Proposed rule change matches other SE states’ moves
Like many game and fish agencies across the Southeast, the NCWRC is taking dead aim at stopping the spread of chronic wasting disease into the state’s deer herd.
At public hearings around North Carolina in January, the Commission presented a proposed rule change that would make it illegal to use real deer urine in any form as an attractant or cover scent during deer season.
The proposal would “prohibit the use of cervid excrement (urine, feces, saliva, and other bodily fluids) for taking or attracting wildlife.”
Chronic wasting disease is a contagious neurological disease affecting deer, elk and moose. It causes a characteristic spongy degeneration of the brains of infected animals. This results in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. It is always fatal. Biologists believe that CWD is transmitted between animals via saliva and urine. And it has been commonly associated with, but not limited to, deer-farming operations.
CWD has been confirmed in 26 states — Mississippi being the most recent — three Canadian provinces and three countries outside North America: Korea, Finland and Norway. Two states that border North Carolina have confirmed cases of CWD: Virginia and Tennessee.
Nine states have outlawed natural deer-urine products
Natural urine-based products come almost exclusively from deer farms or other operations involving penned-in deer. Obviously, companies marketing natural urine-based attractants have cried foul at every turn when it comes to banning urine products.
Nine states have outlawed the use of natural deer-urine products, while still allowing the use of synthetic deer attractants. South Carolina and Mississippi are states that have outlawed it most recently. South Carolina allows hunters to use urine or glands from deer taken in-state. Mississippi altered its original ban to allow hunters to use urine-based products from brands that have been tested for CWD and approved by the Archery Trade Association and carried that association’s seal of approval on their labels. North Carolina’s current proposal makes no such allowances.
The Commission will now collect and summarize all public comments on the proposal. It will vote at a future meeting. They will decided whether to go forward with the new regulation — which would take effect Aug. 1, 2020 — stick with the regulations now in effect, or do a little of both. The vote would take place in a month or so.
One big question remains. Can North Carolina’s deer farmers can find anybody they can pay off to influence the Commission’s decision? More than five years ago, an aggressive lobbying campaign, including $20,000 in well-placed contributions to politicians, resulted in North Carolina’s state legislature taking away oversight of deer-farming operations from the Commission. They gave it to the state department of agriculture, which doesn’t have nearly as much power to punish those who ignore restrictions and regulations.