QDMA Convention Highlights Organization’s Accomplishments

July 24, 2017 | by Nick Pinizzotto

The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is getting close to celebrating its 30-year anniversary, an event that will be celebrated about a year from now at the 2018 QDMA Convention. As exciting as that is, I’m having a hard time reconciling how they’re going to top the big news that was part of CEO Brian Murphy’s report at this year’s event when he talked about the history of the organization.

One of the slides in Murphy’s talk depicted a graph from the organization’s most recent Whitetail Report that showed, for the first time, that mature buck harvest exceeded yearling buck harvest in the U.S. I could run down a long list of other impressive accomplishments by the organization, such as membership growth, number of Deer Stewards trained, financial integrity, their excellent magazine, etc., but to me, that one slide was the report card for nearly three decades worth of work, and it was a glowing A+.

The 2017 QDMA Convention was held in New Orleans last weekend.

While the debate among hunters can still get pretty spirited when it comes to holding out for a mature buck or not, what can’t be debated is the impact that a number of great programs and campaigns has had on overall whitetail herd health. If you really take the time to educate yourself on the full spectrum of Quality Deer Management, you would appreciate what it does for all deer, not to mention a countless list of other game and non-game animals. Mature bucks is really just a symptom of a much broader initiative, even though it is the one that gets the most headlines.

As a life member of QDMA, and someone who’s career choices were influenced by what I have learned from the organization over the years, what I see in the chart is a profound positive impact for North America’s most recognizable and pursued game animal. None of it could have been accomplished without focus, hard work, dedication, and commitment to mission. Fittingly, many of the group’s accomplishments were described as Murphy was recognized for his 20 years of service as the organization’s leader. He would be the first person to tell you though that his talented and dedicated team, many who are long-tenured, should share the accolades.

I joined QDMA CEO Brian Murphy and QDMA volunteer and contributor Tim Donges on Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World Radio, which we recorded in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

I have worked in the non-profit sector of the conservation and hunting industry for most of my career, and I have seen far too many examples of activity being tracked and touted as success as opposed to the results. While it’s nice to know how many members an organization has, how many meetings senior leaders attended, or how many youth events were held, what’s most important is the measure of impact on the resource. In QDMA’s case, the impact is pretty clear.

QDMA and NDA have a strong partnership, and we work on a number of initiatives and issues together. At a time when we spend a lot of time talking about the dark clouds hanging over deer and hunters, this partnership, and the positive impact that it will have in the coming years, is a silver lining. While there are challenges ahead, we know that deer are resilient, and we plan to be as well as we continue to strive for better deer and hunting across the country. You can help us by becoming a well-rounded hunter and following the issues, and even taking action on them when called upon. If we can all work together and remain focused, it’s easy to get excited about what the next 30 years will bring.