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Big Buck 411 Blog


By Mike Handley

Deer urine’s effectiveness can be measured both by the ounce and by the inch.
Deer urine’s effectiveness can be measured both by the ounce and by the inch.

I know I’m opening a can of worms – or, to be more specific, a bottle of urine. But I’ve long been a fan of using deer pee to tilt the scales in my favor.

Now, because of the threat of spreading chronic wasting disease, several states are considering banning real deer urine. It’s already prohibited in Saskatchewan.

State wildlife agencies aren’t terribly concerned about hunters eating tainted venison, since CWD hasn’t been proven to affect humans. But they are concerned about the introduction of a disease that could infect native whitetails.

The reason for concern is that CWD is more prevalent in captive herds, and urine bottlers don’t go out into the wild and tap deer as if they were maple trees laden with syrup; their sources are penned. Plus, the disease is believed to be transmitted through bodily fluids.

To be honest, I don’t know who or what to believe. Because it is so effective, I’ll continue to use bottled urine until it’s made illegal to do so. My gut tells me that my little drops cannot possibly taint the soil beyond the few seconds it takes for them to evaporate.

Even so, it’s hard to shake that “what-if” feeling – the same little twinge of guilt I sometimes feel because I prefer V-8s and rear-wheel-drive vehicles that have hearty appetites for petroleum ... from overseas or perhaps from under our own.

I equate the deer urine dilemma with the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. During the height of the Gulf crisis, lots of people boycotted BP stations. I didn’t set out to, but I couldn’t help glowering whenever I saw a car at a green-and-yellow pump.

The owners of those stations, however, are not employees or partners of BP. In many cases, they have no other choice among gasoline distributors. They’re regular folks, like you and me, who have mortgages and car payments.

The same goes for urine bottlers. They’re not the bad guys. They raise deer and sell urine – an invaluable tool for hunters. Lots of them hunt, too, which is partly responsible for their getting into the business ... that and a desire to put food on the table.

There certainly are alternatives to real, pour-it-on-the-ground urine: synthetic scents, wicks, wafers, incense sticks, candles and others. I’ve used most with success.

Perhaps the most palatable answer is to employ scents without pouring urine on the ground. Or maybe this whole stink is much ado about nothing.

I’d like to know what you think. Is CWD a real threat, or is it as naturally occurring as rubella among humans? Should states or provinces ban real urine, or should they beef up monitoring of captive herds?

