Unleaded protein

Down-on-your-luck venison lovers, rejoice!

A state program funneling excess deer carcasses from the big hunt to food shelves that was canned last year over lead contamination worries will resume this fall.

To ensure that the bellies of the less fortunate will remain unleaded, the state Departments of Health, Agriculture, and Natural Resources are teaming up. Chief among their initiatives: a DNR study involving a grassy field, 75 sheep carcasses, and a whole bunch of ammo. (The idea being to determine and then to advise hunters as to which bullets pose the lowest risk of lead contamination.)

"It's a positive program," says Michael Schommer, spokesman for the Agriculture Department, which destroyed 12,000 pounds of venison after finding lead in a deer burger last year. "We have to make sure that it's safe."

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