Texas Studies Effectiveness Of Unleaded Hunting Ammo

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wants to find out whether ammunition "without" lead is as effective in hunting doves as ammo "with" lead. David Pitman reports on how the department has wrapped up two years' of collecting doves in a study on ammunition in real-world hunting conditions.

Hunters in Texas shoot nearly six-and-a-half million doves each fall, as the birds migrate south.   With all the ammunition needed to kill the birds, there are concerns about lead pollution.  Corey Mason is the dove program leader for the Parks and Wildlife Department.  He says there are discussions at the national level about possible requirements to use only non-toxic ammo to hunt all migratory game birds.

"And us, as the state of Texas, having such a large dove-hunter base, we want to provide the science to the people making those decisions to better understand what it means.  And also have the information for Texas hunters if that regulation is then ever placed on us."

Mason says 13-hundred doves were collected by volunteer hunters who did not know whether the shot that killed the birds contained lead.  Their carcasses are now being examined to see if the lead shots work better than the ones that are lead free.  The findings are expected to come out in the summer of 2011.

Bio photo of David Pitman

David Pitman

Local Host, Morning Edition

The one question David hears most often isn't "What is it like to work for an NPR member station?" or "Have you ever met Terry Gross?" (he has)...