Latest Updates on Hunt The West
Study: Lead Bullets Result in Lead in Venison
October 20, 2008.
For a while now, studies have been revealing what should seem obvious: when lead bullets fragment as they pass through an animal, they leave lead fragments behind. Some of this lead ends up in our venison.
As a result of an analysis that showed lead fragments in hunter-shot venison in midwestern food banks last year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conducted a study to systematically analyze the extent to which lead fragments are left behind by bullets passing through animals.
The Minnesota study was conducted by shooting sheep carcasses with high-power centerfire rifles, muzzleloaders, and shotguns with slugs.
- Yes, lead bullets fragment and leave lead behind.
- Slow-moving shotgun slugs and muzzleloader bullets leave behind less lead than fast-moving high-power rifle bullets.
- Controlled-expansion lead bullets do not leave behind significantly less lead than rapid-expansion bullets.
- Copper bullets do not leave behind lead fragments.
Key recommendations from the study:
- Choose non-lead bullets to eliminate lead contamination.
- Because lead fragments are found much further from the wound channel than expected, it is impossible to recommend a safe distance from the wound channel to trim.
- Lead fragments in venison will likely be too small to see, feel, or detect when chewing.
- Children six and younger and pregnant women should not consume venison harvested with lead bullets.
- Ground meat is likely to have more lead.
The Center for Disease Control is currently conducting a study to examine the long-term effects of eating potentially lead-contaminated venison. Hunt The West will post an update when results from the CDC study are available.
For more information:
For more information on unleaded bullets: