Everyday Hunter, did you read the OP? I ask because it, and the subsequent conversation address many of the points you have made.
I go back and forth between really enjoying this thread and regretting that I ever started it.
ORIGINAL: Everyday Hunter
I don't think the term "Principled Deer Management" will work unless your aim is to fire a new salvo in the deer wars -- and I don't think that's your intention.
If the word "Quality" is loaded, so is the word "Principled," perhaps more so. "Principled" implies ethics, so the name implies that all other types of deer management (quality deer management or QDM, traditional deer management or TDM, and trophy deer management) are unethical, and that is a battle you don't want to fight. (By the way, if we're going to know what quality deer management is, we also need to know what traditional deer management and trophy deer management are.)
Apparently not enough of us know that quality deer management is not focused on what is harvested. It is focused on habitat. Of course, critics will be quick to say that too many QDM advocates focus on antler size. I can't deny that, but ANY deer management "doctrine" will produce hunters whose practice is not in line with their doctrine. That will be true of Principled Deer Management as much as it is QDM, because people are people.
When I first became acquainted with the QDMA, I quickly came to realize that quality deer managers actually manage habitat through a variety of means including managing harvest numbers (both doe and buck), and various efforts to produce healthy habitat. QDM is actually quality deer habitat management, and it benefits every species that shares habitat with whitetails.
It's unfortunate if Quality Deer Management implies to some that the emphasis is on harvesting "quality deer," because it isn't, just as Principled Deer Management does not place an emphasis on harvesting "principled deer." What you really mean when you're talking about "principled deer management" is "principled management of deer." So, also, "quality deer management" means "quality management of deer," and it has principles too.
Finally, I fail to see how the term "principled deer management" helps, because it doesn't say anything about habitat management. On that point, it isn't any better than the term "quality deer management."
I think the best we can do is continue teaching and informing about what quality deer management is. "It's about habitat," as Charles Alsheimer once (probably many times) wrote in an article in the magazine we love so much.
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