Today I received the most random text message from my brother I will ever get, but it was really cool.

My brother Joe was at Lowe's in Sioux Falls today getting some wooden dowels for whatever he needed wooden dowels for. In one of the 5/8 inch wooden rods, he notices a strange burnt-looking hole in it. Being rather odd, he looks at it some more, investigating the peculiar shape and colors in this little hunk of wood.

Upon further inspection, he finds unfamiliar oblong shapes made of very familiar materials. A dull gray is surrounded by a glimmering golden line.

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It is without question a rifle bullet. The lead core surrounded by the copper jacket shining around the outside of where the tree it landed in was cut. What caliber it is could probably be figured out by someone smarter than me. Based on the hole in the side of the dowel I would guess somewhere between .277 and .308 based on the width of the dowel.

Joe Erickson

Aside from the fun novelty of finding a bullet in a piece of building material, I am consumed with thinking about how it got into that tree that was cut down and turned into a 5/8 inch dowel. Was it a shot at a deer or elk that missed? It doesn't look like it hit anything before it hit the tree. Or it could have been far more boring, like a day of target shooting in the forest that later saw the tree cut down. Or was it more sinister? Perhaps it is evidence in a crime without having any idea that it is? Who knows?

Joe Erickson

The other thought that keeps bouncing around in my head is how old is this thing? Was it fired half a century ago or just last year or the year before? If it is a poplar dowel it probably isn't very old as the harvest age for a poplar tree is 6 - 9 years, according to the University of Minnesota. If it's an oak dowel it could be between 40 and 80 years old according to the University of Illinois. (If you are wondering why I didn't ask my brother, I did but he's not great at returning text messages or phone calls. He finally called me back and said it was popular.)

Joe Erickson

The poplar dowels Lowe's sells are made by Madison Mill in Tennessee. Their website boasts that their products are "Genuine Appalachian Hardwood" so that bullet was most likely fired in Tennessee or one of the other states covered by the Appalachian Mountains. But I would still love to know what it was shot at.

He bought it just as a unique thing to have laying around. I would.

Bullet in Wood Dowel