Governor Branstad may be stepping in to ensure that dove hunters can get the lead shot out when the season opens in September.
Last year the state commission that writes hunting rules decided to ban lead shot, which means dove hunters would have to use non-toxic steel shot. But earlier this year the Iowa House voted to nullify that rule, and allow lead shot during dove hunting season. The Senate adjourned Wednesday, though, without taking up the issue. Governor Branstad has asked his legal counsel to see what his options are now.
“Stay tuned,” Branstad said this morning. “We’re researching that.”
In a conversation with reporters, Branstad would not speculate on whether he has the executive authority to override the Natural Resources Commission and allow lead ammunition for dove hunting season.
“They just adjourned last night,” Branstad said, with a laugh, “and we’re trying to figure out what didn’t get done.”
The governor will make an announcement at 8:15 Friday morning. His staff says Branstad will be “correcting a senate failure” on this issue, but they’re not sharing how that will be done.
Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, supports the ban on lead shot.
“That commission made the decision that it was important to protect the health and safety of people and animals and the environment and they saw that this was a moment in time when the amount of lead in our environment might increase significantly,” Hogg said this morning. “The data shows that dove hunting involves a lot more ammunition than other forms of hunting.”
Critics say steel shot is not as accurate as lead ammunition, and dove hunting requires more precise shooting because of the size of the bird. Others argue heirloom or antique guns can be damaged by steel shot. On the other side are those who say lead shot poses an environmental hazard to both animals and humans.