Jim Braaten

Jim Braaten lives near Kenyon, Minn., and has been an avid outdoorsman for more than 35 years. He lives on the family farm that was first settled by his ancestors 152 years ago. He has been an outdoors writer and photographer, and he owns a business producing and marketing calendars.

Is the fervor over Quality Deer Management starting to wane?

Posted by: Jim Braaten Updated: April 7, 2010 - 12:19 PM

In what is sure to cause some heated coffee shop discussion among deer hunters, acclaimed deer author and photographer, Charles Alsheimer, has penned an upcoming June article for Deer & Deer Hunting magazine entitled “Has the QDM Bubble Burst?” (Click on the link to read an excerpt from that article)

In a nutshell, Alsheimer suggests that due to cultural and sociological factors, both landowner and hunter attitudes about QDM are causing some individuals to re-think their positions on the highly popular deer management concept. Consider these major “pitfalls” now challenging the ultimate success of QDM:

  1. Unrealistic goals – anticipated results not achieved.
  2. Problems with neighbors – uncooperative neighbors become big headaches.
  3. The wrong focus – expectations for producing big bucks too high.
  4. Money matters – disposable income tighter for most budgets.
  5. The burnout curve – poor results eventually beget loss of interest.

My Take

I’ll be quite honest, I have never been a supporter of QDM. To me deer hunting is much more than engineering the deer herd to produce bigger bucks. Sure, QDM supporters will say the management concept produces a healthier deer herd by using more selective harvest practices, as well as proper land management techniques, but the main motivation for most QDM enthusiasts is more deer sporting bigger racks.

What I think, and hope, will evolve from this is a conservation-minded thinking that melds together many of these deer management theories. QDM serves its supporters well if the measure of success for every deer hunt is seeing trophy class animals on a more regular basis.

Unfortunately, that is not how every deer hunter thinks. Sure, most hunters will agree a big-antlered deer is a trophy in any hunter’s mind. Still, I believe there’s a majority of deer hunters who take to the woods each fall carrying with the notion any deer harvested should be considered a "trophy" in the hunter’s mind. In other words, deer hunting management should be more about creating deer hunting opportunity and perhaps less focused about the size/frequency of seeing the deer’s rack.

Your Take

So, what do you think? Are you a strong supporter of QDM who takes issue with people talking about the perceived demise of this popular deer management concept. Or, have you been someone reluctant to jump on the QDM bandwagon because you’ve long had issues with the deer management principle. Either way, leave a comment below and tell us what you think.

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