Waterbury, VT – The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is asking hunters to help protect Vermont deer and moose by avoiding the use of urine-based attractant scents.

The infectious agent of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal disease of deer, is a mutant protein or “prion” that research has shown can be passed in urine. This mutant protein can bind to soils and remain infectious for many years. Some captive deer facilities producing urine products for hunting have not complied with mandatory disease prevention and monitoring regulations. The products they are producing may, as a result, be capable of transmitting diseases such as CWD. Saskatchewan has banned the use of deer urine and nine states are considering a similar regulation.

CWD is fatal to deer and moose and has been impossible to eliminate once it has been fully established in a population. CWD has not been detected in Vermont after several years of testing brain tissue samples from dead deer.

“If CWD is ever detected in Vermont, local deer numbers would have to be greatly reduced to remove the disease before it becomes established,” said Vermont Director of Wildlife Mark Scott. “This reduction would have to be done for at least five years.”

More information about Chronic Wasting Disease can be found in the Big Game Management Plan, on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department’s website, and at www.cwd-info.org.

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