I'm not a hunter so none of this applies to me. IIRC, deer hunters use shotguns or muzzle loaders only.
The link has many photos of bald eagles in the IA/IL Quad Cities area.
Conservationists: Deer hunters, use copper ammo to lessen threat to eagles
Jack Cullen firstname.lastname@example.org Nov 24, 2017 Updated 2 hrs ago
As deer hunters gear up for firearm seasons next month in Iowa and Illinois, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urging them to try non-lead ammunition to reduce the risk of poisoning bald eagles.
The results of a recent study conducted by the agency determined the federally protected birds are dying because they feed off the remains of deer that have been shot with lead slugs and bullets.
Researchers tested the livers of 58 dead eagles collected in 2011 throughout the Mississippi River corridor in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota and found that 60 percent had detectable concentrations of lead while 38 percent had concentrations considered lethal.
Ed Britton, manager of the Savanna District of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, contributed to the peer-reviewed study. Parts of lead bullets, he said, break down quickly in an eagle’s acidic stomach and enter its bloodstream, “almost immediately” causing paralysis and blindness, as well as digestive and neurological problems.
Those that do not succumb to lead poisoning within a couple of days of consuming the soluble metal will starve to death, Britton said.
While eagles primarily feed on fish and birds along the Upper Mississippi and other large waterways in the Midwest, they also scavenge deer guts during the winter months. Hunters usually leave behind the internal parts of the deer after field-dressing the animal they killed.
As part of the study, researchers gathered 25 deer gut piles from managed hunts within the refuge, and they found that 36 percent of the piles contained from one to 107 lead fragments per pile.
The 240,000-acre refuge extends 261 miles and covers parts of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin along the Mississippi. Britton, a resident of Clinton, Iowa, commutes upriver to his office in Thomson, Illinois, for work. This week marks the veteran conservationist’s 40-year anniversary with the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Copper vs. lead
Although he no longer hunts, Britton dedicates time to promote the benefits of using ammunition composed of alternative, less-toxic metals that do not fragment, or break apart, as much as lead. He makes presentations, for example, at hunter safety courses provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Copper, Britton said, “tears right through the animal.”
“The folks who have tried it and are familiar with it use it for all their hunting now,” he continued. “It’s just so effective.”
Iowa’s first shotgun season opens next Saturday, Dec. 2, and runs through Wednesday, Dec. 6; Illinois’ second firearm season begins Thursday, Nov. 30, and ends Sunday, Dec. 3.
When hunting with his handgun, Luke Webinger, the Clinton conservation officer for the Iowa DNR, prefers using copper bullets because they pierce through deer with more power and remain intact after impact.
“I’m one of those guys that like to find the bullet after it’s in the animal,” he said. “I like to see what it has done and where it ends up.”
When hunting with his muzzleloader, however, Webinger still uses traditional lead round balls. In the field, he does not document what every hunter uses for ammunition.
“My duty as a conservation officer is to make sure people are hunting, trapping and fishing legally,” Webinger said. “If they’ve met the requirements, I’m usually on to the next group.”
Copper ammunition also is popular among customers at R&R Sports in Bettendorf, but it costs “significantly more,” almost three times as much as lead, said Jay Morgan, who helps run his family’s business.
“That’s why a lot of guys still shoot lead,” said Morgan, an avid bow hunter.
Britton said hunters who have made the switch from lead to copper tout the value and efficiency of the latter, which is less soluble than lead.
“If it only takes one shot to kill that monster buck you’ve been searching for the past 10 to 15 years, it’s worth that extra dollar you pay per shell,” he said.
'Just asking,' not regulating
Looking ahead, Britton doubts federal lawmakers ever will restrict lead ammunition for deer hunting.
On former President Barack Obama’s final day in office, former Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe signed an order to phase out the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle on federal lands by 2022. But President Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, reversed the ruling on his first day in office, a move lauded by the National Rifle Association.
The Fish and Wildlife Service banned lead shot for waterfowl hunting in 1991, after being sued by the National Wildlife Federation, the nation’s largest conservation organization.
Morgan of R&R Sports, an early 20-something waterfowl hunter, does not mind shooting alternative metals, such as steel or tungsten, to "better the environment." It is all he has ever known.
"Everybody's used to it, so I don't see why it would be any different with deer," he said. "After a while, it would just become the norm."
In an effort to protect the California condor, the largest flying bird in North America, California became the first state in 2013 to prohibit lead ammunition for hunting all birds and mammals. The law will take full effect in 2019.
Following the release of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s lead ammunition study, the agency assessed each national wildlife refuge and wetland management district in the Midwest Region for its eagle population and number of firearm deer hunters.
Due to the habitat and food supply near the Upper Mississippi, “The counties along the river have the highest deer harvest annually as well as the highest concentration of eagles,” Britton said.
