Years ago it seemed inevitable that Chronic Wasting Disease, a contagious, fatal neurological disorder that strikes deer and moose, would show up in New Hampshire as it spread across the country. CWD has been detected in 24 states, two Canadian provinces and in Korea and Norway.
But it’s still not here. Hooray!
The prions that cause CWD are usually found in the brain and spinal column of infected animals, and are often spread when hunters carry carcasses around. Vermont, for example, forbids hunters from crossing that state carrying deer carcasses from New York state, which has had CWD in the past. (New Hampshire doesn’t forbid it, but cautions against it.)
As part of attempts to keep CWD out of New Hampshire, the state has asked hunters not to use urine-based lures. (Bucks are in rut in fall, looking for a mate, and the smell of deer urine is catnip to them, if I may mix metaphors.) “Although there is no direct evidence linking urine based lures to the spread of CWD there are a number of studies that have shown the infective protein, also known as a prion, that causes CWD is present in urine, feces, and saliva of infected animals,” says NH Fish and Game. “These lures do not undergo any quality control or treatment that might inactivate or kill disease causing agents, and there is currently no testing of commercial lures for the presence of CWD prions.”
Not all hunters agree, however, which is why there’s no law banning urine-based lures.