Shooting clinics reveal nontoxic shot secrets

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (MDC) - Practically every hunter knows that steel and other nontoxic shot performs differently than lead shot. What many do not know is how nontoxic shot is different, how different it is and how to adjust shooting habits to compensate for the differences. Those who attend free shooting clinics around the state will learn these things and become more effective hunters in the process.

The Missouri Department of Conservation offers "Effective Wingshooting, the CONSEP Way" clinics at nine locations statewide from June through October. The clinics - part of the Cooperative North American Shooting Education Program (CONSEP) - are designed to help hunters become more effective, ethical wingshooters.

This year's Missouri CONSEP offerings include:

· July 24-26 at the Ozark Regional Office in West Plains. Call 417-256-7161 for registration and additional information.

· Aug. 21-22 at Nodaway Valley Conservation Area (CA) in Holt County. Call 816-271-3100.

· Sept. 11-13 at the Jay Henges Shooting Range at Forest 44 CA in St. Louis County. Call 636-300-1953, ext. 302.

· Sept. 18-20 at the UMC Range, Sedalia. Call 816-655-6250.

· Sept. 25-27 at Runge Conservation Nature Center, Jefferson City. Call 573-884-6861.

· Oct. 2-4 at the Andy Dalton Shooting Range at Bois D'Arc CA in Greene County. Call 417-895-6880.

· Oct. 2-4 at Ted Shanks CA in Pike County. Call 660-785-2420.

· Oct. 9-11 at August A. Busch Memorial CA in St. Charles County. Call 636-300-1953, ext. 302.

· Oct. 16-18 at Duck Creek CA in Bollinger County. Call 573-290-5730.

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 of participants who are in a position 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. Ammunition and lunch are provided free of charge at these hands-on sessions. Separate events with shooting training are 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. In 2007, Missouri expanded that prohibition to all hunting on 21 conservation areas.

Areas where only nontoxic shot is allowed and possession of lead shot is prohibited 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.