In case you’re just tuning in, the National Deer Alliance, which seeks to be the unified voice of all deer hunters, is the country’s newest sportsman’s conservation group. Yesterday we posted Part 1 of your questions for the group and NDA Executive Director Craig Dougherty’s answers. Here’s Part 2.
Q. Will the NDA focus on the demands of it members or sound biology?
A. Member input will be critical to the NDA’s success, and we will use it to guide positions whenever possible. That said, sound science is a cornerstone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, a model that has made us the envy of the world with regard to wildlife management, conservation, and hunting. The best policy is often good both for the deer and for deer hunters, who pay the freight. The NDA will seek to balance member opinion with science, but where reliable research and data exists, we will ultimately land on the side of science. Many issues, however, are not questions of science but rather of ethics, opinion, or cultural differences. In the absence of science, NDA will be guided primarily by member opinion.
Q. What is the NDA stance on CWD? Should we manage it actively or passively?
A. CWD is one of the most serious threats facing deer and deer hunters today. The NDA’s initial goal is to stop the spread of CWD through partnerships between hunters, wildlife agencies, and our elected officials, all working together and guided by the best science. This is a big issue, and we have much to learn, but we must do everything possible to protect wild deer and our hunting heritage. The NDA hopes to grow quickly enough to provide timely funding for long-term solutions to CWD.
Q. Who formed the NDA and voted in the board? Are board members paid? If I give my email address but later want out, what do I do?
A. The NDA is an outgrowth of the inaugural North American Whitetail Summit, held earlier this year in Missouri. That’s where the call went out to form an umbrella organization to unify deer hunters and other stakeholders to address the many issues facing deer and deer hunting. A steering committee comprised of a variety of stakeholders (industry, press, conservation groups, researchers, and hunters) organized that event, and members of the same committee are currently assisting the NDA in establishing a Board of Directors. While this Board has yet to be finalized, it will be entirely volunteer-based and members will not be compensated.
The second part of your question—opting out of NDA membership—is very straightforward. Just as you can join quickly and at no cost, so too can you opt out at any time by clicking the “opt out” button on www.nationaldeeralliance.com.
Q. What will the NDA do to improve access for deer hunters?
A. The NDA recognizes that hunter access is a major problem and one that requires major attention. We are assessing the many existing access programs to determine which are most effective, and we are seeking new and innovative approaches. This will be a major topic of discussion at the 2015 NDA North American Deer Summit, to be held May 6-8, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. All NDA members are encouraged to attend and offer their suggestions. You also can provide your ideas immediately through weekly surveys featured in the NDA newsletter, which you can receive free by joining NDA (www.nationaldeeralliance.com).