John Winkelman

John Winkelman

 Earlier this month, the Quality Deer Management Association and National Deer Alliance announced a merger that will bring the two organizations together for the same goals.

Certainly, Jefferson County has its share of members in the former, a 38-year-old national group, with the nearest chapter in Ste. Genevieve.

The new National Deer Association combines the names, resources, leadership and members to create a new nonprofit that supports conservation and specifically white-tailed deer in North America.

“We have a staff with a proven track record that combines new resources and vision,” said Nick Pinizzotto, the group’s CEO. “We’ve also enjoyed great support from members, volunteers, key sponsors and partners, as well as state and national agencies and non-government organizations. We’re excited to announce the new name, give people a look at our organization, and get to work.”

The new board of directors was created with members from both original organizations for the mission of “ensuring the future of wild deer, wildlife habitat and hunting.” Staff members from both groups also were blended in the new group.

The combination of the organizations is most obvious in the name, which borrows components from two originals. While the NDA acronym continues the alliance’s branding, the logo for the new group is the familiar QDMA buck-and-doe silhouette.

Also carrying over from the foundation of both organizations are the priorities to achieve the mission. By relying on research and sharing reliable information, the group will empower its hunter members to be informed and engaged stewards of deer and wildlife conservation. A new goal emphasizes the importance of engaging non-hunters about the importance of deer population management and its relationship to overall wildlife conservation.

Recruit, retain and reactivate is routinely referred to as R3 and is an essential element to growing hunter numbers, engaging experienced hunters in the importance of being a mentor and increasing the acceptance of the general public.

The scourge of deer diseases like chronic wasting disease will require a coalition of hunters, wildlife agencies and scientific experts who study their causes and transmission. The organization will work with state and national legislators to help guide wise policy decisions.  

The Southeast Missouri branch in Ste. Genevieve is one of six chapters around the state, along with the statewide branch based in St. Louis. Changes to the volunteer program provide greater flexibility and local control of fund-raising and education efforts. The new group also promises better communications with the local organizations.

The association will continue to provide the quarterly “Quality Whitetails” magazine and the annual “Whitetail Reports” that provide detailed analysis of trends for threats, concerns, successes and challenges facing deer throughout the nation. The magazines are provided to all members and the reports are available for free to anyone, with archived reports back to 2009 available online.

The reports assemble a treasure trove of information on deer across the continent, and the website, which still looks very much like the QDMA, provides an incredible amount of content. Find all of that and membership information at deerassociation.com.

John Winkelman is marketing manager for Liguori Publications near Barnhart, and the associate editor for Outdoor Guide Magazine. If you have story ideas to share for the Leader outdoor news page, e-mail ogmjohnw@aol.com, and you can follow John on Twitter at @johnjwink99.

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