THOMSON – Federal wildlife officials want deer hunters to consider swapping out their lead bullets for other ammunition as part of an effort to save bald eagles.
The (Sterling) Daily Gazette reported lead bullets can fragment when they hit deer. Scavenging eagles eat the carcasses or organ remnants left by hunters, which can expose the birds to lead and cause lead poisoning.
Iowa State University researchers found 94 percent of eagle fecal samples in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge tested positive for lead. The 261-mile refuge includes parts of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Jeff Clark owns Amboy Sporting Goods in Lee County. He says switching from lead to a copper or alloy bullet is more expensive. He doesn't think hunters will rush to make the change.