Lead shot phased out for waterfowl hunting

  • Maggie Barry

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says she fully supports Fish and Game’s decision to phase out lead shot for waterfowl hunting.

Fish & Game’s New Zealand Council voted last month to end the exemption which allowed several thousand firearms owners to use lead shot.

“By the 2021 shooting season, shotgun owners will have to use non-toxic shot when they’re hunting ducks, swan and pukeko over water,” Ms Barry says.

“In many parts of the world, hunters are already banned from using lead shot for wildfowl hunting because it was poisoning ducks which accidentally ate it as grit.”

“In the US and Canada non-toxic shot must be used for all waterfowl hunting, and in some cases for hunting pheasant and quail.  In England, non-toxic shot must be used when hunting any waterfowl, even over land.

“Lead is toxic - so much so that there is no level of exposure which is considered safe. New Zealand has already banned its use in paint and petrol.” 

Non-toxic shot doesn’t contain lead and there is a wide range of alternative shotgun shells available for waterfowl hunting which are lead free.  The most common is steel.

The new requirement will be phased in over the next four game bird seasons, beginning with the 2018 season.