WHITMIRE — The Tyger Enoree River Alliance (TERA) Plastic Shot Shell Component Mitigation program is currently in its third season.
The program was piloted by TERA in 2011 in response to high volumes of plastic shot shell components recovered from federal waterfowl management areas and the Tyger and Enoree Rivers. The issue is that there are thousands of plastic components fired into the water each year during a 10-day hunting period. During the other 355 days of the year, these areas are waterfowl sanctuaries — feeding habitats for the purpose of promoting and ensuring a sustainable population of waterfowl in the Atlantic flyway.
TERA’s solution for the pollution of the water with plastic shell components is for hunters to revert back to using shells with components made from more naturally occurring materials than plastic.
“We aren’t sure of all the whys and hows of shot shell components going to plastic,” said TERA co-founder Jon Durham. “What we know is that the more eco-friendly components are available and they perform competitively with plastics in both areas of shot characteristics and economics. There is no good reason not to encourage the use of biodegradable shot shell components in our watershed.”
For the shot shell component mitigation program, TERA distributes biodegradable shells, which they acquire at a wholesale price, and uses incentives to get them into hunters’ hands.
“We have been very pleased with our results, hunter response to the programs and participation by a number of manufacturers, private hunting preserves, the Enoree District of the U.S. Forest Service and private wildlife and property management professionals,” Durham said.
The 2013 shot shell program features 100 percent biodegradable waterfowl ammunition produced by J.C. Shotwell & Sons of France.
The company sent TERA three different loads — No. 7 dove loads, No. 4 waterfowl loads, and No. 6 Tungsten waterfowl loads — and on Thursday, Durham, along with Ed Cutler, B.J. Kennedy, John Ricks, and Bill Steele tested the loads for performance at the Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill. Durham discussed J.C. Shotwell & Sons’ product.
“They do not currently have U.S. Distribution but judging by our initial testing of their loads, we would expect that the performance alone of these loads will eventually land them on the U.S. market, regardless of their biodegradable qualities that make them an asset to hunters and the resource they use and protect,” he said.
Durham said the loads were extremely well made, using fiber-based hulls, bio-plastic shot cups and fiber waddings in the dove loads, and they performed flawlessly in all weapons tested, including recoil ejecting auto loaders, gas powered auto loaders, pump guns and breech loading.
For more information about this project or any of the TERA projects, visit www.tygerenoree.com.