As some of you may be aware, the PAGC is considering a ban on natural deer urine over fear it may encourage the spread of CWD. Obviously this is a concern to retailers across the state who enjoy offering their customers natural deer lures.
Throughout the ATA show we spoke to the manufacturers of these products and voiced our concerns over placing orders while the PAGC is mulling over the decision. There are many in the natural deer lure industry who are great people working very hard already to suppress the impacts of this disease. This was very comforting to us. What is more comforting to know is that Mitch King, the ATA Director of Government Relations has been working on this issue in an effort to offer the PAGC a workable solution. Mitch was kind enough to sit with us and discuss his progress with the powers that be. The ATA is aiming to deflect regulations by offering a business to business solution that will allow retailers to sell urine based products and for hunters to feel confident in using them. Their solution is to require deer urine suppliers to fit certain operating guidelines and proprietors who package the urine to use a label bearing a mark of ATA approval.
The measures the ATA will require participating scent manufacturers to abide by include; increased herd monitoring, severely restricting importation and exportation of animals, double fencing their herd, annual inspections of facilities and herds, and working with state agencies to advance our understanding of CWD. There are several categories of participation beginning with urine production facilities, to scent manufacturers, and then distributors/retailers.
According to the current issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News, the board has "no apparent consensus" about what to do. However the conversations around a ban have been taking place since last fall, and Commissioner Putnam is "leaning toward introducing a deer urine-use ban at the upcoming meeting (Jan 31-Feb 2)." Other board members are not so convinced these products are contributing to the spread of CWD. It seems some are even suggesting a "targeted depopulation" in certain areas of the state, whereby sharpshooters would cull portions of the herd in areas where CWD was found.
As CWD continues to be a concern for PA deer, one can only assume some action will be taken at some point, what that action is remains to be seen. Unfortunately an entire industry hangs in the balance.
Needless to say there are a variety of other economic and political loose ends to sew up in the process, but we all have a voice and if you're a hunter or a retailer, you need to speak up and write your representative and the PAGC...NOW! Chronic Wasting Disease is obviously a cause for concern and something we all need to take seriously, without a healthy deer heard our PA hunting heritage is at risk.
I will do my best to offer follow up articles on this matter. Mitch King's contact information is available at www.archerytrade.org.