At the end of this training, attendees can plan and implement advanced deer management strategies where they hunt. As it stands now, nearly 2,000 people have become Deer Stewards since the program began in 2007.

Program Overview

Deer Steward is 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.

In addition, starting in 2015, we also now offer the Deer Steward Modules where attendees dive into one particular topic that makes up part of an “umbrella” QDM plan, such as food plots, prescribed burning, or predator control. For more on the online courses or in-person modules, use the menu on the left.

Deer Steward I

The Deer Steward I course provides a comprehensive understanding of the Four Cornerstones of QDM, and is only available as an online option. Click here for more info.

Deer Steward II

QDMA is pleased to offer two Deer Steward II courses in 2018. 

May 18-21, Lufkin, Texas, at the Nature’s Eye showcase farm.

September 7-10. Indiana, Pennsylvania, at the Bearded Buck TV showcase farm.

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 includes  CFE credits from the Society of American Foresters (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.

Program Instructors

  • Kip Adams, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Director of Conservation
  • Joe Hamilton, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Founder and Senior Advisor
  • Dr. Craig Harper, Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, University of Tennessee
  • Dr. Karl V. Miller, Professor, University of Georgia
  • Brian Murphy, Wildlife Biologist, QDMA Chief Executive Officer
  • Matt Ross, Wildlife Biologist, Forester and QDMA Assistant Director of Conservation

Note: Not all instructors will be at each course and others may be added.

Program Costs

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.

In-person Course (Level II only):

$800 Non-QDMA Members (includes a QDMA membership)
$750 Regular QDMA Members
$700 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 March 1, 2018. 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.

How to Register

By phoning the QDMA National Office at: 800-209-3337

By faxing a completed registration form (available below) to: 706-353-0223

By mailing a completed registration form (available below) to:

P.O. Box 160
Bogart, GA 30622

Download the Deer Steward II Registration Form

Download the Deer Steward III Application 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 Level II 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, 2018.

Download 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 Assistant Director of Conservation
(518) 391-8414