Post Rating


Joe S.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 10:13 AM
I have a very knowledgeble friend that said the only times we are "alerted" to Cronic Waste Disease is when the power companies spray for weed control on the power lines. Go figure. Is this man made-up or is it a real threat.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 11:30 AM
and what about blue tongue too ?? do we have a chance of getting that on the east coast? deer pee does work great tho huhhh
Bill H.
# Bill H.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 11:33 AM
I am a true hunter, a trophy hunter having hunted for more than half of a century. The trophy whitetail deer is the most difficult animal on earth to hunt, bare nothing. I will use whatever to help me cover my human scent, CWD or not!
Tom K.
# Tom K.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 11:42 AM
I've heard the same as Joe stated with weed control, next it's gonna be with geese from eating off of the pretty chemical lawns along lake shore homes.
Terry B.
# Terry B.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 12:16 PM
I also have been hunting a long time and have seen my share of things that man has incorporated into the hunt to get what he wants. From enhanced feed to grow bigger antlers to bigger bodied deer. I have also seen some ill-effects such as an increase in reports of does with antlers and higher population rates to odd growths that can't easily be explained. If we keep going in the direction we are headed what will trophy mean? It will get to the point of baseball and the steroids craze...records fall but to what end is it okay? To destroy accidentally is still destrution no matter whether we claim ignorance or not it is still destroying what we have. And what of future generations...what will they have left after we get done? We as people bring in trees from China (Chestnut) to enhance our wood production and then it destroys our native species and then we find the imports to be of lesser quality and can't use them anyway. Or we bring in ferrel beast (European Boar, or Goat, or exoctics, or Boa constrictors, or Black Caymen, or Snakeheads) to help economies in certain areas and when they get released (accidentally or by design) they end up pushing out or devouring our indiginous species to the point of extiction! I don't know if deer pee will distribute CWD across the country but why push it...atleast until we know more about how it is spread. We as hunters and sportsman need to understand what we have and then what to do and not do in every aspect of our love for the game we hunt. I was always taught to respect the game that I hunt. We were given stewardship over the animals and it is our responsibility to take care of them. Hunting to keep the herds at a safe and managable level is one of those responsibilities but another is to look out for their is not about us all the time!
jimmy v
# jimmy v
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 1:09 PM
I've been hunting for over forty years. We are our on worst enemy as far as wildlife and the environment go. Too much depends on dollars instead end results. I personally think CWD has always been around and is natures way of taking care of itself. I think the knee jerk reactions after discovering it have been futile and unnecessary and we should let it take care of itself. I really believe it's kinda like global warming- somebody's misguided opinion. I admit I don't have research and a battery of scientists working on this but in my almost sixty years of being in and enjoying the outdoors, nature always takes care of itself.
Conrad DiLoreto
# Conrad DiLoreto
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:00 PM
I live in Michigan, and I think the whole thing about CWD is a load of crap. They found one animal in a captive herd from a deer from Wisconsin, so they outlawed all baiting and supplemental feeding in the lower peninsula.
A number of years back they said that they had found Bovine TB in the herd, and limited the baiting to five gallons. Now there is no baiting at all. Now I don't care one way or the other about baiting, but I think the whole TB scare is just a way to cut down the herd. Since the TB deal started, they have issued thousands of extra doe tags that you can buy over the counter to reduce the number of animals in the herd. Consequently in the area I hunt, we used to take 3 or 4 nice bucks every year from our area. Since all these restrictions started, not only do we not take hardly any bucks, we don't see many deer period! I think that this TB has been in the herd for years, and I don't think all these rules that they're making will change anything. As long as the deer are using the same areas as the cattle to feed and graze, I think the Tb will always be there no matter what they do.
# Tbone
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:18 PM
I don't know the avennue of infection for CWD or blue tongue but having a BS in microbiology I do know that Real Urine comes out sterile, unless it is contaminated by a comunicable disease (Rednecks will mount anything, LOL!!). It's what happens to it after its release that allows it to become contaminated and a potential biological threat. I sincerely doubt that these bottles and dispensers are autoclaved and sterilized prior to filling and could in itself be the culprit. Maybe it's the handling procedures that need to be enforced and not the "use of urine" itself. There should also have handling instructions and an expiration date on these dispensers. I know myself, that I have ignorantly held on to last years specimens, if for no other reason, to save money and may have myself contributed to this mass innoculation of an innocent species. Maybe the enforcement required is no more than good sterile technique and an expiration date or dispensing deadline ("must be used within 72 hrs of opening and initial dispersion to avoid cross species contamination"). I'm sure the companies wouldn't mind, they would sell two or three times as much! Not to mention, it would serve to protect the the innocent animals involved. So, you Rednecks make sure you put your protection on before you fondle your doe's urine. (RUBBER GLOVES GUYS!!!)
# jonnyo
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 2:47 PM
I believe in using all deer scents - 1st of all they don't know how CWD is spread or where it comes from - NE game and parks has made it unlawful to hunt over food because the believe its spread by group feeding . Normally CWD in deer or elk is found around game reserves and if it was easy to spread it would be all over - As far as Blue tongue, it is a viral disease by nature , infecting the deers internal where as the deer vomits blood staining the tongue a bluesh black and swells the neck so that the deer is unable to eat or drink (was televised on buckmasters) They do know CWD is in the deers brain and spinal cord, and is to believed to be in the ground.
Terry B.
# Terry B.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 3:01 PM
I seemed to have struck somewhat the nerve with my commentary. This is good because education and understanding (both ways)come from conversation that is started just that way. I agree that the disease has probably been around a long time and that nature takes care of itself when left alone...with that said though the key words are "left alone", but we can't. As soon as we step out of our vehicle and into the woods we can't help but to have made a change. It is the simple act of getting out there that changes things and sometimes the changes are minimal, other times not so minimal. I would like everyone to just be cognizant of the changes that we make and try to keep it down to a minimum. It is not easy unless we can be aware. The spread of dangerous diseases is very easy, much easier than you can imagine. In my area say you pick up a turtle, most times your not really doing it harm just looking right? If you handle the animal you can actually hurt yourself more by way of its diseases (such as salminela). But if you keep it, say in a pen outside in your yard for any length of time you have to submit it to the Maryland DNR. You can't just release it back into the woods because you have possibly given it germs that you carry on your person that will not harm you but could kill an entire population of turtles by the contact your friend will make in his life. At least that is what we are told, but do we not listen and take the chance of wiping out turtles? After all we don't see these things happening but the biologists do. And those would be considered minimal changes, the not so minimal could be devastating. I am not a fan of knee jerk responses but again why push it when taking care could help and it is so easy.
J. Baker
Tuesday, September 07, 2010 3:28 PM
I was at the Double Tree Hotel in Denver when they had the CWD Convention around 1999-2001. I talked to a lot of the Biologists from different States out there and I don't remember anyone saying urine was a cause of CWD. I thought it all stemed form brain tissue and bone tissue / marrow?
Gary H.
# Gary H.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 8:47 AM
I am 57 years old and have hunted and fished the great state of Oklahoma from border to border since I was old enough to carry a weapon or a fishing pole.
I have seen more deer and other wildlife in all types of conditions in the field or beside the road. CWD has not been a great issue here. Hoewever, I must agree that hunters have a profound effect and affect on all species they encounter (just accidently scare a blue jay and listen to the woods know you are there) But to what extent does pouring an chemically unknown substance from a container onto the ground effect or affect all species in the area, I cannot know. I do know that in the area I have hunted for nearly three decades, I harvested the heaviest whitetail buck ever on public hunting land since the wildlife conservation has been keeping records by using both real and fake attractants. Truley, I have seen strange contortioning acting does and buck fights during the rut. I have seen coyotes with mated fur on one side and mange on the other. I am sure there are many diseases that afflict wildlife. And we as hunters should know we can have a cause and effect in ways we cannot fully understand. However, I will still use the real and fake attractants when I hunt for whitetail, it simply works.
Terry S
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 10:52 AM
I'm 65 years old and am sure I'm 'old fashioned', but, let's get back to taking deer in in a sporting way. Quit hunting over feed, using scents, feed plots, minerals to increase antler size, etc. I don't care what the element of risk is to the deer from using urine or any other method you're using. If there's a risk, quit it. It used to mean something when a sportsman (hunter) bagged a nice buck. Now there are guys out there who have taken more trophy deer than I expect to see in my lifetime, penned or not.

