Northern Bobwhite and Lead Shot Deposition in an Upland Habitat
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We estimated total lead shotshell pellets expended, resultant pellet availability near soil surface, and the frequency of pellet ingestion by northern bobwhites (Colinus virginianus) attributable to nearly a quarter century of bobwhite hunting on a 202-ha upland habitat at Tall Timbers Research Station, Leon County, Florida. A total of 7,776 shots were fired, resulting in the expenditure of approximately 4.5 million pellets (∼ 22,519/ha). Sixteen of 235 (6.8%) soil samples collected in 1989 and 1992 contained one or two pellets. Soil samples indicated that approximately 7,800 pellets/ha (about 35% of the projected 24-year deposition) were within 2.54 cm of the soil surface. Pellet ingestion by bobwhites was evaluated by examining 241 gizzards collected from 1989–92. Three bobwhites (1.3%) had ingested pellets (x¯ = 1.3 pellets). No instances of suspected lead poisoning were noted in bobwhites over the 24-year period. Sport hunting of wild bobwhite populations on upland habitats appears to produce a low potential for lead poisoning compared to lead deposition in association with waterfowl and dove hunting.
KeywordsTimber Lead Poisoning Quarter Century Total Lead Lead Shot
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