Wednesday, September 10, 2014

2014 ACE Basin QDMA - SCDNR report / NDA Intro

SCDNR's Charles Ruth and QDMA's Joe Hamilton
Deer hunting enthusiasts gather on Sept. 6

With deer hunting season in full swing, the local ACE Basin branch of the Quality Deer Management Association held its annual whitetail seminar. QDMA began 26 years ago right here in Colleton County and founder Joe Hamilton was in attendance, along with Branch President and QDMA National Board member Nicole Garris. SCDNR’s Charles Ruth is the big game biologist for S.C. and he traveled from Columbia to address deer populations for the large crowd of hunting enthusiasts.
Garris welcomed everyone to the Coastal Outback building on Sept. 4 by announcing that their Venison For The Hungry campaign is underway once again this year. Hunters can drop off harvested deer at participating venison processors that will direct that protein to those in need, with 1290-pounds of meat supplied in 2013. She also reminds everyone that QDMA license plates are available from the SC DMV for those who choose to support conservation via their automobile.
South Carolina needs more of this!!

“In a brief snap shot of deer history in South Carolina I like to remind folks that about 200 years of cotton farming kept habitat at a bare minimum,” said Ruth. “Then in the 1920’s the dual forces of a depression and a prolonged drought caused the demise of large scale cotton farming. These cleared lands began to grow back and by the 1970’s the entire state was once again forested with great habitat for white-tailed deer.”
Program from ACE Basin workshop
“It was about this time that forestry began to flourish all across the Southeast,” said Ruth. “In S.C. the practice of clear cutting created a spike in the overall deer population as the early successional habitat began to grow back. However, today’s deer numbers are down about 30-percent from the high numbers during the 1980’s and I cite several factors. Site preparation for planting of pines today often involves a herbicide treatment to suppress vegetation, which used to equate to high quality deer browse.”

“For those practicing quality deer management, our research reveals some things about buck movements,” said Ruth. “Young bucks stay with their mother for the first year so they only know her home range. But when they reach 1.5-years of age and grow their first set of small antlers, these same young bucks strike out on a trail to establish their own home range.” This type of movement by young bucks can disappoint deer managers who find that smaller bucks are often killed on neighboring properties with no antler restrictions, which is why QDM cooperatives can be mutually beneficial.

Joe Hamilton said that the newly formed National Deer Alliance, or NDA, will serve as a unified voice for deer hunters from all states in the U.S. to speak to legislators in a unified voice. Not to mention that a greater coalition of deer hunting groups like QDMA and Whitetails Unlimited will help to protect the future of deer hunting. Hamilton stresses that it is free to join the NDA, and that as founder of QDMA he supports everyone joining this new group.

To view this article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about the ACE Basin QDMA workshop click in 2012 or 2011.

To view past blog entries about the ACE Basin QDMA banquet click 2014 or 2013 or 2012

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