A commercially available test that can be used to analyze deer urine for the presence of CWD prions before its distribution to the public has been in use by Wildlife Research Center and Tink’s for a year, and most of the major scent companies are also adopting this technology in 2020. Real Time Quaking Induced Conversion, RT-QuIC for short, is a proven and reliable method for detecting the misfolded proteins that cause CWD.
A commercial laboratory began testing deer urine for the scent companies in 2019, enabling two of the industry’s largest manufacturers to test 100 percent of their natural deer urine products before releasing them to the marketplace. The laboratory company CWD Evolution has expanded and is testing products for many of the commercial scent manufacturers. Products that have been tested will be authorized to include the “RT-QuIC Tested“ logo.
Related Stories: Chronic Wasting Disease And The Use Of Hunting Scents
Despite the availability of this testing and certification, several states have proposed natural deer scent bans and have told the public that no such testing exists. Their recommendations appear to all be based on a document created by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in 2018 that recommends a series of best management practices for dealing with CWD. Those recommendations were adopted without input from the scent industry or public but are now being used to change public policy.
“We have made major investments as a company to ensure that our products are safe” said Sam Burgeson, President of Wildlife Research Center. “It is frustrating that government regulators are either ignoring these advances or are unaware that these technologies are readily available. Our industry has not stuck our heads in the sand on this issue but have rolled up our sleeves and taken action to address the very real CWD concerns.”
“We sought out the most recognized and published authorities regarding CWD transmission via urine to get their expertise” said Phil Robinson, CEO of Tink’s. “We are 100% confident that our products pose no risk of spreading CWD. This test is just a confirmation of that fact.”
While a handful of states have hastily implemented complete bans of natural urine, Wildlife Research Center® and Tink’s® have been working with others to consider targeted regulations that focus on bad actors. Urine producers participating in the Archery Trade Association Deer Protection Program are using best practices to ensure CWD stays out of their herds, and several states have adopted regulations that allow urine sourced from these facilities to be used by hunters. Louisiana has adopted regulations that require RT-QuIC testing, and it is hopeful that other states will follow their lead rather than pursuing blanket bans that prohibit traditional hunting methods and would hurt responsible hunting product companies.