The bullet on the right is a 165 grain copper jacketed lead bullet. The one on the left is a 165 grain all copper bullet. Both are made by Federal Cartridge. The copper ammunition costs me about $1.50 more per box of twenty rounds compared to the premium lead ammo I used to use. (If you use cheap lead ammo, the difference in price will be greater.)

Both are deadly on deer. The lead round, a boat-tailed soft point, kept us in venison for three decades. The copper round has done the same for the last five years.

As I hunted deer today, I sat within sight of the gut pile from the doe I killed two days ago. Much of it had been eaten already, but what remained was dined upon by two bald eagles, three ravens, two pileated woodpeckers, one hairy woodpecker, several blue jays, and numerous chickadees and nuthatches.

Which is why I switched to copper bullets. Birds are highly susceptible to lead poisoning, and lead bullets fragment into tiny shards, some of which end up in the entrails we hunters leave behind after field dressing our deer. The tiniest amount of lead ingested by a bird can lead to a miserable slow death.

As a hunter, I do everything I can to make a swift, humane end to my prey’s life. Why then would I want to cause other animals to linger in pain? No. Just as it is my responsibility to avoid needless suffering for those animals I hunt, I believe I owe the same ethic to those that scavenge the remains. Copper bullets are every bit as effective on deer, rarely disintegrate in the the animal, and if they do, the fragments are non-toxic to birds.

I hope my fellow hunters reading this will consider making the switch.