Forming A QDM Co-op

What Is A QDM Cooperative?

A QDM Cooperative is a group of landowners, farmers, hunters, and members of the community collectively willing to work together to improve the quality of the deer herd, reduce crop damage and ornamental landscape damage, and overall hunting experiences. Thousands of dollars are lost to crop damage, ornamental landscape and forestry damage in our community every year. A QDM Cooperative is a collection of landowners, farmers, and hunters who agree to abide by specified deer management guidelines to improve management over a larger area.

Benefits of QDM Cooperatives

QDM Cooperative Member benefits include an opportunity to better manage the density, age structure, sex ratio, and distribution of the local deer herd. These characteristics are difficult to manipulate on small properties since deer spend much of their time on adjacent properties that do not practice QDM. This makes it nearly impossible to control crop damage, deer density, proper sex ratio, and buck age structure. This is the reason that QDM on small properties fail. Perhaps the most obvious benefit of a QDM Co-op is for hunters to have the opportunity to hunt a high quality deer herd containing an increased number of older, mature bucks.

Other benefits include the improved relationship with surrounding landowners and hunters as Co-ops unite everyone in a common goal and help develop a sense of pride and accomplishment in their efforts. In time, this trust will bring a sharing of information and expertise that will improve the hunting and the economic value for the landowner, farmer and hunter. Co-ops within WCWB have access to cold boxes for the donation of deer, which promotes the harvest of as many mature does as possible to improve the sex ratio, and to help feed the hungry and homeless in the Capital DC area.


What’s Involved?

Communication is critical to the success of a cooperative. Collecting reliable harvest data is essential for making sound management decisions and tracking the progress of a Cooperative over time. Meetings should be conducted throughout the hunting season to track progress and also throughout the year to fine-tune goals. Doe donation incentive programs will be offered to promote adequate harvest of does. Important information to be shared may include harvest reports from farmers, complaints from community members about landscape damage, and harvest records from hunters, to quantify success within the Co-op. Every member must be committed to passing immature bucks (3 ½ years and under) and harvesting as many mature nanny does with fawns as possible for the QDM program to succeed.

What Are The Results?

A cooperative is a proven program that will enhance the relationship between landowner, farmer and hunter.  Landowners will see an improvement in habitat and more economic value.  Farmers will no longer see the drastic crop damage losses due to high deer densities. Ultimately we are striving for a healthy balanced deer herd in the WCWB area without sacrificing crops, ornamental landscaping, and forestry. The hunter will then enjoy a better hunting experience and more mature bucks than ever before.

Where Can I Learn More About Starting A QDM Cooperative?

On February 28, 2011 at 7 PM at the Montgomery County NRCS Building in Derwood, MD (click for map), please join us for the first offering of the WCWB Lecture Series. This educational lecture series is open to everyone, from landowners, to farmers, to conservation experts, and hunters alike.

The WCWB Lecture Series is an introduction into QDMA and the benefits it will provide those within WCWB’s reach, as well as an in depth look into the methods of QDM and how it can be practically applied in the WCWB area.

This lecture will cover many topics, with a focus on establishing  QDM Cooperatives between neighboring landowners and farmers to accomplish a deer management objective.

Please check back regularly for more information on this and other installments of the WCWB Lecture Series.