Support for nonlead shot for dove hunting in Illinois

Matthew B. Ellis, Craig A. Miller, Jerry J. Vaske

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mourning doves are the most hunted game species in the United States. Mourning dove populations are declining, and the continued use of lead shot has been cited as one contributory factor. We examined the relationship between support for a ban on lead shot when dove hunting and 3 sets of variables: (1) beliefs about lead and steel shot, (2) prior dove hunting experiences, and (3) hunter demographics. Data were obtained from a mailed survey of 4,330 dove hunters in Illinois (response rate = 59%). Our results indicated that 81% of respondents were opposed to restrictions on the use of lead shot and these individuals believed that lead ammunition did not pose a risk to wildlife and that steel shot was less effective than lead shot. Supporters of banning lead shot were almost twice as likely to use steel shot, reported 2 fewer years hunting doves, went dove hunting 75% as much, and harvested 2/3 as many doves as those who opposed a ban. Consistent with social-psychological theory, beliefs were the best predictors of whether an individual supported or opposed a ban, followed by dove hunting experiences and demographic variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1447
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • beliefs
  • demographics
  • lead shot
  • mourning dove hunting
  • nontoxic shot
  • past experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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