quality deer management

qdm-01

Quality Deer Management Association.

Follow the link if you would like to find out more information about QDMA. Click here if you would like to join QDMA.

What is QDM?

Quality Deer Management (QDM) is a management philosophy/practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of young bucks (yearlings and some 2.5 year-olds) combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and landowner desires. This level of deer management involves the production of quality deer (bucks, does, and fawns), quality habitat, quality hunting experiences, and, most importantly, quality hunters.

A successful QDM program requires an increased knowledge of deer biology and active participation in management. This level of involvement extends the role of the hunter from mere consumer to manager. The progression from education to understanding, and finally, to respect; bestows an ethical obligation upon the hunter to practice sound deer management. Consequently, to an increasing number of landowners and hunters, QDM is a desirable alternative to traditional management, which allows the harvest of any legal buck and few, if any, does.

QDM guidelines are formulated according to property-specific objectives, goals, and limitations. Participating hunters enjoy both the tangible and intangible benefits of this approach. Pleasure can be derived from each hunting experience, regardless if a shot is fired. What is important is the chance to harvest a quality buck – an opportunity lacking in many areas under traditional management. When a quality buck is taken on a QDM area, the pride can be shared by all property hunters because it was they who produced it by allowing it to reach the older age classes which are necessary for large bodies and antlers.

History of QDM.

Where did QDM come from? Texas is the formal birthplace of QDM. Beginning in the late 1960s, wildlife biologists Al Brothers and Murphy Ray Jr. began formalizing their novel ideas on deer management, which they outlined in their 1975 book, Producing Quality Whitetails. The QDM movement gained momentum in Texas during the 1970s, but was slow to spread to other parts of the whitetail’s range. The idea was brought to the Southeast in the late 1970s and slowly gained acceptance, initially from large private landowners and timber companies.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, QDM gained popularity throughout other portions of the whitetail’s range. By the year 2000, dozens of states and thousands of hunters had implemented QDM restrictions on millions of acres of private and public lands across the United States. Without question, QDM is rapidly becoming accepted as the most desirable and biologically sound deer management approach for today’s whitetail herds.

Is QDM for YOU?

QDM often is confused with trophy deer management. While the two approaches share several objectives, they also differ in many ways. Under trophy deer management, fully mature bucks with high-scoring antlers are the primary focus. Whitetail bucks typically attain maximum antler size between 5.5 and 8.5 years of age.

Producing bucks of this age and antler quality requires many ingredients not available to most hunters. Because some adult bucks have home ranges of 2,000 acres or more, large tracts of land, often 5,000 acres or more, are required. Because buck home ranges are not uniform in shape and size, few adult bucks live their entire lives on a single property, even on 5,000 acres.

The ability to control hunting pressure is paramount, especially on promising 2.5-, 3.5- and 4.5-year-old bucks. This requires considerable field-judging skill and self-control. Unless the herd is enclosed and supplementally fed, deer density must be kept low to allow optimum nutrition so bucks can maximize antler potential. This often involves aggressive doe harvests (even higher than under QDM) and intensive habitat management. Therefore, while trophy deer management is a biologically sound approach, it is not feasible in many areas and the associated costs outweigh the benefits for most hunters.

What is TDM?

QDM often is confused with trophy deer management. While the two approaches share several objectives, they also differ in many ways. Under trophy deer management, fully mature bucks with high-scoring antlers are the primary focus. Whitetail bucks typically attain maximum antler size between 5.5 and 8.5 years of age.

Producing bucks of this age and antler quality requires many ingredients not available to most hunters. Because some adult bucks have home ranges of 2,000 acres or more, large tracts of land, often 5,000 acres or more, are required. Because buck home ranges are not uniform in shape and size, few adult bucks live their entire lives on a single property, even on 5,000 acres.

The ability to control hunting pressure is paramount, especially on promising 2.5-, 3.5- and 4.5-year-old bucks. This requires considerable field-judging skill and self-control. Unless the herd is enclosed and supplementally fed, deer density must be kept low to allow optimum nutrition so bucks can maximize antler potential. This often involves aggressive doe harvests (even higher than under QDM) and intensive habitat management. Therefore, while trophy deer management is a biologically sound approach, it is not feasible in many areas and the associated costs outweigh the benefits for most hunters.