Has the QDM Bubble Burst?

Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from the June 2010 issue. Click here to subscribe.

Based on the feedback I receive in my travels, it is obvious to me the quality deer management (QDM) concept has gained considerable interest among hunters and landowners throughout the whitetail’s range.

However, as hunters and landowners became more immersed in QDM, deer hunting’s cultural and sociological landscapes changed, too. Some of the side effects have caused many followers to pause and question if QDM truly suits their deer hunting needs. The following is a list of the most common pitfalls that have led to the build-up of the QDM bubble.

1) Unrealistic Goals

In preparing this article, I interviewed 20 hunters and landowners from New England to Wisconsin and found that setting unrealistic goals for bucks was the No. 1 stumbling block most had when starting out on their QDM journey. It’s safe to say this is also the No. 1 reason most throw in the towel and give up on QDM after a few years.

2) Problems With Neighbors

Dealing with bordering landowners is another roadblock that sours those who practice QDM, and it is one of the reasons why some quickly lose interest in the concept. More than 90 percent of those interviewed stated that dealing with uncooperative neighbors is one of their biggest headaches.

3) The Wrong Focus

In the majority of cases, hunters and landowners jump into QDM solely for the challenge of hunting biggerracked bucks. When this occurs, their view of QDM can become tainted in a hurry because, in most cases, properties are small and the hunting pressure is too great for mature bucks to become commonplace.

4) Money Matters

Ror the QDM movement to experience further growth, people must have disposable income to spend on land, equipment, seed, fertilizer, herbicides and lime. With the state of the economy being what it is, I’m not sure this can happen like it has in the past 10 years.

5) The Burnout Curve

If a program’s results and harmony within a QDM group of hunters are missing, people tend to lose interest in a hurry.

So has the QDM bubble burst? Click here to go to the forum and give your view.