Science Does Not Support Proposed Deer Urine Ban in Vermont

Commercial scent manufacturers across the country are speaking out in opposition to the proposed ban on the use of deer urine as an attractant aid for hunting in Vermont. The proposed Deer Rule, annotated specifically Title 10 V.S.A §37.11.0, Ban of Urine and Other Natural Lures, has little basis in scientific data, limits hunting opportunities, sets a dangerous precedent for other products, and would be nearly impossible to enforce.

While CWD headlines often incite fear among sportsmen, the decision-making and regulatory process for public doctrine should always be based on facts, real science and empirical data.

Based on the scientific data available, Dr. Nicholas Haley of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology at Kansas State University, has publicly voiced his opposition to the ban.

The basis for Dr. Haley’s opposition is over ten years of research, including a PhD thesis, on the transmissibility of CWD in urine and saliva of deer; currently his work includes the development of a live animal test for the disease. Based on his experience and the available data, Haley concluded there is little risk of the transmission of CWD naturally through commercially available deer urine, a risk “very close to zero.”

Commercial scents are made from urine that is obtained from farming facilities that have a minimum of five years (many have 10+ years) in the USDA CWD herd certification program, a program developed using the available scientific data on CWD. As part of this program, the commercial scent industry follows vigorous disease testing and prevention programs with state and federal guidelines and oversight.

Banning the use of entire product lines without scientific evidence that the products are harmful is irrational and irresponsible. After all, there is no evidence that fox, coyote, lynx and bear urine attractants spread rabies or other diseases. Will those products be next?

Shawn Schafer, Executive Director
North American Deer Farmers Association