Authority rethinking steel shot for ducks

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012

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Strong opposition to a change in duck shooting regulations has forced a Southland authority to do more research before revisiting discussions next year.

Southland Fish and Game has been looking at making a recommendation to the Ministry of Conservation to ban lead shot in 20-gauge shotguns for use within 200 metres of water and replace it with steel shot.

Lead shot has already been banned for bigger shotguns such as the 12-gauge for about 10 years.

About 40 duckshooters attended a meeting in Invercargill this week to show their opposition to the proposed changes.

Southland Fish and Game manager Maurice Rodway said it received 60 submissions opposing the changes and a petition with more than 55o signatures.

Lead shot drops to the bottom of water where birds pick it up and ingest it. Unlike steel shot, it is poisonous to birds.

Based on previous studies lead was the cause of up to 30 per cent of non-hunting bird deaths, he said.

The 20-gauge shotgun is smaller and mostly used by junior shooters, who make up 3-4 per cent of Southland shooters.

The authority would assess submissions, public presentations, petition and surveys, and consult with other councils and duck shooters before resuming talks at next year's meeting, he said.

Shooters World owner and recreational duckshooter Lindsay Duncan said he was happy the authority decided to "do more homework".

"If we hadn't moved on this issue this would have been in Southland and we would have to grin and bear it," he said.

Steel shot is lighter and does not kill ducks "cleanly" beyond about 3o metres, whereas lead shot can kill up to 60 metres away.

Ducks shot with steel shot get wounded, fly away and often die in nearby paddocks, he said.

"It's an inhumane way of duck hunting.

"We're all for the duck, we're trying to reduce the death rate," he said.

terri.russell@stl.co.nz

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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