Lead Contamination in Ground Venison from Shotgun-Harvested White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in Illinois

Given Harper, W. Aaron Wilson, Genevieve Alexander, Manori Perara

Research output: Journal ArticleArticlepeer-review


Ground venison packets from shotgun- and archery-harvested White-tailed Deer in Illinois in 2013 and 2014 were analyzed for metal contamination. Radiographs indicated that 48% of 27 ground venison packets from 10 shotgun-harvested deer contained metal fragments, while none of the 15 packets from three archery-harvested deer contained fragments. ICP-MS analysis verified that all metal fragments from seven of the venison samples from shotgun-harvested deer were composed of lead, with average concentrations from 1.04 to 8.42 μg g−1, dry weight. A single serving of ground venison containing one of these metal fragments embedded in it would be predicted to have a lead concentration ranging from 6.4 to 51.8 μg g−1. Sixty percent of 20 commercial meat processing plants surveyed by phone in 2018 and 2019 indicated that they mixed venison from multiple deer when preparing ground venison products. However, our results do not show any cross-contamination in
archery-harvested ground venison processed prior to the firearm hunting seasons.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalBulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • White-tailed deer
  • Shotgun
  • Slugs
  • Lead contamination


  • Biology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Environmental Health

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