The threat of spreading CWD has the Pennsylvania Game Commission rethinking urine-based deer attractants.
Hunters know how effective urine-based deer attractants can be, especially in the weeks surrounding the whitetail rut. However, Pennsylvania hunters may not be able to use these products as the season opens in 2016.
According to the Republican Herald, the proposal to ban urine-based scents and attractants, for fear of the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD), could arise at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s (PGC) first quarterly meeting of 2016. The meeting is to be held Jan. 31 – Feb. 2.
Travis Lau, PGC press secretary, told the Herald, “Because CWD prions are contained in urine, and there’s currently no practical and cost effective way to test urine for the presence of CWD, there is potential for urine-based attractants to be spreading CWD.”
CWD is a debilitating disease that can absolutely cripple deer herds. The disease is transmissible, and it causes significant brain lesions that lead to strange behaviors, and ultimately death, in whitetail deer.
“Staff here has met with industry representatives to discuss this, and I’m sure this dialogue will continue. There is talk of new technology that would ensure urine to be sold is CWD free, and I think it’s safe to say the discussion is continuing at this point,” Lau told the Herald.
As you can imagine, a ban on urine-based attractants would have not only a huge effect on hunters, but also on manufacturers of deer scents and lures.
Rick Lowe, owner of Lowe’s Whitetail Deer Scents, told the Herald, “They’re just trying to do what they can to ensure our kids get a chance to experience deer hunting the way we have. I’m not going to be selfish and say I only want to sell scents; I want what’s best for the future of our sport.”
It’s hard to tell what the future holds for Pennsylvania’s deer hunters, but I think it’s safe to say that we should minimize the impacts of CWD as much as possible. If that includes banning urine-based deer scents and attractants, so be it.