Deer Steward Courses

The online Deer Steward course remains open year-round.

Please read below for more info on Deer Steward, including: instructor bios, CFE credit assignments, costs, how to register and scholarship opportunities.

Program Overview

Deer Steward QDMA's individual certification program. This program includes three levels of potential achievement, and each must be completed in sequence.

  • Deer Steward I will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the key principles of deer and habitat biology, ecology and management.
  • Deer Steward II will teach students how to apply the principles learned in level one through hands-on and field experience.
  • Deer Steward III, the most prestigious, must be earned through an individual’s long-term service to QDMA, and/or the white-tailed deer


2016 Program Availability

Deer Steward I:
QDMA will offer two Deer Steward I courses in 2016.

May 20-23, Moravia, Iowa at the Honey Creek State Resort Park with a field trip to Bill Winke's Midwest Whitetail property

September 8-12, Cayamant, Quebec at Eastern Canadian Outfitters
with a fishing package included

Sample Deer Steward I Agenda (PDF)

The Iowa course will be 2½ days in length (including an optional half-day in the field) and restricted to 60 or fewer participants. The Canada course will be unique in that it's composed of both instruction and R&R time, is limited to 20 attendees and is all inclusive with on-site lodging and fishing for lake trout, northern pike and bass. Both courses will focus on the four Cornerstones of QDM: Herd Management, Habitat Management, Hunter Management, and Herd Monitoring.

The Deer Steward I courses provide a comprehensive understanding of these cornerstones and includes 17.0 Continuing Forestry Education (CFE) credits from the Society of American Foresters (SAF).

Deer Steward I is also now available online!


Deer Steward II:
QDMA will offer two Deer Steward II courses in 2016.

June 10-13, Bradley, South Carolina at Cedar Ridge Plantation

July 8-11, New Windsor, Illinois at Anseeuw Farm

Sample Deer Steward II Agenda (PDF)

The Deer Steward II course will focus on the application of principles covered in Deer Steward I. Those principles being the four cornerstones of QDM: herd management, habitat management, hunter management and herd monitoring. Level II will include a mix of classroom and field instruction, and the course will end by having the students apply their knowledge and develop an actual deer management plan. Level II courses also include 14.0 CFE credits from the SAF.

By taking Deer Steward Levels I and II, attendees will have gained enough knowledge to write their very own property-specific deer management plan!


Deer Steward III:
Deer Steward Level III is the final step in QDMA’s Individual Deer Steward Certification Program. Unlike Levels I and II, Level III is not a course and no test is required. Level III is achieved through personal achievement and long-term service to the white-tailed deer resource and/or the QDMA. For many, Level III status will take years to qualify. Fortunately the effort needed to meet the qualifications will be replaced with pride and satisfaction upon attaining Level III status.

Click here to print the Deer Steward III Application Form (PDF)


Program Instructors

The course instructors are always a “Who’s Who” of the nation’s leading whitetail biologists, researchers and managers such as:

  • Kip Adams, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Director of Education and Outreach
  • Ryan Basinger, Wildlife Biologist, Westervelt Wildlife Services
  • Joe Hamilton, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Founder and Senior Advisor
  • Dr. Craig Harper, Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, University of Tennessee (Pictured talking at a 2013 Deer Steward course)
  • Erich Long, Wildlife Consultant, Drumming Log Wildlife Management
  • Dr. Karl V. Miller, Professor, University of Georgia
  • Brian Murphy, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Chief Executive Officer
  • Matt Ross, Wildlife Biologist, Forester and QDMA Certification Programs Manager
  • Rob Argue, Operations and Outreach, QDMA Canada

Note: Not all instructors will be at each course and others may be added. The link below lists the 2016 Deer Steward Levels I and II instructor bios:

Click here to review speaker bios (PDF)


Program Costs

In-person U.S. Courses (Levels I and II, each class):

  • $800 Non-QDMA Members (includes a QDMA membership)
  • $750 Regular QDMA Members
  • $700 QDMA Life Members, Sponsor Members and Corporate Sponsors, Partners and Supporters.

In-person Canada Course (Level I only):

  • $1,300 Non-QDMA Members (includes a QDMA membership)
  • $1,250 Regular QDMA Members
  • $1,200 QDMA Life Members, Sponsor Members and Corporate Sponsors, Partners and Supporters.

Early Bird discount ($50 off per level) will be applied if paying on/before February 19th, 2016. Special group savings also available for QDMA Branch officers/directors (up to 25% off). Discounts cannot be combined. Contact Matt Ross for more info.

Cost includes instruction, most meals, a course handbook and CD, five 1-year QDMA gift memberships ($150 value), coupons for "The Shed" and Life/Sponsor memberships (10-35% off) and a framed course certificate. Travel and lodging are not included. Once your course application form has been received and processed, you will be provided instructions regarding lodging, directions to course venues and a list of suggested readings prior to attending the course.

Online Deer Steward (Level I only):

  • $200 Non-QDMA Members (includes a QDMA membership)
  • $175 Regular QDMA Members
  • $150 QDMA Life Members, Sponsor Members and Corporate Sponsors, Partners and Supporters
  • FREE for Active Military in Combat Zones

Online fees increase $50 per level with CFEs. Cost includes instruction and a course certificate. Once registered, you will receive a unique username and password, as well as instructions on how to log onto the QDMA online Deer Steward system. Click here for more info.


How to Register

  • By phoning the QDMA National Office at: 800-209-3337
  • By faxing a completed registration form to: 706-353-0223
  • By mailing a completed registration form to:

P.O. Box 160
Bogart, GA 30622

Click here to print the Deer Steward I Registration Form

Click here to print the Deer Steward II Registration Form

Click here to print the Deer Steward III Application Form

Click here to print the Online Deer Steward I Registration Form

Once all openings for the courses are filled, applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the next available course in the order their applications were received.


Scholarship Opportunity

For each of the in-person classes the QDMA will also award a high school junior or senior, or college student, interested in a career in wildlife management a scholarship to attend free of charge. Applicants for the scholarships should have a strong interest in wildlife conservation and the Quality Deer Management (QDM) philosophy. Applications are due by March 1, 2016.

Click here to print the Deer Steward  I Scholarship Application 

Click here to print the Deer Steward II Scholarship Application


Cancellation Policy

Applicants of in-person Deer Steward courses shall be entitled to a full refund of course fees if the QDMA National Office is notified within fourteen (14) business days of the course date. Cancellations made less than fourteen (14) business days from the course date shall entitle the applicant to a fifty percent (50%) refund of course fees. No refunds shall be made for cancellations less than two (2) business days before the course date.



If you have questions regarding course availability or registration, please contact the QDMA National Office at 800-209-3337.

If you have any questions regarding course content, including online Deer Steward, please contact:

Matt Ross
QDMA Certification Programs Manager
Phone: 518-391-8414