You can no longer use natural deer baits in South Carolina. Changes in deer bait regulations are in effect for the 2019-20 deer season and apply not only to hunting, but also scouting wildlife within the Palmetto State. This means that “any substance or material that contains or purports to contain any excretion collected from deer including urine, feces, blood, gland oil, or other body fluid” is considered illegal, the Index-Journal reports.
Should you harvest a deer legally within the state, this change in regulations does not apply to substances collected by that animal nor to any synthetic products you wish to use.
The decision to change the regulations for natural deer baiting and attractants is due to the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD). Confirmed cases of CWD have been documented in many states, resulting in changes like these. CWD is spread when healthy deer come into contact with the urine, feces or saliva of infected deer or elk. The neurological disease has been documented in multiple captive deer herds, which is where natural deer bait companies obtain urine to make the attractants. Commercial scents are made by combining batches of urine from captive deer—or elk—and means that if one deer has CWD, the entire baiting batch is now contaminated with the disease. According to the Index-Journal, because there’s no way to test the products to see if they are contaminated with CWD, it makes more sense to ban usage instead.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) is unable to regulate urine production or sales, which means, while the ban is in place, the baits and attractants are still available for sale. If you have any of these items, SCDNR asks that you dispose of them in a sealed container in an approved landfill.