In page after painful page, hunters and shooters went on and on and on some more -- most of them on prescribed forms that most likely came from some ammunition industry group -- about the fallacy of no harm coming from lead in ammunition.

Their divining message, to paraphrase, was simply this: The only study ever conducted, in North Dakota, shows it is "perfectly safe to eat" animal meat harvested with lead projectiles.

Well, not quite.

Studies in North Dakota, along with one in Minnesota, found quite the opposite.

In fact, the North Dakota study included a recommendation that pregnant women and children younger than 6 years old "should not eat any venison harvested with lead bullets."

Older children and adults should take steps to minimize potential exposure to lead and use their judgment on consuming game taken with lead-based ammunition.

Before I go on here, I have to quickly take issue with the idea of "older children" using their judgment to minimize lead exposure.

No offense, kids older than 6 using judgment? How do they even know? Many adults don't even know about the dangers of lead in wild game, as evidenced by the more than 6,000 comments that were sent in on the Environmental Protection Agency's review of lead -- not in ammunition mind you, but in fishing tackle.

Heck, one person even argued against the ban on lead-based ammunition. After all, he said, "wildlife depends on it."

Say what?

Back to North Dakota, the Department of Health there said people who eat "a lot of wild game tended to have higher lead levels than those who ate little or none."

And, no surprise here, the more recent the consumption of wild game, the higher the levels.

For those who don't know, high lead levels hamper development of the brain, which is why pregnant women and children are most at risk.

As part of its recommendation, North Dakota urged food pantries to only use whole cuts of wild game and simply avoid ground meat.

Minnesota made the same recommendation.

That Minnesota study is particularly informing because it said lead fragments were found much farther from the wound than previously thought.

"In addition, the study indicated that most lead particles in venison are too small to see, feel or sense when chewing."

Other studies have found lead levels in eagles and condors are elevated, and a 2008 study of ravens found 47 percent of those tested in Yellowstone National Park contain elevated lead levels during hunting seasons. Only 2 percent have elevated levels at other times in the year.

Now, I'm no scientist, but it would seem to me -- based on what I've read and described here -- that the evidence is actually quite the opposite of what has been suggested over and over.

As a result, it is time to ban lead in ammunition and in fishing tackle.

Special interest ammunition and tackle manufacturers need to simply shut up and do what's best. They will continue to make tons of money off people who love the outdoors, and excise taxes on ammunition will continue to pour into federal coffers to assist wildlife.

Turning the words of the otherwise misguided individual, our wildlife and our children depend on a ban on lead.