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Author Topic: Deer Scent Now Illegal in VA  (Read 967 times)

Offline VA Bowbender

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Deer Scent Now Illegal in VA
« on: June 07, 2015, 07:27:00 PM »

The Virginia hunting community has been in an uproar over the past few days due to a new law that allegedly passed concerning use of deer scents in Virginia. A lot of people have blamed liberalism, money-hungry lawmakers, and the fact that the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries "just doesn't care about what we want!" The law passed regardless of a majority vote by citizens during the public input period that the scents remain legal to use. Why do they even ask what we think if they're just going to go against us anyway? I'll tell you why. And I'll tell you why in just three letters: CWD.

CWD also affects elk. Photo copyright Gary Gulash.

Chronic Wasting Disease, or CWD, is an incurable, dangerously contagious, and 100% fatal disease
in cervids. Cervids includes mule deer, whitetailed deer, moose and elk. The disease is spread through bodily secretions like saliva, urine, feces and gland oils. It is caused by prions, which today are not fully understood by scientists and so far, are resistant to all forms of medicines. The CWD disease remains live in the environment for years after being shed from the animal, thus remaining infective to any other cervid that comes in contact with it.

There have been seven confirmed cases of CWD in Virginia, the first being a doe killed by a hunter in 2009. Since then, over 7,600 samples have been taken from hunter-killed deer, roadkill deer, and captive deer that die.

Captive deer farm
Seven cases? Virginia is actually doing pretty well when we put it into perspective. What do I mean by "perspective?" States like Colorado and Wyoming have become so overwhelmed with the disease that they have practically given up trying to eradicate it from the wild population because it's virtually impossible. Why would we want to have the same problem in our great state? We just re-introduced elk into our state, why would we want to put that population at risk, too?

Removing lymph nodes from a deer for CWD testing
Deer infected with CWD will show no visible signs of sickness in the early stages, and it is only detectable in deceased animals. Samples are taken from the brain and lymph nodes and tested for the presence of the disease. So how can all of these captive deer farms that mass produce deer urine and scents be so sure that there is no CWD? According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, a great deal of these companies have not been compliant with their CWD testing. Basically, it's scaring the crap out of our natural resource managers.

Buck suffering from CWD.
Just last year, Virginia took a huge hit to our deer population via Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). It got us a little worried. We talked about it. A lot of us even started brainstorming ways to try to help the populations in the coming years to possibly try to help the herds recover and grow. EHD isn't even's transmitted by a fly and is completely out of human control. Now that the DGIF is taking intiative to prevent the outbreak of a contagious disease that is completely preventable by human hands, we're all upset and in an uproar. Take a step back and think about it, folks!

We aren't alone. Other states like Alaska and Vermont have signed a similar law into action in their states, and both were for the sole purpose of preventing CWD.

So what's in the fine print?
The proposed change was for a law in the Administrative Code of Virginia, law 4VAC15-90-293: Chronic Wasting Disease Deer Carcass Movement Restrictions. The proposed amendment states, "No person shall, for the purposes of taking or intending to take, attracting, or scouting, any wild animal in Virginia, possess or use any substance or material that contains or purports to contain any excretion collected from a cervid, including feces, urine, blood, gland oil, or other bodily fluid."

This means ANY NATURAL SUBSTANCE THAT WAS OBTAINED FROM ANY LIVE CERVID. You CAN still use artificial cover scents, artificial scents, synthetic urines, or fox and coon urine. The law only prohibits use of cervid excretions. This includes but is not limited to gland oils, tarsal glands, doe urine, and buck urine. It also includes the rub-on sticks like VS-1 that uses the natural vaginal secretions of live does. It's a little fuzzy, but this may also include urine collected from a deer that you killed yourself.

Will stores continue to sell these items? Absolutely. They want to make money off of you, even if you're going to use the products illegally. They are not liable for what you do with the product once you leave the store (just like buying deer corn and minerals in November), so they couldn't care less. It all comes down to you, the hunter, to understand WHY this law was passed, WHY the deer could potentially experience an incurable outbreak due to using these scents, and be wise to the environment and the laws. Yes, the new law sucks and puts a hindrance on our hunting traditions, but we can't always think about what we want when it comes to hunting; sometimes we need to think about what's best for the wildlife and what is the best way for us to make sure that good hunting is available for future generations!

Love this blog? Be sure to visit the Virginia Hunting Forum, Virginia's leading hunting and fishing community on the net! Join in on great discussions there and share your favorite scents and attractants for deer hunting!
Posted by Virginia Hunting Forum Blog at 8:09 AM
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Offline Kingsnake

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Re: Deer Scent Now Illegal in VA
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2015, 10:35:00 PM »
I am probably one of the few who will actually follow the law, but I cannot for the life of me imagine how VDGIF plans to enforce it.  Is the guy carrying old school film canisters and cotton balls going to just spill his guts when asked whether the scent in those canisters is natural or synthetic?  Are they going to have a little tube/solution shake test like they do for drugs?


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