Responsible Hunting: Introducing the QDMA CWD Layer

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Know before you go. Our newest layer helps you identify counties where chronic wasting disease (CWD) is present.

Regardless of where you hunt, odds are high you’ve heard of chronic wasting disease (CWD), a neurodegenerative disease resulting in abnormal behavior, loss of body condition and eventual death. The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) notes that most hunters will never see a deer showing classic symptoms of CWD, as animals typically die from a variety of indirect causes before exhibiting evidence of the disease. CWD is 100% fatal and is found in most species of the deer family (cervids) including elk, moose, mule and white-tailed deer.

Even seemingly healthy bucks can succumb to chronic wasting disease.

“CWD continues to spread and has been identified in 25 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces,” notes QDMA Director of Corporate Relations Steve Levi. “Deer hunters should know where CWD has been confirmed and ensure they have an animal tested following a successful hunt. To see if CWD is present where you hunt, download the OnX Hunt app, which includes a map layer of every county CWD has been confirmed. QDMA will continue to fight for deer hunters by helping support CWD research and management efforts and ensuring hunters have access to the best possible information on this terrible disease.”

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There is no known cure for CWD and, QDMA notes, eradication, after it has become established in a wild deer population, does not currently appear feasible with the tools available. In short, the disease is something sportsmen will have to live with for the foreseeable future—and it’s incumbent upon hunters to educate themselves and to hunt responsibly, especially in areas with known CWD cases.

With that urgency in mind, we’ve teamed with the QDMA to release a CWD Layer in onX Hunt. Housed under Nationwide Layers, the layer counts both domestic and wild cases on a countywide basis (i.e. if there is only one case in a county, that county will still be highlighted red). When they click on a specific location, users can click “CWD information from QDMA” under “About this Location” and be taken to the QDMA website for more information about the disease.

The onX Hunt App QDMA Layer, developed with the Quality Deer Management Association, shows reported QDMA cases by county.

As of June 2018 no cases of CWD have been reported in humans, but we know the disease can spread through deer body fluids as well as via live deer, so scientists urge caution if you choose to hunt in a known CWD area. Have the meat tested for CWD, and stay up-to-date on statewide reporting on the disease.

For more information visit the QDMA website:


Jess McGlothlin

Before taking the role of onX Communications Writer, Jess McGlothlin worked as a freelance photographer and writer in the outdoor and fly-fishing industries. While on assignment in the past few years she’s learned how to throw spears at coconuts in French Polynesia, dodge saltwater crocodiles in Cuba, stand-up paddleboard down Peruvian Amazon tributaries and eat all manner of unidentifiable food.