Dove hunters on some designated Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism public hunting wildlife areas will be required to use only non-toxic shot starting this dove season.

At these designated areas, led shot will no longer be allowed because it has become a health hazard.

An emphasis on increasing dove populations has been very successful in these locations over the years. Each year a large number of dove hunters are drawn to these very compact areas, said Brad Simpson, KDWPT public lands section chief.

The numbers were so high, KDWPT commission decided to get some statistics to help determine if a health hazard existed from lead shot.

Hunters were requested to fill out information cards describing how many shots were fired and how many birds were harvested. The number of shots at these popular locations was very high and that meant the amount of lead shot lying on the ground was substantial.

Birds will pick up the lead shot just like it's seed and get lead poisoning. And it just takes two or three pellets to produce lead poisoning. The birds that eat the pellets will fly off and most are never found.

The KDWPT Commission looked at the statistics for the last two years and decided to implement the new policy because of the possibility of lead poisoning.

The response from hunters has been good with very little negative feedback even though non-toxic shot is more expensive then lead shot.

The KDWPT program is going to be limited to very specific hunting areas where the numbers of dove hunters in that area tend to be very substantial.

When hunting outside those areas, hunters are still able to use lead shot because the number of shooters are less and the amount of lead shot is less concentrated.

"It's pretty much a hunter's choice," Simpson said. "If they want to use lead shot they can go to other areas."

Dove hunters at the following public hunting wildlife areas will have to be alert for non-toxic shot signs.

• Southcentral: Cheney W.A., El Dorado W.A., and Marion W.A.

• Southeast: Dove Flats W.A., Elk City W.A., Fall River W.A., La Cygne W.A., Mined Land W.A., Spring River W.A., Toronto W.A., and Woodson W.A.

• Northwest Jamestown W.A., Glen Elder W.A., Ottawa W.A., Smoky Hill W.A., and Wilson W.A.

• Northeast: Kansas River W.A., Tuttle Creek W.A., Clinton W.A., Perry W.A.,, Milford W.A., Noe W.A., and Hillside W.A.

To check on which wildlife areas require non-toxic shot before going to the hunting area, visit then click on "Hunting" then "Migratory Birds" and "Doves."