Deer Lures Permitted
Inside the Outdoors, October 6,

I realize that sounds a bit strange. No, I’m not using a fishing rod to nail deer this season. To what I am referring are urine-based lures. Now I’m sure that makes more sense.

Recently I was reading an article in the Outdoor News Daily, May 2, 2017 concerning an article titled, “Hunters Urged to Avoid Urine Based Lures.” Since I’m not a hunter, I know nothing about using such products to attract deer. However, the article drew my attention to the point that I wondered what the scoop was and how did the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC)’s rules concerning the Commonwealth relate to this issue.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of why one should or shouldn’t use these products, I did what I always do when I am in doubt about something regardless of the topic. I called the PGC and talked to its Wildlife Education Supervisor Patrick Snickles to get the lowdown.

I told him I read this article concerning the state of New Hampshire and how hunters are being told, “Don’t Use Urine Based Lures!” I asked, “Do we also have that provision?” to which he state negatively. “One is allowed to use them in Pennsylvania,” he stated.

It seems that New Hampshire doesn’t stand alone. There seems to be a growth among states that seem to climbing upon the wagon to outlaw the use of these products. They include Alaska and Vermont.

It all has to do with its effect concerning chronic waste disease (CWD), a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy of mule and whitetail deer, elk, moose and reindeer. “As of 2016,” according to Google, “CWD had only been found in members of the deer family.”

An abnormal protein, also known as a prion, transmits CWD. “These abnormal proteins are very stable,” it was stated, “and may persist in the environment for several years, posing a risk to animals that come in contact with them. While most hunters use small amounts of these lures, continued application can have cumulative effects over time.”

According to the writer of the article to which I made reference, he said, “While its good news that New Hampshire remains CWD-free, we are asking hunters to help our herd by not using natural urine-based deed lures when hunting, because these products can potentially spread CWD,” said deer biologist for the state of New Hampshire Dan Bergeron. The Fish and Game Commission stated that there are other effective synthetic products available on the market today.

From the Natural Deer Urine and CWD Transmission Fact Sheet found on the Internet, it was revealed that, “The experts, with over fifty years of collective research knowledge in whitetail health, consider urine the lowest risk for transmitting CWD.”

But consider this. According to the Pennsylvania Outdoor News, Sept. fifteenth edition, 2017, “The always-fatal neurological disorder has been found in forty captive and sixty wild deer in this state.”

If any risk presents itself, should it be used at all? That should be left to the hunters’ discretion. However, consider the fact that the number of CWD affected deer in the state has been on the rise.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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