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Bourjaily: Should Non-Toxic Shot Be Mandatory for Doves?

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September 08, 2009

Bourjaily: Should Non-Toxic Shot Be Mandatory for Doves?

By Phil Bourjaily

Texas Parks and Wildlife is conducting its own study of non-toxic shot for dove hunting. It seems pretty obvious to me that given the number of people hunting doves times the number of shells fired times the number of small pellets per shell, that dove hunters are depositing a lot of shot on the ground. Moreover, most dove hunting takes place on managed fields, so the same relatively small area gets dosed with pellets every year. Is it a problem? That’s one of the questions the Texas survey hopes to answer.

In the study, trained observers will watch hunters, count shots and cripples, range birds, perform autopsies and ultimately study doves for signs of lead poisoning. Besides learning more about lead poisoning in doves, we’re going to learn lots of interesting ballistic stuff:  what chokes and loads work best, what are the crippling and retrieval rates among dove hunters and so on and on.

Already several public areas in other states -- mostly managed fields on National Wildlife Refuges or wetland areas -- are mandated non-toxic for doves. I have never hunted a spot where non-toxic shot is required, but out of curiosity I have shot steel 7s at doves just to see what would happen. And in my unscientific survey, what happens is the dove falls out of the sky and you add it to the pile at your feet. Later, you bite the hard steel pellet at the dinner table and curse.

I am neither afraid of having to shoot non-toxic shot at doves (the shells work and all my guns are steel-friendly) nor am I 100% convinced no-tox is necessary, so I will be keeping an open mind and following this Texas survey with considerable interest.

Comments (44)

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from Dotcomaphobe wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I hope it won't be mandatory any time soon, as I just stocked up on lead shells. Not to mention the fact that non-toxic loads are more expensive.

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from Bob81 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

The DNR here in Wisconsin began mandating non-toxic loads for doves within the last couple years if hunting on public land. The additional cost absolutely sucks, but from a logic point of view, I can't imagine dumping tens of pounds of lead on a CRP field is good for anyone...

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from dukkillr wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I'm definitely interested in what the survey comes up with, but from my totally biased point of view, they'd better not ban lead shells for doves! It's bad enough bankrupting myself every fall to buy enough Hevishot for the waterfowl season (that stuff is head and shoulders above steel shot, I don't care what anybody else says) without having to load up on non-toxics for doves as well!

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from Bernie wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It will indeed be interesting to see the results of the Texas study. I never have been a fan of steel shot, even after taking Tom Roster's shooting clinic on three occasions. I still use steel for what little duck shooting I do, and pass up any shots more than 35 yards. After repeatedly having to shoot Canada geese a second time after they are on the ground, I sold all my 10 gauge steel shotshells. I use only Bismuth or tungston-iron, which are expensive but highly lethal.

Mandated steel shot on many state and federally-owned refuges is mostly a lot of politically correct B.S. For example, there are grasslands in South Dakota where you must use non-toxic shot. In Montana you cannot shoot a sharp-tailed grouse in the C.M. Russell Game Range with a lead shotshell! The whole non-toxic shot gambit has gotten completely out of control and does little but dampen hunter recruitment and discourage hunter participation.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I want to see the study that proves there is a harm. We banned tetraethyl lead in gasoline because it's toxic and it was aerosolized as lead carbonate in emission products. We banned it from paint again because aerosolized lead-carbonate from paint dust was also easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

The key here seems to be "aerosolized" lead, usually lead carbonate. Do chunks of elemental lead lying around on the ground get absorbed into the bloodstream of common animals in dove fields? Maybe they need to look not only at the doves, but also the field mice etc in the area, and look at whether or not the dove-forage plants somehow uptake lead -- amaranth or grasses for example.

If there is no obvious uptake of the elemental lead from the pellets into the ecosystem, might as well let people use lead shot.

As a side-observation, I figure that it copper and lead ever become expensive, shooting ranges can lease mining operations. There must be dozens of tons of nearly pure elemental lead in the 40 year old shooting range where I practice.

+9 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I celebrated labor day in the desert yesterday, with my side-by-side 12ga. Six shots, five birds, two of 'em were white-winged doves. I had a roaring great time although the action was not intense. Two o' the birds I took on 90-degree crossing shots.

There was more action near stock tanks but I avoid those because there's usually lots of people I do not know around them. I'd rather find a quiet spot and take six than be surrounded by gunners but see more action.

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from jjas wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

While I agree with Mike (it would be nice to see an independent study that shows the harm), I'm afraid this cat is out of the bag.

Lead is being banned in more and more shooting/hunting activities and I don't see it stopped until it's banned completely.

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from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

lead is good i t dont hurt yor teeth

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It does seem that there is a certain momentum to banning lead, but I don't think we should just throw up our hands and say "oh well".

I'm with Mike on this, I would like to see a study that demonstrates some mechanism by which the lead shot is likely to cause damage. I strongly suspect that the momentum behind banning lead is based on uninformed guesswork . . . I think the reasoning goes something like this: lead in gas and paint is bad and they've already banned lead for waterfowl, shouldn't lead be banned in all ammunition?

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from Del in KS wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I shot steel #7 shot at dove one year and I can tell you they suck. It took me 2 boxes of shells to get a limit of 15 birds. Most of the time just like with ducks & steel you hit them, they loose feathers and keep on flying. Steel just does not carry the energy lead has. How many birds have to be wounded before you get a limit? Seems to me that would be worse than a few pellets of lead in the dirt. How many hundred years have we used lead anyway. Still seems to be plenty of birds.

