Minnesota eagles fall prey to lead from hunters' bullets

  • Article by: MARY LYNN SMITH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 16, 2012 - 5:17 AM

Dozens of Minnesota eagles die each year after eating lead fragments from hunters' bullets.

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mutt10RJan. 14, 1211:12 PM

Hunters are scattering a toxic substance into the environment. Yes, this is worth controlling via legislation.

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bmaggyJan. 14, 1211:15 PM

I'm wondering if it is the body size of eagle's that makes the small about of lead they might ingest harmful. Comparing humans to that of eagles, I would say hunters have a better chance of ingesting lead than eagles and I have never seen a report of a human dying from lead poisoning because they ate deer meat. My Great Grandpa and Grandpa and my dad have harvested deer with lead bullets, ate the meat and never had a health issue due to lead. I hope before any changes occur in our ammunition, that this is proven. How do we know that these very few eagles that are supposedly dying from lead poisoning are ingesting lead from hunter's deer carcasses? Lets look at other factors that might kill eagles also. One we should look at is the chemical sprays that the state and county plows spray on the roads in the winter to de-ice roads. If there is a deer carcass or other carcass on the side of the road, those chemicals can be absorbed by the carcass. Eagles and other animals use those carcasses as a food source and therefore will absorb the chemical. That must be just as harmful as lead.

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gyroboyJan. 14, 1211:17 PM

OK, next time I shoot a deer, I'll cover the gut pile. How long before the DNR makes hunters go lead free? For the record, the last deer I shot was with a lead free bullet. Not to save eagles but because that happened to be the best shooting bullet from that gun. I think lead free should be a personal choice, not mandated. Alas, I'm sure it is coming.

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bmaggyJan. 14, 1211:39 PM

How do we know that the few eagles that are supposedly dying from lead poisoning are ingesting lead from hunter's deer carcasses? Could there be another cause? People aren't dying from lead they might ingest while eating venison. Also, could eagles and other animals be dying from carcasses they eat along roadways due to the chemicals and salts the state and county plows put on the roads to de-ice? I'm not very concerned because we have the highest population of eagles in minnesota then we ever have had.

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barney_69Jan. 15, 1212:13 AM

I can't wait for them to open season on those eagles. I don't like my pets having to run under things outside to stay alive. There's only about 20 of them within 2 miles here and they're as thick as deer used to be.

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barney_69Jan. 15, 1212:15 AM

P.S. This was another get ready for gun control story. Pretty sneaky.

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greatxJan. 15, 1212:33 AM

I have had people tell me that Raccoons are "majestic". That doesn't mean I want a yard full of them... To each his own critter.

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lordhawhaw1Jan. 15, 12 2:59 AM

Good article. I'm a deer hunter. Did the writer convince me that lead is absolutely the cause of the death of these eagles? No, but it does seem probable. Next fall I will switch to copper.

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mn_windchillJan. 15, 12 4:57 AM

brmaggy - They xray the birds and see the bullet fragments and seasonally, its after deer hunting that the majority of eagles come in with lead poisoning. The first reports of lead poisoning in pheasants started in Europe over 100 years ago. Google it. Theres lots of documents.

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MickeyJan. 15, 12 5:24 AM

Hunters, can you see what this is?? It is an attempt by the Obama administration to control guns and hunting. It is on the same low level as the ATF scandal that the media has covered up. Stop and look around these wind generators at a wind farm. There are always dead birds around. Do you hear an outcry from the left for shutting down the generators??? Once Obama gets contol of our weapons, we are screwed, even the founding fathers stated this.

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