Nontoxic ammunition required in Story County Conservation areas

On March 12, the Story County Conservation board approved a second reading of revisions to Story County Conservation Rules and Regulations that eliminates the use of lead ammunition for hunting in Story County Conservation-owned or managed areas. The board approved the change, joining both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa DNR in restricting the use of lead. Lead shot has not been allowed on federal hunting areas since 1991, nor on many state areas. The ingestion of lead by wildlife has been shown to be a common source of lead poisoning in birds and other wildlife.

“This rule change means that hunting of all game on Story County Conservation areas will require the use of nontoxic ammunition. This includes upland birds like pheasants and turkeys, and mammals like deer, coyotes and raccoons” said Mike Cox, director of Story County Conservation. “We realize that this is an important change for those who hunt on Story County public lands, but one we believe is critical to the health of wildlife and humans here and across the state.”

Dr. Jim Pease, chair of the Story County Conservation Board, stated that “there is abundant data showing that the ingestion of even small amounts of lead — one or two pellets — can be deadly for ducks, geese and swans, and a fragment of a lead shotgun slug can kill an eagle.” Pease pointed to the dozens of lead poisoning deaths of both swans and eagles over the past several years as a factor in the decision. “Eagles scavenge on deer carcasses killed by lead slugs, and swans pick up lead shot from ponds or fields.”

“Fortunately, ammunition manufacturers have responded well since non-toxic waterfowl hunting was implemented in 1991. Steel shot, copper bullets and other non-toxic ammunition is now available” said Pease. “We hope that more local sporting goods dealers will make nontoxic ammunition more readily available for Story County hunters.”

Revisions to Story County Conservation Rules and Regulations will be effective April 1. For a complete copy, visit our website at, call 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday) or email

O.W.L.S.: Aldo Leopold – Roots of the Land Ethic

Story County Conservation invites the public to the monthly O.W.L.S. (Older, Wiser, Livelier Seniors) program at the Story County Conservation Center at McFarland Park (56461 180th Street) northeast of Ames on Tuesday, April 3, beginning at 11 a.m.

This program by Steve Brower features photos and quotes from Aldo Leopold’s childhood and early career to study the influence of his youthful discoveries. We’ll take a look at the Leopold Compound and some of his favorite places to learn more about the reflections he used in later writings and the development of the “Land Ethic.”

O.W.L.S. programs are designed for “boomers” or older – but anyone can attend. An optional luncheon follows the program at 12 p.m. Lunch is catered for a $7.50 fee, and registration with payment is required by 4 p.m., Friday, March 30. The planned lunch menu is chicken Marsala with red potatoes, or chicken parmesan with spaghetti noodles, salad, dinner roll and cheesecake.

Registration for lunch is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday).

Geocache Egg Hunt

Your family will love this new-age way of hunting eggs! After learning how to use a GPS, participants will search the woods to find the Conservation Bunny’s nests of hidden treasures, collecting prizes and candy along the way! Be sure to keep an eye out for the “golden egg” containing special giveaways. The hunt will take place from 10 a.m.–noon on Saturday, March 31, at McFarland Park (56461 180th Street) northeast of Ames.

Space is limited, so register early! Fee of $5 per collector (children ages 3-14) with registration is required by 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. Registration is available at or by calling our office at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday).

For more information about this or other programs, contact Story County Conservation at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday), email us at or visit