Will Mourning Dove Crippling Rates Increase With Nontoxic-Shot Regulations?

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Increasing concerns about the exposure of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) to spent lead shot may lead to a review of lead-shot restrictions. Policy reviews regarding current restrictions likely will involve debates about whether nontoxic-shot requirements will result in increased crippling loss of mourning doves. We evaluated waterfowl crippling rates in the United States prior to, during, and after implementation of nontoxic-shot regulations for waterfowl hunting. We use this information to make inferences about mourning dove crippling rates if nontoxic-shot regulations are enacted. We found differences in moving average crippling rates among the 3 treatment periods for ducks (F = 23.232, P < 0.001, n = 49). Prenontoxic-shot-period crippling rates were lower than 5-year phase-in period crippling rates (P = 0.043) but higher (P < 0.001) than nontoxic-shot-period crippling rates. Similarly, we observed differences in moving average crippling rates among the 3 treatment periods for geese (F = 9.385, P < 0.001, n = 49). Prenontoxic-shot- and 5-year-phase-in-period crippling rates were both greater than (P < 0.001) nontoxic-shot-period crippling rates but did not differ from one another (P = 0.299). Regardless of why the observed increases occurred in reported waterfowl crippling rates during the phase-in period, we believe the decline that followed full implementation of the nontoxic-shot regulation is of ultimate importance when considering the impacts of lead shot restrictions for mourning doves. We argue that long-term mourning dove crippling rates might not increase as evidenced from historical waterfowl data.

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... Because it is often more convenient, crippling rate estimates are obtained by asking hunters about the number of birds shot but not retrieved (Nelson 1957, SEAGFC 1957, Schulz et al. 2006). These estimates are routinely known as hunter-reported crippling rates because they represent what hunters report from their field activities. ...
... the proportion of radiomarked doves that were available on the site (Available) that contributed to harvest mortality of radiomarked doves (H). We calculated crippling rates of radiomarked doves (c) as a function of the harvest mortality of radiomarked doves (Schulz et al. 2006): ...
... g Hunter-reported crippling rates for the period 2005-2008, the same period for which telemetry-based estimates are available, also equaled 0.16. nationwide over 35 years prior to nontoxic shot regulations consistently ranged between 17% and 19% for all duck species and between 13% and 15% for all geese (Schulz et al. 2006). Such consistency likely contributed to the ability of Schulz et al. (2006) to identify shifts in hunter-reported crippling rates as a result of changes in shot-type restrictions. ...
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Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) harvest management requires an assessment of birds shot and not recovered (hereafter, “crippled doves”) to fully determine harvest mortality. However, estimating crippling rates is challenging. We estimated mourning dove harvest mortality, which included crippling rates, on a public hunting area in Missouri, USA, by monitoring radiomarked doves. We also compared crippling rates of radiomarked doves with hunter-reported estimates of crippling. During 2005–2008, we estimated annual harvest mortality between 23% and 30% on the area. Crippling rates ranged from 18% to 50% of harvest mortality in radiomarked doves. In comparison, hunter-reported crippling rates during 2005–2011 (14–18%) were, on average, 30% lower but more consistent than estimates from radiomarked doves. During 2005–2008, harvest mortality of radiomarked doves was 27%, with one-quarter of this mortality coming from crippled doves. Our empirical results confirm previous reports that crippling is a sizeable component of dove harvest. The potential bias in hunter-reported crippling rates could result in overharvest if not considered. Therefore, future harvest management decisions should not overlook the potential impacts of crippling on populations, especially on locally managed public hunting areas. © 2013 The Wildlife Society.
... Given the vast literature on lead risks to wildlife and humans, many stakeholders have recommended lead ammunition bans based on previous regulatory policies (Bellinger et al., 2013;Thomas and Guitart, 2003;Thomas et al., 2019). Examples include delisting bald eagles as an endangered species (Millsap et al., 2016), the lead ban for waterfowl hunting (Schulz et al., 2006; U.S. Department of the Interior -Fish and Wildlife Service, 1988), and the complete lead shotshell ban in Denmark on all hunting and target shooting fully implemented during 1996 (Kanstrup, 2019;Kanstrup and Balsby, 2019). In contrast to regulatory approaches, however, voluntary programs are becoming a prevailing conservation policy tool (Büscher et al., 2014;Heynen and Robbins, 2005;McCarthy and Prudham, 2004). ...
... Referring to the U.S. waterfowl lead ammunition ban phased-in during 1987-1992 (Schulz et al., 2006), another participant believed there may be challenges with lead ammunition ban, but they would be manageable. "We broke the ice 30-40 years ago with the steel shot regulation for waterfowl hunting, and we survived. ...
... Nonlead cost and availability, as recognized by our participants, has been a repeated theme since the lead ammunition ban for waterfowl hunting (Feierabend, 1985;Havera et al., 1994;Schulz et al., 2006) and most recently with nonlead ammunition for big-game hunting (Hunt For Truth Association, 2017). Consequently, hunters and ammunition manufactures have become accustomed to the externality of not paying the full cost of using lead ammunition and related environmental damage. ...
Wildlife and human health are at risk of lead exposure from spent hunting ammunition. Lead exposure persists for bald eagles due to bullet fragments in game animal gut piles and unretrieved carcasses, and is also a human health risk when wild game is procured using lead ammunition. Programs encouraging the voluntary use of nonlead ammunition have become a popular approach mitigating these effects. This study explored attitudes and experiences of United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff implementing an outreach program encouraging deer hunters to voluntary use nonlead ammunition on 54 National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) in the Upper Midwest, U.S. to understand factors affecting program implementation. We conducted 29 semi-structured interviews of USFWS staff along with 60 responses from an open-ended survey question. Twelve themes emerged from the data and were grouped into three broad categories: (1) challenges of dealing with complex issues, (2) importance of messengers and messages, and (3) resistance from staff. Challenges of dealing with complex issues included administrative restraint and uncertainty, scope and scale of program, human health not an agency responsibility, contextual political influences, and public-private collaborations. Importance of messengers and messages included the importance of experience, and salience of human health risk. Finally, resistance from staff included skepticism of the science and motives behind the program, competing priorities for refuge staff, differing perceptions of regulatory and voluntary approaches, cost and availability of nonlead ammunition, and disregard by some about lead ammunition and human health risks. Staff identified numerous challenges implementing the program, many of which were external factors beyond the control of the participants. Understanding the factors affecting program implementation may help guide future efforts encouraging the voluntary use of nonlead ammunition.
