Effort to continue CWD mitigation shifts from ATA to newly formed Responsible Hunting Scent Association

by the Shoot On staff

As Chronic Wasting Disease continues to challenge whitetail resource managers and the urine-based scent industry, scent manufacturers have created a new organization to provide a more focused effort to combat CWD while ensuring the safe manufacture and use of natural whitetail scents. Today, the Archery Trade Association, which has spearheaded this nationwide effort, and the Responsible Hunting Scent Association have issued a joint statement on the transition of the Deer Protection Program from ATA oversight to RHSA…

The Archery Trade Association and the Responsible Hunting Scent Association are working together to transition the Deer Protection Program from ATA management to RHSA management by April 1, 2021.The ATA launched the DPP in March 2016 as the threat of chronic wasting disease increased nationwide. Program participants include urine-based scent manufacturers and their suppliers who agree to follow strict guidelines and safeguards on their products to reduce the risk of spreading CWD. Their efforts and commitment help ensure the sustainability of the hunting industry by protecting the health of wild deer herds. Today, DPP members market and sell the vast majority or urine-based scent products on the market.

DPP members recognize the regulatory and oversight needs of their segment of the industry are very specialized, so they organized their own association in 2020. The RHSA officially incorporated in December as a 501(c)6 trade association and elected officers and a Board of Directors. Sam Burgeson of Wildlife Research Center is the RHSA president. Roxanne Lotts of Indianhead Whitetails and Doug Roberts of Conquest Scents share RHSA’s vice president positions.

The RHSA is focused on maintaining and strengthening the DPP to ensure that hunters and wildlife managers have access to urine-based scents that have strong safeguards in place to protect against CWD. Building on the strong foundation and high expectations initiated by the ATA, the RHSA will ensure a healthy future for the scent industry by contributing to a healthy future for wild deer.

“The ATA played a critical role in unifying responsible scent manufacturers and collectors around a scientifically based set of standards,” Burgeson said. “As our program participants have embraced these protocols and procedures aimed at disease prevention, we have realized that our specialization requires a focus that is best achieved by the Responsible Hunting Scent Association.”

The ATA is transitioning the program to the RHSA so it can focus on its strategic initiatives, which include increasing archery and bowhunting participation numbers, and supporting the nationwide effort to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters.

Dan Forster, ATA’s vice president and chief conservation officer, said the decision helps the ATA further its mission and allows the DPP to grow and mature under the RHSA’s command.

“We’re proud of the role the ATA played in establishing the Deer Protection Program and resulting quality urine-based products being produced under the highest of industry standards and protecting against CWD transmission,” Forster said. “We’ll continue to work closely with the Responsible Hunting Sent Association to ensure that production standards remain high. We’re confident this is the right organization to lead and improve this state-recognized program into the future.”

The RHSA is in the process of recruiting an executive director to handle communication and administration of the DPP. A website will be launched soon at ResponsibleScents.com.

Questions? Please contact Sam Burgeson ([email protected]) or Dan Forster ([email protected]).

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