BOGART, Ga. — The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) Individual Certification Program, known as “Deer Steward,” wrapped up another successful year of in-person courses this past weekend in Kentucky. The first level of the course is also offered online and remains open year round.
QDMA’s Individual Certification Program includes three levels of potential achievement: Deer Steward I, II, and III. Since the program’s inception, 637 individuals have gone through Level I either in-person, online or through an expanded Quality Deer Management (QDM) course offered by Clemson University for any college students at the senior or graduate level. QDMA hopes to expand the QDM course into additional colleges in the future.
Of the 637 Level I graduates, 265 have gone on to complete Level II, and a total of 25 individuals have earned the Level III distinction. Another 47 individuals are currently enrolled in the online course and are working toward their Level I certification.
Level I provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the four cornerstones of QDM: herd management, habitat management, hunter management, and herd monitoring. Level II focuses on the application of these principles through hands-on field experience. Level III must be earned through an individual’s long-term service to QDMA and/or the white-tailed deer. Courses must be taken in succession.
This year, QDMA offered four in-person courses. In April, the first of two Level I courses was held at NASCAR Tony Stewart’s Hidden Hollow Ranch in Columbus, Ind. The second Level I course of 2012 was held in May at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center in Andalusia, Ala.
Two Level II courses were held in June with the first being held at the beginning of the month in Woodbine, Ga., at Cabin Bluff. The second Level II offering was held at Ashbourne Farms in LaGrange, Ky. this past weekend.
The locations for the in-person Deer Steward courses change from year-to-year to try and reach as many people interested in taking the courses as possible. Dates and locations for next year’s in-person course offerings will be announced in January of 2013.
Deer Steward Level I Online:
Even though this year’s in-person Deer Steward courses have wrapped up, the online Deer Steward Level I course, offered through a unique partnership with Clemson University, remains open year round.
Once registered, online students gain access to a digital recording of one of QDMA’s previous Deer Steward Level I courses (filmed in front of a live audience) and will have up to 180 days to complete the series of six sessions (broken down into approximately 17 one-hour topics) at their own pace.
Just like the in-person classes, online registrants must pass an exam, and Continuing Forestry Education (CFEs) credits from the Society of American Foresters will be available (approved for 14.0 hours, 4.0 Cat 1-CF and 10.0 Cat 2).
Graduates of online Deer Steward will be eligible to take one of the in-person Level II courses upon completion. Several of this year’s Level II graduates completed Level I by taking the online course.
Deer Steward Level I Online Registration:
To register for the online class, visithttp://www.qdma.com/corporate/deer-steward-online and scroll down to the registration section to obtain a registration form.
The cost of the online Deer Steward Level I course is $200 for non-QDMA members, $175 for regular QDMA members and $150 for QDMA Life Members, Sponsor Members and Corporate Sponsors, Partners and Supports. Online fees increase $50 per level with CFEs. The cost includes instruction and a course certificate.
Deer Steward Questions:
Contact Matt Ross, QDMA Certification Programs Manager, by email email@example.com or by phone at (518) 280-3714.
QDMA is dedicated to ensuring the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage. Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with nearly 50,000 members in all 50 states and Canada. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call 800-209-3337 or visitwww.QDMA.com.