Sunday, January 29th, 2023
Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Minn. lawmakers mulls lead bullet ban

Moorehead, Minn. (AP) _ Beth Siverhus has hunted deer since
1976, and for the first time next year she plans to use
copper-coated bullets instead of lead.

That’s because the Warroad woman also spends time rehabilitating
injured birds, and in the last year observed several eagles die
from lead poisoning. She believes they likely ingested the lead
while eating piles of deer guts left in the woods by hunters.

“It’s a pretty sick feeling to realize I could have been doing
something to both contaminate the food we eat, and make wildlife
sick that are feeding on the gut piles,” Siverhus told Minnesota
Public Radio News.

Siverhus said she hadn’t previously worried much about reports
of lead fragments in venison, which led some Minnesota food shelfs
to ban venison donations.

State Rep. Sandy Masin, DFL-Eagan, thinks what Siverhus is doing
voluntarily should instead be state law. She hasn’t worked out
details, but Masin said she intends to introduce legislation that
would either ban or severely curtail the use of lead bullets for
hunting.

“We know that it’s impacting the death of birds, and we also
know we’ve been working really hard to keep lead from our
children,” said Masin. “Somehow there has to be a way. This is
within our environment and we need to find a way to curtail
it.”

But Masin could face opposition from some recreation groups.

“I don’t think there’s a need for government regulation, and I
don’t think there’s a traumatic influence here that is needing
government regulation,” said Mark Johnson, executive director of
the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association.

Johnson said no one questions that lead is a neurotoxin, but
said it’s not been proven that lead bullet fragments have poisoned
any people.

“Yeah, we have lead fragmentation in venison. It’s in small
amounts. The exposure is limited. So is it really a problem? The
answer seems to be no at this point,” Johnson said.

Copper ammunition is more expensive than lead, and Johnson said
he used a type of copper covered bullet for his 2008 hunt and found
it less accurate than lead bullets.

Johnson said he’d like to see more research before steps are
taken to ban lead bullets. Masin agreed with the call for more
research, but said there’s already enough evidence to warrant
legislation. She plans to have a bill ready for review in the
legislative session that starts next week.

Siverhus said she hopes more hunters will follow her lead. “I
understand that hunters find this difficult,” Siverhus said. “I
found it difficult. But I believe it’s time to change.”

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