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Old November 14, 2009, 09:52 AM   #1
simonkenton
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Are Lead Fragments in Your Venison?

Check out this video report done by Minnesota DNR.
They did extensive tests, firing a .308, a shotgun, and a muzzleloader at sheep, then did xrays of the sheep to test for lead fragments.

You might find it interesting.


http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/hunting/lead/index.html
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Old November 14, 2009, 10:18 AM   #2
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That is a very interesting link.
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Old November 14, 2009, 12:36 PM   #3
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A bunch of anti-hunting types got all involved in yapping about lead fragments. The big problem is that there's no way for lead to move around in the body after it's dead, and there are few fragments ever found in the eating-meat parts. Few deer are shot in the eating meat.

"Fragments": They're generally larger than #8 lead shot, and I've never had trouble finding and spitting out a pellet that was in a dove or quail.
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Old November 14, 2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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I grew up spitting pellets out of rabbits, birds, moose, bear my dad had hunted (although to be honest the bear was killed in camp defense)
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Old November 14, 2009, 12:59 PM   #5
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Studies like that are encouraged by PETA and anti gunners and anti hunters in their quest to outlaw hunting and guns. If lead in deer, or any game, was truly a problem there should be hundreds of thousands of hunters with lead poisoning issues. Can't ever recall hearing, or reading, of a single case of an individual with lead poisoning that was traced back to eating 'tainted' game.

Lead doesn't taste or feel like meat and is easy to spit out in the unlikely event one finds a piece in cooked game.

The study did not have a satisfactory outcome for the sheep however.
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Old November 14, 2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Wow. They could not have found a less interesting voice-over for that presentation. I can't even sit through it. Only smokes that is the most boring person that I have ever heard speak.

Besides that, yeah, I agree with the previous posters. I've been eating animals that were apparently just riddled with deadly lead fragments since I was born. It is evidently another one of those things that's going to kill me.... that never does. Like radon, asbestos, leaded gas, bicycle helmets, sun-burns, yada-yada-yada.
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Old November 14, 2009, 11:07 PM   #7
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Here's what I've recovered from Rem. .44 Mg 240 gr. JHP's. This is from more than one kill.

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Old November 14, 2009, 11:47 PM   #8
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Wasn't the "Doctor" in the study a Dermatologist, as well?
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Old November 15, 2009, 01:46 AM   #9
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I didn't read that particular link, but if it's the same one I read before, I don't ever recall seeing proof anyone has gotten sick from eating game that had lead fragments in it and ingested them. In fact, if you place your bullet right, it should help reduce the amount of lead in the meat to begin with. Hit 'em in the broiler room and that helps. I know it can fragment and hit the opposite shoulder, but it's better than hitting them square in the shoulder anyway.

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Old November 15, 2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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The link says that lead fragments may travel 12 inches from the entrance/exit wound.
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Old November 15, 2009, 11:28 AM   #11
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Lead is gray. Meat is red. The study proves that blind people should not butcher game animals...
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Old November 15, 2009, 11:45 AM   #12
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That was such a good study I think I'll cast some bullets today...
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Old November 15, 2009, 05:02 PM   #13
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No I use my Bow ,but some times I will shoot themwith my gun ,and I use Barnes Bullets F PETA
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Old November 16, 2009, 08:35 AM   #14
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I am an avid deer hunter who got sick as hell from lead poisoning.

My health collapsed in 1990, and it has been a real nightmare getting healthy again. It took ten years just to get diagnosed. Most docs don't even test for lead poisoning, and they don't know how to test for it, and they don't know how to treat it.
Once I began treatment, in 2000, it took years to get straightened out, and it was very expensive. I will never completely recover, but I am a lot better now.

When I finally found a good doc who understood how to treat lead poisoning, I asked him, "Where did I get loaded up with lead?"
He told me there is a lot of lead in the environment, there are many ways you could get lead poisoning.


Well this study has got my interest. At the time I got sick, I was killing and eating at least ten deer and hogs every year. I was eating wild game sausage, burger, or steak every day of the week.

This study shows that lead can travel a foot away from the entrance/exit wound.
I don't know if I got toxic lead from eating wild game I had shot, but now I know it is a possibility.

I didn't know Minnesota DNR had an anti-hunting agenda. Down South here the DNR is supportive of guns and hunting.
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Old November 16, 2009, 09:01 AM   #15
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My primary concern with lead has been stay out of its way, if it happened to flying at low altitudes. 'Swallering it' was the least of my worries.

There's a lot of eco-fertilizer circulating and damn near everything I like is hazardous to my health. I guess I could find a doc to keep me heavily medicated and go hide under a Nerf-shelter for the rest of my life; might add 10-15 years to it. The question is whether those extra 10-15 years would be worth living.
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Old November 16, 2009, 09:18 AM   #16
Art Eatman
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simonkenton, I can see where it's possible that your problem came from the lead remnants from your hunting.

The random occasional ingestion by either the average hunter or the recipient of game meat, however, is nowhere near the sort of exposure of which you wrote. And it's this latter condition which is the focus of the alleged danger.

For shooters, an indoor range is the greatest danger; ingestion to the lungs. Other problems arise from just living in a major metro area; I spent a week in Mexico City in 1978 and never felt the urge to smoke: Smog. A doctor specializing in respiratory problems once commented that just living in New York City was equivalent to smoking at least a pack a day.
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Old November 16, 2009, 04:10 PM   #17
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The CDC did a study of lead exposure in North Dakota hunters. Here is a link:
http://www.nssf.org/share/PDF/ND_report.pdf
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Old November 16, 2009, 04:44 PM   #18
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Sorry to hear about the lead poisoning simonkenton...

