Nontoxic ammunition required in Story County Conservation (IA) areas

March 14 — On March 12, 2018, the Story County Conservation Board approved a second reading of revisions to Story County Conservation Rules and Regulations that eliminates the use of lead ammunition for hunting in Story County Conservation owned or managed areas. The Board approved the change, joining both the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in restricting the use of lead. Lead shot has not been allowed on federal hunting areas since 1991 nor on many state areas. The ingestion of lead by wildlife has been shown to be a common source of lead poisoning in birds and other wildlife.

“This rule change means that hunting of all game on Story County Conservation areas will require the use of nontoxic ammunition. This includes upland birds like pheasants and turkeys and mammals like deer, coyotes, and raccoons,” said Mike Cox, Director of Story County Conservation. “We realize that this is an important change for those who hunt on Story County public lands, but one we believe is critical to the health of wildlife and humans here and across the state.”

Dr. Jim Pease, chair of the Story County Conservation Board, stated that “there is abundant data showing that the ingestion of even small amounts of lead — one or two pellets — can be deadly for ducks, geese, and swans, and a fragment of a lead shotgun slug can kill an eagle.” Pease pointed to the dozens of lead poisoning deaths of both swans and eagles over the past several years as a factor in the decision. “Eagles scavenge on deer carcasses killed by lead slugs, and swans pick up lead shot from ponds or fields.”

“Fortunately, ammunition manufacturers have responded well since non-toxic waterfowl hunting was implemented in 1991. Steel shot, copper bullets, and other non-toxic ammunition is now available,” said Pease. “We hope that more local sporting goods dealers will make nontoxic ammunition more readily available for Story County hunters.”

Revisions to Story County Conservation Rules and Regulations are effective April 1, 2018. For a complete copy, visit, call 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.MondayFriday), or email

Story County Conservation manages more than 3,100 acres of parks and natural areas, including lakes, campgrounds, and trails, and an additional 5,500 acres of roadside habitat through our Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program.