Skip to main content

Game Bird Hunting

Game Bird Hunting

Nontoxic Shot Requirements

RCW 77.15.400: There is a mandatory $1,000 fine and loss of small game hunting privileges for 2 years if you are convicted of violating the following requirements:

Nontoxic Shot Zones

Nontoxic Shot Requirements: Waterfowl, Coot & Snipe

It is unlawful to possess shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzleloading) other than nontoxic shot when hunting for waterfowl, coot, or snipe.

It is unlawful to possess shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzleloading) other than nontoxic shot for any purpose in the following areas:

  • Well's Wildlife Area (Bridgeport Bar Unit)
  • Cowlitz Wildlife Area (all units)
  • Whatcom Wildlife Area (all units)
  • Shillapoo Wildlife Area (all units)
  • Skagit Wildlife Area (all units)
  • Snoqualmie Wildlife Area (all units)
  • Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area (Headquarters, Byron and Windmill Ranch units)
  • Sinlahekin Wildlife Area (Driscoll Island, Hegdahl, and Kline Parcel units)
  • Johns River Wildlife Area (Chinook, Chehalis, and Elk River units)
  • South Puget Sound Wildlife Area (Big Beef Creek, Lake Koeneman, Nisqually, Skokomish, and Union River units)
  • Scatter Creek Wildlife Area (all units)
  • North Olympic Wildlife Area (all units)

Many U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuges require the use of non-toxic shot (refer to specific refuge rules).

In addition to the restrictions listed on the left, it is unlawful to possess shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzleloading), other than nontoxic shot, when hunting for upland game birds (pheasant, quail, chukar, and gray partridge), mourning dove, band-tailed pigeon, on all areas where pheasants are released by WDFW.

  • Asotin Wildlife Area
  • Belfair
  • Big Flat
  • Buckshot
  • Central Ferry
  • Chehalis River *
  • Chelan Wildlife Area (Chelan Butte and Swakane units)
  • Chiliwist Wildlife Area
  • Colockum Wildlife Area (Headquarters Unit)
  • Columbia Basin Wildlife Area (Banks Lake, Gloyd Seeps, Lower Crab Creek, Quincy Lakes, Warden units)
  • Ebey Island
  • Finn Ridge Road
  • Fishtrap Lake
  • Fort Lewis
  • Goldendale Hatchery
  • Gun Club Property
  • Hartsock unit
  • Hollebeke/Lost Island
  • Hope Valley
  • Hunter Farms *
  • John Henley
  • Klickitat Wildlife Area (Hill Road Unit)
  • Kosmos
  • Lincoln Creek
  • Mill Creek
  • Quincy Wildlife Area
  • Rice Bar
  • Sargeant Mac
  • Scatter Creek Wildlife Area (Scatter Creek Unit and Skookumchuck Unit)
  • Sherman Creek Wildlife Area
  • Steamboat Rock
  • Swakane Wildlife Area
  • All Whidbey Island sites (NAS Sea Plan Base, OLF-Coupeville, Zylstra Road, Bayview) *
  • Whiskey Dick
  • Willow Bar
  • Woodland Bottoms

* Unlawful to possess shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzeloading) other than nontoxic shot when hunting ALL game birds and game animals in this area.

For more information and complete pheasant release site maps, please see the Eastern and Western Washington Pheasant Release Enhancement Program booklets located at: and Contact the Adventure Center at Fort Lewis (253) 967-6263 and the Environmental Affairs Office at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station (360) 257-1009 prior to hunting at these locations.

Approved Nontoxic Shot Types* — Percent Composition by Weight

  • bismuth-tin: 97 bismuth, 3 tin
  • iron (steel): iron and carbon
  • iron-tungsten: any proportion of tungsten, >=1 iron
  • iron-tungsten-nickel: >=1 iron, any proportion of tungsten, up to 40 nickel
  • copper-clad iron: 84 to 56.59 iron core, with copper cladding up to 44.1 of the shot mass
  • tungsten-bronze: 51.1 tungsten, 44.4 copper, 3.9 tin, 0.6 iron; & 60 tungsten, 35.1 copper, 3.9 tin, 1 iron
  • tungsten-iron-copper-nickel: 40-76 tungsten, 10-37 iron, 9-16 copper, 5-7 nickel
  • tungsten-matrix: 95.9 tungsten, 4.1 polymer
  • tungsten-polymer: 95.5 tungsten, 4.5 Nylon 6 or 11
  • tungsten-tin-iron: any proportions of tungsten and tin, >=1 iron
  • tungsten-tin-bismuth: any proportions of tungsten, tin, & bismuth
  • tungsten-tin-iron-nickel: 65 tungsten, 21.8 tin, 10.4 iron, 2.8 nickel
  • tungsten-iron-polymer: 41.5 - 95.2 tungsten, 1.5-52.0 iron, and 3.5 - 8.0 fluoropolymer

* Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome and fluoropolymers on approved nontoxic shot types are also approved.

Shoot Clean—Get The Lead Out

  • Lead shot can kill wildlife that ingests it.
  • It only takes a few lead pellets to be toxic to wildlife.
  • Lead shot has resulted in extensive swan mortality in northwestern Washington.
  • Target shooting can be a significant source of lead shot in the environment.
  • Consider switching to nontoxic shot for all shotgun ammunition.
Tom Roster's 2016 Nontoxic Shot Lethality Table