... We also wanted to explore some less conservative scenarios to inform future discussions with a range of stakeholders, including hunting organisations. We stress our estimate of current hunting levels for turtle doves should be considered as a minimum value as it does not allow for crippling losses associated with shooting (deaths caused by wounds or lead poisoning; Schulz et al. 2006), the failure of statutory reporting agencies to correct for incomplete bag returns Table 4. Mean and SD estimates of sustainability parameters from the sensitivity analysis. Results are shown for the two survival estimates. ...
... Zwarts et al. (2009), for example, report intense shooting at roosts and drinking pools in Mali and Senegal. Mortality associated with crippling losses is also likely to be demographically important: in another hunted dove species (Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura), estimates of crippling rate ranged from 10 to 41% across studies (Schulz et al. 2006). These unreported sources of hunting mortality strengthen the case for placing more emphasis on our more conservative scenarios (f = 0.1) in discussions of future harvest levels. ...
... In addition to improved reporting of the hunting bag, we recommend implementing studies designed to assess crippling losses associated with turtle dove hunting, as research on Mourning Dove indicate this source of mortality to be substantial (Schulz et al. 2006). ...
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With a decline exceeding 30% over three generations, the once-common European Turtle-dove is now considered globally threatened by IUCN. As a legal game species in 10 European countries, the recent International Single Species Action Plan for this species highlighted the need to carry out an assessment of the sustainability of current levels of hunting. In 2013–2014, the Western European population was estimated at 1.3–2.1 million pairs, and the hunting bag in the same region to be 1.1 million birds. Using the Demographic Invariant Method, we assessed whether current levels of hunting harvest within Europe constitute overexploitation of the western flyway European Turtle-dove population. We calculated the maximum growth rate λ max that a population might achieve in the absence of any additive mortality. Then we estimated the potential maximum harvestable population fraction (P) allowed by excess population growth. We explored a wide range of plausible scenarios relating to assumed demographic rates, geographic scope of the flyway and management objectives. λ max was estimated to lie between 1.551 and 1.869. Current levels of hunting along the western flyway are more than double the sustainable fraction (P) under all suitably conservative scenarios, and only fall below this threshold under the most restrictive assumptions. We conclude that current levels of legal hunting along the western flyway are unlikely to be sustainable. Reducing uncertainty associated with assessments of the sustainability of turtle dove hunting will require improved information on (in order of decreasing importance) current levels of hunting, adult survival, age structure and population size.
... Poisoning from ingested spent lead shot in Mourning Doves has been identified as a conservation and management issue, with a need for better understanding of its potential population effects (Mirarchi andBaskett 1994, Tomlinson et al. 1994). Although the magnitude of lead exposure and poisoning in Mourning Doves is unknown, a risk assessment of lead shot exposure in upland birds and raptors concluded that Mourning Doves are particularly likely to ingest spent lead shot (Kendall et al. 1996), and Schulz et al. (2006b) have suggested that the number poisoned may approach the number harvested on an annual basis. ...
... If we assume a frequency in the range of 3% lead shot ingestion, as proposed by Kendal et al. (1996) for upland game birds, and supported by this study for Mourning Doves, what is the impact on dove numbers? Based on the toxicity of lead shot for Mourning Doves and reported frequencies of ingested lead pellets, Schulz et al. (2006b) suggested that annual losses due to lead poisoning may approach annual harvest estimates. ...
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A more complete understanding of nonhunting and harvest mortality for Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) will be critical to improving regional and national harvest management decisions. Poisoning from ingested lead shot is of particular concern in Mourning Doves, which are often hunted on managed shooting fields where lead shot densities can be high, potentially increasing the risk of lead exposure. Previous studies of lead exposure in Mourning Doves have been local in scope and sample sizes have varied widely among areas. We provide an evaluation of lead exposure in 4,884 hunter-harvested Mourning Doves from Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Overall, the frequency of ingested lead pellets in gizzards of doves on hunting areas where the use of lead shot was permitted was 2.5%, although we found a high degree of variability among locations. On areas where non-toxic shot was required, 2.4% of Mourning Doves had ingested steel shot. Hatch year (HY) doves had a greater frequency of ingested lead and steel pellets than after hatch year (AHY) birds, suggesting that they either ingested pellets more frequently or that young birds with ingested shot were preferentially harvested over older birds with ingested pellets. In doves without ingested lead pellets, bone lead concentrations were lower on an area requiring the use of nontoxic shot than on areas allowing the use of lead shot.
... Crippling losses correspond to all deaths attributable to the anthropogenic cause at stake, but not counted as such (e.g. for hunting mortality: wounds, lead poisoning; Schulz, Padding & Millspaugh 2006;Guillemain et al. 2007). Crippling losses are a source of concern for the estimation of compensation-additivity rate because the impacted animals are classified as dying from natural causes. ...
... compensation for anthropogenic mortality including deaths due to crippling) was 90% (almost complete compensation), then, following the above expression for the bias on C, crippling loss rate needed to exceed c = 3 crippled bird per shot and retrievable bird. Reported values range from c = 0Á11 to 0Á30 in a set of North American waterfowl (derived fromSchulz, Padding & Millspaugh 2006 and references therein). Thus, the conclusion that compensation is only partial in Redhead was robust to the occurrence of crippling losses.observational ...
Demographic compensation, the increase in average individual performance following a perturbation that reduces population size, and, its opposite, demographic overadditivity (or superadditivity) are central processes in both population ecology and wildlife management. A continuum of population responses to changes in cause-specific mortality exists, of which additivity and complete compensation constitute particular points. The position of a population on that continuum influences its ability to sustain exploitation and predation. Here I describe a method for quantifying where a population is on the continuum. Based on variance-covariance formulae, I describe a simple metric for the rate of compensation-additivity. I synthesize the results from 10 wildlife capture-recapture monitoring programmes from the literature and online databases, reviewing current statistical methods and the treatment of common sources of bias. These results are used to test hypotheses regarding the effects of life-history strategy, population density, average cause-specific mortality and age class on the rate of compensation-additivity. This comparative analysis highlights that long-lived species compensate less than short-lived species and that populations below their carrying capacity compensate less than those above.
... Studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of steel shot. For example, Schulz et al. (2006b) evaluated crippling rates in waterfowl prior to and following implementation of non-toxic shot regulations in the US. They found that, after a five-year phase-in period, crippling rates for ducks and geese were lower after non-toxic shot restrictions were implemented. ...
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has been investigating non-toxic shot regulations for upland small game hunting because there is considerable evidence that the use of lead ammunition impacts the health of wildlife, the environment, and humans. In 2006 MDNR established a Non-toxic Shot Advisory Committee (NSAC) to provide citizen input on restricting lead shot for small game hunting. To support the NSAC discussions, we summarized available literature regarding lead am-munition and its effects on wildlife, the environment, and human health. This literature review includes more than 500 citations on lead and non-toxic ammunition related issues worldwide and summarizes stud-ies regarding ingestion of lead shot, bullets, and fragments by wildlife species and the impacts of lead poi-soning on wildlife, the environment, and humans. We found over 130 species of animals (including upland birds, raptors, waterfowl, and reptiles) have been reported in the literature as being exposed or killed by in-gesting lead shot, bullets, bullet fragments, or prey contaminated with lead ammunition. The impacts of in-gested lead on wildlife included decreased survival, poor body condition, behavioral changes, and impaired reproduction. We found 15 recent studies that demonstrated the impacts of lead ammunition on human health. Studies in Canada, Greenland, and Russia linked lead shot found in game animals to higher levels of lead in people who eat those game animals, and recent evidence shows that meat far from entry wounds may contain lead fragments. Effective non-toxic alternatives to lead shot are available, and at costs compa-rable to lead. The results of our review demonstrate the effects of lead ammunition on wildlife, the envi-ronment, and human health and support the need for the use of non-toxic alternatives to lead ammunition.
... We also evaluated reported waterfowl crippling rates in the United States prior to, during, and after implementation of nontoxic shot regulations for waterfowl hunting (Figure 1, Schulz et al. 2006). We used this information to make inferences about Mourning Dove crippling rates if nontoxic shot regulations are enacted. ...
... Additionally, it appears that reduced exposure to lead shot has not been offset by increased crippling caused by the use of nontoxic shot. A recent review of historical waterfowl harvest data by Schulz et al. (2006) revealed that after an initial increase in reported crippling rates, current reported rates were lower than those of prenontoxic shot rates for both ducks and geese (see also: US Fish and Wildlife Service 1986a, Morehouse 1992b). ...
The ingestion of spent lead shot was known to cause mortality in wild waterfowl in the US a century before the implementation of nontoxic shot regulations began in 1972. The biological foundation for this transition was strongly supported by both field observations and structured scientific investigations. Despite the overwhelming evidence, various societal factors forestalled the full transition to nontoxic shot for waterfowl hunting until 1991. Now, nearly 20 years later, these same factors weigh heavily in current debates about nontoxic shot requirements for hunting other game birds, requiring nontoxic bullets for big game hunting in California Condor range and for restricting the use of small lead sinkers and jig heads for sport-fishing. As with waterfowl, a strong science-based foundation is requisite for further transitions to nontoxic ammunition and fishing weights. Our experiences have taught us that the societal aspects of this transition are as important as the biological components and must be adequately addressed before alterna- tives to toxic lead ammunition, fishing weights, and other materials will be accepted as an investment in wildlife conservation. Received 16 May 2008, accepted 8 July 2008. FRIEND, M., J.C. FRANSON, AND W.L. ANDERSON. 2009. Biological and societal dimensions of lead poison- ing in birds in the USA. In R. T. Watson, M. Fuller, M. Pokras, and W. G. Hunt (Eds.). Ingestion of Lead from Spent Ammunition: Implications for Wildlife and Humans. The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho, USA. DOI 10.4080/ilsa.2009.0104
... where rr t is a distribution of band reporting rate for each year using estimates for common duck species from 1997-2010 (Arnold et al. 2020), and Cr is a constant crippling rate of 0.2 representing birds shot and killed by hunters but not recovered (Anderson and Burnham 1976, Martin and Carney 1977, Schulz et al. 2006). We assumed crippling rate was constant throughout the study period, and crippling and reporting rates were equal for all age-sex classes. ...
Despite the importance of green‐winged teal (Anas crecca) as a harvested species in North America, recent information on variation in vital rates among regions is lacking. We used band recovery data and hierarchical autoregressive models to examine temporal and age‐sex‐class variation in survival, hunting mortality, and nonhunting mortality probabilities of green‐winged teal banded at Kgun Lake on the Yukon‐Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, USA, from 1997–2019. We used data from 10,554 adult and juvenile green‐winged teal of known sex and age banded and released at Kgun Lake, and 1,245 hunter recoveries. Estimates of annual survival probability for adult females and males ranged from 0.44 (95% CI = 0.29–0.54) to 0.49 (95% CI = 0.37–0.68) and 0.56 (95% CI = 0.50–0.61) to 0.58 (95% CI = 0.50–0.64), respectively, during our study period. Estimates of annual survival probability for juvenile females and males ranged from 0.36 (95% CI = 0.18–0.56) to 0.46 (95% CI = 0.31–0.71) and 0.51 (95% CI = 0.38–0.61) to 0.56 (95% CI = 0.44–0.71), respectively. Hunting mortality probability was greatest for juvenile males and least for adult females. Hunting mortality probability of juvenile males increased from 0.09 (95% CI = 0.05–0.13) in 1997 to 0.14 (95% CI = 0.11–0.18) in 2015. Nonhunting mortality probability was greater and more variable than hunting mortality probability for all age‐sex classes, indicating nonhunting mortality contributed most to total mortality of green‐winged teal banded at Kgun Lake during our study. Additionally, survival probability of female green‐winged teal banded at Kgun Lake is less than published estimates for green‐winged teal banded in the boreal forest of Alaska. We recommend continuing consistent banding operations for green‐winged teal on the Yukon‐Kuskokwim Delta and other important breeding areas to further understand factors influencing nonhunting mortality and how they may vary seasonally and geographically. We used 23 years of band recovery data to estimate annual survival, hunting mortality, and nonhunting mortality probabilities for green‐winged teal banded on the Yukon‐Kuskokwim Delta, Alaska, USA. Our results suggest that nonhunting mortality contributed most to total mortality of green‐winged teal for each age‐sex class. We recommend continuing consistent banding operations for green‐winged teal to further understand factors influencing nonhunting mortality and how they may vary seasonally and geographically.
... We also evaluated reported waterfowl crippling rates in the United States prior to, during, and after implementation of nontoxic shot regulations for waterfowl hunting (Figure 1, Schulz et al. 2006). We used this information to make inferences about Mourning Dove crippling rates if nontoxic shot regulations are enacted. ...
... Assuming that hunter-reported sea duck wounding loss is 1.5 times greater than for other ducks, 0.30 or higher is a comparable estimate for sea ducks, depending on hunting methods. Hunter reports of wounding of ducks and geese have declined in the 1990s and 2000s (Schulz et al. 2006;U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, unpubl. data), so perhaps actual wounding rates are lower now. ...
... Research findings accumulated over several decades have documented effects of spent lead hunting ammunition on numerous wildlife species Norris 1995, Tranel andKimmel 2009), identifying exposure primarily through ingestion of lead shotgun pellets, bullet fragments in gut piles, unretrieved animal carcasses, or ingestion of lost fishing tackle (Schulz et al. 2006a(Schulz et al. , 2007aFinkelstein et al. 2012;Haig et al. 2014;Grade et al. 2018). Progress has been made in reducing lead poisoning in North American waterfowl (Anderson et al. 2000, Schulz et al. 2006b), but the problem persists for other wildlife species, including California condors (Gymnogyps californianus), bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), common loons (Gavia immer), and swans (Cygnus spp). ...
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Although lead poisoning in North American waterfowl has been reduced, it persists among other wildlife. To address this issue, we review lead poisoning in wildlife and threats to human health, describe the recent socio‐political landscape, and develop a framework for reducing lead exposure related to hunting ammunition and fishing tackle. Despite substantial information about lead poisoning in wildlife, an explicit and strategic plan for using existing information to develop an effective communication program is lacking. Local and regional efforts encouraging hunters and anglers to voluntarily use nonlead alternatives could benefit from a nationally coordinated and strategic focus. We propose that the diffusion of innovation theory provides a useful framework for developing and implementing voluntary nonlead hunting ammunition and fishing tackle programs. Further, it can help communicators refine messages, increase efficiencies in developing communication materials, and monitor adoption of nonlead alternatives. The initial step in this process, however, is to engage stakeholders about the importance of the issue and leverage that concern as a catalyst for positive change. Published 2019. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA. We review lead poisoning in wildlife and threats to human health, describe the recent socio‐political landscape, and develop a framework for reducing lead exposure related to hunting ammunition and fishing tackle. Encouraging voluntarily use of nonlead alternatives could benefit from a nationally coordinated and strategic focus based on the diffusion of innovation theory.
... Lead exposure and possible environmental contamination has resulted in a number of regulatory and voluntary approaches to limit its effect. For example, a ban in the United States (U.S) on lead shotgun ammunition for waterfowl hunting was phased-in during 1987-1991 (Schulz, Padding, & Millspaugh, 2006;U.S. Department of the Interior -Fish and Wildlife Service, 1988). ...
Hunting is a popular activity but continued use of lead ammunition poses risks to wildlife and human health. To inform adoption of the voluntary use of nonlead ammunition, natural resource professionals were surveyed to understand their attitudes about threats to bald eagles, lead poisoning in bald eagles, human health risks from lead bullet fragments in venison, use of nonlead hunting ammunition, and socio-economic nonlead ammunition factors. Differences were examined by hunter status, ammunition type used, and intentions to use nonlead ammunition. Of participants surveyed, 61.0% were hunters and 39.0% nonhunters, with 59.5% of hunters using lead ammunition and 40.5% using nonlead. Concurrently, 68.5% of hunters reported likely intentions to continue using nonlead or convert to nonlead in the future, while 31.5% reported nonlead use was unlikely. Also, some hunters currently using nonlead ammunition indicated they would unlikely continue using nonlead (17.8%). Nonhunters agreed more strongly than hunters regarding general mortality threats to bald eagles. Additionally, nonhunters, hunters using nonlead, and likely nonlead users more strongly agreed about threats of lead exposure to eagles than their counterparts. Nonhunters and likely nonlead users also more strongly agreed than hunters and unlikely nonlead users about the human health risks of lead ammunition and about shooting characteristics of nonlead. Finally, nonhunters and nonlead users agreed more strongly than their counterparts about the socio-economic factors of using nonlead ammunition. Understanding natural resource professional hunters’ attitudes may help with audience segmentation when designing future nonlead outreach messages. Management implications Among natural resource professionals, hunters are important in nonlead outreach programs, but results suggest nonhunters have greater understanding and awareness of the issues related to the effects of lead ammunition on the environment. Attitudes about lead poisoning and nonlead ammunition overlapped between hunters and nonhunters, suggesting the two groups are not mutually exclusive. A substantial proportion of nonlead hunters are likely to continue using it, but some indicated they might switch back to lead ammunition, suggesting a need to reinforce initial behavior. Hunters and nonhunters are both important target audiences for education and outreach programs.
Globally, there is increasing effort to transition away from the use of lead ammunition to mitigate its known risks to wildlife and human health. Whenever this transition is stated hunters frequently cite concerns about the effectiveness of non‐lead ammunition, how it will result in greater crippling rates, and associated animal welfare costs. This area has been little studied, but recent studies have found no differences in crippling rates using lead and steel ammunition. Using segmented linear regression we evaluated 37 years of waterfowl harvest data in Illinois, United States, overlapping the transition to non‐lead shot for waterfowl hunting in order to assess how crippling rates changed following the ban. The average crippling rate prior to the lead shot ban was 23% for both ducks and geese and reduced to an average of 15% and 11% for ducks and geese (respectively) following the ban. In addition, the annual trend in the proportion of ducks and geese crippled reversed following the ban, from a significant annually increasing to a significant annually decreasing trend. We offer hypotheses on behavioural and technological changes which may explain these changes and predict that crippling losses will not increase in Europe following a ban on the use of lead ammunition over wetlands in 2023.
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Lead poisoning mortality, through the ingestion of spent shot, is long established in water- fowl, and more recently in raptors and other avian taxa. Raptors (vultures, hawks, falcons, eagles and owls) are exposed to lead from spent ammunition (shot, bullets, or fragments from either) while feeding on game species, and other avian taxa are exposed when feeding in shot-over areas, including shooting ranges. Here we review the published literature on ingestion of and poisoning by lead from ammunition in terrestrial birds. We briefly discuss methods of evaluating exposure to and poisoning from ammunition sources of lead, and the use of lead isotopes for confirming the source of lead. Documented cases include 33 raptor species and 30 species from Gruiformes, Galliformes and various other avian taxa, including ten Globally Threatened or Near Threatened species. Lead poisoning is of particular conservation concern in long-lived slow breeding species, especially those with initially small populations such as the five Globally Threat- ened and one Near Threatened raptor species reported as poisoned by lead ammunition in the wild. Lead poisoning in raptors and other terrestrial species will not be eliminated until all lead gunshot and rifle bul- lets are replaced by non-toxic alternatives. Received 29 May 2008, accepted 24 July 2008. PAIN, D. J., I. J. FISHER, AND V. G. THOMAS. 2009. A global update of lead poisoning in terrestrial birds from ammunition sources. In R. T. Watson, M. Fuller, M. Pokras, and W. G. Hunt (Eds.). Ingestion of Lead from Spent Ammunition: Implications for Wildlife and Humans. The Peregrine Fund, Boise, Idaho, USA. DOI 10.4080/ilsa.2009.0108
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In live animals, lead poisoning can be diagnosed by analyzing blood samples. For postmortem testing, blood samples are not available and analysis of liver or kidney is often used for diagnosis. Liver and kidney analysis is relatively expensive and results might not be quickly available. We examined an inexpensive, rapid method to screen animals for lead toxicosis postmortem by testing the mixture of body fluids (termed "tissue fluids") that pool in the body cavity at necropsy for lead. At necropsy we collected body fluid and liver samples from Common Loon (Gavia immer) and Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) carcasses and determined concentrations of lead in tissue fluid using a desk-top blood lead analyzer. Concentrations of lead in liver were determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. There was strong correlation between tissue fluid and liver tissue lead concentrations, and receiver-operating characteristic analysis gave an area under the curve of 0.91, indicating that postmortem measurements of lead in tissue fluids can be utilized as a screening method for lead toxicosis.
Technical Report
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The European turtle-dove (Streptopelia turtur) breeds across most of Europe, except the extreme north; and within the European Union (EU), only Ireland and Sweden do not have breeding populations. The breeding range extends east into China, and south into northern Africa. Birds migrate to sub-Saharan Africa to overwinter, using at least three routes: through Iberia, via Italy and Malta, and across the Eastern Mediterranean. The latest breeding population estimate is 2.4 to 4.2 million birds within the EU, around 75% of the 2.9 to 5.6 million pairs in Europe. The global population is estimated as 13 to 48 million pairs, all but an unknown number in north-eastern China being within the scope of the African-Eurasian Migratory Landbirds Action Plan (AEMLAP). At the global level, the species was uplisted in 2015 from Least Concern to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It is considered Near Threatened in the EU28 and Vulnerable in BirdLife International’s Europe region (BirdLife International 2015). Populations are decreasing in many Member States. Breeding numbers show an overall decline (from the 1970s), especially in western Europe. The turtle-dove is listed on Annex II/part B of the Birds Directive as a species for which hunting is permitted in the following ten Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Spain. It is an important quarry species in these countries, with estimates of approximately two million birds harvested annually. The nominate subspecies, Streptopelia t. turtur is also listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) as requiring international concerted action. The three main threats to the species identified from expert opinion (two action planning workshops and wide consultation) are: • habitat loss in both its breeding and wintering areas, linked to land use and land cover changes; • illegal killing and trapping, critically during spring migration and in the breeding season; • unsustainable hunting levels. Other threats include: • disease (eg Trichomonas gallinae); • competition with other species; • accidental and deliberate poisoning; • weather events and climate change. There remains a substantial knowledge gap on the threats that the species faces on the wintering grounds, south of the Sahara. This gap must be urgently filled in order to understand the factors negatively affecting the turtle-dove. The goal of this Action Plan is: To restore the European turtle-dove to a favourable population status so that it can be safely removed from the Globally Threatened categories of the IUCN Red List. The high level objective is: To halt the population decline of the European turtle-dove throughout most of its range, preparing the way for an increase in population sizes within each flyway during the period of the next Action Plan (2028-2038). The seven objectives detailed in the Framework for Action are: Direct conservation actions (most critical first): 1. good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased on the breeding grounds; 2. illegal killing in the European Union is eradicated and reduced elsewhere; 3. hunting across the range of the European turtle-dove is carried out at sustainable levels; 4. good quality habitats, with available and accessible water and food, are maintained and increased at key sites for stopover and wintering. Supporting actions: 5. international co-operation is enhanced, through enabling sharing of information and expertise; 6. stakeholder awareness is raised; 7. knowledge gaps are filled, critically in areas that help increase the understanding of factors acting on the wintering grounds.
Previous field studies of hunter-harvested mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) have reported the percentage of birds with ingested lead shot as 0.2–6.5%. To reduce the uncertainty concerning the number of doves that ingest shot, we conducted an experiment to test the proportion of mourning doves that ingested lead shot on the bare soil of a disked field (typical of a managed dove field) to simulate more natural feeding conditions. In each of 3 treatment groups of 80 birds, we exposed 35 birds to low-density lead shot (1.5 million shot/ha), and35 birds to high-density lead shot (29.5 million shot/ha), and 10 birds served as controls (no shot). We dosed 5 positive control birds with 2 lead shot each in trials 2 and 3. We scattered lead shot and mixed seed on the loosely packed soil of treatment cages and after 4 days of exposure, 2.9% of doves voluntarily ingested ≥1 lead shot. The proportion of birds that ingested shot when exposed to the high-density shot treatment (4.9%) was not different (P = 0.098) from that of the low-density shot treatment (1.0%). Lead concentrations in liver, kidneys, and blood reached maxima of 94.402 ppm, 346.033 ppm, and 13.883 ppm wet mass, respectively. Differences in delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) activity, packed cell volume, and heterophil:lymphocyte ratio (H:L) were greater posttreatment in doves that had ingested shot than in those that did not. The risk posed to mourning doves from lead shot ingestion can be reduced by banning lead shot on management areas or dove fields or disking fields after hunting season to reduce shot availability. © 2011 The Wildlife Society.
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This paper addresses the policy and legislative considerations for moving North American society towards the use of nontoxic shot and bullets for all types of hunting and shooting. Progress in one or more areas of lead use reduction by society has not facilitated transitions in other areas of lead use, and the two solitudes of conservationists (anti-lead) and hunters (pro-lead) is real. Regulators must emphasize the gains in wildlife to both constituencies that will attend adoption of nontoxic products. Sixteen years of nontoxic shot use in waterfowl hunting is the most cost-effective conservation tool to date in conserving waterfowl populations. Similar savings could be expected from the use of lead-free shot such as for hunting migratory doves and upland birds. New ballistic materials are available for use on upland species, and in all gauges of modern and old guns. Industry has adapted materials for use in rifle cartridges of varying calib-ers. Although industry has responded well to the quest for nontoxic ballistic materials, industry requires en-forceable regulations to create and assure the market demand for their products. Different policy and legis-lative options are presented. Regulatory progress would best be based on precedents under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, entailing its application to species that fall under federal jurisdiction. The use of this Act would constitute the rationale for Canada to implement similar provisions for the same species under its Migratory Birds Convention Act. Individual states and provinces could then be petitioned to adopt com-plementary measures for hunting upland bird and mammalian species that fall under their jurisdiction. The development of nontoxic bullets for big game hunting could also be applied to the smaller caliber lead bul-lets used for small mammals, because they constitute a source of secondary lead poisoning of carrion feed-ers. Any legislation developed to phase out all lead use must be harmonized between the USA and Canada, and among the states and provinces to ensure consistency of regulation and its application. Progress in this task has to be based on the premise that use of nontoxic materials benefits all wildlife, the sport of proac-tive hunters, and society that experiences less lead in the environment. Received 16 May 2008, accepted 6 August 2008. THOMAS, V. G. 2009. The policy and legislative dimensions of nontoxic shot and bullet use in North Amer-ica.
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The manufacture of projectiles for ammunition used in hunting and target shooting, and for terminal tackle (sinkers and jigs) used in recreational angling, comprises a significant continuing commercial use of lead, and a major source of lead deposition into the environment. Thousands of tons of metallic lead are deposited into the North American environment annually from hunting, target-shooting, and recreational angling activities. Numerous symposia and conferences have been held, and hundreds of research papers have been published, addressing lead exposure and toxicosis in wildlife from ingestion of spent lead ammunition and fishing sinkers, but the transition (regulatory or otherwise) to nontoxic substitutes has been slow, impeded in large part by the resistance of hunters, anglers, and their representative organizations to adopt nontoxic products, rather than an inability of the ammunition and tackle industries to manufacture and distribute such products. Here, we present a historical analysis of the interactions between environmental science and regulatory policy development with respect to the use of lead in recreational shooting and angling in North America.
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Recent declines in recreational sport-hunting participation rates result from a variety of societal and cultural changes as well as extensive changes in the distribution of the United States population. Concurrently, natural-resource agencies are undergoing broad changes in focus and goals, with holistic ecosystem management competing with traditional game management for limited financial resources. We believe that recreational hunting is an important cultural element that should remain a mainstream recreational activity and should continue to have a significant place in natural-resource agencies. Given the transition of the United States population to a more urbanized society, new innovative programs need to be developed to recruit and retain recreational sport hunters from urban population centers that provide "successful" hunting experiences. We identify several components that will be essential to the success of these programs, such as providing a reasonable expectation of success or accomplishment (e.g., harvesting an animal), providing sport-hunting opportunities near urban population centers, and providing opportunities that are sensitive to the needs of diverse groups (e.g., minority, gender). We propose 2 solutions for providing recreational hunting opportunities to residents of urban areas: 1) establishing crop fields to attract mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and 2) implementing put-and-take hunting under certain restrictions. We recognize many possible problems with these suggested programs. Natural-resource professionals have strong opinions about these issues, but we believe discussions are needed if hunting is to remain a mainstream recreational activity. These dialogues need to 1) address the role of recreational hunting in resource agency policies and programs, 2) identify innovative programs to educate, introduce, and retain urban residents in recreational hunting, and 3) identify innovative programs to provide urban hunters with experiences similar to those we have proposed. If we fail to recognize the emerging societal, cultural, and professional changes impacting sport-hunting participation rates, this activity likely will become an anachronism.
Contains information for the US from the 1978-79 mid-winter waterfowl survey, the 1979 waterfowl breeding population and production surveys, and the waterfowl harvest surveys for the 1978-79 hunting season. -from Author
This report summarizes Mourning Dove Call-count Survey (CCS) information on numbers of mourning doves heard and seen gathered over the last 42 years within the conterminous United States. Between 2006 and 2007, the average number of doves heard per route increased significantly in the Eastern Management Unit, but did not change significantly in the Central and Western Units. Over the most recent 10-year interval, no significant trend was indicated for doves heard in either the Eastern or Western Management Units while the Central Unit showed a significant decline. Over the 42-year period, all 3 units exhibited significant declines in mourning doves heard. In contrast, over the 10-year period, no significant trends were found in any of the three Management Units using the metric of doves seen. Over 42 years, no trend was found for doves seen in the Eastern and Central Units while a significant decline was indicated for the Western Unit.
This report includes Mourning Dove Call-count Survey information gathered over the last 37years within the conterminous United States. Trends were calculated for the most recent 2- and 10-year intervals and for the entire 37-year period. Between 2001 and 2002, the average number of doves heard per route increased significantly in the Western Management Unit. No change was detected for the Eastern and Central Units. Over the most recent 10 and 37-year periods, significant declines were indicated for doves heard in the Central and Western Units. Additionally, in the Eastern Management Unit, a significant decline was detected over 37 years while there was no trend indicated over the most recent 10 years. In contrast, for doves seen over the 10-year period, a significant increase was found in the Eastern Unit while no trends were found in the Central and Western Units. Over the 37- year period, no trend was found for doves seen in the Eastern and Central Units while a decline was indicated for t he Western Unit.
Mourning dove (Zenaida macroura) hunting is becoming increasingly popular, especially in managed shooting fields. Given the possible increase in the availability of lead (Pb) shot on these areas, our objective was to estimate availability and ingestion of spent shot at the Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area (EBCA, hunted with nontoxic shot) and the James A. Reed Memorial Wildlife Area (JARWA, hunted with Pb shot) in Missouri. During 1998, we collected soil samples one or 2 weeks prior to the hunting season (prehunt) and after 4 days of dove hunting (posthunt). We also collected information on number of doves harvested, number of shots fired, shotgun gauge, and shotshell size used. Dove carcasses were collected on both areas during 1998-99. At EBCA, 60 hunters deposited an estimated 64,775 pellets/ha of nontoxic shot on or around the managed field. At JARWA, approximately 1,086,275 pellets/ha of Pb shot were deposited by 728 hunters. Our posthunt estimates of spent-shot availability from soil sampling were 0 pellets/ha for EBCA and 6,342 pellets/ha for JARWA. Our findings suggest that existing soil sampling protocols may not provide accurate estimates of spent-shot availability in managed dove shooting fields. During 1998-99, 15 of 310 (4.8%) mourning doves collected from EBCA had ingested nontoxic shot. Of those doves, 6 (40.0%) contained ≥7 shot pellets. In comparison, only 2 of 574 (0.3%) doves collected from JARWA had ingested Pb shot. Because a greater proportion of doves ingested multiple steel pellets compared to Pb pellets, we suggest that doves feeding in fields hunted with Pb shot may succumb to acute Pb toxicosis and thus become unavailable to harvest, resulting in an underestimate of ingestion rates. Although further research is needed to test this hypothesis, our findings may partially explain why previous studies have shown few doves with ingested Pb shot despite their feeding on areas with high Pb shot availability.
During 1987, soil samples were collected before (August) and after (October) the first dove hunting season near a stocktank in Eddy Co., New Mexico. Lead shot were recovered from 54% of 120 soil samples (30.5 by 30.5 by 1.3 cm deep) collected in August (181 shot) and from 68% of 120 soil samples collected in October (929 shot). These data provided estimates of 167,593 and 860,185 lead shot/ha in the upper 1.3 cm of soil for August and October, respectively. Examination of gizzards collected from 420 mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) during 1985, 1986, and 1987 revealed that only one had ingested lead shot. Analyses of livers of 250 doves revealed that nine (3.6%) contained concentrations of lead >7 ppm wet weight (range of 8 to 257). Though large amounts of lead were available for ingestion, doves had a low incidence of lead consumption.
This is Part IV in a series of comprehensive reports on the ecology of the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) in North America. The present report reviews and summarizes long-term hunting regulations, duck stamp sales, and data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Hunter Questionnaire Survey and various other surveys. Detailed information is presented on season dates, season length, bag and possession limits, shooting hours, bonuses, restrictions, and special seasons affecting the mallard in the United States from 1948 through 1974.
A nationwide banding program for mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) was conducted cooperatively by State wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service during 1967-1975. Banding and recovery records, as well as data from annual call-count and harvest surveys for the seven States that compose the Western Management Unit (WMU), were analyzed by a subcommittee of the Western Migratory Upland Game Bird Technical Committee.
ABSTRACT Wildlife managers are becoming more concerned about the exposure of birds, in addition to waterfowl, to spent lead shot. Knowledge of hunter attitudes and their acceptance of nontoxic-shot regulations will be important in establishing new regulations. Our objective was to assess the attitudes of small game hunters in Missouri, USA, toward a nontoxic-shot regulation for small game hunting, specifically for mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). Most hunters (71.7–84.8%) opposed additional nontoxic-shot regulations. Hunters from rural areas, hunters with a rural background, hunters who hunt doves, hunters who currently hunt waterfowl, hunters who primarily use private lands, and current upland game hunters were more likely to oppose new regulations. For mourning dove hunting, most small game hunters (81.1%) opposed further restrictions; however, many non-dove hunters (57.1%) expressed no opinion. Because our results demonstrate that most small game hunters and dove hunters in Missouri are decidedly against further nontoxic-shot regulations, any informational and educational programs developed to accompany future policy changes must address their concerns.
There is increasing concern that birds in terrestrial ecosystems may be exposed to spent lead shot. Evidence exists that upland birds, particularly mourning doves (Zenaida macroura), ingest spent lead shot and that raptors ingest lead shot by consuming wounded game. Mortality, neurological dysfunction, immune suppression, and reproductive impairment are documented effects of exposure to lead in birds. An ecological risk assessment on the impact of lead shot exposure in upland birds was conducted and is presented in the context of the new United States Environmental Protection Agency's Ecological Risk Assessment Paradigm. A considerable amount of spent lead shot is released into the environment each year from shooting and hunting. Doves collected from fields that are cultivated to attract mourning doves for hunting activities show evidence of ingestion of spent lead shot. Because lead can cause both acute and chronic toxicity if ingested by birds, and because there is evidence of widespread deposition of lead shot in terrestrial ecosystems, concern for impacts on upland game birds and raptors seems warranted. Although this ecological risk assessment does not clearly define a significant risk of lead shot exposure to upland game birds, this issue merits continued scrutiny to protect our upland game bird and raptor resources.
Previous research has suggested that free-ranging mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) may ingest spent lead pellets, succumb to lead toxicosis, and die in a relatively short time (i.e., an acute lead toxicosis hypothesis). We tested this hypothesis by administering 157 captive mourning doves 2–24 lead pellets, monitoring pellet retention and short-term survival, and measuring related physiological characteristics. During the 19- to 21-day posttreatment period, 104 doves that received lead pellets died (deceased doves) and 53 survived (survivors); all 22 birds in a control group survived. Within 24-hr of treatment, blood lead levels increased almost twice as fast for deceased doves compared to survivors (F1,208 = 55.49; P < 0.001). During the first week, heterophil:lymphocyte (H:L) ratios increased twice as fast for deceased doves than with survivors (F1,198 = 23.14, P , 0.001). Posttreatment survival differed (X2 = 37.4, P < 0.001) among the 5 groups of doves that retained different numbers of pellets, and survival ranged from 0.57 (95% CI: 0.44–0.74) for doves that retained �2 lead pellets 2 days posttreatment compared to 0.08 (95% CI: 0.022–0.31) for those doves that retained 13–19 lead pellets on 2 days posttreatment; significant differences existed among the 5 groups. After controlling for dove pretreatment body mass, each additional lead pellet increased the hazard of death by 18.0% (95% CI: 1.132–1.230, P < 0.001) and 25.7% (95% CI: 1.175–1.345, P < 0.001) for males and females, respectively. For each 1-g increase in pretreatment body mass, the hazard of death decreased 2.5% (P ¼ 0.04) for males and 3.8% (P ¼ 0.02) for females. Deceased doves had the highest lead levels in liver (49.20 6 3.23 ppm) and kidney (258.16 6 21.85 ppm) tissues, whereas controls showed the lowest levels (liver, 0.08 ppm; kidney, 0.17 ppm). For doves dosed with pellets, we observed simultaneous increases in blood lead levels and H:L ratios, whereas packed-cell volume (PCV) values declined. Our results support an acute lead toxicosis hypothesis. Although further research is necessary to investigate the magnitude of lead shot ingestion and toxicosis in mourning doves, we recommend that management agencies initiate development of a long-term strategic plan aimed at implementing a nontoxic shot regulation for mourning dove hunting. (JOURNAL OF WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT 70(2):413–421; 2006)
We estimated total lead shotshell pellets expended, resultant pellet availability near soil surface, and the frequency of pellet ingestion by northern bobwhites ( Colinus virginianus) attributable to nearly a quarter century of bobwhite hunting on a 202-ha upland habitat at Tall Timbers Research Station, Leon County, Florida. A total of 7776 shots were fired, resulting in the expenditure of approximately 4.5 million pellets (approximately 22519/ha). Sixteen of 235 (6.8%) soil samples collected in 1989 and 1992 contained one or two pellets. Soil samples indicated that approximately 7800 pellets/ha (about 35% of the projected 24-year deposition) were within 2.54 cm of the soil surface. Pellet ingestion by bobwhites was evaluated by examining 241 gizzards collected from 1989-92. Three bobwhites (1.3%) had ingested pellets ( x = 1.3 pellets). No instances of suspected lead poisoning were noted in bobwhites over the 24-year period. Sport hunting of wild bobwhite populations on upland habitats appears to produce a low potential for lead poisoning compared to lead deposition in association with waterfowl and dove hunting.
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