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What Have We Become?

Stretch

Have you ever taken the time to stop for a second and just looked around at your surroundings?  I mean really take in who you truly are and how you got to this place in your life.  Let me ask you this, how many of you, this year, got in your treestand or crawled into your groundblind and it just hit you? The thought of what the heck are you doing?  For those who are honest, you can vouch that it’s an empty feeling of emotions.  You look at all the new gear that you just had to have and all the money that was wasted.  You look at your new camo and realize the only reason you bought it is because it was trending, and for some reason you think people will judge you if you wore the other brand.  We all have experienced that feeling of emptiness at one point and if you haven’t, you will in due time. Read more

Why Do You Practice Quality Deer Management

Quality Deer Management

They say we all have a story.  If this is true, what’s yours?  Have you ever thought to yourself why you do all this, why do you practice this philosophy called QDM?  What would your answer be? What is it about this practice of sound wildlife management that grabs us and doesn’t seem to let go?  Why do we put ourselves through this?  We  buy equipment that we can’t afford, and when we want to use it, something is either broken, or better yet, how many bloody knuckles do we have to go through trying to hook up a simple PTO shaft before we say, enough is enough.  Then we have these things called expectations that we set on ourselves that are usually out of reach do to our financial situation.  Bills are usually left piling up during planting season, just so we can finally plant that expensive magic bean we heard so much about. Then there is something that is worth more than our financial status will ever be, and that is time.  Thoughts of managing our land is what gets us through our rough work week and then, finally, the weekend comes. And just when you thought you were going to go plow, your spouse has other plans that are not so silly sounding.  Time is a tough one to deal with, because every time we choose to do something we are saying no to something else. Too many of our children’s sports events have been missed do to QDM, and you’ll never forget that look in your child’s eye when they come home and your wife tells you that you missed his game winning goal. Read more

Are We Doing More Harm Than Good?

Quality Deer Management

Isn’t it intriguing how a philosophy like QDM can change an entire hunting culture?  Now, the practice of QDM is far from a majority way of hunting, but I believe no one can argue that this idea of healthier, bigger deer is quickly becoming the future of deer hunting.

With this growing trend, some of those who practice QDM may want to tread lightly in one aspect. If you practice QDM, you may take it upon yourself to spread the gospel, and with good intentions.  In order for anything you feel passionate about to grow, you must promote it so others may feel the same experience as you.  Sometimes, this is where good intensions may go awry!

The best part of my profession is helping people achieve their goals, but the most interesting and fun part is observing people’s behavior.  This story I’m about to tell you has stuck with me regarding this very topic.  Several years ago, I pulled up to a meat processor to see what was being brought in to get a feel for what people were harvesting.  When I pulled in, I saw that some had the same philosophy as me.  I couldn’t help but to notice that a good majority of the vehicles there had some old QDMA logo stickers on them and it was going to be nice visiting with like minded deer hunters.  As we admired some great deer that were coming into the processor, some fellow QDM’ers introduced others to QDM and the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), while some even had pamphlets to hand out.  Fast forward a little later that afternoon.  A gentleman came in that had shot a yearling buck.  Everyone there just eyeballed the guy as he walked into the business to drop off his deer to be processed.  When he walked back outside with his trophy, he stuck the rack into a plastic bag and then put his head down with embarrassment making sure not to make eye contact with the crowd and drove off.  The crowd quickly started making comments about what was wrong with the deer that was just dropped off.  Let me tell you that what was coming out of their mouths wasn’t too pleasant to say the least.  I couldn’t keep my thoughts to myself any longer and proceeded to tell them what they just did to that gentleman was wrong.  I told them we didn’t walk in his shoes so we don’t know the whole story.  What they did to that gentleman was demeaning.  They made him feel like he did something wrong.

It’s situations like this we will come across while practicing Quality Deer Management.  The difference between us QDM’ers and others, in my opinion, is that we are held at a higher standard.  We should be professional and educated while handling such situations.  Everyone you meet that is not a part of the QDM philosophy should walk away at least thinking that we are professional and educated on the subject.  QDM’ers aren’t supposed to make people feel threatened or annoyed by their passion.  We must be able to feel the situation out and then educate from there, but in no means should we be overly aggressive. Know when to say when and, frankly, just to shut up and move on.

For this great philosophy to grow like we all want it to, we must understand and come to grips that some people just can’t be reach for whatever reason.  Remember, our comments or physical actions are representing QDM and at times, the Quality Deer Management Assocaition.  We don’t know why he or she killed a lesser quality buck than what we would harvest. We don’t know their story.  It might be he or she’s first buck, or they might get only a few days a year off to go out hunting and that yearling buck just might be good enough for them.  No matter what the reason, we must handle ourselves with class.  How I look at it is as long as they are out hunting instead of golfing, there will come a day when you and I will reach them.