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from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

To even hear that steel could be required to dove hunt honestly made me almost throw up. Right when I started to take an interest in waterfowl hunting is when they mandated steel for waterfowl and it stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn't afford it. Later when I finally started making enough money to afford steel I had to sit and watch what few ducks we saw get crippled and have to take 2 even three shots to kill with the stuff. It literally sickens me when I lose birds it was just the way I was raised and it had me leaving the sport again for several years. I have since been trying to get back into it and have been paying the insane prices of the non steel loads just because if you do the math 3 shells fired to one just makes more sense but I still cringe every time I pay 25 dollars for ten shells. Believe me it holds the sport back but duck hunting is expensive anymore as it is. Just having a place to do it where I live is hard.
But the kicker is I read all the controversy when they banned it then. Is there really that much science too back up that a significant number of birds are dying from lead in there crops or was it just another 80s freak out that ended up not making sense? I really want to do what's best for the birds but how many birds die from being wounded with steel and lost as compared to lead poisoning? There is a study I would like to see. Also I can see how a marsh would have lead laying on it after it was shot up but a dove field is planted and the earth turned every year. Is that part of the study?
My ignorance on lead not withstanding I can tell you right now from a purely monetary point of view that with as many shells as we shoot for doves (and admit it guys we all shoot a lot of shells) I will definitely have to rethink even going for that amount of money and you WILL lose younger hunters over it period. The high price on lead loads and ammunition shortages are bad enough but this will just be one more thing that kills our sport and if you want to talk about conserving those birds what happens when all that money for habitat and studies is gone because no one is paying the bills anymore? Remember bird watchers don't buy licenses. Phil, Dave we need a good article on lead from a hunters point of view.

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from Teodoro wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Why aren't there more new hunters? Because you need a JD and a BA in geography to figure out what's legal to hunt where and with what equipment and when. Then you'd better be a banker to pay for all the specialized ammo and licensing. Once you've mastered the regs, and gotten your equipment up to snuff, you have to start thinking about how to actually find and get into position to kill the game you're going to take, which isn't easy. There's a huge outlay of learning and cash to pick the sport up.

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from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

FYI -- I stopped at my local Wal-Mart after posting this story and saw they had Winchester Steel 7s in 12 and 20 gauge for just under $6 a box. I don't know why, since we're not allowed to shoot doves with anything here.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Lord I hope not! Having to run dove breasts under a metal detector does not appeal to me. And.... I'll bet that if mandated the steel 7's will be higher than a kite in price.

I can see it now, HeviShot Dove loads, $22.00 for 10 rounds and some idiot will buy them...

I wonder what we will do when some tree hugging federal biologist decides that too much iron is toxic to wildlife....?

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Phil,
Steel shot at Wally World for less than $6 bucks, you better stock up! It's so cheap where your at because there is no demand. Just wait until it becomes manditory at the skeet range, you see the price go up then. I still have a case of #6 12ga high brass 3"mag from before steel was manditory for waterfowl. I was only saving it for squirrel hunting.

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from SD Bob wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Bernie: I have a correction for you. In South Dakota, non-tox is not mandatory on the grass lands though it is on Game Production Areas and Waterfowl Production Areas.

Since I hunt almost exclusively in areas where steel is mandated, hunting doves with it is what I do. This year I've started reloading shotshells and filling them with steel makes for an inexpensive dove load.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Armchair Mike wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I didn’t think outdoor magazines were supposed to bow to political correctness.
Please stop telling us how effective steel shot is for everything that flies. If this were true, would ammunition companies still be falling over themselves trying to find the latest and greatest replacement? Would hunters still be paying the exorbitant prices we pay for alternatives? Gun writers have been preaching the "steel is great" party line for decades now, and the marketplace has spoken: We ain't buying it.

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from PbHead wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Yeah, steel stinks but it beats staying home. I often find small shot/gauge steel shells at Wal-Mart marked down after the season. That's when I stock up. If the powers that be ban lead in the States it should also be banned in Mexico and along the flyway.

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I was just talking with my pa about lead being banned in places. Sort of figures that non-toxic shot for doves (heck for everything) is probably going to be the trend. I'm holding judgment until I see definitive proof about lead & doves. What if they are right? Where are we as responsible sportsmen supposed to stand? Are we trying to make a solution to a problem that doesn't exist or are we behind the curve? Should we be out in front of this?

Then again, there is the irony of lead shot possibly killing something very slow or very fast.....

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I hope not. Steel's worthless! Someone is trying to run us out, with price or any other means. Another thing I don't like is having to buy a migratory bird permit to hunt doves. That permit was intended to help rebuild wetlands/breeding habitats for ducks and geese. Mostly up north in Canada where it's needed. Not a dime goes for doves.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It comes down to if they can't outlaw our guns they will go for the ammo, nowhere in the Constitution does it guarantee us the right to ammo, unfortunately.

I was always taught growing up that lead shot and sinkers for fishing are safe because pure lead has the ability to corrode into a inert coating that contains the lead. Now unless my science teacher was nuts or physics of the universe have changed this should still be so.

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from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

To Jim in Mo,
I would like to think that our migratory bird permit money in Mo is being put to good uses since they plant fields for doves now as well as having conducted a large study on them to back up numbers of birds for limits and such. They even held a youth hunting clinic at a local Conservation area where they taught kids about hunting safety and dove hunting and then held a shoot for them last saturday. I can't tell you they specifically used that money but I have been witness to serious work on providing dove habitat and hunting opportunities in the past ten years so I don't mind paying for the tag at all. Missouri always makes me feel like it is more motivated to hunters than any other state I have hunted in. Just my 2 cents.

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from HogBlog wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

First of all, this is the second year that TPW has been studying the impact of lead ammo on doves. They're doing this RIGHT.

