ATHENS, GA – Thirty years ago this October, Joe Hamilton of South Carolina organized the first gathering of volunteers who would become known as the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA). Throughout this year, QDMA will be celebrating this milestone in its history, most notably at the QDMA National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 19-22.
“We’ve planned a number of special events at the National Convention to commemorate QDMA’s 30th anniversary,” said Senior Director of Operations John Eastman. “We’ll have a panel discussion looking at the Quality Deer Management philosophy in North America and how it has changed deer hunting for the better. We’ll also focus on the road ahead and what QDMA will be doing in the next 30 years to ensure the future of our deer hunting heritage.”
Since its founding 30 years ago, QDMA’s efforts have had a profound impact on deer hunting in North America. The annual harvest of yearling bucks (11Ž2 years old) has fallen from the extreme high pressure seen in the late 1900s to sustainable levels in most states, and in response the harvest of adult bucks age 31Ž2 or older has skyrocketed. Where deer numbers in many areas far exceeded the ability of local habitats to support them in healthy condition, today herd numbers are more balanced and healthy as a result of hunters’ willingness to take an appropriate number of does when necessary. Today’s deer hunter is also more well versed in habitat improvement techniques, better able to estimate deer age on the hoof, and more in tune with deer population trends through collection of basic herd data.
Such achievements come not a moment too soon, because it will take more active, well-informed deer hunters to tackle challenges that now loom on the horizon. Hunter numbers are declining. Habitat quality on public hunting lands is falling due to shrinking budgets. Outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease (EHD and bluetongue viruses) and the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) continue to impact deer hunters and deer populations. Predator populations are shifting, and competition from invasive species like feral hogs is growing. These and many other issues require attention now, and that’s why QDMA recently announced pursuit of new five-year goals aimed at these areas.
Throughout this 30th Anniversary year and in those to come, QDMA will be asking its members and all deer hunters to help achieve these goals through active participation in efforts like mentoring new hunters, sharing venison, contributing to deer research funding, working on public-land habitat improvements, and more.
Though QDMA is now 30 years old, there’s never been a better time to become a member. We are hunters from all walks of life who share a passion for white-tailed deer. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. As the authority on all things whitetail, we blend the art of hunting with the science of management to create better deer and better deer hunting. For more information about QDMA’s history, mission, new goals, or supporting our efforts through membership and volunteering, visit www.QDMA.com. Learn why QDMA is where deer hunters belong.
Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with 60,000 members in all 50 states and Canada, and several foreign countries. QDMA is dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call 800-209-3337 or visit