Effective July 1, it is now illegal to possess or use deer lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while in pursuit of game in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) instituted the rule change this month as part of its increased vigilance against chronic wasting disease (CWD), which can be spread by infectious proteins in deer urine, feces, or saliva.

“The VDGIF is taking a pro-active approach on this issue and has banned possession and use until it is proven that prions are not spread in commercial deer urine products, rather than continue to risk introducing CWD to new areas until it is confirmed that urine attractants do spread prions,” the agency stated in a press release.

The agency continued in saying that commercial products are often not treated—either chemically or by heat—to destroy infectious proteins, which are incredibly resilient and slow to degrade in the wild. The VDGIF noted that many companies that make these products are also located in states with a history of CWD.

“Deer in Virginia that taste or sniff these products may actually be exposing themselves to CWD harbored by deer living hundreds of miles away that were used to collect the infected urine,” the VDGIF said.

Products that contain deer urine can still be purchased or sold in the state, but hunters are barred from carrying them if they are in the field scouting, attracting, or hunting deer. As an alternative, hunters can use synthetic products until the ban is either lifted due to new research, or becomes permanent. Although attractor scents are widely popular in Virginia—as in other states—many hunters say they agree with the regulation change it if it would mean a safer future for the state’s deer.

“Not only are deer an important part of Virginia’s natural heritage, they are also important to the economy,” said the VDGIF.

Statistics from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Shooting Sports Foundation show that deer hunting generates more than $600 million yearly for the state, as well as employing more than 20,000 people.

Image from Larry Smith on the flickr Creative Commons

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6 thoughts on “Virginia Bans Deer Urine Attractants Due to CWD Fears

  1. Virginia banning deer urine scents is so stupid & politicly correct ppl are gonna ruin hunting now if given even a little chance hunters everywhere we gotta stand up & out to stop this urine products have been used most of my life I’m 48 & strongly believe in Tinks 69 doe in heat

  2. FYI it has been proven to pass between deer via urine on the ground. Place in CO had pastures where CWD positive deer had lived, they herded them out, killed them elsewhere, waited 2 years, then brought deer from a place with no CWD into the pastures, and they all got sick with CWD. 2 years and the urine and feces in the dirt were still infectious. Totally for this urine ban. Those deer farms do not care about wild deer, only about making a profit. Since deer can 2 years + without showing symptoms it’s in their best interest to not report sick animals and not to test dead ones (even if the law requires it).

  3. Ok, I have a question about natural urine attractants. This is just a question and not a statement for or against either way. If the natural urine attractants are collected from live deer and deer populations are not as great as say in the 1800s’ why is this only now an issue? If the problem is natural bodily fluids and the deer population is less than say 150 years ago there is obviously fewer deer urinating and defecating in the forests. So why has this not been a greater problem? Is it because of loss of habitat? In other words deer because are forced to live in more confined locations forcing sanitary issues that never existed before? Unless it is because of deer living too close together urinating and defecating in more confined areas, I fail to see the logic in the D.I.G.F. decision. And if that is the case why is in not seen in lets say stock yards among cattle who live in very confined areas?

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