Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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If I'm hunting in a WDFW Wildlife Area for wild turkey or forest grouse, do I need to use nontoxic shot?

  • It depends upon which Wildlife Area and/or portion of the Wildlife Area are being hunted. See WAC 232-12-068 and the Migratory Waterfowl & Upland Game Season pamphlet to determine whether nontoxic shot regulations apply to the hunting of wildlife on the Wildlife Area you plan to hunt. WDFW's Non-Toxic Shot Fact Sheet for more information.
  • WDFW owned sites where lead shot poses threats of primary and secondary poisoning to wildlife have been converted to nontoxic shot use for ALL shooting. WDFW has been designating certain potential problem areas as “nontoxic shot zones” since 2001.
  • Beginning with the 2011 hunting seasons it will be unlawful to possess shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzleloading), other than nontoxic shot, when hunting for upland game birds (pheasant, quail, chukar, and gray partridge), mourning doves, and band-tailed pigeons, on areas where pheasants are released. This requirement is in addition to other existing “nontoxic shot zones”.
  • Wild turkeys are not classified as upland game birds, but as game birds. Nontoxic shot regulations for upland game birds do not apply to turkey. Nontoxic shot regulations that apply to the hunting of all wildlife do apply to wild turkey, WAC 232-12-004(1).
  • Forest grouse are classified as small game. Nontoxic shot regulations for upland game birds do not apply to forest grouse. Nontoxic shot regulations that apply to the hunting of all wildlife do apply to forest grouse.
  • In Washington, nontoxic shot has been required for all waterfowl, coot, and snipe hunting since 1991, regardless of land ownership


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Last Updated
29th of October, 2013

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