The Wildlife Research Center (WRC) is responding to state bans on the use of scented deer lures in Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. State officials argue that the urine-based lures can spread chronic wasting disease.
“The majority of natural deer lures and attractants are made with fluids and secretions collected from captive cervids,” said the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. “Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a transmissible or contagious, always fatal, neurological disease, has been documented in numerous captive cervid herds.”
“Once introduced, the disease agent can remain viable in the environment, in the soil for example, where local deer may become infected. There is no way to either test the products for CWD or destroy CWD-causing prions.”
Due to the “high level of uncertainty” of the quality of urine-based lures, these states are banning their use to prevent the introduction and spread of CWD.
The Wildlife Research Center argues that the risk of lures transmitting CWD to deer is exaggerated and that the wildlife departments are misrepresenting scientific findings.
“Many studies have attempted to transmit CWD with urine and none have been successful in deer,” said the center. “Later studies in Colorado used urine from CWD sick deer, concentrated it 10-fold, and injected it directly into brains of mice that were genetically altered to be 6 times more susceptible to the disease than deer.”
“One of the 9 mice became infected. We are led to believe that urine is a risk for spreading the disease by putting a small amount, from facilities that are enrolled in a program to safeguard their deer from risk of contamination, on a scent wick or squirting it on the ground when only one mouse became infected by injecting infected and concentrated urine into its brain,” they argued.
“The urine from hunting scent companies like Wildlife Research Center and Tink’s is collected from healthy animals and not sick ones,” said the company. “CWD has never been found in one of these urine collection facilities.”
The Wildlife Research Center and Tink’s have partnered with the Archery Trade Association, the ATA, to develop facility standards that exceed USDA requirements and they have developed a commercially-available CWD testing program.
“Many other states have considered bans on urine-based scents. However, after learning about our industry processes and discussing these often referenced studies,” said the company, “[these] 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.”
The Wildlife Research Center is asking hunters to reach out to their wildlife departments and legislators to reverse the bans on using these lures.