I just returned from the Quality Deer Management Association’s first-ever Whitetail Summit, held at Big Cedar Lodge near Branson, Mo. More than 200 hunters, property owners, biologists, researchers, and industry representatives braved a freak early-spring snow-and-ice storm to attend this inaugural event and discuss the hunting, management, and future of whitetail deer. It was a great forum.
Over the last couple of decades or so, we’ve reaped the benefits of the whitetail boom, but now many factors indicate that the bubble has burst, or is at least bursting. With that in mind, on the Summit’s second day, attendees divided into stakeholder groups (including Academia/Research, Hunters, Industry, Landowners/Managers, Non-Governmental Organizations, and State/Provincial Agencies) and each set out to identify the most important issues and challenges facing whitetail deer and deer hunting.
Each group was asked to brainstorm and rank issues in order of importance and then begin discussing possible solutions. Since most of us belong in the “hunter” category, I thought I’d share with you the list of hot-button topics generated by that group’s discussions–and give you a chance to weigh in.
So here it is, 10 items in alphabetical order (not ranked). In a follow-up blog, I’ll reveal how your rankings compare to those of the hunters who attended the QDMA Summit.
Rank Hot-Button Issues for Whitetail Hunters
Take a look and tell us where you think each item should rank in importance. (1 is most important and 10 is least important.)
Issues and Challenges Facing Whitetail Deer and Deer Hunting
|Captive Cervids: Those living on deer farms, including breeding facilities and hunting preserves|
|Commercialization: Negative impacts of the deer hunting industry|
|Disease: CWD, EHD, bovine tuberculosis, etc.|
|Education and Outreach: Providing information to hunters, as well as the non-hunting public|
|Habitat: Creating and maintaining quality deer habitat|
|Hunter Access: Finding quality places to deer hunt|
|Impacts of Other Animals: Coyotes, other predators, hogs, etc.|
|Political Influences: Legislation and lobbying that affects deer management and hunting|
|Public Perception: How the non-hunting public views us|
|Recruitment and Retention: Bringing young and new hunters into our ranks, and keeping them there|
This is a required question