Wildlife managers are becoming more concerned about the exposure of birds, in addition to waterfowl, to spent lead shot. Knowledge of hunter attitudes and their acceptance of nontoxic-shot regulations will be important in establishing new regulations. Our objective was to assess the attitudes of small game hunters in Missouri, USA, toward a nontoxic-shot regulation for small game hunting, specifically for mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). Most hunters (71.7–84.8%) opposed additional nontoxic-shot regulations. Hunters from rural areas, hunters with a rural background, hunters who hunt doves, hunters who currently hunt waterfowl, hunters who primarily use private lands, and current upland game hunters were more likely to oppose new regulations. For mourning dove hunting, most small game hunters (81.1%) opposed further restrictions; however, many non-dove hunters (57.1%) expressed no opinion. Because our results demonstrate that most small game hunters and dove hunters in Missouri are decidedly against further nontoxic-shot regulations, any informational and educational programs developed to accompany future policy changes must address their concerns.
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Vol. 71 • No. 2