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QDMA Founder Named “Conservationist of the Year”

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January 28, 2011

QDMA Founder Named “Conservationist of the Year”

By Scott Bestul

Joe Hamilton, founder of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), has been named Budweiser’s “Conservationist of the Year” beating out three other finalists for the prestigious honor. Hamilton accepted the award during the Golden Moose Awards ceremony, held during the 2011 SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

I met Joe two years ago at a QDMA function, and the man is simply a class act. Among the most respected biologists in the country, Hamilton has spent his over 40 years studying wildlife and is an expert on many species, from amphibians to black bears. He’s among a handful of living biologists who has received a Career Achievement Award from The Wildlife Society, an association of professional biologists and researchers. Joe has also worked with other groups, such as Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy, to create conservation easements and expand hunting opportunity. But you’d never guess at his pedigree if you met this modest, friendly man on the street.

Of course, Hamilton is best known for QDMA, an organization he started in 1988. For several years, QDMA “headquarters” was literally a shed in Hamilton’s backyard. The organization now claims 50,000-plus members, who reside in every U.S. state and Canadian province, as well as several foreign countries. QDMA is among the fastest-growing conservation groups in the country of late.

During his acceptance speech for the Budweiser award, Hamilton held up a copy of Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac”, acknowledging Leopold as the father of modern game management. Hamilton is an heir to that legacy, and the stamp that QDMA has placed on modern deer hunting cannot be downplayed. Folks who associate QDMA as a group advocating trophy-bucks-above-all-else have not taken the time to read the organization’s entire message. Though whitetail deer are certainly a major player—in the hearts of hunters or the plans of state agencies—they are only one component of any given ecosystem.

Hamilton (and QDMA) has educated scores of hunters and biologists, helping them to re-think deer management in order to achieve a balanced and healthy whitetail herd. In my opinion, there have been few men who have made a heftier contribution to modern deer management, and he’s most deserving of this award. Hamilton has donated the $50,000 monetary prize to QDMA.

 

Comments (9)

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from jamesti wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

sounds like a good man. wasn't he criticised for his work at one point by some fringe groups? congrats.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Not criticizing this guy directly, but this is a conservation award, not a whitetail hunter's award. What has he done that goes beyond improving deer herds and growing big bucks? There is a hell of a lot more to conservation than whitetail deer. Half of the country doesn't even have whitetails.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Big props for being an Aldo fan, though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

--------------------------------------------------------------------

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I goofed up the last post,will try again later

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Not to disparage the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year award, but The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wildlife Society stands head and shoulders above the Budweiser Award.

But he's done a lot of conservation work, and deserves every award he gets.

I think that calls for a beer! (Is a Sam Adams OK?)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whackdaddy wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Shane, if you'd read before posting, you'd see Scott said there's a lot more to QDMA than growing trophy bucks. Exactly which half of the country doesn't have whitetails, by the way?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Shane,

Take the time to read the concepts of QDMA. You will find that QDMA practices benefit a wide range of animals including non-game animals. QDMA doesn't concentrate on big antlers, it promotes balance across the board.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from QDMGuy wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Joe Hamilton's conservation work goes far beyond just white-tailed deer. As Scott briefly mentioned, he has an incredible list of projects and conservation efforts behind him that have effected many species of wildlife and habitats all across the board. There is no more deserving, all-around conservationist than Joe Hamilton for this award!

Scott- Great write-up and clarification on QDMA's mission!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report

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from QDMGuy wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Joe Hamilton's conservation work goes far beyond just white-tailed deer. As Scott briefly mentioned, he has an incredible list of projects and conservation efforts behind him that have effected many species of wildlife and habitats all across the board. There is no more deserving, all-around conservationist than Joe Hamilton for this award!

Scott- Great write-up and clarification on QDMA's mission!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

sounds like a good man. wasn't he criticised for his work at one point by some fringe groups? congrats.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Big props for being an Aldo fan, though.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Whackdaddy wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Shane, if you'd read before posting, you'd see Scott said there's a lot more to QDMA than growing trophy bucks. Exactly which half of the country doesn't have whitetails, by the way?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Shane,

Take the time to read the concepts of QDMA. You will find that QDMA practices benefit a wide range of animals including non-game animals. QDMA doesn't concentrate on big antlers, it promotes balance across the board.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

--------------------------------------------------------------------

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Don Mitchell wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

I goofed up the last post,will try again later

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from NHshtr wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Not to disparage the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year award, but The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wildlife Society stands head and shoulders above the Budweiser Award.

But he's done a lot of conservation work, and deserves every award he gets.

I think that calls for a beer! (Is a Sam Adams OK?)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 11 weeks ago

Not criticizing this guy directly, but this is a conservation award, not a whitetail hunter's award. What has he done that goes beyond improving deer herds and growing big bucks? There is a hell of a lot more to conservation than whitetail deer. Half of the country doesn't even have whitetails.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

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