CWD spreads in Virginia, New Jersey bans deer pee, and more whitetail headlines
What's going on in the whitetail world this summer? Some pretty interesting news. We've scoured the headlines to give you the scoop.
Ammo Pinch Update
Southwick Associates, a research firm specializing in the hunting and shooting business, recently surveyed more than 1,800 ammunition consumers. They found that in 2020, four out of five respondents had trouble finding the cartridges they needed. So far in 2021, three-quarters of those hunters/shooters have encountered similar shortages.
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents reported their current ammo inventory was lower than they would like. When asked how much more ammunition they would like to have on hand, 43% said “much more” while 38% reported “a little more.” Only 17% were satisfied with the stash they currently have on hand. Going deeper into 2021, and throughout the upcoming hunting seasons, ammunition demand is expected to remain high.
“At some point, demand will certainly soften,” said Rob Southwick, President of Southwick Associates. “However, frenzied purchasing and empty shelves often fuel further increases in demand. We do not see (ammo) demand softening in the near future.”
The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) says a deer killed last season in southwestern Montgomery County tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease. The discovery was made by a taxidermist that participates in the state’s CWD surveillance program, and was confirmed by the department after additional testing and collection of DNA samples from the deer.
The deer marked the first case of CWD in southwest Virginia and triggered the creation of a new disease management area that includes Montgomery, Pulaski, and Floyd counties.
For the 2021 season, a mandatory sampling day has been scheduled for November 13. All hunters who bag a deer in the new disease management area that day will be required to take the animal to a department check station for sampling.
The positive case brings the number of Virginia counties affected by CWD to 14. Until the Montgomery County case, CWD had been confined to 13 counties in the northern part of the state.
COVID did not keep Pennsylvania’s hardcore hunters from filling the meat poles and walk-in coolers. The Pa. Game Commission reports that hunters killed 435,180 deer during the 2020-21 season. Last year’s harvest topped the 2019-20 kill of 389,431 by about 12 percent.
The statewide buck harvest of 174,780 set a new record for buck kill in the antler restrictions era. The buck harvest increased 7 percent over the previous harvest of 163,240 antlered deer.
New Jersey Enters Deer Urine Debate
It is no longer legal to possess, sell or use scents derived from the urine or glandular secretions of live deer in New Jersey.
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife the ban is intended to help safeguard the health of the state’s deer herd from the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease. The thinking is that natural deer products could congregate deer and/or increase interaction between animals, possibly increasing the spread of the disease.
It should be noted that reputable scientists and lead authors of commonly referenced studies on urine and CWD agree that “the risk of urine-based scents spreading CWD is virtually zero.” See more about this at www.cwdfacts.org.
In a press release, New Jersey wildlife officials said, “The Division is doing everything in its power to prevent CWD from entering New Jersey and to protect the long-term health of our deer herd and our deer hunting heritage.”
Bottomline: If you hunt in the Garden State this fall, do not carry or real deer urine. Switch to a synthetic deer lure.
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