Pennsylvania Pellets ... Indiana Actions ... and What's in a Deer?

Finding hunting regulations for your state; looking for a lever-action shotgun. Also, how much blood and fat does a deer have?

Field & Stream Online Editors

Q: Are you allowed to hunt with high-power pellet guns in Pennsylvania? (P.S. Your magazine has taught me a lot in the past years, not only just how to respect the outdoors, but to respect life and other people, so I just want to say thank you.) --M.D.E., age 12

A: I'm glad you're gaining so much from the magazine! I don't know if Pennsylvania allows hunting with pellet guns. The best source for this information would be the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Why don't you try their Web site (www.pgc.state.pa.us)?

Anybody else out there looking for hunting regulations should try their state's or province's Web site. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a page with links to state fish and game agencies at http://offices.fws.gov/statelinks.html. Another handy reference for these is the Petersen's Hunting Annual, available for $6.99 on most magazine racks.

Q: I've seen many lever-action rifles and love the way they look and feel. The only problem is that here in Indiana we can't use rifles for deer. I've done some research on the Internet but have only found lever action .410s. Does anybody make a 20- or 12-gauge lever-action shotgun? --J.M.

A: Sorry, but the only lever-action shotgun on the market today is the Winchester made for the .410--and as you obviously know, the .410 isn't an adequate deer round. Your closest approximation might be a Model 97 Winchester pump, which is essentially a Winchester lever action converted to slide action. Used Model 97s are available for very reasonable prices in 12-gauge.

Q: How much blood does a typical deer have? What's the fat content of deer meat? --M.

A: According to Leonard Lee Rue III's excellent book The Deer of North America (reprinted by the Lyons Press in 1997), a veterinarian at the University of Pennsylvania calculated that deer have an ounce of blood for each pound of body weight. So a 160-pound deer would have about 5 quarts of blood (there are 32 ounces in a quart).

Fat content varies depending on the cut and the deer, but because most deer fat is on the outside of the muscles, rather than marbled into the meat as in cattle, trimmed cuts are very low in fat. The book White-tailed Deer: Ecology and Management, from the Wildlife Management Institute (Stackpole, 1984), lists various 3.5-ounce cuts of meat and their cooked nutritional contents:

Approximate grams of fat per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of meat:

  • Broiled venison steak: 6.4
  • Broiled beef T-bone steak: 15.4
  • Broiled chicken and turkey: 7.3
  • Roast venison: 2.2
  • Beef rib roast: 2.9
  • Roast ham: 4.1
  • Lamb chop: 4.8