by Scott Bestul
The latest headline in the ongoing lead-vs.-lead-free debate comes from the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which last week reported that veterinarians at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center expressed frustration at what they describe as the continuing toll that lead bullets wreak on eagles and other raptors. Vets at the Raptor Center say that 17 eagles were brought to them with lead poisoning last year alone, down slightly from a 25- to 30-bird average. Most of these eagles, vets contend, ingested lead while feeding on hunter-killed deer carcasses. Lead-poisoned eagles can become blind, too weak to fly, and/or suffer internal damage and seizures.
Some hunters are getting on the lead-free train. Mark Johnson, executive director of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, says that education is the key to reducing the number of lead bullets that hunters use in their rifles, shotguns, and muzzleloaders. “As time goes on,” Johnson says, “More and more deer hunters will start using nontoxic bullets, and that will be good for the eagles.” (VOTE BELOW)