I received my first diploma in a long, long time the other day. This past weekend I attended a “Deer Steward Level One” course offered by the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). The 2-1/2-day course—taught by noted deer researchers and habitat specialists—covered everything from basic deer biology and management to habitat and food plot work. I’ve been a whitetail geek for more years than I’d like to admit, and I learned an awful lot in a long weekend. QDMA offers a Level II course that teaches deer nuts even more info, and I intend to take the course when I can.

QDMA is a conservation organization that’s on a roll in recent years. Founded by Joe Hamilton over two decades ago, the group built membership slowly at first, with strongest interest in the southeast and Texas. Then, in 1997, Brian Murphy—a PhD whitetail biologist and protégé of Hamilton—took over the reins. Murphy studied successful conservation groups like the NWTF and RMEF and applied that model to the QDMA. Under his tenure, membership and visibility has skyrocketed. QDMA now boasts 50,000-plus members, as well as branches (chapters) across the U.S. and even into Canada.

I’m curious about the presence and/or success of QDMA in your hunting area(s). If the responses to my last post are a true indication, most of you hunt within your state’s boundaries and often close to home. Do you apply QDMA principles (adequate harvest of antlerless deer, allowing young bucks to walk, habitat/food plot development) to the land you hunt? Do you belong to a local chapter? What are the management practices in your neighborhood and how do they affect how you hunt and harvest deer?