Starting this season, hunters are required to use nontoxic shot in their ammunition while hunting any type of birds at 29 pheasant release sites in Eastern Washington.
The nontoxic shot rule has been in effect at refuges and release sites for several years in Western Washington.
The first state-land nontoxic shot requirements in Eastern Washington were enacted last year near Pasco.
This year’s East Side restrictions at pheasant release sites are the latest in the state’s phase-out of lead for hunting and fishing uses.
It was a federal rule that banned lead shot for use in waterfowl hunting nationwide starting in 1986.
The actions are prompted by continued concern over the accumulation of lead shot in hunting locales. Wildlife that are finding and ingesting the spent lead become ill and often die.
The Eastern Washington pheasant release sites and the boundaries of the nontoxic shot zones are defined in maps available online at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website, wdfw.wa.gov.
Those sites include Fishtrap Lake, Sherman Creek Wildlife Area and sites near the Snake River.
The boundary was adjusted and the size of the release area on Sherman Creek west of Kettle Falls was increased this year.
Sites will be posted with “Nontoxic Shot Area” signs before birds are released for youth upland bird seasons.