Sharpshooting is a proven management technique to lower white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) densities in areas where hunting is precluded. A donation program that allows for the consumptive use of these culled deer is often necessary to gain public approval for such a program. We culled 40 deer in Indiana using sharpshooting methods (head and neck shot placement) and radiographed the carcasses to determine if lead fragmentation spread throughout the skeletal muscle system. In 30 deer where shot placement was between the cranium and fourth cervical vertebrae, we observed no lead fragments in any thoracic or crural muscle tissue. Of 10 deer where shot placement was between the fifth and seventh cervical vertebrae, 8 deer experienced lead fragments in the extensor spinae muscle. Deer culled with highly frangible bullets via sharpshooting in the cranium or upper cervical spine have minimal risk of experiencing lead fragmentation in the thoracic or crural muscle systems. Deer shot in the lower neck may experience lead fragmentation in the anterior extensor spinae muscle, and up to 40 cm of that muscle should be removed before consumption.
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