Hunting Doves w/Lead Shot — Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

So, last session the IA Legislature voted to allow dove hunting in Iowa. season. I voted yes on the dove hunting bill, primarily because I got a lot of emails/calls from Clinton County hunters urging me to vote yes on the bill, and almost none urging me to vote no, and since it wasn’t a Constitutional issue, or an issue I felt strongly about one way or the other, I went with the majority. I did, however, propose an  amendment to require non-lead shot when hunting doves , which was voted down, 30-51; the reason the majority gave for voting no on the amendment was that such details should be left to the Iowa National Resources Commission, as its members were better qualified to make such decisions.

So in July, Iowa’s National Resources Commission proposed a 70 day dove hunting season commencing annually on 9/1; the NRC also proposed that hunters would be required to use non-toxic ammunition when hunting doves. The Legislature’s Administrative Rule Review committee gave a thumbs up to the schedule proposed by the NRC, but overruled the NRC on the lead shot issue (apparently deciding that members of the Legislature are better qualified to make such decisions after all).

Thus, at some time in the near future, the House will be voting on House Joint Resolution 2001, which basically makes it OK for hunters to use lead shot when hunting doves. Between now and then, I will review the large amount of (conflicting) info I have been provided from proponents on both sides of the argument, and I would be happy to consider any additional input from my constituents on this issue. And here is a poll: 



About Representative Mary Wolfe

Part time attorney; full time State Representative for Iowa House District 98 (East Clinton County)
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25 Responses to Hunting Doves w/Lead Shot — Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

  1. says:

    If lead is a hazard to game wildlife and predators, why would the legislators be in favor of allowing it? What’s their rational behind their position? -Brian

  2. Nate McClintock says:

    We all know that eating lead paint is bad … Why would it be any better in a Dove … But Why are we shooting Doves in the first place… I’m having a hard time trying to understand this … We are debating shooting the symbol of Love with a toxic metal and or a nontoxic metal … Is that Correct.?..

    • Andrew says:

      Exactly, minus the “toxic” part. Elemental lead is not toxic. Lead Oxide is.

    • Walt says:

      You are right my friend about killing this little bird which has so little meat on its bones. It is the breast of the creature people eat and it takes a bunch of them to make a meal for just one let a lone a family of say four or five. That being said, the issue of lead pellets used in hunting is sought out and removed from the game therefore no danger from toxins. I have been using this type of ammo for over 50 years and eating that which I was blessed to harvest. I am a healthy 63 year old and have had no repeat no ill effects of contaminated meat caused by lead pellets or bullets.

    • will says:

      Education Nate, it’s not harming anything.

    • Rayb by day says:

      Um, Nate, the doves are not eating lead paint….

  3. Richard says:

    Lead is a natural mineral which can be picked up from the ground in some areas. Shooting lead from a gun simply puts it back where it originally came from.

  4. Jean black says:

    If they want to kill birds, they need to do it responsibly, with no lead! It’s time we all act like grown ups here and think about not ruining the environment! !!!!

  5. Mom says:

    I also questioned why we are shooting pretty little birds that can’t have more than three bites of meat on them…but Mary Lynn said that train left the station already — the legislature approved the dove hunting last session and isn’t planning to revisit. As someone said of fox hunting, it’s the pursuit of the inedible by the unspeakable.

  6. Andrew says:

    Lead is only a hazard to waterfowl. Lead is already banned on the Federal level for waterfowl, thus no state law is needed for it. Doves are upland / field game, and are not hunted over water..

  7. Representative Mary Wolfe (House District 26) Let Mary know how we all feel about shooting the symbol of Peace and Love

    • J.R. says:

      Hey Mary! It’s fun, we enjoy it.

      That is all, thank you

      • J.R. says:

        Sorry, I should specify that my previous post was meant with light humor. Any further opinions I have are similar to Rayb’s post below. Lead shot is non-toxic and affordable. Other materials are not as capable and more expensive. Also, the doves here are more akin to pidgins. Ever lived in a big city? I lived in London. Pidgins are rats with wings….

  8. Rayb by day says:

    Leas shot is not toxic as some anti hunting people would hope you will believe. It has been used for centuries and not one person has gotten sick or died from eating game taken with it. Lead Oxide (like used in paint) is. Those are the facts. Lead shot means a quicker and more humane kill because of it’s density. Steel shot is lighter, less accurate, and reduces the life of the barrel of the weapon, not to mention not cost effective, and uses more natural resources to produce. It also rusts. Common sense needs to be applied and not making panic decisions based on junk science.

    • Drew says:

      excellent post my friend!

    • Nick says:

      Rayb, great post, unfortunately the issue is not lead or no lead, it remains hunting or no hunting. They simply are trying thier best to regulate dove hunting by making it expensive, destructive to your weapon of choice, ect. Just read the posts against lead shot, each one starts by saying we shouldnt be hunting to begin with. Its just another trick.

  9. Greg says:

    The doves in Iowa are not the symbol of love, they are a close relative to the pigeon. Also doves are the most sought after game bird in the United States. I say lets not just feed them for our southern friends, but rather harvest them for our own food. They are very tasty and a great way for children and handicapped individuals to participate in the strong Iowa hunting tradition

  10. Frank Sladek says:

    I’ve watched my two boys & son-in-law hunt doves in AZ & we all ate them…taste great.
    They are really more of a pigeon, not the white doves you see released at memorial services.
    And the posts about lead are correct…lead shot is not the danger people “think” it is…it is
    not lead oxide.

  11. Bret Edmunds says:

    lead shot should not be banned for dove hunting.

  12. Loren Hansen, DVM says:

    Lead shot should be allowed for dove hunting except over water or waterfowl areas as lead shot is toxic and waterfowl do eat it.

  13. Tom Gray says:

    Banning of lead shot is simply an effort to put more restrictions on hunters and hunting/shooting sports. No evidence exists to prove that lead shot/ammunition poses a threat to the environment or animal population. I can’t understand why the DNR is so against the very people (hunters) who support and assist in the control of wildlife population and balance within our state. The only explanation appears to be a political agenda.

  14. Shawn says:

    It is clear to me reading these posts who has the science behind their thoughts and who is responding from emotion only. Representative Wolfe, I too believe lead ammunition is the best choice and not a problem. I have four decades of personal hunting experience to draw my conclusions from, along with an equal amount of time reading about such topics. I ask that you vote in favor of lead ammunition use for doves and any other hunting scenario that does not conflict with the federal waterfowl law. Thanks.

  15. Pingback: What a Day! | Iowa House Happenings

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