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 interact with a well-managed deer herd that is in balance with its habitat. A side benefit is the knowledge that mature bucks are present in the herd – something lacking on many areas under traditional deer 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.