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USFWS requires non-toxic shot use

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region


For Immediate Release
September 3, 1998


Dan Sobieck, External Affairs 612/713-5403
E:Mail:  Dan_Sobieck@mail.fws.gov


A final rule published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service in the September 3, 1998, Federal Register
requires all migratory bird and upland game hunters to
use and possess only approved non-toxic shot while
hunting on federal Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs).
The rule is effective immediately.

While the use of non-toxic shot has been a requirement
for waterfowl hunting on WPAs since 1992, these
restrictions now apply to all hunters on WPAs except
those hunting turkey and deer.  Nationally, over 650,000
acres of land within WPAs are open to public hunting,
fishing and trapping.

The new non-toxic shot requirement will reduce the lead
poisoning risk to wildlife on these tracts of important
wildlife habitat.  Upland areas associated with wetlands
provide critical nesting cover for both waterfowl and
upland birds like ring-necked pheasants, marsh hawks
(Northern Harrier), and meadowlarks.  Traditionally,
these upland areas have also been favored by small game
hunters because of their ability to hold game.  Shot pellets
deposited during fall hunting seasons can later be ingested
by waterfowl and other wildlife feeding in these areas.
Studies have shown the ingestion of just two or three lead
shot pellets can be lethal to waterfowl.

About 85 percent of the nation's WPA acreage is located
in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  Iowa,
Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin also
contain these important production areas.

Non-toxic shot currently approved for use by the Service
includes shot made of steel or bismuth.   Tungsten-iron
and tungsten-polymer shot, presently under review, are
also likely to be approved for the 1998/1999 hunting
season.  Upon approval, notice would be published in the
Federal Register.   Non-toxic shot shells are available
commercially in popular shotgun gauges and loads.  Non-
toxic shot is also available for those hunters who load
their own shells and for those who use primitive
muzzleloading firearms.  Both modern (breechloading)
and muzzleloading firearms used on WPAs are restricted
to non-toxic shot use.

Although commercially available, tungsten-matrix and tin
shot have not received approval at this time.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal
Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting,
and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the
continuing benefit of the American people.  The Service
manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System comprising more than 500 national wildlife
refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special
management areas.  It also operates 66 national fish
hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations.  The
agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird
populations, restores nationally significant fisheries,
conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands,
and helps foreign governments with their conservation
efforts.  It also oversees the Federal Aid program that
distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes
on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife


Department of the Interior
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Bldg.
1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling, MN 55111
Contact External Affairs:
Telephone (612) 713-5360
TDD (612) 713-5318
Fax: (612) 713-5280
E-mail: r3_pao@mail.fws.gov