Commissioners get into exchange with deer-urine companies over legal labeling

Wildlife commissioner Joe McPherson of Woodworth led the charge of ensuring legally-labeled deer-urine products would be available to hunters for the 2020-2021 season. McPherson is an avid hunter and veteran conservationist who scored on this Avoyelles Parish 175 3/8 B&C 17-pointer, No. 18 in the Louisiana Big Game Records for whitetails in the typical division. It was taken by rifle Dec. 9, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Joe McPherson)

Debate ensued over the availability of tested deer-urine products at last week’s online Zoom commission meeting.

Members of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission decided to vote down a previously passed amendment banning the sale of untested deer urine products in Louisiana at the May 7 commission meeting.

Regulations remained intact however making it unlawful for hunters to use or possess those scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other (deer) bodily fluids not tested using real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC) and “certified that no detectable levels of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) are present – and clearly labeled as such.”

For the novice unaware of the problem, RT-QuIC testing ensures that no CWD is detected in the urine used in these hunting products.

This regulation was in effect for the 2019-2020 deer hunting season, but Louisiana wildlife and fisheries commission Joe McPherson of Woodworth had much to say about the availability of adequately labeled urine during the past season.

“If there was any of that urine that was available for sale in Louisiana that had been properly tested, I didn’t see any signs of it,” he said.

“It wasn’t labeled as such in the stores that I frequent, and there were retail merchants and clerks that thought they had properly tested urine (on the shelves) and told their customers that.”

McPherson said he had searched retail outlets from Woodworth westward during last hunting season and could not find one bottle labeled as certified.

“It looked like there was urine left over from the previous year that had been shipped in,” he said.

“I could not find a bottle all the way through the season that had any label on it other than the ATA (Archery Trade Association) label that’s always been on there.”

Response by deer-urine lure distributors

Participating in the Zoom online commission meeting were Phil Robinson of Arcus Hunting and Tinks Lures, and Sam Burgeson with Wildlife Research Center. Both companies are involved in the sale and distribution of deer-urine hunting scents used by hunters nationwide.

Hunters can only use urine-based lures properly labeled with RT-QuIC tested logo, appearing here on front of Tink’s #69 Formula (Doe-in-heat estrus urine). (Photo courtesy of Joe McPherson)
Hunters can only use urine-based lures properly labeled with RT-QuIC tested logo, appearing here on front of Tink’s #69 Formula (Doe-in-heat estrus urine). (Photo courtesy of Joe McPherson)

“All the product we shipped last year was labeled as such (RT-QuIC testing) after the month of March,” Robinson said

“There was the possibility there was carry over, there’s always carry over of product every year. There may have had some bottles out there.”

Regarding labeling, Robinson assured commissioners that such would be found on the front and back of the product.

“There was some confusion it seemed in timing with the way it was announced last year, and so I think it’s pretty clear this year,” he said.

Tested and certified

Wildlife Research Center’s Sam Burgeson reported general agreement with Robinson.

“I want to add and emphasize that last year was a transition year with packaging,” he said. “The testing was just coming into availability with the new rule so there was product shipped last year.

“All that we shipped last year was tested although there were some (products) unlabeled unfortunately.

“As we are going into 2020, 100% of the product that we’re shipping is labeled with the RT-QuIC logo and certification,” he said.

Properly labeled back package of Tink’s #69 Formula (Do-in-heat estrus urine) (Photo courtesy of Joe McPherson)

Burgeson also told commissioners Wildlife Research Center has a policy with all of their retail customers that if they have product that they want to get switched out – it could be handled.

Burgeson said 100% of the products that Wildlife Research Center shipped for 2019 was tested and certified.

“Some of the product early in the season, before we were aware of the changes and got our packaging updated, did not have the label on it,” he said “Yet we made that transition as quickly as we could. Every product we ship in 2020 has that RT-QuIC labeling on it.”

Commissioner McPherson said his responsibility as commissioner is to ensure Louisiana’s deer herd not be exposed to CWD.

“We don’t want to take any chance at hurting the herd, and we want our hunters to be legal with using these urine-based scents,” he said.

Labels hunters need to look for on deer-urine products for the 2020-2021 season

“We are going to produce the (hunting) pamphlet soon,” said wildlife commissioner Chad Courville of Lafayette.

“So the issue is when you go to an outdoor store and you’re looking to comply, we’ve got to make it easy for a deer hunter to understand what to look for.”

“We need to see what we can do in getting it (RT-QuIC label) on our website and getting it into the hunting pamphlet somewhere.”

Label showing ATA and RT-QuIC tested logo. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Tuma)
Label showing ATA and RT-QuIC tested logo. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Tuma)

“Knowing exactly what to look for that complies with our current regulations would be beneficial,” he said.

Hunters can view the RT-QuIC labels as it appears on the front and back of products in pictures in this story.

About Chris Berzas 368 Articles
Chris Berzas has fished and hunted in the Bayou State ever since he could hold a rod and shoot a shotgun. Berzas has been a freelancer featured in newspapers, magazines, television and DVDs since 1989.