Cumberland Times-News

Outdoors

January 25, 2014

Trophy management different than quality management

In response to Dave Long’s article on the Dec. 29 Outdoors page, his comments about Quality Deer Management folk removing a management buck with either small or poorly formed antlers missed the mark when describing the QDM philosophy.

QDM is not about culling “inferior bucks.” QDM is also not about passing all bucks until they are fully mature. Those are two big misconceptions of the popular QDM strategy and something worth explaining to Mr. Long and any reader who may have confused QDM with another management practice called Trophy Deer Management.

Trophy deer management is the approach where only fully mature bucks 5-7 years old, with high scoring antlers are harvested.  “Cull bucks” are also harvested, as well as an aggressive doe harvest to maintain lower deer densities and optimum nutrition for the remaining animals. The majority of bucks shot in trophy deer management programs are 5.5 years and older. Trophy deer management is not practical in much of the United States, and the strategy is negatively viewed by much of the hunting and non-hunting public.

In contrast, QDM protects young bucks such as button bucks, which are male fawns, and yearling bucks with an adequate harvest of female deer on a case-by-case scenario. The majority of bucks shot in QDM programs are 2.5 years and older.  

Each management approach is unique and shouldn’t be confused with the other. TDM works best when the goal is to produce mature bucks with high scoring antlers, while QDM works best when the goal is to improve the health of the deer herd and balance it with the available habitat.

Fortunately, QDM also provides tremendous hunting opportunity for the average hunter and looks to become a household name to modern day deer hunters who are more educated than ever before.

Kip Adams

Director of Education and Outreach QDMA

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