Earlier this year, a proposed ban on the use of female deer urine attractants in hunting deer gained Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approval, a move that brought comment from businesses involved in producing these products.

The move was proposed by the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries’ Wildlife Division to prevent Chronic Wasting Disease from infecting the state’s deer herds.

Deer urine is a know source of the virulent prions that introduce CWD into deer, elk, mule deer and other cervid animals.

As with all hunting and fishing regulations, this new regulation went to a combined House and Senate Natural Resources Committee oversight, and the legislators decided to oppose the ban.

Then, Gov. John Bel Edwards opted to reject the input from the Legislative Oversight Committee, which sent the issue back to the LDWF and the commission.

That’s why the item was on Monday’s LWFC meeting agenda, and the commission approved a modified ban which would allow the sale and use of such attractants only after clearing federally approved tests.

The new regulation passed Monday reads:

“It is unlawful to use or possess scents or lures that contain natural deer urine or other bodily fluids while taking, attempting to take, attracting or scouting wildlife, except natural deer urine products produced by the manufacturers or entities that are actively enrolled and participating in the Archery Trade Association Deer Protection Program, which have been tested using real-time quaking induced conversion and certified that no detectable levels of CWD are present and clearly labeled as such.”

Before pressing the vote — it was unanimously approved — there were concerns about the pending printing of the 2019-2020 Louisiana Hunting Pamphlet, and whether this new language would make the publication deadline.

Wildlife Division chief Kenny Ribbeck said Tuesday the changes in the deer urine regulation will appear in three places in the upcoming season’s panphlet.

The full wording of the document is available on the LDWF’s website: wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items.

What forced the proposed ban was the discovery of CWD in several deer in Mississippi counties bordering Louisiana earlier this year. CWD has been found in cervids in 26 states, including Texas, Arkansas and, now, Mississippi.

During the months of testimony, LDWF staff said the state has tested more than 8,600 deer in the past 17 years without finding CWD in the state.

Operation Dry Water

Taking to the water this Fourth of July weekend?

So are LDWF’s Enforcement Division.

Beginning Friday and running through Sunday, agents will be on the water for a second Operation Dry Water this year. The first was during the Memorial Day weekend, and ODW is part of a nationwide effort among state law enforcement agencies.

“We are always on the lookout for impaired boat operators, but this weekend it will be more of a focused effort,” said LDWF Major Rachel Zechenelly. “We are in full support of this national campaign and will do our part in removing impaired operators from the waterways this weekend.”

Zechenelly is the state’s boating law administrator, and has seen Operation Dry Water’s effect on the boating community.

“We know this will be a busy weekend and we want people to have fun on the waterways. However, we please ask everybody on the water to wear a personal flotation device and have a sober operator,” she said.

Zachenelly said the consumption of alcohol impairs a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time, can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion.

And when sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion are added, a boat driver can expect the effects of consuming alcohol, drugs and even some prescriptions to intensify.

Data distributed during Monday’s LWFC meeting indicated at least one of the state’s seven boating fatalities in 2019 “involved alcohol.”

Zachenelly said national statistics show alcohol is among the leading contributors — nearly 19 percent — in fatal boating incidents. That percentage held true in Louisiana’s 2018 boating deaths, where four of the 20 boating fatalities in 2018 involved alcohol.

Boating While Impaired violations carry the same penalties as DWI violations while driving a vehicle. Citations for BWI/DWI can mean “loss of boating privileges or a driver’s license for a specified period” and can be added together for a total number of “intoxicated” violations.

Fines for a first offense range from $300-$1,000 and up to six months in jail.

More on safety

Know what else was involved in the state’s seven 2019 boating fatalities?

Six of the seven fatalities were not wearing a life jacket.

Get the hint?

Wearing a life jacket saves lives, and all youngsters on the boat must wear one while the boat is underway.