Outdoors

Non-lead ammo may spare critters in Wyoming

Spokane-area birdwatcher Ron Dexter used a remote motion-activated camera to photograph this golden eagle on a deer carcass in the Mount Spokane foothills. (Ron Dexter / Courtesy photo)
Spokane-area birdwatcher Ron Dexter used a remote motion-activated camera to photograph this golden eagle on a deer carcass in the Mount Spokane foothills. (Ron Dexter / Courtesy photo)

WILDLIFE — Wyoming researchers say the distribution of nonlead ammunition to hunters in Jackson Hole is likely helping prevent lead poisoning of ravens, eagles and other scavengers.  But the study is in its early stages.

This is the second year researchers have tried to gauge the impacts of hunters using lead-free ammunition on the levels of lead found in the blood of big-game scavengers.

Researchers distributed nonlead ammunition to about 100 hunters who had 2010 permits for the National Elk Refuge and Grand Teton National Park.

Biologists then captured ravens and eagles and measured the level of lead in the birds, which can ingest lead bullet fragments from gut piles and wounded-and-lost game.

Previous research has shown that lead in ravens and eagles rise during hunting season and then drop off after hunting season ends.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide says researchers plan to hand out more lead-free ammunition next hunting season.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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