2017 Deer Summit Most Significant Deer Gathering in Recent Memory

May 24, 2017 | by Nick Pinizzotto

This is a critical time for deer, hunters, and the hunting industry. As I say in just about every interview I do, this is not the good ol’ days of deer hunting. While there are many positives to point to when it comes to the future of our sport, times have definitely changed. That’s why at this year’s North American Deer Summit — the first one fully hosted by the National Deer Alliance (NDA) — we have put together a program that will shed light on some of the biggest issues that impact deer, hunting, and the hunting industry today.

After kicking off the event with an update on the current state of whitetail and mule deer herds, we’ll hear a presentation on the Farm Bill and why it is such an important program, yet is overlooked by so many hunters and landowners. The second day of the event will include five panel discussions:

  • How Do We Improve Hunter Access?
  • What We Know About Chronic Wasting Disease
  • CWD and the Challenges Faced by State Wildlife Agencies
  • Navigating the Political/Social Science of Deer Management
  • NDA in Partnership with Hunters, Industry, and State Wildlife Agencies

Each panel discussion will include five expert panelists and a moderator. We will have 30 highly experienced and accomplished deer managers and scientists, media professionals, industry leaders, and social scientists talking about key deer issues and how to address them.  Add to that the many other deer experts and enthusiasts in the audience and you can see why we’re so excited.

What the Summit can’t be is just another discussion about the problems we face with no real plan to address them. We must capitalize on this unique opportunity to point to tangible outcomes that we must achieve for the greater good of deer and hunting. If you attend, I suspect you’ll hear me and others routinely say, “So what are we going to do about it?”

I am particularly excited about the discussion we’ll have about the political and social science of deer management. This topic is timely because we are living at a time when the political science has unfortunately become more significant than the biological science. It doesn’t matter what the science tells us if we don’t convince decision-makers, who are influenced by people and groups with special interests. We also need to communicate better with each other to reduce the growing number of hunter vs. hunter and hunter vs. state wildlife agency conflicts.

I have been critical of the outdoor industry for how poorly we communicate with non-hunters (not anti-hunters), who represent close to 90% of society. I believe we need to work with experts in communications and human dimensions to help us do a better job of spreading the great news about hunting and conservation. We need to recognize what we’re good at, while not being afraid to ask for help where we need it. That is why NDA has partnered with Cornell University’s Human Dimensions Research Unit, who will play a significant role at the Summit. We hope this partnership is the first of many like it because nearly everything we need to do for wild deer is dependent upon buy-in from hunters and non-hunters alike. The science alone is no longer good enough.

While the first two Deer Summits were important, they were primarily focused on the creation of NDA, and the role of the organization going forward. Now, it’s time to stop talking about talking about it. The 2017 North American Deer Summit will be the most significant deer gathering in recent memory. It’s time to take action for wild deer, and everyone whose lives are better because of them.


If you would like to attend the 2017 North American Deer Summit, there are a few openings available. Simply visit our registration page and sign up today.