States Issue Guidelines on Consumption of Game Meat

Awareness has grown since 2007 that some lead bullet fragments can end up in the game meat that is intended for human consumption. This prompted many States across the country to investigate the issue further. The following States have published guidelines on how to reduce the risk of accidental lead exposure from game meat to those most sensitive to lead, children under 6 years of age and pregnant or nursing women.

New York
North Dakota
South Dakota

Different Approaches By States to Promote Nonlead Ammunition

Currently, states have taken different approaches in dealing with concerns over the use of lead bullets in regions where California condors range. California has instituted efforts to restrict use of lead bullets for big-game hunting via regulations, while Arizona has chosen a voluntary program to encourage hunters to switch to nonlead bullets. Utah is planning on instituting a voluntary program modeled after Arizona for the 2011 fall hunting season.

State Regulations Concerning Use of Nonlead Ammunitioin

The following is a listing of which states currently have regulations on the books for use of shot types for different type of hunting:

Non-toxic shot regulations by state

USA: Ammunition other than lead required for waterfowl.

Alabama: Non-toxic required for migratory birds, except doves.

Alaska: Hunters must use non-toxic shot statewide for hunting snipe, a type of wading bird. Non-toxic shot also is required for muzzleloading shotguns.

California: Non-toxic ammunition required in the eight-county historic range of the California condor.

Colorado: Non-toxic shot required in the Alamosa/Monte Vista/Baca National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

Delaware:During the month of September, all hunters must use non-toxic shot when dove hunting in State Wildlife Areas. Non-toxic ammunition required for dove hunting in Wildlife Management Areas.

Illinois: Non-toxic ammunition required for dove hunting on some public lands.

Iowa: Non-toxic ammunition required for all game in wildlife management areas except for deer and turkeys. Non-toxic ammunition required for snipe and/or rail, a marsh bird , on all state and private land, grouse, quail and/or pheasant on some state land.

Kansas: Non-toxic shot required for hunting of all migratory game birds except dove and woodcock. At least 17 state wildlife areas and refuges require non-toxic shotgun load for upland game birds such as pheasant, grouse and quail and other small game.

Kentucky: Non-toxic ammunition required for doves in 13 wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges.

Louisiana: Non-toxic ammunition required for doves at Pointe-aux-Chenes Wildlife Management Area.

Maine: Non-toxic ammunition required in shotguns for upland game other than deer and turkey in national wildlife refuges and in wildlife management areas and refuges and for migratory game birds snipe and/or rail on all state and private lands.

Maryland: Non-toxic shot is required for hunting rail and snipe.

Minnesota: Non-toxic ammunition required in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Area.

Missouri: Non-toxic ammunition for shotguns required in 21 conservation areas.

Montana: Non-toxic shot required on federal national wildlife refuges and federal waterfowl production areas.

Nebraska: Non-toxic shot is required for all shotgun hunting within federal waterfowl production areas, national wildlife refuges and some state wildlife management areas, as posted.

New Jersey: Non-toxic ammunition required for rail, snipe, or moorhens on all state and private lands.

Nevada: Non-toxic ammunition required for gallinules, a kind of swamp hen, and snipe and in wildlife management areas.

New Mexico: Non-toxic ammunition required for common moorhen; sora, a freshwater marsh bird; Virginia rail and snipe with shotguns, as well as dove, band-tailed pigeon, upland game or migratory game birds on all State Game Commission owned or managed areas.

New York: Non-toxic ammunition required for snipe, rails or gallinules.

North Carolina: Nontoxic shot required for the taking of captive-reared mallards on shooting preserves, in field trials and during bona fide dog training activities.

North Dakota: Non-toxic shot required for sandhill cranes, tundra swans and snipe statewide and for all shotgun hunting on all U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands, including federal refuges, except turkeys and big game.

Ohio: Non-toxic shot only allowed in Metzger Marsh, Mallard Club, Pipe Creek, Magee Marsh, Toussaint, and Little Portage wildlife areas.

Oklahoma: Only non-toxic shot while hunting all species of game on the Sequoyah and Washita National Wildlife Refuge and at Red Slough Wildlife Management Area and Hackberry Flats Wetlands.

Oregon: Non-toxic ammunition required for upland bird (i.e. non-water fowl) hunting on some national wildlife refuges and some wildlife areas.

Pennsylvania: Non-toxic ammunition required for turkey, crow.

South Carolina: Non-toxic ammunition required in some wildlife management areas.

South Dakota: Non-toxic ammunition required on most state land and U.S. military land for small game and for sandhill crane, snipe and tundra swan.

Tennessee: Non-toxic ammunition required in some wildlife management areas and refuges.

Texas: Non-toxic shot required for all game birds in wildlife management areas and federal wildlife refuges.

Utah: Non-toxic ammunition required for sandhill crane and some wildlife management areas.

Virginia: Non-toxic ammunition required for migratory gamebirds snipe, rail, moorhens, gallinules

Washington: Non-toxic shot required in many wildlife areas, pheasant release sites and recreation areas.

Wisconsin: Non-toxic shot required for doves on all Department of Natural Resources-managed lands and national wildlife refuges.

Wyoming: Non-toxic shot required for grouse and chukar and gray partridges on all national wildlife refuges and chukar and gray partridges and all small game in the Springer and Table Mountain Wildlife Habitat Management Areas.

Note that this list may not be complete as laws are constantly changing. Check your local state hunting regulations.

Sources: USA TODAY research, American Bird Conservancy, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.