MDC reminds dove hunters that nontoxic shot is required for some conservation areas

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – People planning to hunt doves during the upcoming season are reminded there are 26 Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) areas managed specifically for dove hunting that require hunters to use nontoxic shot. Missouri’s dove season starts Sept. 1 and runs through Nov. 29.

Seven of these areas are in MDC’s 17-county Southwest Region. (The areas that are new for this year are listed in bold):

  • Bois D’Arc Conservation Area (Greene County)
  • Capps Creek Conservation Area (Newton County)
  • Fort Crowder Conservation Area (Newton County
  • Shawnee Trail Conservation Area (Barton County)
  • Dr. O.E. and Eloise Sloan Conservation Area (Dade County)
  • Stockton Lake MDC Management Lands (Cedar, Dade, Polk counties)
  • Robert E. Talbot Conservation Area (Lawrence County)

The above-listed areas are included among the 26 MDC public use areas that require nontoxic shot for dove hunting only. At these areas, the use or possession of lead shot for hunting doves is prohibited.

In addition to the 26 MDC areas that have nontoxic shot regulations specific to dove hunting, 46 additional MDC areas have nontoxic shot requirements for all hunting activities with shotguns. A complete list of the 26 MDC areas that require nontoxic shot for dove hunting and the 46 MDC areas that require nontoxic shot for all types of hunting with shotguns can be found in MDC’s “Migratory Bird and Waterfowl Hunting Digest 2023-2024” booklet. This publication is available at most MDC offices and places that sell hunting permits and also can be found at:

The reason nontoxic shot is required at these areas is because of the effect that lead shotgun pellets can have on birds. Since birds lack teeth, they need to consume small pieces of gravel and other hard items – collectively known as “grit.” This grit is stored in a bird’s digestive system and is used to help a bird digest its food. In their search for suitable grit items, spent shotgun pellets are often consumed. The ingestion of these lead pellets can be fatal to birds. The nontoxic shot requirement has been placed at certain MDC areas that are heavily used by shotgun hunters. As a result of this shotgun use, an abundance of spent shotgun pellets are deposited on the landscape.