The QDM cause needs all of us for this to continue to grow so we need not to be afraid to confront people and educate, but not at the expense of turning people away because of what we think of their harvest or mind set.  My grandfather would always tell me when I was having problems with people or just life in general; “No Hurry, No Worry, Keep Moving”.  Well, everybody, all of us being at a different place in their own hunting philosophy is what makes the world go around wouldn’t you say!

 

Thanks for caring about this great resource!

Stretch

QDM Co-ops

Quality Deer Management

QDM Co-ops

What do you think to be the most limiting factor that seems to be dragging you down QDM Co-opswhen it comes to harvesting the buck of a lifetime?  Is it the whole crazy concept of the food plot?  No one would argue with you on that because first off, what in the world do you plant, then there is the cost to produce quality forages, and then your inner farmer needs to come out to grow the stuff correctly.  There are just so many limiting factors that range from food plots to your financial well-being that may be keeping you from reaching your goals.  The biggest limiting factor though, in my opinion, could be just outside of your door on the other side of that imaginary line we call, your neighbor.

This may be the most non-talked about subject out there when it comes to producing and harvesting whitetail deer.  Now, we all have them, we all have horrible stories that would make your blood pressure rise, but let me ask you this, why in the world would you spend all that time planting food plots, creating quality cover and browse, all the camera work, and all that scouting if you’re going to end up saying, “my neighbor screwed me up”, before the end of the hunting season.

For those who do not practice QDM, have you used or even heard the line that goes, “I can’t practice QDM, my neighbors will just shoot what I pass”, or this is my favorite line that I hear a lot while giving seminars on QDM, “If I didn’t shoot him, my neighbor would have”?

Working Together For QDM

That brings me to asking you why you wouldn’t take the effort in creating quality neighbors as you do in creating quality whitetails.

Quality Deer ManagementWhen I mention this during a consult or at a seminar, I don’t think there has been an excuse that I haven’t heard.  The one that I hear the most is that I don’t know their neighbors and it wouldn’t work introducing them to QDM.  Funny thing is, your neighbors are probably saying that about them as well.  So I’m here to tell you that it does work and with patience, time, and some more patience, a QDM Cooperative can be formed to be the finishing touches on your quest to produce and hopefully harvest, “the big ones”.

My favorite part of being a deer consultant is having a hand in creating these QDM Co-ops.  I have had my hands in creating a lot of the QDM Co-ops in central Ohio and have traveled out of state to create them as well.  What I love the most is seeing them go from “what in the world did we get ourselves into type of mentality into a “why didn’t we do this before type of attitude.

For those who don’t know what a QDM Co-op is, a QDM Co-op is a group of landowners/hunters coming together and agreeing on practicing QDM on their properties or lease(s).  These groups usually come together twice a year by conducting a meeting, once in the spring and then in the fall.  They share what they’re doing and what they are seeing deer wise.  They also address problems that may come up as well as coming up with innovative ways to help each other be successful and antler growth is a priority because in this case, the bigger the better.  Sounds simple enough, right? That’s because it is!

A Common Goal

The first thing a QDM Co-op has to do is address the trust factor.  All these things mentioned are great, but if the Co-op doesn’t have trust within the group, the success of the Co-op will soon fail and could do so quickly.  I can’t emphasize enough how important building that trust is.  It is without a doubt the key ingredient for QDM Co-ops to be successful.  Time and patience with one another is how trust is built.  Knowing that people are human and they will make mistakes and disappoint you or effect you from time to time is key to building trust within a Co-op.  It all boils down to if you start hiding things, that’s when the interest wanes quickly.  As more and more guys realized that they can trust one another, the fun will begin!

One of the problems that may rise in your area were you hunt is poaching and one of many benefits to a QDM Co-op is that a well-organized Co-op can slow this down dramatically.  As neighbors get to know one another and the trust is built within the Co-op, everyone will start to look out for one another’s property and pay closer attention to their surroundings.  This concept of trying to grow and hold older class whitetails is a chore in itself due to bad neighbors, but when you throw in poaching of the deer that you are trying to get into the next year it seems like an impossible task.  Coming together as a group doesn’t eradicate poaching of your communities deer herd, but it puts out a warning to those who choose to steal from them that they (Co-op) are watching and you will get caught, maybe not today but soon.  The word spreads quickly that your odds go down of getting away with it of robbing people deer.

Benefits

That leads us to the hunting rewards of a QDM Co-op.  Letting deer grow to older class status is the driving force in a QDM Co-op.  From the hunting aspects of things, letting young bucks walk, shooting an adequate number of does, leaving areas rest, and trying not to shoot button bucks are all important factors in practicing QDM.  Knowing that your neighbors are doing the same lets you feel at ease while you’re trying to manage for quality on your property.  Thinking and knowing that your neighbors are following the same path as you is the challenging part of a Co-op.  When the “rules” are followed if you will, you will quickly learn that the proof can’t be hidden.

