Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America

NONTOXIC SHOT REGULATIONS FOR HUNTING WATERFOWL AND COOTS IN THE U.S

Current as of

BACKGROUND

The ban on the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was phased-in starting with the 1987-88 hunting season.  The ban became nationwide in 1991. Nontoxic shot regulations apply only to waterfowl, defined as the family Anatidae (ducks, geese, [including brant], and swans) and coots. Nontoxic shot is defined as any shot type that does not cause sickness and death when ingested by migratory birds.

APPROVED SHOT TYPES

The shot types that are approved as nontoxic for waterfowl hunting in the U.S. are the following.

Approved shot type*

Percent Composition by Weight

Field Testing Device**

Bismuth-tin

97 bismuth, and 3 tin

Hot Shot®***

Iron (steel)

iron and carbon

Magnet or Hot Shot®

Iron-tungsten

any proportion of tungsten, and ≥1 iron

Magnet or Hot Shot®

Iron-tungsten-nickel

≥1 iron, any proportion of tungsten, and up to 40 nickel

Magnet or Hot Shot®

Copper-clad iron

84 to 56.59 iron core, with copper cladding up to 44.1 of the shot mass

Magnet or Hot Shot7

Tungsten-bronze

51.1 tungsten, 44.4 copper, 3.9 tin, and 0.6 iron, or 60 tungsten, 35.1 copper, 3.9 tin, and 1 iron

Rare Earth Magnet

Tungsten-iron-copper-nickel

40–76 tungsten, 10–37 iron, 9–16 copper, and 5–7 nickel

Hot Shot® or Rare Earth Magnet

Tungsten-matrix

95.9 tungsten, 4.1 polymer

Hot Shot®

Tungsten-polymer

95.5 tungsten, 4.5 Nylon 6 or 11

Hot Shot®

Tungsten-tin-iron

any proportions of tungsten and tin, and ≥1 iron

Magnet or Hot Shot®

Tungsten-tin-bismuth

any proportions of tungsten, tin, and bismuth

Rare Earth Magnet

Tungsten-tin-iron-nickel 65 tungsten, 21.8 tin, 10.4 iron, and 2.8 nickel Magnet

Tungsten-iron-polymer

41.5–95.2 tungsten, 1.5–52.0 iron, and 3.5–8.0 fluoropolymer

Rare Earth Magnet or Hot Shot®

*  Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome, and fluoropolymers on approved nontoxic shot types also are approved.
**  The information in the “Field Testing Device” column is strictly informational, not regulatory.
***  The “HOT*SHOT” field testing device is from Stream Systems of Concord, CA.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Further information on lead poisoning in waterfowl can be found at the following web site:

http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/othrdata/pbpoison/pbpoison.htm#contents

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Last updated: November 5, 2013