Non-Toxic Shot…

California Bird Hunting

  • Lead is toxic and there are effective and affordable alternatives to lead shot.
  • Many hunters who regularly access state and federal land already use non-toxic shot.
  • Science has proven beyond doubt that exposure to lead is harmful, resulting in restrictions on the use of lead in gasoline and paints as well as restricting imports of products containing lead.
  • Because of its toxicity, lead shot has been illegal to use for waterfowl hunting nationwide since 1991.
  • There is a growing body of evidence that lead shot from shotgun shells is a direct, contributing factor to wildlife mortality and leads to secondary poisoning. More than 100 species of upland birds, waterfowl and raptors are known to have ingested lead shot.
  • At least 15 international studies, eight of them in Canada, have linked lead shot in game animals to higher levels of lead in people who eat those game animals.
  • Effective non-toxic loads are now increasingly available and cost about as much as a box of premium lead.
  • Studies have demonstrated that steel shot, the most commonly available alternative and the least expensive, is effective when hunting waterfowl. Steel is also an effective pheasant load.
  • Hunters are encouraged to consider using non-toxic shot for all of their upland game hunting. Using non-toxic shot also eliminates the potential risk of ingesting lead in game consumed by hunters and their families.

(Revised and reprinted with permission from: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources)