St. Croix Wetland Management District
1764 95th Street
New Richmond, WI 54017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2011
St. Croix WMD – Tom Kerr
Leopold WMD – Steve Lenz
Non-toxic Shot Required for Turkey Hunting on Federal Waterfowl Production Areas
In an effort to reduce the risk of accidental lead poisoning for wildlife and minimize impacts on the environment, the Fish and Wildlife Service is requiring the use of non-toxic shot for turkey hunting on Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) in Wisconsin.
It is estimated that thousands of gamebirds and waterfowl die from lead poisoning every year after eating lead shot when searching for grit or food. In addition, many birds of prey such as eagles, hawks and owls also die from secondary lead poisoning as a result from eating animals that have lead shot embedded in their flesh.
Lead shotgun shells contain hundreds of pellets. If a hunter fires three or four shells for every bird, only a few of the pellets actually hit the bird. The rest, fall to the ground or into nearby water. As a result, birds and other wildlife can get lead poisoning because they mistake the pellets for food or grit.
When a bird or animal ingests lead shot, it is eventually absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body. The lead accumulates in the bones and vital organs, like the kidneys, brain and liver. These organs can be permanently damaged often leading to death of the animal.
In an effort to continue to reduce the risk of lead poisoning of wildlife, the addition of turkey hunting will reduce the amount of lead deposited on these important lands. The Service already requires the use of non-toxic shot for all other upland game animal and bird species on Wisconsin Waterfowl Production Areas.
For more information or to download maps of Waterfowl Production Areas located in the St. Croix Wetland Management District in western Wisconsin Counties, visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/StCroix/ or contact the office at 715-246-7784. For information on the Leopold Wetland Management District or to download maps of Waterfowl Production areas located in southeastern Wisconsin Counties, visit our website at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/leopold/ or contact the office at 608-742-7100.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov.
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