Dr. Davin Henderson, a founder of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Evolution and a former professor with the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University, has spent years searching for solutions …
Dr. Davin Henderson, a founder of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Evolution and a former professor with the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University, has spent years searching for solutions to solve deer disease CWD.
When Davin was asked about banning the use of urine-based deer attractants to control CWD in the wild he said, “Absolutely not. Prion levels are very low in urine, and there are not enough of them to cause CWD transfer from deer to deer.”
Henderson provided testimony during a Pennsylvania Game Commission quarterly meeting in September before a vote to prohibit the use of urine-based attractants failed with a 4 to 4 board vote.
He noted that the Commission’s board and other state wildlife agencies that have considered bans on urine-based attractants typically do so out of a last-ditch effort to address the spread of CWD.
According to Henderson, a ban would have no impact on the disease in wild deer. He said, “it’s considered because they want to do something, but it’s not a practical way to reduce the spread. They are not seeking out the best science on that issue. It’s not something you need to take away from hunters, it’s not going to make things safer in regard to CWD.”
Henderson added that he doesn’t believe the information the Commission board was using as a basis for a ban was correct. He said the amount of CWD contaminated urine that a deer would have to orally ingest to contract the disease just isn’t realistic. Liquid urine is not spreading CWD in a wild setting, the amount of urine a deer would have to ingest, it doesn’t make sense for transfer. You can’t really transmit CWD using urine or feces because the levels are so low.
Henderson said he has a device to test live deer for CWD and it would be a game changer in the fight against the disease, especially in the captive deer industry. He said if you can now test live animals, before they are moved from farm to farm, it would help address accidental spreads. The live animal test would slow down and bring to a stop the accidental movements of CWD.
Unlike current testing that requires hunters to send in the head of the deer they harvest, Henderson is developing a test where a small portion of the third eyelid is all that hunters would have to submit. They would clip the sample, mail it in an envelope and get the results in 5 days, the test is being studied by Wildlife Futures and the State Department of Agriculture.
Good luck to the deer hunters going afield for the NY firearms deer season and, if you get a decent size deer, make sure you register it in the Democrat’s newspaper Big Buck Contest.
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