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Growing concern over lead bullets in state

There's a renewed concern about the use of lead bullets by Wisconsin hunters.

The Raptor Education Group in Antigo has been asked to treat 10 trumpeter swans hit by lead shot since last October. They normally get just two such cases each year.

Three of the recent swans died, and three others were in critical condition at last word. X-rays showed that all of them had lead shot or sinkers.

Last November, state officials said about 15 percent of the venison meat from almost 200 commercially-processed deer contained lead fragments. And 8 percent of 98 animals processed by hunters had lead in them.

Efforts to ban lead shot have been around for more than four decades.

Waterfowl hunters nationally have been barred from using it since 1991, and Wisconsin mourning dove hunters had the same restriction last fall.

Matt Frank, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources secretary, had a study group take a fresh look at the subject last summer.

And while the DNR educates deer hunters on the dangers of lead in venison, it has not pushed for any restrictions in that area.