Missouri Offers Steel Shot Clinics

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Knowledgeable hunters know steel shot performs differently than lead shot. What many don't know is how it is different, how different it is and exactly how to adjust their shooting to compensate for the differences. Those who attend free steel-shot clinics around the state will learn these things and become more effective hunters in the process.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is offering clinics at the following locations.

  • --Jay Henges Shooting Range at Forest 44 Conservation Area (CA) in St. Louis County, May 16-18. Call (636) 300-1953, ext. 302, for more registration and information.
  • --Conservation Department Ozark Regional Headquarters, 551 Joe Jones Blvd., West Plains, Aug. 8-10. Call (417) 256-7161.
  • --Southeast Missouri, location to be announced, Aug. 15-17. Call (573) 290-5730.
  • --Charles W. Green CA in Boone County, Aug. 22-24. Call (573) 884-6861.
  • --Andy Dalton Shooting Range on Bois D'Arc CA in Greene County, Aug. 29-31. Call (417) 742-4361.
  • --August A. Busch Memorial CA in St. Charles County, Sept. 5-7. Call (636) 300-1953, ext. 302.
  • --Locust Creek CA in Sullivan County, Sept. 26-28. Call (660) 785-2420.
  • --Central Missouri State University Shooting Complex, Warrensburg, Oct. 3-5. Call (816) 655-6250.
  • --Fountain Grove CA in Linn County, Oct. 10-12. Call (660) 646-6122.

Each event includes an afternoon or evening classroom session open to everyone. Registration for these events is limited only to the capacity of the hosting facility. A limited number ofparticipants who are in positions to pass their knowledge on to other hunters will take part in one-day hands-on shooting training sessions following the classroom portion of the clinics. Separate events with shooting training will be offered to hunter education instructors.

Lead is the most common material used in shotgun ammunition. Because lead shot has been found to poison waterfowl and eagles that feed on waterfowl, federal law requires duck and goose hunters to use nontoxic alternatives to lead shot. Missouri has expanded that prohibition to all hunting on some conservation areas.

Last year the Missouri Conservation Commission approved regulation changes requiring nontoxic shot for all shotgun hunting – including dove hunting – on 21 additional CAs. Areas affected by the regulation change are B. K. Leach Memorial, Black Island, Bob Brown, Columbia Bottom, Cooley Lake, Coon Island, Duck Creek, Eagle Bluffs, Fountain Grove, Four Rivers, Grand Pass, Little Bean Marsh, Little River, Marais Temps Clair, Montrose, Nodaway Valley, Otter Slough, Schell-Osage, Settle’s Ford, Ted Shanks and Ten Mile Pond CAs.

All these areas attract large numbers of migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. The requirement to use steel or other federally approved nontoxic shot on these areas applies to all hunting with shotguns. Possession of lead shot is prohibited on these areas.

Hunter Skills Coordinator Tony Legg said most hunters choose steel shot because it is the least expensive nontoxic shot available. He said extensive field work has shown that steel shot can be an effective alternative to lead or denser, more expensive lead-shot alternatives.

"Every type of shot has advantages and disadvantages," said Legg. "The key to success is learning the characteristics and limitations of the ammunition you use and developing skills – like judging distance – needed to make the most of it. These workshops are designed to help hunters learn those things and use steel shot effectively."