Nontoxic Shot Regulations for Hunting Waterfowl and Coots in the U.S.
Current as of December 21, 2020
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. This shot type restriction applies to the taking of ducks, geese (including brant), swans, coots (Fulica americana), and any other species that make up aggregate bag limits with these migratory game birds during concurrent seasons. 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 Shot®|
|Corrosion-inhibited copper||≥99.9 copper with benzotriazole and thermoplastic fluorescent powder coatings||Ultraviolet Light|
|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, fluoropolymers, and fluorescent thermoplastic 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.