A warning to duck shooters, beware of 1080 poisoning



By Carol Sawyer

Does it take 24.5kgs of 1080-poisoned duck to kill a man or a mere 200 gms ? Read on.

(Temple and Edwards, 1985) – A 70-kg human must consume 25.4 kg of poisoned duck flesh to receive a lethal dose, as judged by LD50 values of 4.8 mg/kg BW in mallards and 5 mg/kg BW in humans; theoretically, consumption of only two whole ducks poisoned by 1080 may cause transient toxicity.”

HOWEVER, “Based on fatal or near-fatal cases of human poisonings, the dangerous dose for humans is 0.5-2.0 mg/kg BW” (Negherbon 1959)

Even our state-owned factory, Animal Control Products Ltd (Orillion), states 0.7mg to 2 mg per kg of bodyweight is the LD50 for humans.


So…. by Negherbon’s reckoning, a 70kg human would have to eat only 2.54 kgs of poisoned ducks to get a lethal dose ( not 25.4 kgs )… …EXCEPT THAT that the lethal dose for a duck ( 4.8mg/kg bodyweight ) is only 1/4 of the amount of pure 1080 contained in a 12gm 1080 bait, and a duck could hoover up a lot of 1080 baits before it dies.

In other words, a duck may have eaten several baits, but even just one 12gm bait containing 0.15% pure 1080 poison is about 4 times the requirement to kill one x 1 kg duck.

So…. by that reckoning, one poisoned duck could kill you ! In other words if it had eaten one whole bait, and you weigh 70 kgs, you would need to eat 600 gms duck to get a lethal dose, but if it had eaten THREE baits you would only need to eat 200 gms duck TO DIE OF POISON. Now that is a possibility. Isn’t it ?!!

If you have an 11-year-old boy, he is likely to weigh around 35 kgs so just 100 gms of poisoned wild duck could kill him !

The other thing to remember is that ducks FLY. So they don’t sit happily around for ever inside 1080 drop zones. They may land on a pond near YOU, many miles from an aerial 1080 drop zone.

Death by ingesting 1080 poison for any creature is not instant, as we know. Even a 1080-poisoned bee has up to two hours flying time back and forth from a hive before it succumbs. A lethally poisoned duck may well survive for many, many hours flying time.
In an article on vertebrate pesticides in ‘Veterinary Toxicology for Australia and New Zealand, 2017’, Rosalind Dalefield BVSc PhD DABVT DABT, states “Birds have survived up to 10 days after dosing with sodium fluoroacetate”. ( 1080 ).

(In the ERMA Review it is stated ““[weka and pukeko] time to death 4-18 [hours]” & “[time to death for blackbirds dosed with 1080] 10.8-30.5 hours”)

Then, of course, there is the possibility that if you eat 1080-poisoned duck and don’t die you will get a nasty sub-lethal dose, which may end up making you ill then and there, or in years to come.

As for children, I would suggest don’t even think about it. Wild duck should be off the menu !


Alan Galletly says “Many years ago as a teenager I came across a number of dead ducks on a pond, some on the edge. As my father had laid 1080 oats for rabbits close by, we guessed they’ed been poisoned. We opened up a couple and they were full of green dyed oats. This was the beginning of my opposition to 1080 as I’d also seen other birds dead in the area.”

Dave shoots a pheasant for the table, and discovers it’s full of 1080 poison …

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