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 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.