White-tailed deer


Title:  A Study on the Occurrence of Bullet Ingestion by Odocoileus virginianus
Author(s): Benjamin 0. Oubre, Dr. Kim Marie Tolson, University of Louisiana at Monroe
Year: 2006
Abstract: During the 2003 - 2004 hunting season, thirteen white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, were necropsied for rumen analysis on Fort Polk Wildlife Management Area in Vernon Parish, LA. The management area consists of 11 0,000 acres encompassing the Fort Polk military base operation. Three of thirteen deer were found to contain lead bullets in all four chambers of the stomach. These preliminary findings led to the collection of tissue samples from eighty-four deer harvested during the 2004 - 2005 hunting season. Biopsies were taken from the liver, kidney and skeletal muscle for heavy metal analysis. Six out of eighty-four deer displayed elevated levels of lead. No whole bullets were present, but lead fragments were recovered from three of these deer. Two out of these three were found to have above normal lead levels (>lppm; Lewis and others 2001) in the liver. The highest lead level recorded (8.58 ppm) was found in the liver of a deer where no lead bullets or fragments were recovered from the stomach. Elevated lead levels were not detected in any of the muscle tissue samples. Additionally, copper levels were elevated (>32 ppm; Lewis and others 2001) in the liver tissue for all eighty-four deer collected. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and The United States Army provided funds for this study.

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