Contact: Bee Frederick, Southeastern States Director
On July 24, South Carolina became the ninth state to ban the use of natural deer urine as an attractant. The new regulation from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) will ban the use of lures or attractants that contain any excretion collected from a deer (including urine, feces, gland oil, etc.) Synthetic products or any substance collected by a hunter from a legally harvested deer within South Carolina is still allowed.
The SCDNR announced the rule in an effort to protect the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease into the state. The SCDNR website states: “[the] SCDNR took a proactive approach to this issue and banned the use of products containing urine or scent gland secretions collected from deer or elk until such time that it can be proven that prions are not distributed across the landscape through the use of such products while afield. SCDNR’s intent with this regulation was to protect South Carolina’s deer hunting heritage by ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities to deer hunt as are available to South Carolinians today and to protect the long-term health and stability of the deer herd in the state”.
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is an always-fatal, progressive, degenerative neurological disease occurring in farmed and free-ranging deer, elk, and moose that is classified to the family of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE). As it currently stands, there is no way to conclusively identify the presence of CWD within an animal until a necropsy has been performed. With no known treatment or vaccine available, CWD continues to prove fatal in all documented cases.
The agent that causes CWD and other TSEs has not been completely characterized. However, the theory supported by most scientists is that TSE diseases are caused by abnormal forms of proteins, known as prions. The exact mechanism of transmission is unclear, although evidence suggests CWD is transmitted directly from one animal to another through bodily fluids and tissues. Further research also indicates that CWD-causing prions can persist in soil for several years, potentially binding to plant life in the area. As the list of means of transmission expands, CWD is of increasing concern for wildlife managers across North America.
CSF supports, and is heavily engaged in, measures to provide additional resources for state fish and wildlife agencies related to CWD. This includes several bills from Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus members that would provide additional funding for surveillance, monitoring, and research efforts.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?