I don't know yet if there's a direct impact, and while my initial thought says there's not, only real science will tell us the truth. The fact is, nobody else has bothered to really do the real science. Until now, including here in CA, the laws are being passed on emotion and idiotic knee-jerk reactionaries.

Personally, I'd pay twice or three-times the price for non-lead ammo if it's shown that lead is really having a significant negative impact on wildlife. So far, the evidence is not there though. Maybe TPW will find something, but I hope that if they don't, that information will be widely distributed as well.

In the meantime, non-lead shot really isn't all that expensive. It's actually really effective (much better on upland birds than on waterfowl). If I have to switch, it definitely won't be the end of the world.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Truly Lead Shot Hysteria is starting to run rampant like Global Warming! Doves do have an exceptionally high rate of mortality and I believe it’s around 60 percent annually.

I know of several people who have been shot both in combat and hunting still carrying the lead slug and decades later hasn’t posed any health problem what so ever. My Grandfather primary sources of meat are wild game shot by lead projectiles, fish using lead weights and ate all these things we shouldn’t eat. He finally passed away at 102, so go figure!

Bottom line

I believe Lead Shot hysteria is just that, hysteria! In fact it’s another avenue they found to shut hunting down by creating hysteria among other people as Al Gore has done with Global Warming.

Have you noticed Al Gore will not go into open debate over Global Warming!

How can you defend a lie?

“The Emperor has no clothes! “

One more thing to dink about!

If lead is that much of a problem, why is the agricultural area where dove hunting is the heaviest, isn’t there a lead problem even with the food sources!

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

When I was 15, I shot a coyote with my 12 gauge with #6’s and after 50 rounds he finally died of lead poisoning !

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

For those of us who love to shoot vintage double guns, non toxic shot for doves would put an end to our old guns just as non toxic did for waterfowl. This doesn't surprise me since the push for non toxic for waterfowl started in Texas many years ago due to the efforts of Bob Brister and Larry Gore. Since the ammo makers made a killing from steel shot sales, I am sure financial gain was a consideration. I can shoot non toxic that is safe in my 103 yr old A.H. Fox or English 16 ga. game gun at ducks since fewer shots are required. It would be financially impossible to do so with dove loads. Not every bird hunter gets sweaty palms and shortened breath at the prospect of the newest high tech, composite stocked, do everything 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 super magnum auto shotgun. I recently bought a completely restored (Harrod's Ltd, London) 16 ga. English game gun with straight grip, splinter fore end, 29" barrels, beautiful English walnut that weights 6 lbs. even. This gun cost far less than the latest super auto by a major maker. It will probably shoot just as well, and is a damn sight better looking than the sinister black stocked super duper dodo scooper B******. Hunting, and the tools for it are rapidly becoming the playground of the rich, but since we appear to be changing to a socialist country, this does not surprise me.

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from nc30-06 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Once they liberal gun haters ban lead shot, they will go on even to steel shot. Steel rusts you know. It is just another incremental encroachment into our freedoms, from type of vehicle you drive, smoking if you want to, and telling us you can't have a rare hamburger, to now slowly banning our sport. Like an earlier post said, "they can't ban guns because of the second ammendment, but it does not guarantee the right to ammunition. It is time to stand up to these misguided panty-waste idiots and tell them to leave America alone. There are other things they could be told like _____________________ (fill in the blank for yourselves).

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

the only problem with all of this no-lead legislation for me, is it makes my Browning Sweet 16 obsoleete! i am not much of a bird hunter anyway, but still, the next thing you know all projectiles shotgun, rifle and pistol, will have to be non toxic. for any shooting. that will make shooting (especially competition, casual, or target practicing) a very expensive sport. that is where all of this is headed. more expense, less people doing it, the anti's win.

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from Scott Jones wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Yeah, just try to find an open mind on the other side of the argument. If the study finds lead is a problem, it'll be pure science and undisputable; if lead isn't a problem there will be concerns over the study data and we're still reviewing the results. Don't bother using facts on a believer.
That said, if there is a problem, as conservationists we are obligated to change.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I'd be willing to change if there were scientific proof that lead shot was a problem, so far all I've heard are opinions.
Lead comes out of the ground, aren't we just putting it back where it came from???

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Vic wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

This argument is being driven by anti hunting forces. Don't be confused about this. I understand there is a lot of lead being distributed by gunners, but is it harmful? I doubt it. Where do all these people think the lead comes from, Mars? It comes from the ground. If lead was such a big deal, most of the readers on here would be low grade morons. When we were kids we smelted lead into sinkers, scraped lead paint from walls, and I even carried lead pellets in my mouth for shooting cans and such. I am sure I have some lead in my bones, but is it harming me. I am 47 and just had a full blood work. Lead was at 3, 25 is when they get concerned. Only thing elevated was my triglycerides.

I think much of the lead issue was a means to make an industry. Should we abuse lead and not show moderation, no, but should we freak out about it, no.

Reminds me of the R12 debate and ozone depletion. It is my understanding that the ones who pushed the hardest for this was the companies who couldn't make any money on R12. So they pushed for R134 because it was supposed to be friendlier to the environment. I am sure that those companies making millions on the R134 had nothing to do with it.

As my pappy always said, follow the money. In this case, I bet that politicians are getting a lot of money from anti hunters and environmentalists and this is the pay back for such.

People, especially politicians, will do anything for money. Be very careful to see who is pushing for these studies, I bet it wasn't fish and wildlife who started this ball rolling.

