New Jersey DFW Restricts Use of Lead Shot at Ranges

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The NJ DEP Division of Fish and Wildlife reminds hunters that non-toxic shot restrictions are now in place at four division hunter training area ranges. The restrictions affect the shotgun (fine shot) ranges at the Assunpink, Tuckahoe and Winslow wildlife management areas. The shotgun range at the Colliers Mills WMA range has been closed.

The elimination of lead shot at these ranges is in line with the recommendations for best management practices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Wetlands have been documented within the shot fall zone of the ranges, and the potential for lead being directly deposited in wetlands exists at this site. The federal and state governments are working together to resolve this issue, including alternate sites for potential relocation of the affected ranges.

The shooting range program was established more than 25 years ago on designated Wildlife Management Areas. At that time, different criteria were used to select a suitable site for the division's ranges. Some of these sites were in the vicinity of wetlands.

Present day criteria for selecting range sites has changed dramatically. The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife and the EPA are working together to bring all our ranges into compliance with current best management practices.

It is the plan of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to relocate the clay bird shotgun ranges at Assunpink, Colliers Mills, Tuckahoe and Winslow to suitable areas. Noise levels may need to be tested first, depending upon the sites selected. The archery and muzzleloading rifle/shotgun slug ranges at these areas have not been affected by this issue.

The Colliers Mills clay bird shotgun range has been permanently closed effective September 24, 2007. The division hopes to relocate the shotgun range to a new upland area adjacent to the existing range. The Division of Fish and Wildlife is working with the NJ DEP Site Remediation Program to ensure that the closing of the existing range complies with all applicable environmental regulations.