February 20, 2020
By Game & Fish Digital Staff
(From Wildlife Research Center) A commercially available test 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, spurning a growth in the industry for its use.
Most of the major scent companies are also adopting this technology in 2020, WRC said in a release.
Real Time Quaking Induced Conversion, RT-QuIC for short, can detect the misfolded proteins that cause CWD, the company said.
A commercial laboratory began testing deer urine for the scent companies in 2019, enabling two of the industry's largest manufacturers to test all 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.
Despite the availability of this testing and certification, several states have proposed natural deer scent bans. According to urine-scene proponents, the state recommendations appear to be based on a document 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 industryor public, WRC said in the news release.
"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-percent 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 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.