Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a killer-no doubt.
It has caused the death of thousands of whitetail, mule deer, elk and other deer in numerous states and at least two Canadian provinces.
Yet there is some skepticism over what precautions should be taken to prevent its spread.
Several states have considered bans on natural urine-based scents common in deer and elk hunting across America.
Many hunters consider them vital to their hunting success during the rut period when sex-based scents can lure help lure big bucks and bulls into shooting range.
Last week I spoke with Sam Burgeson, the President of Wildlife Research Center and he said his company along with Tink’s are using a special test to detect any possible CWD risk before the product leaves the factory.
He said a commercial laboratory began testing deer urine for the scent companies in 2019, enabling two of the industry’s largest manufacturers to test 100 percent of their natural deer urine products before releasing them to the marketplace.
The laboratory company CWD Evolution has expanded and is testing products for commercial scent manufacturers. Products that have been tested will be authorized to include the “RT-QuIC Tested“ logo.
“We have made major investments as a company to ensure that our products are safe” said Sam Burgeson, President of Wildlife Research Center.
“It is frustrating that government regulators are either ignoring these advances or are unaware that these technologies are readily available. Our industry has not stuck our heads in the sand on this issue but have rolled up our sleeves and taken action to address the very real CWD concerns.”
Burgeson said urine producers participating in the Archery Trade Association’s Deer Protection Program are using best practices to ensure CWD stays out of their herds, and several states have adopted regulations that allow urine sourced from these facilities to be used by hunters.
“Louisiana has adopted regulations that require RT-QuIC testing, and it is hopeful that other states will follow their lead rather than pursuing blanket bans that prohibit traditional hunting methods and would hurt responsible hunting product companies,” he said.
Burgeson said states proposing bans are getting their recommendations from a document created by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in 2018 that recommends a series of best management practices for dealing with CWD.
He said it did not include recommendations from the deer scent industry.
CWD is real. CWD is a problem. But CWD in many ways is mysterious.
There is still much speculation about its long-term impact, potential reach and even how it can spread.
It is currently causing changes in the way wildlife managed.
Texas recently adopted a policy of no longer translocating mule deer which are sometimes moved from the Panhandle to Trans Pecos or from one part of those two regions. They don’t want to risk CWD transmission.
Montana recetnly completed a survey that showed 86 positives in a test that included 86 whiteails, 53 mule deer, two moose and an elk. That state is seeking more ways to detect and curtail CWD.
It is good to see members of the hunting industry taking positive steps to stop its spread and further encroachment on the hunting lifestyle.
Consider this a strike against CWD and a positive strike against a force that is as complex and controversial.
Chester Moore, Jr.