Texas Parks and Wildlife has completed a two-year study on dove hunting, comparing lead shot versus non-toxic shot and its effectiveness.
This was considered to be a “double-blind” study with hunters and observers neither knowing what they were shooting to remove bias. Both hunters and and an observer recorded data based on these hunts to determine the effectiveness of the loads.
The info was sent in to those conducting the study who knew which type of shot each hunter was given and the results were quite unexpected.
In the end, lead and non-toxic performed virtually equivalent in the field. There was no significant data pointing either way to give one an edge. At this point, the main difference between the two kinds is price because of the metals used.
Whether lead or non-toxic is used will remain a variable and a concern between private and state hunting areas. It is key to know your regulations and what is required in your area, however you can feel safe in knowing that your steel shot will pile up those doves just the same.