Vic

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from aflong wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I would love to see Comrade Obama institute a push to make bismuth shot more avaliable and MUCH cheaper too ! would go a long way towards proving to me that the dems are enviromentally aware!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from teufelhunden wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I used steel on Tuesday just to get an idea of what difference it would make. On close in birds I noticed very little difference. On passing birds, my range was noticably less. I eventually started limiting my shots to 25 yards or less.

As far as the danger to other birds, that is a little more unclear. My understanding of the nontox was that it prevented ducks and geese from ingesting the pellets as they fed underwater. If this is true it is concievable that we are harming birds. We use a crop rotation just as most the areas that you hunt, so this years milo will be next years rice. Lead shot fired at the doves in the milo this year will lay until next year when it is flooded. If ingestion is the danger, then we are indeed harming waterfowl.

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from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Anti's attack on ammo. Thats all this is.

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from imawild1 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I can see that should they suceed in making non-toxic mandatory, I won't be able to afford to go dove hunting. The non-resident tag in oklahoma where I usually go to hunt went up $30 this year. They, (goverment in general)are trying to price us out of our sport. Hell, I can't hardly afford to reload anymore, let alone buy factory ammo. I suppose I'll hunt till I go broke.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

guncrazy74,
You are correct, Mo game dept is pro active. But it's our money in Mo that does that. Not Federal money such as the migratory bird permit.

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from ggmack wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

DE made non toxic required on all state land this year. I was out for opening day and what i saw was less hunters hunting for a shorter amount of time.

the two complaints i heard were I can't find steel so I could not go and i only found one box and it has to last me all season.

when the change was announced there was an immediate run on steel shot.

I had to go 45 minutes away and even then I was limited to two boxes per customer.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from elmer f. wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

OUR GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF CONTROL, AND RUNNING AMUCK! IT NO LONGER (IT HAS NOT FOR THE LAST 10-15 YEARS) HAS BEEN FOR-ABOUT-OR BY THE PEOPLE. IT IS SIMPLY RUN BY A BUNCH OF CROOKS, LOOKING TO LINE THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS WITH OUR MONEY. IF WE COULD AFFORD MORE MONEY THAN THE ANTI'S, THEYRE WOULD BE SO MUCH PRO GUN LEGISLATION, IT WOULD NOT BE FUNNY. I HAVE TO AGREE THAT THIS IS THE WORK OF ANTI- GUN /ANTI-HUNTER / ANTI SHOOTING ORGANIZATIONS. AND OF COURSE, WITH THE E.P.A. JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON TO BAN LEAD FROM THE ENTIRE USA, IT IS GOING TO BE TOUGH TO DERAIL THIS TRAIN!

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from yohan wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

APPARENTLY some you guys are finally getting it ,.. as I have said in the past .
The VERY VERY powerful have no party no loyaly
no concience and no moral turpitude
Their religion is money and power,. and some are anti hunting.

We didnt Kill every American indigionus to these here united states ,.in order to take over.
We killed the Buffalo ,.. no buffalo no Indians,. no Indians ,.. you knw the rest

If its too expensive to shoot / hunt they win.

Meaning it aint the a$$ kickin contest between concervative and liberal camps we are lead by the nose to be so dam cauhht up in .
It is the intended geneiside of a hunting culture,. by a few very very powerfuil people.
The only thing presently working in our favcor is that there is so dam much money in small arms and ordinance
the actual guns will never go away ,..but the God fearing hard working Americans of future generations may not have the chance to hunt and shoot.
Becauase we let oursedlves be divided and concored by something as silly and inconsequential as supposed party lines.

I HUMBLY SUGGEST WE WAKE THE F UP !!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob81 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Slightly off topic, and take it for what it's worth, but here is a statement from the president of the Wisconsin Cartridge factory in regards to hoarding of amnmunition...

http://www.wisconsincartridge.com/productcart/pc/wiscartridge1-attention...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Vassilyjung wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I just finished a weekend dove hunt with steel. I found it to be very inconsistent. Very frustrating to hit a bird TWICE, and have it fly off, knowing that it was wounded. Fully 3/4 of the birds I shot had to be shot twice or have their necks wrung.

Not a big fan of leaving animals to suffer because we're protecting them when we hunt them. Seems to be a lot of confusing and paradoxical values inherent in that statement.

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from 86Ram wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Military tested steel rounds vs lead rounds for an environmental stand point. Steel failed the performance test.

As far as steel being mandatory for dove it's mandatory for waterfowl. But we are still able to fish with lead sinkers and shot.

I say if it keeps the environmentals off your back and from siding with the antis so be it. (No promises)

If they went with Hevi Shot maybe however Steel and Hevi Shot both have a heftier price tag than lead shot.
I'd stick with the lead. I've hunted with lead shot for decades. My child was born healthy and I've had more problems from work related injuries than lead. Most of us grew up around asbestos and lead paint too. I think you should be more worried bout avian flu, bovine tb, cuttin a digit while skinnin / field dressin.

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from nvhtr wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

If required to use there should be a requirement that steel shot be avalible within 50 miles. I live in vegas and not even the Bass Pro Shops has steel shot avalible all the time. Walmart only stocks lead.Duck and Goose shot is impossible to find. I love to hunt but out here they are making it impossible to comply with the laws.PS we want Sportsmans Warehouse to reopen a store in vegas. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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from 86Ram wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

If required then the price should be drastically reduced and I agree that it should be made more available.

Also, what are the wear factors as apposed to lead? Will it wear barrels out faster?

Accuracey and as someone mentioned a clean humane kill is the objective if I'm not mistaken.

If steel is less accurate / consistant and it apparently is in shot as much as it is in ball ammo than lead then before it is mandated it should be developed and tested further.

