Lead Shot Concentrations in and Adjacent to Fields Managed for Mourning Doves and Effects of Tillage on Shot Concentrations in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana

Concentrating hunters on dove fields could place mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) and other ground foraging birds at risk of lead poisoning. We collected soil samples during three time periods (pre-soil disturbance [i.e., disking], post-soil disturbance [disking, roller harrow, planting], and post-hunting / field preparation [i.e., mowing, raking, burning]) to determine if soil disturbance reduced the amount of lead shot potentially available to ground foraging birds in managed dove fields. We also collected soil samples in the woods adjacent to these fields. Disking and site preparation did not have an impact on the number or the mass of lead pellets found on the soil surface and to a depth of 1 cm within the dove fields. More lead pellets were collected in the soil samples in the woods adjacent to dove fields than were collected in the dove fields. Lead concentration in the woods with respect to both number and mass did not differ by sampling period for the soil surface or to a depth of 1 cm. ere was more shot found to a depth of 1 cm in the woods in year 2 than year 1 of the study. Deposition of lead pellets in wooded areas adjacent to fields managed for dove hunting could pose as big a risk to birds and other wildlife feeding in these areas as to birds feeding within dove fields.

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