But it's possible that the lead (as you mentioned) may have come from your environment. My dad retired as a contractor and hobby racer. The sheer amount of lead in older homes and buildings is rather staggering.

A good friend became ill with lead poisoning because--get this--they had a hunting cabin wherein all his buddies would gather after a days hunt, cook, drink, and sleep it off to head home the next day. One of the members was bringing "fire wood" from home. The fire wood was siding from an old barn. The old barn had been painted w/ lead paint at some point (all worn off by the time they were burning it). The guys would have fires in the cabin and--in cold weather--the building was "made tight" with all sorts of foam, insulation, and plastic. They were sitting in a very effective "lead-self-dosing machine." Odd but true, and nearly all of them became ill from lead poisoning...
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Old November 16, 2009, 05:34 PM   #19
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Well, there you go, the North Dakota study shows higher levels of lead in people who eat lots of wild game than in the regular population.

Thanks for your concern longlane.
A major problem I had was in getting a diagnosis.
Most doctors don't know, or care about lead toxicity. They don't even know how to test for it.
I went to 8 or 10 doctors in 9 years, none even suggested that my problems might be related to toxic metals. Of course none tested me, I doubt they even knew how to administer a lead toxicity test.

I have never had a job that exposed me to lead, I did pick up some lead by using black and red glazed pottery from Mexico. I used that stuff for a couple years, in 1977 and 1978.
But other than that I never have figured out where I got exposed to all the lead.
When I finally got tested in 2001 my lead levels were 3 times the toxic level.

By 1990, the year I got sick, I had eaten well over 2,000 pounds of wild game.
I don't know if lead in the venison made me sick, I processed my own deer and hogs most the time and tried to cut out all the lead, of course.

But these studies make me realize that the venison may have made me sick.

I am sure thinking of switching to Barnes all copper bullets.
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Old November 16, 2009, 06:39 PM   #20
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If you process your own game, then the Barnes or other all copper bullet or a bullet that enclosed the lead completely would be a good way of avoiding any more lead from game meat.

Obviously, you should avoid reloading or indoor shooting if your lead levels are high though the rest of us should be fine.

I bit down on a large chunk of copper and lead in some wild pork sausage made from a pig I had killed. That had to have gone through the processor's grinder and there is no telling how many other people got a little lead from it.

As the North Dakota study indicates, most of us should be just fine consuming game meat taken with lead bullets. But if your lead levels are already elevated you should take extra precautions.
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Old November 16, 2009, 06:40 PM   #21
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might be why I headshot with fmj bullets
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Old November 16, 2009, 07:34 PM   #22
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That is why the pioneers died out - lead poisoning
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Old November 16, 2009, 11:11 PM   #23
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Every critter I shoot, I take more time than I need to trying to find all the little bits of bullet. Not because I am worried about lead, but because I want to see how my bullet performed in the animal. I've got a box of recovered bullets I keep on my reloading bench, either from critters I've taken, or critters I've butchered for other people. Some tend to break up, but a person who is even a little cautious in cleaning up blood shot meat will find 99.9 percent of every bullet in a deer, goat, or elk. Using bullets made of non toxic metals is fine if you are worried about lead, but as far as it becoming law, well I won't curse, but I disagree. Been tested for lead exposure, welding on vessels coated in lead based paint, and welding in general, probably have more lead in my system than the average joe. Doc told me my levels were fine. Overexposure to anything is bad, my wife thinks that too many guns, and too many beers will be hazardous to my health.
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Old November 17, 2009, 01:55 AM   #24
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Dont use Winchester 180gr RN in 308. Helped a friend butcher his deer last week and found the bullet. Went from 180gr to 151gr. Thats alot of lead somewhere but we never found any in the meat. He hit it in the lungs. I'm sure we missed some small fragments, but that is not good weight retention.
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Old November 17, 2009, 05:21 AM   #25
simonkenton
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Been tested for lead exposure, welding on vessels coated in lead based paint, and welding in general, probably have more lead in my system than the average joe. Doc told me my levels were fine.


You probably got the wrong test.
Most doctors have little understanding of lead toxicity.
I bet you got a blood test.
If you are suffering from short-term lead exposure, maybe you work in a battery recycling plant, and you are working on a 2-ton vat of molten lead all day, and your breathing apparatus malfunctioned for a week and you start feeling sick, you could get a blood test right then and get an accurate reading.
If you are suffering from long-term exposure to lead, you may be suffering from lead poisoning symptoms, but your blood test will be ok.
This is because your body stashes the lead away in the deep tissues.
To properly test for long-term lead exposure you need to do a urine challenge test.
Most doctors do not know, or understand, or care about doing a proper lead test.

In my case, my doc gave me two capsules called DMSA. This is a drug that will pull the lead out of the deep tissues.
The doc gave me a 2 gallon jug, I had to save my urine for 24 hours. Then I sent in a test tube of that urine to be tested.
I was three times the toxic level of lead.
That was interesting because I knew I was sick as hell, I suspected arsenic poisoning. I was building a lot of pressure treated decks and I like to work with my bare hands. I figured I might have picked up arsenic from working with all that arsenic-treated wood.
No, the urine challenge test showed non-toxic levels of arsenic.

I had gotten a blood test by a different doc 2 years earlier, he said my blood work was fine and I didn't need to worry about lead poisoning.

Last edited by simonkenton; November 17, 2009 at 05:34 AM.
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