Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | Back issues
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Alternative Shot for Fowl Hunting Is Approved

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved two more alternatives to the use of lead shot for bird hunting, copper-clad iron and fluoropolymer-coated shot.

This adds to the 10 varieties the agency has already approved as being nontoxic to fish and other wildlife, according to the USFWS in its action.

While the 1986 approval of steel bird shot began the roll-out of alternatives, some hunters still use lead shot, believing nontoxic shot types are inferior to lead or that they damage gun barrels, the USFWS said.

The agency issued the new regulation under The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits the use of certain shot types that are not federally approved.

"The use of lead shot has a negative impact on wetland ecosystems due to the erosion of shot, causing sediment/soil and water contamination and the direct ingestion of shot by aquatic and predatory animals," according to the action.

"Copper-clad iron shot and fluoropolymer coatings are highly unlikely to adversely affect animals that consume the shot or habitats in which the shot might be used. Their approval will not affect threatened or endangered species," the USFWS added.

"Allowing use of additional nontoxic types may encourage greater hunter compliance and participation with nontoxic shot requirements and discourage the use of lead shot," according to the action.

Copper-clad iron shot is a composite material consisting of a mixture of copper and iron that is thermo-mechanically bonded to steel.

Environ-Metal, a company manufacturing the alternative shot, says it expects to produce about 50,000 pounds of the product per year.

Spectra Shot makes brightly colored fluoropolymer-coated steel shot. The USFWS says the company expects 98,000 pounds of it to be used for migratory bird hunting in the U.S. per year.

The rule is effective Dec. 2.

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