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from jasper5000 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

nontoxic shot well its all about money not not the sport we all love does a nontoxic shot thats just as good has lead have to cost so much no it dont its 2009 and steel needs to go the ammunition makers dont hear us what is it we all want cheaper shells that are just as good as the lead ones!! or at least better then this steel crap and other shot that cost so much we cant buy it. they need to work together on this and it well happen im a hunter and i know what i need and thats not something better then lead and cost a lot.but just as good as lead and cheap

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from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

I think it should be personal preference. If you mind the thought of eating lead with your dove, use non-toxic loads. If not, then use lead.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I want to see the study that proves there is a harm. We banned tetraethyl lead in gasoline because it's toxic and it was aerosolized as lead carbonate in emission products. We banned it from paint again because aerosolized lead-carbonate from paint dust was also easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

The key here seems to be "aerosolized" lead, usually lead carbonate. Do chunks of elemental lead lying around on the ground get absorbed into the bloodstream of common animals in dove fields? Maybe they need to look not only at the doves, but also the field mice etc in the area, and look at whether or not the dove-forage plants somehow uptake lead -- amaranth or grasses for example.

If there is no obvious uptake of the elemental lead from the pellets into the ecosystem, might as well let people use lead shot.

As a side-observation, I figure that it copper and lead ever become expensive, shooting ranges can lease mining operations. There must be dozens of tons of nearly pure elemental lead in the 40 year old shooting range where I practice.

+9 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Truly Lead Shot Hysteria is starting to run rampant like Global Warming! Doves do have an exceptionally high rate of mortality and I believe it’s around 60 percent annually.

I know of several people who have been shot both in combat and hunting still carrying the lead slug and decades later hasn’t posed any health problem what so ever. My Grandfather primary sources of meat are wild game shot by lead projectiles, fish using lead weights and ate all these things we shouldn’t eat. He finally passed away at 102, so go figure!

Bottom line

I believe Lead Shot hysteria is just that, hysteria! In fact it’s another avenue they found to shut hunting down by creating hysteria among other people as Al Gore has done with Global Warming.

Have you noticed Al Gore will not go into open debate over Global Warming!

How can you defend a lie?

“The Emperor has no clothes! “

One more thing to dink about!

If lead is that much of a problem, why is the agricultural area where dove hunting is the heaviest, isn’t there a lead problem even with the food sources!

+8 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del in KS wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I shot steel #7 shot at dove one year and I can tell you they suck. It took me 2 boxes of shells to get a limit of 15 birds. Most of the time just like with ducks & steel you hit them, they loose feathers and keep on flying. Steel just does not carry the energy lead has. How many birds have to be wounded before you get a limit? Seems to me that would be worse than a few pellets of lead in the dirt. How many hundred years have we used lead anyway. Still seems to be plenty of birds.

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from Bryan01 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It does seem that there is a certain momentum to banning lead, but I don't think we should just throw up our hands and say "oh well".

I'm with Mike on this, I would like to see a study that demonstrates some mechanism by which the lead shot is likely to cause damage. I strongly suspect that the momentum behind banning lead is based on uninformed guesswork . . . I think the reasoning goes something like this: lead in gas and paint is bad and they've already banned lead for waterfowl, shouldn't lead be banned in all ammunition?

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from Beekeeper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Lord I hope not! Having to run dove breasts under a metal detector does not appeal to me. And.... I'll bet that if mandated the steel 7's will be higher than a kite in price.

I can see it now, HeviShot Dove loads, $22.00 for 10 rounds and some idiot will buy them...

I wonder what we will do when some tree hugging federal biologist decides that too much iron is toxic to wildlife....?

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from wingshooter54 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

For those of us who love to shoot vintage double guns, non toxic shot for doves would put an end to our old guns just as non toxic did for waterfowl. This doesn't surprise me since the push for non toxic for waterfowl started in Texas many years ago due to the efforts of Bob Brister and Larry Gore. Since the ammo makers made a killing from steel shot sales, I am sure financial gain was a consideration. I can shoot non toxic that is safe in my 103 yr old A.H. Fox or English 16 ga. game gun at ducks since fewer shots are required. It would be financially impossible to do so with dove loads. Not every bird hunter gets sweaty palms and shortened breath at the prospect of the newest high tech, composite stocked, do everything 2 3/4 to 3 1/2 super magnum auto shotgun. I recently bought a completely restored (Harrod's Ltd, London) 16 ga. English game gun with straight grip, splinter fore end, 29" barrels, beautiful English walnut that weights 6 lbs. even. This gun cost far less than the latest super auto by a major maker. It will probably shoot just as well, and is a damn sight better looking than the sinister black stocked super duper dodo scooper B******. Hunting, and the tools for it are rapidly becoming the playground of the rich, but since we appear to be changing to a socialist country, this does not surprise me.

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from Armchair Mike wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I didn’t think outdoor magazines were supposed to bow to political correctness.
Please stop telling us how effective steel shot is for everything that flies. If this were true, would ammunition companies still be falling over themselves trying to find the latest and greatest replacement? Would hunters still be paying the exorbitant prices we pay for alternatives? Gun writers have been preaching the "steel is great" party line for decades now, and the marketplace has spoken: We ain't buying it.

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from Vic wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

This argument is being driven by anti hunting forces. Don't be confused about this. I understand there is a lot of lead being distributed by gunners, but is it harmful? I doubt it. Where do all these people think the lead comes from, Mars? It comes from the ground. If lead was such a big deal, most of the readers on here would be low grade morons. When we were kids we smelted lead into sinkers, scraped lead paint from walls, and I even carried lead pellets in my mouth for shooting cans and such. I am sure I have some lead in my bones, but is it harming me. I am 47 and just had a full blood work. Lead was at 3, 25 is when they get concerned. Only thing elevated was my triglycerides.

