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USFWS approves two tungsten shots for waterfowl season

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


For Immediate Release
October 8, 1998

Dan Sobieck, 612-713-5403


On October 7, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave
temporary approval for the use of tungsten-iron shot and
tungsten-polymer shot during the 1998-99 waterfowl
hunting season.  The Service's decision is based on
preliminary tests that show no harm to birds that ingest
the pellets.

In 1991, lead shot was phased out for use in waterfowl
hunting because it was found to be toxic to ducks and
geese that ingest it while feeding.  At that time, steel shot
became the only legal load for waterfowl hunting.  With
this decision, waterfowlers have a choice of four types of
shot--steel, bismuth-tin, tungsten-iron, and tungsten-
polymer--for the 1998-99 season.

The use of tungsten-iron as non-toxic shot was
temporarily approved for use during the 1997-98 season.
The decision to extend the temporary approval for the
1998-99 season poses little risk to the resource and would
provide Federal Cartridge Company the time needed to
complete the full range of tests on the shot material.

The new shot material, tungsten-polymer, was submitted
for Service approval by Federal this year.  While results
of the 30-day toxicity tests on both shots suggest that
these materials pose little threat to waterfowl through
ingestion, additional testing will be conducted before
permanent approval will be granted by the Service.

As with last year's temporary approval of tungsten-iron
shot, the Service did not approve the use of either shot in
Alaska's Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta because of concern
that the absorption of tungsten into the femur, kidney, and
liver could potentially affect the threatened spectacled
eider, a species already subject to adverse weather,
predation, and lead poisoning.

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 comprised of 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

For further information about the programs and activities
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Great Lakes-
Big Rivers Region, please visit our HomePage at: