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There are many threats for birds. One of them is lead poisoning from shots. Yet this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. South and North Dakota have already placed in safeguards, and now Minnesota is being asked to ban the toxic shot.

The public comment has ended on the matter and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have now got a tough decision to make. The decision won’t just affect pheasants and turkeys. Other wildlife, like waterfowl and deer, as well as people, are likely to benefit from a ban of toxic shot.

Many commentators have stated that the change in regulations is necessary and overdue as there is sufficient evidence to state that wildlife is poisoned. According to research, it only takes one or two lead pellets to be digested to kill a bird and the effects on the bird can be heartbreaking. Waterfowl are at particular risk as they swallow small rocks or grit to help with digestion, but can confuse lead shot with the natural grit from the area.

Large birds of prey are also at risk. They tend to swallow the toxic shot when they consume injured or dead game.

There are some areas that have regulations already imposed on the use of toxic shot. These include federal Waterfowl Production Areas but not Waterfowl Management Areas, which are usually next to them.

Pheasants are also likely to be saved. This is particularly important as pheasants have seen a dramatic decline in recent years.

However, since there have been mild winters and an increase in natural cover, and although there hasn’t been an official count yet, many states have seen an increase of about 30% in pheasant numbers, but the numbers could be increased further should there be fewer lead shots left in the fields.

Also, myths of hunters using other states for hunting because of rule changes are complete nonsense. Research has shown that when other states have introduced the rule, there has been no change in hunter numbers.

Do you think the rule should be changed? What impact do you think it will have on hunting and wildlife?

Let us know in the comments below.

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