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US States ban urine-based Deer lures



A number of US States have implemented bans on the use of urine-based scents in CWD management zones. These are products that have been widely used by hunters for many decades to help them be more successful in the field. US hunters say that these bans take away a great tradition and an important tool from hunters in those areas.

The argument made by rule makers to ban these products is that they unnaturally congregate deer like bait or feed, thereby increasing interaction between animals and possibly increasing the spread of disease.

Hunters dispute this, saying that while a scent set-up can effectively attract the interest of deer nearby for a short period of time to the benefit of a hunter, putting a small amount of deer urine on some wicks is insignificant regarding the overall “congregation of animals” argument.  It would cause no more congregation than using a call or decoy and is a natural occurrence of deer already in the area.

A typical deer releases about 64 oz of urine per day in good weather conditions and 42 oz in bad weather conditions which calculates to approximately 150 gallons per year. 

It is thought that deer are naturally urinating exponentially more urine in the general area already versus a hunter using 1 or 2 oz of urine that lasts a few hours to attract deer closer to his hunting location. 

“Even with deer lure, you still have to be in a good spot where deer already exist,” says a spokeperson from the Wildlife Research Center a leading manufacturer of hunting scents.

“It does not bring in dozens of bucks from far away for extended periods of time like bait or feed might.  The animals do not eat the scent and do not spend long periods of time there interacting with each other like they would at a bait pile.  The animals that are attracted live and urinate all around that area already.”

The Wildlife Research Center along with Tinks – another scent manufacturer have partnered together to fund a study with CWD Evolution, LLC. that has now led to a CWD testing protocol known as the RT-QuIC test process, that is specifically designed for testing deer urine for CWD contamination.  This allows manufacturers of deer and elk scents to test and verify that no CWD is detected in the urine used in their products. It is hoped that this will stem the tide of states banning such products.

“If you made any legitimate argument at all,” continued the Wildlife Research Center spokeperson.

“It would be that you are adding scent locations to the already natural ones. But then this logic would mean that deer are actually decreasing the amount of congregation because now they are attracted to multiple spots versus just the natural ones that were going to be there anyway. Plus, the urine deposits would be more diluted because there are more of them.  Most importantly, urine-based scents help hunters to be more successful, decreasing the population, further decreasing natural congregation of deer in that area over long periods of time. If using urine-based lures encourages deer to move around to these different scent locations actually decreasing congregation at the natural scent locations, thereby diluting the urine deposits in these natural locations, and increasing hunters’ success therefore lowering the risk of disease transmission, then what is the Wildlife Agency really trying to accomplish with this rule?”

Officails from South Carolina, one of the States banning the urine-based products says the scent industry is not regulated by any agency or entity and there is no testing or marking requirements identifying the source of the urine products.

However companies like Wildlife Research Center dispute this. They say: “The collection facilities are regulated by state and federal department of agriculture and wildlife agency rules and regulations relating specifically to CWD and to the operation of those facilities. All of the source herds are 100 per cent monitored. The department of agriculture requires that testing is conducted before issuing the testing certifications the facilities all have and maintain.

Furthermore, the scent industry with the help of the Archery Trade Association, worked with industry experts, wildlife disease experts, CWD scientists, and many others to develop the ATA Deer Protection Program to safeguard their facilities from any risk of CWD contamination. The small number of elite operations in this program far exceed the USDA standards with a higher level of biosecurity than any other of the previously mentioned deer farms and their products proudly display the ATA checkmark on their packaging. To name a few requirements of the program, the facilities have to be 100 per cent monitored, closed to importation of deer, and are annually inspected by accredited veterinarians which also review their records to verify they are meeting all of the requirements of the program. According to two of the top experts who authored the most commonly referenced studies on CWD relating to urine, “The risk of urine-based scents spreading CWD is virtually zero. When you consider the process of how urine is collected and all the measures in place, these products are not a risk of spreading CWD.”

SCDNR also states that there is no commercially available CWD test for our products. Wrong again. Wildlife Research Center and Tink’s have collaboratively funded a research project and a test for urine has been developed. It is now becoming commercially available to test and certify these products have no detectable levels of CWD in them. Companies like Tink’s and Wildlife have already begun testing their products in 2019 and many others will be sure to follow.

Many other states have considered bans on urine-based scents. However, after learning about our industry processes and discussing these often referenced studies with the actual CWD scientist that authored one of the major studies, states have reversed course and either decided not to implement a urine ban or modified their rules to allow use of urine-based scent products that participate in the ATA Deer Protection Program. SCDNR obviously did not reach out to the companies these bans would affect or adequately research the scent industry before implementing this new rule, otherwise this information could have been made readily available to them. Instead, they simply passed this rule that will not deter the spread of CWD and only takes away an important tradition and tool from hunters in that state.

There was no apparent notice or warning of this rule being passed. Multiple dealers and hunters in South Carolina have reached out to us in total surprise. Dealers have already purchased product to stock their shelves and natural urine products have been sold this year to hunters, only now to find out it is no longer allowed to be used in their state. It was irresponsible and downright harmful for the agency to put hunting retailers, both big and small, who have already made significant investment in stocking product and hunters who rely on these products in this difficult position.”

Unfortunately, now it is up to the hunters in South Carolina and other States who have needlessly lost their right to use these products, to hold the DNR and legislators responsible for these new rules accountable and demand change. We encourage hunters to express your thoughts and comments on this new rule to the SCDNR. To comment, visit their website at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/admin/contactus.htmlor simply email them at webmaster@dnr.sc.gov

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