Twenty mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) of both sexes were dosed by oral gavage with Heavi-Shot™ (H-S; Environ-Metal, Inc., Sweet Home, Oregon, USA) pellets, 20 with steel shot, and 10 with lead (Pb) pellets, all of equal size. All pellets were fired from a shotgun into an absorbent material, retrieved, and weighed prior to introduction into the ducks. Birds were fed whole kernel corn and grit and observed for signs of toxicity for 30 days following dosing. Hevi-Shot pellets lost an average of 6.2% of their mass and steel shot pellets lost 57% of their mass in the birds' gizzards. Almost all (90%) of the Pb shot dosed birds died before the end of the study, while no mortality was observed in the steel or H-S dosed groups. Even though total food consumption differed between the H-S and steel shot groups, mean bird weight change was not different. There were no significant morphologic or histopathologic abnormalities of the liver and kidney in the H-S and steel shot groups. Results indicated that mallards dosed orally with eight No. 4 H-S pellets were not adversely affected over a 30-day period, and that H-S provides another environmentally safe nontoxic shot for use in waterfowl hunting.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3