Research | Hunt: Learning From Dove Lethality Study

Mourning Dove

Mourning Dove


This is Passport to Texas

Lead shot is the most common load used when hunting dove in Texas. In high accumulations it is a potential environmental toxin. Texas carried out a two-year study to evaluate effectiveness of lead versus non-toxic shot, should ammunition regulations change in the future.

02—We went into this study no knowing what we would find.

Corey Mason, Wildlife Region Three Director says it was a double blind study.

23— Everyone that was in the field – the observer recording the data and the hunter pulling the trigger – they did not know what kind of ammunition they were shooting. All of the ammunition looked identical on the exterior: all in the same brass, the same hole. No one knew what they were shooting. So, it removed all of that potential bias so that the study results are as objective as they can possibly be.

Mason says Texas needed to determine if a non-toxic ammunition alternative would be as effective as lead.

19—Secondly, we needed to know that information because of our harvest management strategies in which we base the number of days, the daily bag [limit], the opportunities to hunt these birds based on current knowns. And so, if those efficiency and wounding rates were to change it could potentially have an impact on the number of days in dove season, the daily bag – all those sorts of things.

Mason says the final analysis shows virtually no difference in effectiveness of lead versus steel shot. So, for now, it’s hunter’s choice.

03— We believe in hunter choice, but we want that to be an informed hunter choice.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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