SALEM, Ore. — The 2019 Oregon State Legislature has passed a bill that bans the possession and use of deer and elk urine scent lures that contain or are derived from any cervid urine beginning Jan. 1, 2020. HB 2294 was sponsored by Rep. Witt (D-Clatskanie) and Rep. Brock Smith (R-Port Orford) and is meant to reduce the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) to the state’s deer, elk and moose populations.
Deer urine scent lures are used by some hunters. The typical scent lure mimics a female during breeding season and can attract a bull or buck to a hunter’s position.
Oregon’s ban is in keeping with a recommendation from the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), urging states to ban cervid based urine products to limit the spread of CWD. These products are also banned in several other states including Alaska and Louisiana.
Hunters or businesses who have these products should safely dispose of them by bringing them to an ODFW district office. ODFW staff will arrange for any scents collected to be incinerated in an 1800 degree oven, a temperature known to kill the prion that causes CWD.
“It’s important that these products are not poured down a drain or on the ground when they are discarded,” said Colin Gillin, ODFW wildlife veterinarian. “We want to limit the prion that causes the disease from being deposited on the landscape.”
About Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)
CWD has never been detected in Oregon’s wildlife but has been found in free-ranging deer and elk in 26 other states including several western states. The disease is caused by a protein called a prion that damages the brain of infected animals, causing progressive neurological disease and loss of body condition. CWD is untreatable and always fatal.
The prions can spread through the animal’s body fluids (including urine, feces and saliva) and through nose-to-nose contact between infected animals. Prions shed through bodily fluids can bind to soil minerals and remain infectious for long periods in the environment, spreading to new animals for years as deer and elk come into contact with infected soil and possibly plants containing the prions.
Urine sold commercially as a scent lure is collected from captive cervid facilities. Nationally, CWD continues to be found in captive cervid facilities and animals from these facilities are considered to be at higher risk for CWD for several reasons: Captive cervids are often moved extensively among facilities between and within states including states that have CWD; they are artificially concentrated behind fences which can more easily spread prions; the testing of captive animals may be limited; some high fence shooter buck herds are not tested at all; and equipment that may be contaminated with the prion when shared between herds and farms provides a risk factor for moving CWD without moving animals.
ODFW has been monitoring the state’s deer and elk for CWD for years by testing harvested animals at checkpoints during hunting seasons and roadkill carcasses, but has never detected CWD within Oregon. The few captive deer and elk facilities in Oregon also test for CWD and have never detected it. The state has also banned the import of any deer, elk, caribou or moose part containing central nervous system tissue where the prions exist (such as whole heads or spinal columns) into Oregon.
For more information about CWD, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/health_program/chronic_wasting.