Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

We need COLDER weather to get the deer moving!

 

Mike Martin at Giles Island Mississippi with a great Bow kill

Well ladies and gentlemen, the weather hasn't exactly been top-notch this season so far. We're finally starting to see some weather that resembles December, but to this point in the season, the deer haven't done much moving. Unseasonably warm weather means that there's still browse in the woods, so the deer don't have to move far to get their grub. On top of that, deer are a prey animal. They're conditioned to stay as safe as possible, meaning that when the weather gets cold and chilly, the deer will get up and move around in order to generate body heat. Warmer weather means they don't have to move to stay warm, so they're content to just bed down for the day. So while the weather has been bad for deer, the bright side is that fishing and quail hunting have been absolutely fantastic!

That being said, the unusually warm weather isn't just down here; I went to a meeting with a bunch of directors for QDMA the other day, and every corner of the US, even up in Canada, was having a rough time of it. We also talked about disease within the deer population, which seems to be starting to spread around. We're still mostly in the clear down here in Alabama, but it's coming.

I'm sure of you are still curious as to what all this talk about QDMA is, so let me take a minute to explain what QDMA is all about! QDMA stands for Quality Deer Management Association, and it's a non-profit organization that's all about the preservation and growth of the whitetail deer population, as well as the industry and sport surrounding those deer. QDMA is all about research, education, and awareness. In fact, they have an approach to this that we like to call REACH: Research, Educate, Advocate, Certify, and Hunt! Research involves hunters, biologists, and outdoorsmen and women everywhere, working together to get the facts and statistics needed to make informed decisions. QDMA is focused on whitetail biology, ecology, management, hunting, diseases, and human dimensions for research. QDMA helps with many practical research projects that both increase knowledge and improve management.

Education is the next part of QDMA's mission. We do our best to ensure that everyone involved with deer have access to and a better understanding of all the factors that go into deer management, habitat improvement, and many other areas. QDMA hosts many seminars, field days, and its own magazine, Quality Whitetails.

QDMA is also focused on being an advocate. Nature is a harsh mistress, yet we humans are pretty rough on the deer populations as well! With the myriad issues facing the whitetail population, QDMA works hard across the board, ensuring that the whitetail population is stable and healthy, not just for today, but for future generations as well!

Certification programs are another aspect of QDMA. There is an individual certification program that has three sequential steps, teaching and certifying people on how to ensure proper deer management. There's also a Land Certification Program, which in tandem with the individual program, aims to create more know-ledgeable hunters and managers!

Finally, QDMA is about hunting. Hunting is the most direct and effective way to see the results of all the work that goes into deer herd management. Through our Mentored Hunting Program and the membership-based Rack Pack, QDMA aims to foster a greater understanding of hunting, as well as establish a feeling of camaraderie and belonging for young hunters. It's not just about getting more kids hunting, but making them better ambassadors for deer hunting as well!

That's just a brief summary of what QDMA is all about, and of course, there's always more to know! If you'd like to get involved with QDMA, just shoot me an e-mail at slong@QDMA.com. So get your long johns ready, cause the cold is coming, and go get'em!

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