I think much of the lead issue was a means to make an industry. Should we abuse lead and not show moderation, no, but should we freak out about it, no.

Reminds me of the R12 debate and ozone depletion. It is my understanding that the ones who pushed the hardest for this was the companies who couldn't make any money on R12. So they pushed for R134 because it was supposed to be friendlier to the environment. I am sure that those companies making millions on the R134 had nothing to do with it.

As my pappy always said, follow the money. In this case, I bet that politicians are getting a lot of money from anti hunters and environmentalists and this is the pay back for such.

People, especially politicians, will do anything for money. Be very careful to see who is pushing for these studies, I bet it wasn't fish and wildlife who started this ball rolling.

Vic

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from Teodoro wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Why aren't there more new hunters? Because you need a JD and a BA in geography to figure out what's legal to hunt where and with what equipment and when. Then you'd better be a banker to pay for all the specialized ammo and licensing. Once you've mastered the regs, and gotten your equipment up to snuff, you have to start thinking about how to actually find and get into position to kill the game you're going to take, which isn't easy. There's a huge outlay of learning and cash to pick the sport up.

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from Mike Diehl wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I celebrated labor day in the desert yesterday, with my side-by-side 12ga. Six shots, five birds, two of 'em were white-winged doves. I had a roaring great time although the action was not intense. Two o' the birds I took on 90-degree crossing shots.

There was more action near stock tanks but I avoid those because there's usually lots of people I do not know around them. I'd rather find a quiet spot and take six than be surrounded by gunners but see more action.

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from jjas wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

While I agree with Mike (it would be nice to see an independent study that shows the harm), I'm afraid this cat is out of the bag.

Lead is being banned in more and more shooting/hunting activities and I don't see it stopped until it's banned completely.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It comes down to if they can't outlaw our guns they will go for the ammo, nowhere in the Constitution does it guarantee us the right to ammo, unfortunately.

I was always taught growing up that lead shot and sinkers for fishing are safe because pure lead has the ability to corrode into a inert coating that contains the lead. Now unless my science teacher was nuts or physics of the universe have changed this should still be so.

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from Zermoid wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I'd be willing to change if there were scientific proof that lead shot was a problem, so far all I've heard are opinions.
Lead comes out of the ground, aren't we just putting it back where it came from???

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from Bob81 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

The DNR here in Wisconsin began mandating non-toxic loads for doves within the last couple years if hunting on public land. The additional cost absolutely sucks, but from a logic point of view, I can't imagine dumping tens of pounds of lead on a CRP field is good for anyone...

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from logan.vandermay wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Anti's attack on ammo. Thats all this is.

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from imawild1 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I can see that should they suceed in making non-toxic mandatory, I won't be able to afford to go dove hunting. The non-resident tag in oklahoma where I usually go to hunt went up $30 this year. They, (goverment in general)are trying to price us out of our sport. Hell, I can't hardly afford to reload anymore, let alone buy factory ammo. I suppose I'll hunt till I go broke.

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from philbourjaily wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

FYI -- I stopped at my local Wal-Mart after posting this story and saw they had Winchester Steel 7s in 12 and 20 gauge for just under $6 a box. I don't know why, since we're not allowed to shoot doves with anything here.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I hope not. Steel's worthless! Someone is trying to run us out, with price or any other means. Another thing I don't like is having to buy a migratory bird permit to hunt doves. That permit was intended to help rebuild wetlands/breeding habitats for ducks and geese. Mostly up north in Canada where it's needed. Not a dime goes for doves.

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from Bernie wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

It will indeed be interesting to see the results of the Texas study. I never have been a fan of steel shot, even after taking Tom Roster's shooting clinic on three occasions. I still use steel for what little duck shooting I do, and pass up any shots more than 35 yards. After repeatedly having to shoot Canada geese a second time after they are on the ground, I sold all my 10 gauge steel shotshells. I use only Bismuth or tungston-iron, which are expensive but highly lethal.

Mandated steel shot on many state and federally-owned refuges is mostly a lot of politically correct B.S. For example, there are grasslands in South Dakota where you must use non-toxic shot. In Montana you cannot shoot a sharp-tailed grouse in the C.M. Russell Game Range with a lead shotshell! The whole non-toxic shot gambit has gotten completely out of control and does little but dampen hunter recruitment and discourage hunter participation.

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from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

To even hear that steel could be required to dove hunt honestly made me almost throw up. Right when I started to take an interest in waterfowl hunting is when they mandated steel for waterfowl and it stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn't afford it. Later when I finally started making enough money to afford steel I had to sit and watch what few ducks we saw get crippled and have to take 2 even three shots to kill with the stuff. It literally sickens me when I lose birds it was just the way I was raised and it had me leaving the sport again for several years. I have since been trying to get back into it and have been paying the insane prices of the non steel loads just because if you do the math 3 shells fired to one just makes more sense but I still cringe every time I pay 25 dollars for ten shells. Believe me it holds the sport back but duck hunting is expensive anymore as it is. Just having a place to do it where I live is hard.
But the kicker is I read all the controversy when they banned it then. Is there really that much science too back up that a significant number of birds are dying from lead in there crops or was it just another 80s freak out that ended up not making sense? I really want to do what's best for the birds but how many birds die from being wounded with steel and lost as compared to lead poisoning? There is a study I would like to see. Also I can see how a marsh would have lead laying on it after it was shot up but a dove field is planted and the earth turned every year. Is that part of the study?
My ignorance on lead not withstanding I can tell you right now from a purely monetary point of view that with as many shells as we shoot for doves (and admit it guys we all shoot a lot of shells) I will definitely have to rethink even going for that amount of money and you WILL lose younger hunters over it period. The high price on lead loads and ammunition shortages are bad enough but this will just be one more thing that kills our sport and if you want to talk about conserving those birds what happens when all that money for habitat and studies is gone because no one is paying the bills anymore? Remember bird watchers don't buy licenses. Phil, Dave we need a good article on lead from a hunters point of view.