By the end of this year, 15 refuges in seven states will have implemented lead-free ammunition outreach programs for deer hunting. Included on that list are the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife Refuge and the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Wapello, Iowa, about 50 miles downriver from the metro Quad-Cities.
In 2018, 39 refuges and wetland management districts will follow suit, introducing the initiative in two additional states.
Britton said of the overall goal:
“We’re just asking hunters to voluntarily try the copper."
A friend of mine viewed an x-ray image of some deer meat. The deer was shot with a conventional lead core bullet and it was FULL of tiny particles of lead that were not visible to the human eye.
Lead on x-ray looks white, with meat appearing dark gray. Lead is well known to cause cognitive problems, especially in children. My hunting bullets are all Barnes. The only drawback is the the impact velocity usually should be 2400 or above for the Barnes bullet to fully open up. Barnes must be doing something for lever action rounds that typically have lower velocity.
Interesting. I never thought of that possibility, but I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. Hunting bullets usually expand and lose weight as they pass through an animal, and that lead has to go someplace. I suspect that because of how the meat is processed with the portions that are damaged by the bullet usually being removed, it doesn’t pose much of a hazard to humans, but it’s still good to know.
“The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”
— Bertrand Russell
I was told that the small lead pieces extended out much farther than one would expect. Some day I will test this, as I have my own x-ray equipment.
However it should be easy to find a location that would x-ray some deer or other meat that was shot with a lead bullet.
This issue comes up once in a while. Of course lots of factors go into whether lead particles may be present. I'd rather stay at the 'awareness' level than new regulation with lead bullets.
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Parts of AZ harbor the World's Most Expensive Outdoor Zoo -AKA- Condor habitat.
The State doesn't mandate non-lead ammo but strongly encourage use of non-lead ammo or taking any guts out with you when hunting.
After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.
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the way it's spelled
This comes up from time to time. I did some research, and strangely, only eagles and condors seem to suffer from this. Maybe because they are high visibility birds and the conservationists really just want to restrict hunting with an eye to eliminate it. I also found out the number of eagles (along with other raptors that are tracked) are increasing every year, despite the "poisoning". All the other vultures, buzzards, etc., don't seem to have the same problem with lead poisoning as the condors, despite living alongside and eating the same gutpiles as the condors. I find it very suspicious.
As far as lead particles being deposited in the meat, how many people have you known that ate meat from animals they shot with the dreaded lead bullets but never got poisoned?
Color me skeptical.
Going back over decades of big game hunting, most shots do not leave lead particles of any significance in a 'gut pile'.
Even the 'cup & core' bullets mostly pass through the animal. When they don't, that bullet is usually in a meat quarter or bone, which will be packed or hauled out.
Yes, look at the numbers of the average scavengers, crows, eagles, vultures, then the coyotes & other 4 legged critters. The numbers of avian scavengers are high & increasing over past decades. The CA condor has additional reasons for low numbers, yes, some have died of poisoning.
MI just banned chocolate of any type with bear baiting. There has been close to no documented poisoning of bears in MI, by chocolate, or other animals. There may of been a small bear or two in NH that may of died from chocolate. Most bear baiters use a granola type mix, not pure chocolate.
Of course the antis want to ban bear hunting and any type of baiting, even had it on the ballot in several States. The anti hunters are more than happy to restrict, reduce, and make hunting more expensive in ANY way they can do it.
I use some copper bullets and have nothing against them. I just see no reason for a ban on lead bullets.
friend to all
Last week a Bald Eagle was eating a Canada goose about 100 yards from my shop. After he had consumed his fill out of curiosity I walked over to see what parts of a goose he liked and had eaten first.
I was amazed to see 6 nickle sized balls of meat laying beside the caucus. I opened them up and found bb's in each. He evidently did not like them and did not eat them.
With all the research claimed to be going on I wonder if Wyoming eagles are just smarter than Liberal eagles?
Even if a few Eagles are poisoned by lead particals that number would pale by comparison of the number of Eagles that are killed by the big WIND FARMS that are going up all over the country. Past president Obummer signed a Presidentual Directive allowing the slaughter of the Eagles by the wind turbine generators. When all those turbines are gone I will gladly change to brass bullets. Until then the damm hippocrates in DC and else where can whistle dixie as I cast and load all my lead bullets! If any one wants to research this just Google "Eagle attrition from modern elec. generators".
So 9 out of 25 piles had lead in it. 22 of 58 eagles had lethal lead levels in them. They might want to look for other sources of lead.
Also, The article didn't mention the causes of death for the birds, which to me is significant as well.
friend to all
The research is very incomplete, typical liberal garbage. But gives them something to wave the flag.
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