Last deer season may be a memory, but NOW is the perfect time to start prepping for next season. We’re not kidding.

Duane: Don’t wait until the ranges are busy and the clock is ticking to sight in your rifle with non-toxic ammunition. Ammo, especially non-toxic ammo, can be difficult to find at the last minute. Don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. That’s the deer’s job. 

Jeannine: Duane and I have been promoting the advantages of non-toxic ammo for a while now. But to make that switch, it requires planning. What better time than now?!?!

Want to see what removing lead from big game hunting can do? On April 8, Penn State Arboretum is hosting a virtual meeting featuring Chris Parish, Director of Global Conservation for the Peregrine Fund. Learn what lead did to the California condor and what less lead is doing now.

The Peregrine Fund is a founding member of the North American Non-Lead Partnership formed to expand the coalition of hunters, anglers and other conservationists dedicated to improving ecosystem and wildlife health by choosing non-lead options.

Chris Parish was featured in the documentary Scavenger Hunt which I saw in 2013. It completely changed my view of the use of lead ammo in deer hunting. 

Duane: If you hunt and care about wildlife, now is the time to take the opportunity to reduce lead in the environment. Pennsylvania is home to eagles and vultures and other fabulous scavengers that are affected by lead poisoning. And Pennsylvania gun hunters harvested over 246,000 deer this past hunting season. That’s a lot of lead going into the woods, some of which inevitably ends up on your dinner table. 

But I discovered another reason to use copper bullets, which is the minimal damage to meat. Copper bullets have much more controlled expansion and little fragmentation. The bullet in the photo is one that I recovered from a deer last year. It was 180 grains when it went in the deer and is now 178 grains. The lost 2 grains may simply be the missing plastic tip.

A kill shot to the chest requires placing the bullet right behind the deer’s front leg. Just an inch or so too far forward and a lead bullet will create lots of tissue damage to the front shoulder. With a copper bullet this tissue damage is greatly minimized.

I will never go back to lead bullets for this reason alone.

Check out the presentation on April 8 and the other resources linked in this post. Remember your actions DO make a difference

-Duane and Jeannine

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