« 14-Year-Old Owns New Kansas Largemouth Record | Main | Who Says There’s No Such Thing As Unicorns? »

June 11, 2008

This page has been moved to http://www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes

If your browser doesn’t redirect you to the new location, please visit The Field Notes at its new location: www.fieldandstream.com/blogs/field-notes.

Discussion Topic: Less Lead in Whole-Cut Meat

There’s a new test on lead in venison just about every time I sit down to write this blog. And although I’ll admit it's getting monotonous as a headline, it’s exactly what we hunters want. So here’s the latest, from The Pioneer Press:

When it comes to keeping lead-bullet fragments out of venison, some Minnesota deer processors are doing a better job than others, according to a Minnesota Department of Agriculture study. . . .

The agency X-rayed more than 1,200 venison samples from 39 meat processors around the state. . . . [A] handful of processors had no packages test positive for lead fragments.

Others, though, had 50 percent or more. . . . Kunnari Country Meats in Eveleth had the highest percentage — 77 percent — of ground venison test positive for lead fragments. .  . .

[The] tests [also] showed marked differences between whole-cut venison and ground venison. Twenty-six percent of the ground venison samples tested positive for fragments, while only 2 percent of the whole cuts tested positive.

Does this make you any more likely to butcher your own deer—or to ask your processor for less burger and more whole cuts?



This makes sense: When a buther shop grounds hamburger meat, They dont waste steaks to makes it: they use small scraps. If those scraps were from closer around the entry/exit whole, they would have the higher lead content. Steaks for me.


I'm all about getting as many smoked jalapeno-cheddar venison brats as possible from a deer when I bring my deer in. There's no better way in my mind to prepare the "scraps".


With all the other costs of hunting going up we might as well add in (was going to say 'bite the bullet') non-toxic bullets!

This does show, however, that the more careful the processor the less lead finds its way onto your dinner plate.


One can purchase a grinder and a vacuum sealer for a combined price of $150 or less that will last for years. With minimal practice it takes less than two hours from the meat pole to the freezer. Home processing seems a no brainer to me. You will end up with less silver skin, gristle, hair, and other undesirable things like bullet fragments too. Not to mention trying new recipes for sausage, controlling percentage of fat in burger, and cutting steaks just how you want them.

WA Mtnhunter

I switched to Trophy Bonded Bear Claws years ago due to high weight retention and usually full penetration. Those attributes usually result in no bullet fragments except in the wound channel. I have since started using Barnes Triple Shocks for their weight retention and penetration.

My bullet selection has been based on performance, but I suppose a little less lead in the meat is not a bad thing. The last elk I helped dress with a buddy of mine was shot twice with a Weatherby mag using soft points. All we ever found was shards of the jackets against the off-side skin. No lead core fragments.....and no exit wounds.


I have never had any lead in my deer i shot during archery!


Yeah and I almost bled to death from a cut received while gutting an elk that had last year's broadhead still lodged in the gut!


I butcher and process my game as does all my family and friends. We have never been in the habit of eating the meat near to the entry or exit wounds or any part that looks like it may have fragments. Besides a broadside shot thru the ribs doesn't contact much meat.


butcher your own and give the entry and exit wounds a wide berth when trimming. good game meat is a blessing so don't foul it up by cutting too close to where the bullets enter and exit. also consider stepping down a bullet size. instead of 180 gr. try 150's. all of my game (antelope and mule deer)goes down from 100 gr., .243.

Our Blogs