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CDC report dispels fears of lead in venison

A new study by the Centers For Disease Control and Preventions National Center Of Environmental Health should put an end to the overblown concerns about lead exposure through eating wild game. The study, based on tests of lead levels in the blood of 736 North Dakota residents, found that not even one of the study participants had a lead level high enough that it might require medical treatment.

In fact, study participants overall had lower blood levels lower than the U.S. population in general, despite above average consumption of wild game.

Most of the persons in the study had regularly eaten significant amounts of wild game meat, year round for a decade or more.

The study was requested by the North Dakota Department Of Health after a local doctor had reported finding lead fragments in packets of ground venison donated to food pantries. The Doctor, who found the fragments thru x-ray analysis, was later discovered to have ties to groups that have supported broader bands on hunting with lead ammunition. His findings, unfortunately, led to the premature disposal of thousands of pounds of donated venison that could have been used to feed needy people across the country.

The study has proved that eating wild game does not dangerously elevate blood levels in lead. The study from the Centers For Disease Control, now released by the N.D. Dept. of Health, shows no evidence that lead ammo poses any risk to those of us who consume game harvested with lead bullets. This is a strong argument and should have an effect upon current thinking about a lead ban on donated game to food pantries.

A petition to revise

venison donation plans

At the local meat processing locations in and around Detroit Lakes, you can sign a petition that requests the Department of Natural Resources and the Department Of Agriculture to initiate a workable venison distribution program for the food pantries of Minnesota for 2009 and thereafter. This petition awaits your signature at Lakes Processing, Hoffman's Meats and Audubon Meats.

Howard Tyberg:

snowmobile pioneer

Detroit Lakes has always been a hot bed of snowmobile ownership and riding interest. This area was among the first to get organized, designated snowmobile routes. Among the early uses of these routes, was a fun thing that involved drawing cards from a deck and then proceeding to another checking-in station, each rider attempting to come up with a winning hand.

The early snowmobiles were rather crude affairs.

Some were home built. There was even a local manufacturer in business briefly, that would be Paul Koennecke of Perham. His sleds didn't have sufficient power to propel the craft and it soon died, as larger, well-financed builders, such as Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls, and Polaris, in Roseau. Canada was always a leader in snowmobile manufacture with the Ski Doo, and it was the international favorite. Local enthusiasts were about equally divided in their choice of brands. The machines of 1960 weren't the sophisticated, delicately tuned machines we now have in this 21st century, but they were enthusiastically bought and traded among a large following in the Detroit Lakes area.

One of the pioneers in snowmobiling locally, was Howard Tyberg. An early owner, Tyberg used the equipment of others for the decade of the 1960's.

He bought his first sled in 1968. It was an Arctic Cat Panther. The machine has a 195 cc, 15 horsepower engine. There were no trails in those days, so the riders were in the road ditches, on the lakes, and through the woods. Howard rode regularly with Dave Brainerd and Nels Nelson. Both of these pioneers are now deceased.

In the summer of 1970, the trio decided they would try something new. A real adventure would be nighttime cross-country jaunt from home base to Pelican Rapids, a distance of about 30 miles. There was no one with any experience in an undertaking such as the one the men contemplated. Road maps were consulted and a basic route was selected. They would follow the township roads, as these would have fewer vehicles than the county routes.

It was decided that the venture would begin on a Saturday morning, taking advantage of the daytime hours. The trio had extra drive belts, spark plugs and extra gasoline. The early snowmobiles had gas tanks that held only 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline. Extra fuel was imperative. The adventure had barely begun when Nels Nelson's drive belt was shredded. Repairs were made and the group made it to Pelican Rapids by noon. Lunch was at a local restaurant and they refueled the three machines.

On the return trip, the group largely followed their initial tracks. The old sleds of the 1960's didn't provide a comfortable ride, as the suspension shock absorbers were not developed as they are today. The attainable speeds, too were not great, and the machines of the day provided a ride that the pioneers like Howard Tyberg regarded as thrilling indeed. Machines didn't have speedometers, tachometers, or odometers. You did a lot of guessing and estimating.

Snowmobile togs were not on the market. Makeshift gloves were obtained at the hardware store and these were woefully lacking in the cold.

Howard Tyberg bought his first sled used, for $100 -- a huge outlay for an untried device in the early days of the developing sport. The adventure of 30 miles to Pelican Rapids was the talk of the snowmobiling community, and the three adventurers were admired. Today's sleds will make the trip from Detroit Lakes to Pelican Rapids in an hour. And it will be done in colorful suits, headgear, goggles and mitts, all in the colors and logo of the machine. Today, there are safe, marked trails which enthusiasts of snowmobiling will use. Night riding is no longer as dangerous, and the sport has developed into a family activity.

But there had to be pioneers, and Howard Tyberg was one of them. He continues to be an owner of a modern, speedy sled, with all of the bells and whistles, which add to the enjoyment of the sport in our winter wonderland.

Feeding the wild deer

Our DNR says it isn't a good idea. The winter has put a lot of deep snow in the woodlands area, but the deer have been faring well. There's no need for an extensive artificial feeding programs. Putting grain cereals, such as salt, fruits, nuts, hay, or any other natural or manufactured foods runs the risk of spreading disease, as deer tend to feed nose-to-nose, which can transfer saliva. Bovine tuberculosis can be the result. The Federal officers and the Minnesota DNR have that problem in the wild deer near the town of Skime.

Baiting deer has become a problem as well, with the potential of the same results. Hunters should leave the deer alone. If aid or assistance, I'm certain the DNR will give sportsmen the opportunity to become involved in a beneficial manner.

TIP continues to be a

valuable, successful


TIP. Turn In Poachers is a hotline, which was created in 1981. Since it began, literally thousands of calls to DNR authorities have resulted in nailing hunters and anglers who couldn't rest before they'd taken over limit game or fish, or were in the illegal acts of deer shining, trespass, or in doing damage to environment. Poachers shoot deer in darkness, over limits of easy-to-catch sunfish or crappie, and these acts are observed and reported. The DNR receives about 2,000 calls a year. The caller-observer can remain anonymous if he chooses. Cash rewards are paid, but they're often refused. Sometimes the recipient chooses to have the payment channeled to some conservation purpose. TIP is non-profit, and it receives no money from the game and fish funds.

Calls regarding big game and deer violations top the list of calls. Its funds come from donations and fund raisers.

Minnesota has half a million hunters roaming the woods every November, and a lot of them are totally committed to protecting our deer. TIP calls relating to fishing are received in summer and winter seasons. Anglers see or hear about illegal takes of too many panfish when frequenting the fish houses on Detroit Lake. When excessive harvests occur, the act can be a difficult one to keep quiet about. Last year, 92 TIP calls resulted in major arrests with huge cash fines, loss of tackle, motors, sometimes pickup trucks. Our people are becoming more environmentally aware of its need for protection.

State Conservation Officers are enthusiastic about receiving TIP calls and seeing the increased number of arrests when game and fish laws are more successfully enforced, due to the Turn In Poachers program. Many other states have similar programs, under different titles, all successfully nailing poachers and lawbreakers.