The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) helped establish three wildlife management cooperatives in March – two in Oklahoma and one in Michigan – that now encompass over 70,000 acres of public and private hunting land. The three cooperatives were established around federal wildlife refuges to unite public and private hunting lands for better deer habitat and hunting.
Wildlife management Cooperatives (WMCs) are groups of neighboring hunters working together to improve wildlife and/or habitat management programs. These three Cooperatives were made possible thanks in part to a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and all three were launched in March of 2013.
- The Shiawassee Flats QDM Cooperative, which surrounds the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Michigan, now includes 27 landowners and over 12,000 acres.
- The broad interests of the Shiawassee Flats QDM Cooperative include improving wildlife habitat, improving communication between adjoining landowners, increasing hunting participation, educating neighbors about land management, building relationships between neighbors and to provide a platform for education about deer biology and management. The specific goals of the Cooperative include increasing the size of the local deer herd (following an EHD outbreak), increasing habitat diversity, balancing the adult sex ratio, balancing the buck age structure and to establish a network of resources for residents on how to better manage their property and deer.
- The Washita River Deer Management Association, which surrounds the Washita NWR in western Oklahoma, now includes over 30 landowners/members and more than 44,000 acres.
- The broad interests of the Washita River Deer Management Association include managing the land for deer, turkey and quail. The specific goals of the association include increasing the buck age structure, balancing buck:doe ratios, balancing deer density with what the habitat can support, providing youth hunting opportunities, providing opportunities for educational meetings, increasing quail numbers and the possibility of enrolling in Oklahoma’s DMAP program.
- The Deep Fork Deer Management Association, which surrounds the Deep Fork NWR in eastern Oklahoma, now includes over 40 landowners/members and more than 14,000 acres.
- The broad interests of the Deep Fork Deer Management Association include managing the land for deer, turkey and waterfowl while also further developing bottomland hardwood and upland prairie habitats. The specific goals of the association include protecting young bucks, estimating deer herd size, data collection, establishing and maintaining food plots and controlling Bermuda grass.
QDMA’s Director of Education and Outreach Kip Adams and Certification Programs Manager Matt Ross helped launch the cooperatives and met again with the groups in September. QDMA will oversee each WMC during the first year of establishment to ensure continued success. After year one, QDMA will remain involved as a member and turn oversight of the WMCs over to the respective steering committees.
Logo courtesy Quality Deer Management Association