The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) recently announced its goals for the next five years, with specific targets in five key areas – deer management, habitat conservation, hunting access, hunter recruitment, and education – that will allow QDMA members to track the organization’s progress at achieving its mission.
“In the early days, QDMA’s primary mission was to re-shape how whitetails were hunted and managed throughout North America. With the help of tens of thousands of QDMA members, we were able to check this box in less than 30 years,” said QDMA CEO Brian Murphy. “But as we were busy accomplishing our initial mission, new challenges emerged. These challenges call for an even stronger, more effective QDMA.”
QDMA’s mission – ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage – continues to be an effective calling for the organization, but in the past more focus was placed on the first two legs of the mission, deer and habitat, than on hunting heritage. Thus, QDMA’s new five-year goals place intensified effort into programs that fall in this third category, including hunting access, hunter recruitment, venison donation, and hunter education.
White-tailed Deer: Protect
Goal: Contribute $1 million to research, on-the-ground management, and technical assistance for white-tailed deer.
The QDMA National Office has contributed $865,000 to research, management and technical assistance efforts since 2006, so this goal represents a doubling of QDMA’s annual expenditures to an average of $200,000 per year over the next five years.
Wildlife Habitat: Conserve
Goal: Place 35 million acres into QDM Cooperatives across the whitetail’s range.
Currently, 30 percent, or approximately 17,500 QDMA members, are involved in a deer management cooperative. These cooperatives average approximately 1,700 acres each, or a collective 29 million acres. QDMA will increase the number of acres in QDM Cooperatives by 6 million over the next five years.
Hunting Heritage: Access
Goal: Strengthen partnerships with state and federal agencies to enhance deer herds and habitats on public hunting lands to provide enhanced QDM hunting experiences.
Lack of access is one of the most significant barriers to hunter recruitment and retention. However, access is influenced by the quality of the habitat and game populations. Thus, improving habitat quality on well-distributed public lands improves the quality of the access for many hunters. The goal is to double the number of habitat improvement projects QDMA volunteers implement on public lands over the next five years.
Hunting Heritage: Recruit
Goal: Mentor 1 million new or beginning hunters through QDMA’s Share Your Hunt™ program, Field to Fork program, individual mentor program and partnership with Scholastic 3D Archery.
Currently, 76 percent of QDMA members, or approximately 43,000, mentored at least one hunter last year, with an average of 3.7 hunters per mentor. When combined with QDMA’s Share Your Hunt™ program and other mentor initiatives, QDMA mentored approximately 160,000 hunters in 2016. QDMA will increase current mentorship levels from 160,000 to more than 200,000 annually over the next five years.
Hunting Heritage: Share
Goal: Share 20 million meals, or 5 million pounds of venison, with friends, family and others not residing in the donor’s household.
Recent research has revealed that the best way for hunters to connect with non-hunters is through the sharing of wild game. Currently, 56 percent of QDMA members, or approximately 33,000, share venison meals with people outside of their household annually. In total, they share 3.4 million meals with others outside of their home at barbecues, family gatherings and other events each year. QDMA will increase the number of meals shared by QDMA members by 320,000 per year over the next five years.
Hunting Heritage: Donate
Goal: Donate 35 million meals, or 10 million pounds of venison, or the equivalent processing costs, to charities or others not residing in the donor’s household.
One in seven U.S. households is currently food insecure. Currently, 44 percent of QDMA members, or approximately 26,000, donate bulk venison to charities or individuals not residing in their household annually. In total, they donate 6.9 million meals. QDMA will increase the number of meals donated by QDMA members by 270,000 per year over the next five years.
Hunting Heritage: Educate
Goal: Introduce five million hunters annually to QDM principles and practices by the end of five years.
Currently, QDMA’s educational resources, including the QDMA website, social media, Quality Whitetails magazine, videos, online courses, Deer Steward courses, new e-book and Branch events, reach approximately 3.3 million people annually, the vast majority of which are deer hunters. QDMA will increase QDMA’s total educational reach by 1.7 million people over the next five years.
QDMA will be calling on active members, volunteers, new members, and all deer hunters to join with them in achieving these goals. Working together, these efforts will directly and measurably impact the future of whitetail hunting, wildlife conservation and our hunting heritage.
For a more detailed look at QDMA’s five-year goals: https://www.qdma.com/our-5-year-goals-for-advancing-the-qdma-mission/
To receive updates on progress, sign up for QDMA’s free e-newsletter: https://www.qdma.com/newsletter/
To join QDMA or renew your membership: https://www.qdma.com/join
To learn about more ways to support QDMA, a Four-Star Charity based on evaluation by the independent group Charity Navigator: https://www.qdma.com/support/
QDMA is dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with more than 60,000 members in all 50 states and Canada. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call 800-209-3337 or visit www.QDMA.com. QDMA can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheQDMA, Twitter at www.twitter.com/TheQDMA, and Instagram at www.instagram.com/theqdma.