Oregon ban on deer and elk urine products takes effect January 1, 2020

The 2019 Oregon Legislature passed a bill banning the use of urine scent in Oregon. The law goes into effect on the first day of 2020. (SBG)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The products put off a smell only an elk or deer could love: Urine.

But urine scent is also a useful tool for hunters trying to attract the animals to an area, according to Wayne Endicott, owner of the Bow Rack in Springfield.

"As they smell it, they come in," he said, "and the bow hunter can get a close shot."

But for the past few months, Endicott's supply of scent has been reduced to the clearance basket.

The 2019 Oregon Legislature passed a bill banning the use of urine scent in Oregon.

The law goes into effect on the first day of 2020.

"I think some will be pretty upset about it, pretty frustrated with more government regulations," Endicott said, "and others will just be fine with that."

The bill passed out of concern that Chronic Wasting Disease could be transmitted through urine scent products.

"Chronic Wasting Disease is a disease that affects elk, deer and moose here in North America," explained Chris Yee, biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Yee said the neurological disease is always fatal. There is no cure.

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And while the disease is found in states across the U.S., it so far has not been found in Oregon.

Oregon wildlife officials would like to keep it that way.

And decades of scientific research have shown the highly contagious disease is spread through bodily fluids - like urine.

"It's just another avenue for Chronic Wasting Disease to enter into a state where it currently doesn't exist," Yee said.

Urine scent manufacturers generally raise deer and elk and harvest the urine and ship it all over the country.

Currently there is no federal regulation for how the product is produced and tested.

"A lot of those captive facilities have been the culprits for introducing Chronic Wasting Disease into different locations," Yee said.

Endicott thinks that an oversight committee could make urine scent legal in Oregon again.

"It's hard to say where the future is going," he said, "but right now it's not a giant strike at our business."

For now, the fall 2019 hunting season will be the last before urine scent can no longer be a tool for hunters.

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