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Working for Whitetails

Learn how to produce better deer, be better hunter with QDMA

Working for Whitetails
The does are extremely tame. Most are rescued from folks who kept them as pets, which is illegal. (David Hunter Jones photo)

“Management” has been a buzz word in the deer woods for awhile now. Add quality into the mix and you have the Quality Deer Management Association, an organization for anyone who wants to create and hunt better deer.

From states and clubs instituting rules on harvests to landowners preparing food plots, actions to improve the deer herd have grown by leaps and bounds. The QDMA has been at the forefront, and it's celebrating its 25th anniversary as the leading non-profit conservation organization working to improve and sustain quality deer hunting.

“We’re a source of information and assistance to landowners, hunters and anyone interesting in having better deer and better deer hunters,” CEO Brian Murphy said. “Hundreds of people, when they first find us, say ‘Where have you guys been my whole life?’ ”

With almost 55,000 members, the QDMA includes more than 3,000 deer management professionals and has state wildlife agencies among its partners. It was started by biologists, but Murphy said the organization is for anyone passionate about better deer and better deer hunting.


“Whether you hunt large land or a small tract, you need to consider joining this organization to make a difference for the future,” he said. “We share the latest resources and help teach you how to harvest the larger animals.


“If you look throughout the nation, the adoption of QDM principles, we’re seeing agencies, hunters and about every sector of the world moving toward them. The QDM movement is alive and growing.”The flagship program of the association is the acronym REACH: Research, Education, Advocacy, Certification and Hunting.

The QDMA funds and is a leader in whitetail research projects. Its various articles are written by experts in deer biology and land management, and they are working to get it to the masses.

While its membership is a fraction of the total number of deer hunters, QDMA has found that 82 percent of them already use some of its principles.

The QDMA delivers its messages in a number of ways, foremost is its magazine, Quality Whitetails. The association also has books, posters, dvds and its web site, http://www.qdma.com/. It also holds a national convention.



Click the image to see photos from the latest get-together.


Its advocacy arm is responsible for working to institute sound philosophies and push for sensible harvests.“Just whatever it may be in terms of common-sense deer regulations,” Murphy said. “As it relates to the advocacy, we are almost always the sole voice beating the doors on state capitals for common sense action.”A prime example was the recent work to change the archaic Alabama buck-a-day seasons. Murphy said the change wasn’t popular with some, but the current three bucks a season is more in line with the times.

Certification training is achieved through courses around the country, where top deer experts give participants A to Z lessons on biology and management. They even teach about applying herbicides.


The final measure is hunting heritage, which is really an in-depth youth mentoring program. Murphy said it’s not like others that give kids a “fishing rod, a hot dog and a hat.”

“You have to have a mentor and go through an eight-step process over a year,” Murphy said, mentioning woodsmanship training, reading scat and rubs, firearms training and small-game hunting. “It goes stepwise. Not until step six do they actually get to deer hunt.

“Take them from the woods all the way to the table, so they have a true training.”

OutdoorChannel.com wants to help others with similar QDMA deer management training. We encourage interested parties to join the organization http://www.qdma.com/. A yearly fee of $30 gives members six bi-monthly editions of Quality Whitetails, eblasts of information and allows them to become active at the local level.

“Our groups do hundreds of activities,” Murphy said. “Our grassroots branches and members are very active.

“You’ve got biologists to talk to, local support. You can become part to the local branch.”

For more information on the Quality Deer Management Association, go to its Web site http://www.qdma.com/.

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