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from Scott Jones wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Yeah, just try to find an open mind on the other side of the argument. If the study finds lead is a problem, it'll be pure science and undisputable; if lead isn't a problem there will be concerns over the study data and we're still reviewing the results. Don't bother using facts on a believer.
That said, if there is a problem, as conservationists we are obligated to change.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

the only problem with all of this no-lead legislation for me, is it makes my Browning Sweet 16 obsoleete! i am not much of a bird hunter anyway, but still, the next thing you know all projectiles shotgun, rifle and pistol, will have to be non toxic. for any shooting. that will make shooting (especially competition, casual, or target practicing) a very expensive sport. that is where all of this is headed. more expense, less people doing it, the anti's win.

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from elmer f. wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

OUR GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF CONTROL, AND RUNNING AMUCK! IT NO LONGER (IT HAS NOT FOR THE LAST 10-15 YEARS) HAS BEEN FOR-ABOUT-OR BY THE PEOPLE. IT IS SIMPLY RUN BY A BUNCH OF CROOKS, LOOKING TO LINE THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS WITH OUR MONEY. IF WE COULD AFFORD MORE MONEY THAN THE ANTI'S, THEYRE WOULD BE SO MUCH PRO GUN LEGISLATION, IT WOULD NOT BE FUNNY. I HAVE TO AGREE THAT THIS IS THE WORK OF ANTI- GUN /ANTI-HUNTER / ANTI SHOOTING ORGANIZATIONS. AND OF COURSE, WITH THE E.P.A. JUMPING ON THE BANDWAGON TO BAN LEAD FROM THE ENTIRE USA, IT IS GOING TO BE TOUGH TO DERAIL THIS TRAIN!

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from Dotcomaphobe wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I hope it won't be mandatory any time soon, as I just stocked up on lead shells. Not to mention the fact that non-toxic loads are more expensive.

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from Clay Cooper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

When I was 15, I shot a coyote with my 12 gauge with #6’s and after 50 rounds he finally died of lead poisoning !

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from nc30-06 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Once they liberal gun haters ban lead shot, they will go on even to steel shot. Steel rusts you know. It is just another incremental encroachment into our freedoms, from type of vehicle you drive, smoking if you want to, and telling us you can't have a rare hamburger, to now slowly banning our sport. Like an earlier post said, "they can't ban guns because of the second ammendment, but it does not guarantee the right to ammunition. It is time to stand up to these misguided panty-waste idiots and tell them to leave America alone. There are other things they could be told like _____________________ (fill in the blank for yourselves).

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from SD Bob wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Bernie: I have a correction for you. In South Dakota, non-tox is not mandatory on the grass lands though it is on Game Production Areas and Waterfowl Production Areas.

Since I hunt almost exclusively in areas where steel is mandated, hunting doves with it is what I do. This year I've started reloading shotshells and filling them with steel makes for an inexpensive dove load.

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from PbHead wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Yeah, steel stinks but it beats staying home. I often find small shot/gauge steel shells at Wal-Mart marked down after the season. That's when I stock up. If the powers that be ban lead in the States it should also be banned in Mexico and along the flyway.

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from HogBlog wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

First of all, this is the second year that TPW has been studying the impact of lead ammo on doves. They're doing this RIGHT.

I don't know yet if there's a direct impact, and while my initial thought says there's not, only real science will tell us the truth. The fact is, nobody else has bothered to really do the real science. Until now, including here in CA, the laws are being passed on emotion and idiotic knee-jerk reactionaries.

Personally, I'd pay twice or three-times the price for non-lead ammo if it's shown that lead is really having a significant negative impact on wildlife. So far, the evidence is not there though. Maybe TPW will find something, but I hope that if they don't, that information will be widely distributed as well.

In the meantime, non-lead shot really isn't all that expensive. It's actually really effective (much better on upland birds than on waterfowl). If I have to switch, it definitely won't be the end of the world.

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from guncrazy74 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

To Jim in Mo,
I would like to think that our migratory bird permit money in Mo is being put to good uses since they plant fields for doves now as well as having conducted a large study on them to back up numbers of birds for limits and such. They even held a youth hunting clinic at a local Conservation area where they taught kids about hunting safety and dove hunting and then held a shoot for them last saturday. I can't tell you they specifically used that money but I have been witness to serious work on providing dove habitat and hunting opportunities in the past ten years so I don't mind paying for the tag at all. Missouri always makes me feel like it is more motivated to hunters than any other state I have hunted in. Just my 2 cents.

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from buckstopper wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

Phil,
Steel shot at Wally World for less than $6 bucks, you better stock up! It's so cheap where your at because there is no demand. Just wait until it becomes manditory at the skeet range, you see the price go up then. I still have a case of #6 12ga high brass 3"mag from before steel was manditory for waterfowl. I was only saving it for squirrel hunting.

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from teufelhunden wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I used steel on Tuesday just to get an idea of what difference it would make. On close in birds I noticed very little difference. On passing birds, my range was noticably less. I eventually started limiting my shots to 25 yards or less.

