It is clear the individuals who commented previously, as well as the author, have taken it upon themselves to research the issue. I applaud their effort and willingness to speak up. We have taken lead out of gasoline, lead out of paint, lead out of jewelry, and done away with lead pipe—all in the interest of human health. I cannot understand the notable resistance of hunters, including the 26% who responded to the survey related to this article, who maintain lead is safe, still appropriate to use and stating they would not consider switching to copper ammo.
In addition to eagles, many other species feed off gut piles and carcasses. These include other raptors, bears, weasels, squirrels, fox, coyote, wolves, wild cats, mice, insects, ravens, crows, shrike, owls, magpies, gray and blue jays, nuthatches, woodpeckers and chickadees.
In a related matter, removal of lead tackle, weights and shot would also benefit swans and loons from being poisoned and experiencing excruciating illness and often death. I beseech all hunters and anglers to do the right thing by doing away with lead ammo and tackle.
Actually, the evidence overwhelmed me when I set out to prove lead was not a problem in raptor deaths. I literally could NOT find credible peer reviewed scientific evidence that contradicted the avalanche of evidence proving lead fragments left in animals and gut piles in the field was finding it's way into the hawks and eagles. I am a hunter. I am a hunter in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt. Later in life I came to understand it is not enough to take and take from the environment. The time came for me, as it did President Roosevelt, that I had to work to give something back. I hunt with no lead, I educated myself so I could speak intelligently on the subject, and I founded a raptor conservation education center where I can pass along my love of the outdoors to the next generation. I am a conservationist.
This a great story, but there is one element not mentioned – human health. Hunters and their families may be poisoning themselves by ingesting lead in deer meat. A study published in The Wildlife Society Bulletin showed that part of a lead-core bullet will emulsify (dissolve into microscopic particles) on impact because of the tremendous force the lead-core is subjected too and thus send lead well beyond the visible wound channel. Even if you remove the bloodshot meat surrounding a wound channel, you still will be ingesting microscopic lead particles. I started handloading copper bullets (Barnes TSX) 20 years ago and they are, as stated in the article, vastly superior to all but the premium lead-core bullets (e.g., Nosler partition) I had been loading. Moreover, they are comparable in price to premium lead-core bullets. I still use lead-core bullets for target practice but only where the lead will be contained within a specified firing range.