I'd like to see my grandchildren continue to hunt deer. If that means shivvering in the cold, walking for miles, and only seeing an occasional deer, then, so be it. I've hunted almost every year since I was 16, except for years in the service, and have yet to take a real trophy. I still enjoy the hunt, because it means being with my family, spending time in the woods, and enjoying nature.
Terry B.
# Terry B.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 10:57 AM
Well said!
Craig Pedersen
# Craig Pedersen
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 4:03 PM
"The urine," haven't heard that one yet. I would like to continue to hunt deer for as long as I can. These companies make millions off hunters, for using scents urine food plots minerals, if it is the concentration of deer then all should be banned. That won't happen there is to much money there that it would get tied up in court for years, on research to determine the truth. Shoot a doe pass on the backet racks. Happy hunting
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 4:05 PM
CWD is a disease caused by a mis-folded protein called a prion and is a TSE (transmissable spongiform encephalopathy). It is in the same family as mad cow disease (also a TSE and caused by a prion), although CWD is not known to be infectious to humans. Through years of research we are learning more about the disease, but there is much that is still unknown. The prion has been found in the brains, skeletal muscle, bodily fluids such as urine and saliva, lymph nodes, etc. When the prion is shed from the infected deer through bodily fluids or even a decaying carcass, it has been shown that it binds to certain minerals in the soil and remains infectious for many years. A study was done where CWD infected deer were removed from an enclosure and 10 years later healthy deer were put in that enclosure and they developed CWD. It can be spread through a contaminated environment or from deer to deer contact. As said before, much is still unknown, but just wanted to clarify some of the potential misinformation presented in some of the comments above.
Terry B.
# Terry B.
Thursday, September 09, 2010 6:24 AM
There is a lot to digest in your summary of the disease and how the disease is transmitted. Thank you.
The jury is still out on whether it is infectious to humans or is it not at all possible for humans to contract the disease? Here in Maryland it is unlawful to transport the whole carcass into the state from any place CWD has been found, especially the brain and spinal column as well as unprocessed deer hide (due to the fatty tissue and limph nodes). I know that it is hard to believe for some that this disease is as important to contain as it is, but we must always be aware to keep from spreading such things to areas that are not contaminated. I know that when you see a deer that is exhibiting the clear signs of the disease in its advanced stages we are not to kill or get near or touch the animal and are to call the local DNR with the location and let them take care of it, but how do we know if it is not in its advance stages but still sick? And if it is suspected of having the disease (because of it being killed in an area that is known to have the disease) what cuts of meat should be avoided and what cuts are definitely safe?
Gary Anderson
# Gary Anderson
Friday, September 10, 2010 12:06 PM
A true hunter will learn whatever effects the species he/she hunts. CWD is already here in several states, the more knowledge you can find, the better off we'll be. The state of Virginia, were I live and hunt, has found a few cases bordering West Virginia. The Department of Game and inland Fisheries is having a couple of planned meetings in Frederick and Shenandoah Counties were we are most likely to encounter the CWD. I myself plan on attending, not just to be more informed but to see what I (as a hunter) can do to help. I want to understand CWD, we all know very little about the disease other than what the media is doing to scare everyone. My plan is to arm myself with knowledge and help educate other hunters and non-hunters and secure a hunting future for our children. As far as deer urine, I'm not a big fan of deer urine myself, proper stand placement and scent control has worked well for me for years.
# jonnyo
Friday, September 10, 2010 2:34 PM
man has been using deer scent, decoys for hundreds of years this is not new technology. American Indians and early man shot 30 lb stick bows, rough arrows and arrowheads (I still know someone who hunts this way) and used any method to get deer close to them - Its when man tried to alter deer gene's and put up game fenses that CWD arrised. So using any method that your forefathers and there fathers used in hunting is still good pratice, other than sitting in your pickup and shoot the first deer you see.
Dennis A. McDade
# Dennis A. McDade
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:40 PM
I think it is being blown all out of proportion as usual.I dont worry about stuff like that.I figure if its my time to go then the Good Lord can take me,I know where I am goin,I am a hunter.

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