As far as the danger to other birds, that is a little more unclear. My understanding of the nontox was that it prevented ducks and geese from ingesting the pellets as they fed underwater. If this is true it is concievable that we are harming birds. We use a crop rotation just as most the areas that you hunt, so this years milo will be next years rice. Lead shot fired at the doves in the milo this year will lay until next year when it is flooded. If ingestion is the danger, then we are indeed harming waterfowl.

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from Vassilyjung wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

I just finished a weekend dove hunt with steel. I found it to be very inconsistent. Very frustrating to hit a bird TWICE, and have it fly off, knowing that it was wounded. Fully 3/4 of the birds I shot had to be shot twice or have their necks wrung.

Not a big fan of leaving animals to suffer because we're protecting them when we hunt them. Seems to be a lot of confusing and paradoxical values inherent in that statement.

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from aflong wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I would love to see Comrade Obama institute a push to make bismuth shot more avaliable and MUCH cheaper too ! would go a long way towards proving to me that the dems are enviromentally aware!

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from sgaredneck wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I was just talking with my pa about lead being banned in places. Sort of figures that non-toxic shot for doves (heck for everything) is probably going to be the trend. I'm holding judgment until I see definitive proof about lead & doves. What if they are right? Where are we as responsible sportsmen supposed to stand? Are we trying to make a solution to a problem that doesn't exist or are we behind the curve? Should we be out in front of this?

Then again, there is the irony of lead shot possibly killing something very slow or very fast.....

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from dukkillr wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

I'm definitely interested in what the survey comes up with, but from my totally biased point of view, they'd better not ban lead shells for doves! It's bad enough bankrupting myself every fall to buy enough Hevishot for the waterfowl season (that stuff is head and shoulders above steel shot, I don't care what anybody else says) without having to load up on non-toxics for doves as well!

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

guncrazy74,
You are correct, Mo game dept is pro active. But it's our money in Mo that does that. Not Federal money such as the migratory bird permit.

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from Bob81 wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Slightly off topic, and take it for what it's worth, but here is a statement from the president of the Wisconsin Cartridge factory in regards to hoarding of amnmunition...

http://www.wisconsincartridge.com/productcart/pc/wiscartridge1-attention...

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from minigunner111 wrote 4 years 32 weeks ago

lead is good i t dont hurt yor teeth

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from ggmack wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

DE made non toxic required on all state land this year. I was out for opening day and what i saw was less hunters hunting for a shorter amount of time.

the two complaints i heard were I can't find steel so I could not go and i only found one box and it has to last me all season.

when the change was announced there was an immediate run on steel shot.

I had to go 45 minutes away and even then I was limited to two boxes per customer.

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from yohan wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

APPARENTLY some you guys are finally getting it ,.. as I have said in the past .
The VERY VERY powerful have no party no loyaly
no concience and no moral turpitude
Their religion is money and power,. and some are anti hunting.

We didnt Kill every American indigionus to these here united states ,.in order to take over.
We killed the Buffalo ,.. no buffalo no Indians,. no Indians ,.. you knw the rest

If its too expensive to shoot / hunt they win.

Meaning it aint the a$$ kickin contest between concervative and liberal camps we are lead by the nose to be so dam cauhht up in .
It is the intended geneiside of a hunting culture,. by a few very very powerfuil people.
The only thing presently working in our favcor is that there is so dam much money in small arms and ordinance
the actual guns will never go away ,..but the God fearing hard working Americans of future generations may not have the chance to hunt and shoot.
Becauase we let oursedlves be divided and concored by something as silly and inconsequential as supposed party lines.

I HUMBLY SUGGEST WE WAKE THE F UP !!

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from 86Ram wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

Military tested steel rounds vs lead rounds for an environmental stand point. Steel failed the performance test.

As far as steel being mandatory for dove it's mandatory for waterfowl. But we are still able to fish with lead sinkers and shot.

I say if it keeps the environmentals off your back and from siding with the antis so be it. (No promises)

If they went with Hevi Shot maybe however Steel and Hevi Shot both have a heftier price tag than lead shot.
I'd stick with the lead. I've hunted with lead shot for decades. My child was born healthy and I've had more problems from work related injuries than lead. Most of us grew up around asbestos and lead paint too. I think you should be more worried bout avian flu, bovine tb, cuttin a digit while skinnin / field dressin.

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from nvhtr wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

If required to use there should be a requirement that steel shot be avalible within 50 miles. I live in vegas and not even the Bass Pro Shops has steel shot avalible all the time. Walmart only stocks lead.Duck and Goose shot is impossible to find. I love to hunt but out here they are making it impossible to comply with the laws.PS we want Sportsmans Warehouse to reopen a store in vegas. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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from FloridaHunter1226 wrote 4 years 17 weeks ago

I think it should be personal preference. If you mind the thought of eating lead with your dove, use non-toxic loads. If not, then use lead.

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from 86Ram wrote 4 years 31 weeks ago

If required then the price should be drastically reduced and I agree that it should be made more available.

Also, what are the wear factors as apposed to lead? Will it wear barrels out faster?

Accuracey and as someone mentioned a clean humane kill is the objective if I'm not mistaken.

If steel is less accurate / consistant and it apparently is in shot as much as it is in ball ammo than lead then before it is mandated it should be developed and tested further.

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from jasper5000 wrote 4 years 25 weeks ago

nontoxic shot well its all about money not not the sport we all love does a nontoxic shot thats just as good has lead have to cost so much no it dont its 2009 and steel needs to go the ammunition makers dont hear us what is it we all want cheaper shells that are just as good as the lead ones!! or at least better then this steel crap and other shot that cost so much we cant buy it. they need to work together on this and it well happen im a hunter and i know what i need and thats not something better then lead and cost a lot.but just as good as lead and cheap

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