Many outdoorsmen, including hunters and fishermen around here, believe their life and their favorite sport(s) increasingly are overregulated and shudder at the thought of more regulations.

The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is in the process of adding another regulation to the deer hunting world by targeting deer scents used in the Sportsman’s Paradise. We’ll take it and welcome it because the action will do more to protect this state’s great deer herd.

In a continuing effort to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease from entering the deer herd in Louisiana, LDWF’s amendment stipulates only natural deer urine products lawful to import, sell, use or possess must have a seal of approval on the product from either the Responsible Hunting Scent Association or the Archery Trade Association Deer Protection Program. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approved the amendment in March.

A public hearing was held Wednesday morning in Baton Rouge.

The full amendment as adopted reads: “It is unlawful to import, sell, use or possess scents or lures than contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids, except natural deer urine products produced by manufacturers or entities that are actively enrolled and participating in either the Responsible Hunting Scent Association or Archery Trade Association Deer Protection Program, and which has been tested using real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QulC) and certified that no detectable levels of Chronic Wasting Disease are present and is clearly labeled as such.”

CWD hasn’t been detected in Louisiana but has been found in 26 states, including our border states, Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas.

Deer scent has become ultra-popular the past few decades. After all, a deer’s sense of smell is its most powerful sense, the one deer trust above all others.

Doe urine reassures deer as they pass through an area that everything is OK, plus it raises their curiosity level because it simulates a new deer in the area. Deer hunters know a relaxed deer is much easier to hunt than one on edge.

Tink’s and Wildlife Research Center, leading manufacturers of quality deer scents, embrace the new testing protocol, which tests deer urine for CWD contamination.

The Responsible Hunting Scent Association urges deer hunters to support the proposed update to our state’s deer hunting regulations that allow the sale and use of scents derived from the Deer Protection Program. A change in the rules is necessary, RHSA said, because administration of the program is transitioning from the Archery Trade Association to RHSA. As a result, natural deer urine products that meet the requirements of the law will feature a new “DPP Checkmark” logo.

RHSA is continuing the same scientifically based biosecurity requirements that have been in place since 2016, according to a prepared statement. That means qualified urine producers must be in the APHIS Herd Certification Program, be closed herds with no importation of animals for more than five years, be inspected annually by a state accredited veterinarian and track and test all animal deaths even if they leave the urine collection program.

RHSA points out Louisiana is the first state in the nation that requires that cervid urine-based hunting scents used in the state be tested for the presence of CWD prions (an infectious protein particle similar to a virus but lacking nucleic acid). Using RT-QuIC assay, which is cutting edge, manufacturers can test and screen the urine used in their scents to determine that no CWD is detected before they are packaged and distributed. RHSA reported the availability of RT-QulC-tested products has increased significantly since 2019 and are available from many manufacturers with the clearly labeled RT-QulC logo.

Sam Burgeson, RHSA president, said, “Chronic Wasting Disease is a real threat to wild deer and deer hunting, and the Responsible Hunting Scent Association is actively and scientifically engaged to address the problem. Our members stand to be partners with hunters and wildlife agencies like LDWF to turn the tide on this unfortunate disease.”

DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.

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