With archery season upon us, you’re probably zooming in and out of archery stores to buy broadheads, lighted nocks, bowstring wax and other last-minute replacement parts.
Another grab-bag item is urine-based deer-attractants. Many hunters use these natural scents to lure deer into bow range.
Unfortunately, chronic wasting disease – a contagious, always-fatal neurological disease that affects deer, elk and moose – is increasing nationwide. As a result, some hunters question whether scent products are safe to use.
To ensure you’re buying the safest urine-based scent products possible, look for the Archery Trade Association’s “Seal of Participation” label – a blue checkmark beneath the ATA logo.
ATA ‘Seal of Participation’
The “Seal of Participation” is part of the ATA’s Deer Protection Program, which was created to do everything possible to protect North America’s wild deer, elk and moose from CWD. The ATA considers CWD a serious threat to those herds and the hunting industry.
CWD is thought to be transmitted by infectious proteins called prions. Unlike many wildlife diseases, CWD is difficult to detect, and there’s no convenient way to test live animals for it.
Although CWD prions have been found in the urine of infected deer, researchers have not proven a connection between urine-based scents and CWD’s spread. Regardless, ATA-member scent manufacturers worked with urine providers, wildlife-disease experts, ATA staff members and wildlife-agency staff to create the DPP.
This strict program imposes restrictions and guidelines for urine-production facilities and scent manufacturers that exceed USDA standards. These stringent guidelines further reduce the already low risk of spreading CWD with scent-based products.
It’s Your Responsibility
As state wildlife agencies work to combat CWD’s spread, some are adopting regulations that prohibit the use of urine-based scents. It’s your responsibility to know these regulations and what your state allows. Failure to follow state CWD regulations risks fines, penalties, license suspensions or even jail time.
Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, encourages bowhunters to learn and follow all hunting regulations.
“Bowhunters concerned about the long-term health and viability of North America’s deer herds should only buy and use scent products bearing the ATA’s blue checkmark,” Forster said. “This checkmark and seal confirms you understand your role in protecting wildlife.”
To learn more about the ATA’s Deer Protection Program, its “Seal of Participation” and the program’s participating members, visit the ATA’s website.