If you would like to start a QDM Co-op in your area, contact your Local QDMA Branch or contact me at Drumming Log Wildlife Management.  We can answer most, if not all your questions in forming a Co-op in your area.  It can be done!!

Erich D. Long
Drumming Log Wildlife Management

 

Is Quality Deer Management Becoming A Competition?

QDM

Is Quality Deer Management Becoming A Competition?

The definition of QDM, as explained by the Quality Deer Management Association, is; “a management philosophy/practice that unites landowners, hunters, and managers in a common goal of producing biologically and socially balanced deer herds within existing environmental, social, and legal constraints. This approach typically involves the protection of young bucks (yearlings and some 2.5 year-olds) combined with an adequate harvest of female deer to maintain a healthy population in balance with existing habitat conditions and landowner desires. This level of deer management involves the production of quality deer (bucks, does, and fawns), quality habitat, quality hunting experiences, and, most importantly, quality hunters.”

The Philosophy

Pretty self-explanatory wouldn’t you say?  Now, let’s have an honest conversation shall we?  From the start of this great philosophy, the diversity of the membership has come a long way. It ranges from affluent men and women to those who may just wear the label of a QDM’er. With this much diversity in those practicing QDM, you’re bound to have meandering definitions of what QDM was originally truly intended to be.

I’m sure the founder(s) of QDM could have never have imagined that idea or dream that they had, would become this strong force in wildlife management as a whole. It’s amazing to say the least!  With that being said, have the standards changed?  It seems as of late, that this QDM philosophy has become somewhat of a competition.

Expectations

Most people getting involved in management for the first time have expectations that are Quality Deer Managementinsanely influenced by the “fantasy world” of the deer management community.  Who can blame them?  Get on social media and check out all the management pictures and posts.  To some, this may build resentment towards fellow QDM’ers. For example, I read a post on Facebook that was a picture of a guy spraying his food plots and bragging about it.  Different responses were “I wish I could be doing that” and another “I can’t afford to spray this spring, have to wait and see this fall.”  With those responses, you’re allowing yourself to get mentally absorbed into wishing you were him/her.  With human nature being what it is, this also fuels competition of who can be a better manager and it then becomes a job of who can keep up and who can get recognition first and be known as “the great deer hunter.”  Another example I found, was a guy posting an old photo of a deer in velvet that was taken in late July and he reposted it in late June bragging that his deer were coming along fast due to his management practices!  What’s going on here?

It’s magazines, television, certain web shows and social media, that competition is being created intentionally and unintentionally and I believe this will be the monster in the bushes that could destroy this philosophy.

Realism

What people need to realize is that it takes time, money, patience and knowledge to truly accomplish the visions they have in their mind.  Some would say all you need is time and money to be successful, but then there needs to be patience and knowledge to get completed correctly.  When you allow outside influences, whether you think it’s happening to you or not, patience goes out the window.  So, we clamber about to keep up with the “Jones” and resort to some crazy products/ideas that promise things that can’t be achieved faster and better.  All this ends up causing undue stress and then practicing QDM becomes that nasty three letter word, a “JOB”.

Whether you agree with me or not, this is what I see happening out there right now.  Again, you may be allowing outside influences dictate your deer management program!  As I tell all my clients, we are going to do what we can, when we can, with the time and money you have, to be successful.  I explain to them that each property is different and it may take one or more of these items; money, time, and a whole lot of patience to get the final results.

Set YOUR Goals

QDMIf you are fortunate to be affluent, good for you.  For those who are not, this article is written for you!  You CANNOT judge your accomplishments based on what others are doing.  If you’re a family guy who only gets time off on the weekends and you’re on a strict budget, you can’t compare your accomplishments on your “piece of heaven” to the guy that has an open check book and many, many acres.  You’ll drive yourself nuts if you try to keep up with them!  Yes, they may be killing bigger bucks than you year after year, but who cares, let it go.  They may have nicer food plots, better cameras and more acres than you, but your limitations allow you to do what you need to accomplish on “your piece of heaven.”  It’s not a big deal.  If you harvest a 120 – 140 class buck once in a while, be proud of your accomplishment.  QDM is about successfully managing your property to its potential, not anyone else’s property.

I can’t stress enough, do not compare what you can do or afford to others.  It doesn’t make you any less of a deer manager than the other guy.  Watch the television or certain web shows as entertainment, visit social media sites and admire, but don’t get mentally absorbed into the social QDM competition.  You will only fail and make yourself resent QDM and what it is truly all about.

It’s not about who shoots the biggest deer!  We have allowed it to happen socially.  What QDM truly stands for is for “YOU” to become a better steward of our natural resources.  That my friend is the true accomplishment in which it was intended, when you decided to venture into this great philosophy of QDM.

Take home message from all of this, “NO HURRY, NO WORRY, KEEP MOVING”!