Deer Protection Program: Common Sense for Scents

This season, you'll sell products with this checkmark on your shelves. Here's why.
Photo Credit: John Hafner

Author: Cassie Scott

With archery’s busy season in full swing, bowhunters are zooming in and out of your store looking for broadheads, lighted nocks, bowstring wax and other last-minute replacement parts for the season ahead.

Another common item on their grab-bag list is deer-attractant scents. The most common attractants are urine-based scent products. Selling these products is good for business, but some folks question whether urine-based scents are good for wild deer and the bowhunting industry.

To ensure you’re selling the safest urine-based scent products possible, look for those marked with the Archery Trade Association’s “Seal of Participation.”

ATA ‘Seal of Participation’

Scent manufacturers enrolled in the ATA’s Deer Protection Program can display the ATA’s “Seal of Participation” on scent products that originate from facilities participating in the program. Photo Credit: Ryan Kirby/ATA

The “Seal of Participation” is part of the ATA’s Deer Protection Program, which further reduces the already low risk of spreading chronic wasting disease in wild deer, elk and moose herds by using urine-based scent products sold in the United States and Canada.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that affects deer, elk and other cervids, and poses a serious threat to white-tailed deer, North America’s No. 1 big-game animal. The disease is caused by corrupt proteins called prions, which differ from viruses and bacteria. Prions are not living organisms, which means they can’t be destroyed by cooking meat at high temperatures. Prion-related diseases are 100 percent fatal and cannot be treated.

Although researchers have found prions in the urine of deer, elk and moose with the disease, it’s extremely difficult to detect. That’s because prions are present in extremely low concentrations in urine.

Researchers have found no proven connection between urine-based hunting products and the spread of CWD. Regardless, ATA-member scent-manufacturers self-imposed additional safeguards on their products through the Deer Protection Program to further ensure the health of North America’s valuable wildlife.

The Deer Protection Program launched in June 2016 to let hunters know that participating ATA-member scent manufacturers and their product-suppliers do everything possible to prevent CWD from spreading. The measures they self-impose meet or exceed state and federal CWD-certification requirements. They also agreed to exclusively use deer urine collected at facilities that follow strict procedures for reducing the potential of CWD infecting their herds.

Scent manufacturers enrolled in this program can display the ATA’s “Seal of Participation” label — a simple checkmark within the ATA logo — on scents made from products collected from facilities participating in the program. That seal, the ATA checkmark, confirms they understand their role in protecting wildlife, and abide by the program’s rules and requirements.

Share the ‘Seal of Participation’ News

The ATA’s Deer Protection Program seeks to ensure that ATA-member scent manufacturers and their product suppliers do everything possible to prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease, thus ensuring the health of white-tailed deer, the nation’s No. 1 big-game animal. Photo Credit: Shane Indrebo

The ATA Seal of Participation tells customers which scent manufacturers are doing their part to stop the spread of disease and ensure healthy deer populations. Since the program’s launch in June 2016, it has been full-speed ahead. Still, many deer hunters aren’t aware of the ATA Seal of Participation and its significance. Now that you’re familiar with the program and the ATA seal, strive to stock your shelves only with these approved urine-based scent products.

Don’t stop there. Tell your customers why purchasing products marked with the ATA seal helps protect deer, elk and moose. Without these healthy herds, bowhunting and the industry itself would suffer.

The ATA created an informational poster for pro shops to hang on their walls. The ATA handed them out at the 2017 ATA Trade Show, and sent them to scent manufacturers to distribute to customers. The posters are also available by contacting the ATA at (866) 266-2776.

Proudly display a poster in your shop, and assure customers the ATA logo and checkmark confirm the manufacturer and urine provider adhere to the program’s requirements, which go beyond USDA standards.

Visit to learn more about the Deer Protection Program. Or contact Scott Gieseke, ATA’s information systems and technology manager, with questions or concerns.

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