DES MOINES — Hunters will be allowed to use lead shot to hunt mourning doves in Iowa when a new season opens Sept. 1.
Members of the Legislature’s Administrative Rules Review Committee voted 9-1 Tuesday to delay implementation of a rule that would have required nontoxic shot to be used when hunting doves.
That provision will be held in abeyance pending consideration by state lawmakers during the 2012 session. Should no action be taken by the Iowa General Assembly next year, the lead shot ban would take effect upon the Legislature’s adjournment.
Proponents of the ban told committee members that lead has been removed from toys, paint, gasoline and other things because of its toxic threat to people and wildlife. They said authorizing only nontoxic shot when dove-hunting becomes legal next month for the first time in Iowa since 1918 would be a sound conservation measure that is backed by scientific research.
Legislators, hunters and others opposing the lead shot ban said the National Resources Commission exceeded its authority when it unanimously approved a change that went beyond the intent of the Legislature when it sent a dove-hunting measure to Gov. Terry Branstad’s desk for his signature. They said it appeared the proposed rule was aimed at deterring hunters rather than a policy that was based on good science.
Gregory Drees, chairman of the Natural Resources Commission, said panel members were under the impression they had the governor’s backing when they unanimously approved the lead-shot ban in July. However, he said Branstad apparently had a change of heart because his representative at Tuesday’s committee meeting said the governor thinks the decision rests with the Legislature.
“This is an issue I feel the Legislature should decide on, not a commission,” Branstad said in an interview earlier this month. “The Legislature authorized a dove-hunting season, but this issue of lead shot is a separate issue, and it seems to me that’s an issue the Legislature decide.”
Had the committee not approved the delay Tuesday, the governor would have had 70 days to decide whether to veto the proposed rule regarding nontoxic shot.