Hunters Urged Not To Put Deer Pee On Their Clothing & Stuff.

deer scent photo
The "Buck Bomb." Image credit:BuckBomb. Decades ago some marketing genius got the idea to sell American hunters small bottles of scent made from extracts of doe urine. Bucks would be attracted to hunters who smelled like they were in estrus, was the story. They (hunters) fell for it in large numbers. I was suspicious at the time, thinking the hunter's family members would be the main ones to to respond, badly, as the early versions smelled awful. Even if the pee-slathering stalker bags a buck, I thought, his success might be more properly attributed to better glasses, a hearing aid, or new scope. Though you couldn't scientifically attribute success, or lack of it, scent lures have since proliferated like a bad stink.

Now, it turns out, dispersing deer-pee concentrate has the potential to unintentionally spread tiny and long lasting prions which can cause chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer. The risk is an environmental concern as well as a potential threat to human health.WIldlife managers are reacting with caution in many US states and in Canada. In Vermont, for example, according to the Rutland Herald, the State Department of Fish and Wildlife is urging hunters not to use urine-based scents. Those CWD prions, when spilled on the ground, it is feared, could be potent disease vectors for years to follow.

In spite of the controversy over the as-yet hypothetical risk of bottled pee spreading disease to wild herds, infectious prions have indeed been detected in the urine and saliva of deer with chronic wasting disease (CWD). See Detection of CWD Prions in Urine and Saliva of Deer by Transgenic Mouse Bioassay, for details. Hence, the precautionary approach seems warranted

Years ago.
When I first saw bottles of "Doe Scent" in a sporting goods store I was maybe ten. My kid mind wondered: "how do they get the deer to pee in a bottle?" Later, having visited in the hospital a person fit with a catheter, I considered and rejected the idea that producers of this scent product might put catheters in captive female deer.

Later I realized they were draining the bladders after commercial slaughter. Indeed, CWD is thought to have originated from captive deer and elk herds, in a feedlot setting in other words. In places where CWD has spread to the wild, "baiting" - the practice of putting corn or apples out to attract deer - is discouraged to slow the spreading.

When this season opens
Today's hunting catalogs feature camo clothing that make the models look like they are in some Special Operations unit. You can't have just a green or brown jacket, anymore. You need a special full body outfit that that matches your actual surroundings, in total, as the seasons change (as pictured below). People who buy this stuff must have immense closets and big credit card bills.

ghillie suit photo

Ultralight Jacket and Pants Ghillie Suit. Image credit:TheGhillieSuits,.com

When I hunt for deer I'm not wearing any of that pseudo-military stuff. Just warm clothes topped with a fluorescent vest for safety. As always I'll skip the pee in a bottle. I'll also leave the cell phone off, hold still as I can, smell the leaves, and watch the chickadees play.

All work and no play makes sport a drudgery.

black capped chickadee photo

Black capped chickadee. Image credit:Wikipedia
Please note: There is no evidence that any specific product or product type would be more or less likely to contain CWD prions. The stuff isn't tested as far, as I know.

More posts about deer and disease.
Preserving Biodiversity Helps Prevent Disease Spread from Animals ...
Five "Ps" For When The Money Is Gone: (Some Not So Green, Like ...
Cougar Gets Wisconsin Heifer - First Recorded Attack In A Century ...