Title:  QDM: Don't Let Impatience with Slow Change Undermine a Worthy Ideal
Author(s): Pat Durkin, Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine
Year: 1998
Abstract: Like it or not, quality deer management is an unstoppable force. Maybe it's not spreading as fast as its proponents would like, but I believe it will eventually dominate deer management -- if deer numbers remain high enough to slowly change opportunistic attitudes. Some of us in the media have been reluctant to stand on the pulpit and try to convert the hunting masses to the quality deer management movement. Why? In my case, I believe this herdmanagement strategy will continue evolving on its own, and I believe proponents have enjoyed almost unequaled, unchallenged access to spread their message in newspapers and magazines -- without my small voice joining the chorus. Besides, my only real problem with QDM isn't its science or goals, which are sound, but the righteous and almost evangelical zeal of some of its proponents. I worry that an arrogant attitude could undercut a worthy ideal. Proponents must appreciate the fact that attitudes change at each person's chosen speed. The hunting public -- bless its stubborn heart -- won't be swayed by force-feeding. Proponents can't act as if they've been blessed by a vision, and then treat everyone who disagrees as mere sponges who need education -- although some of them are and do. Some basic aspects of QDM are being ignored by hunters who claim to follow it. Many pick and choose how to practice QDM, often backing off on the yearling buck kill, but not increasing their antlerless shooting. That's not a shortcoming of information in the media. It's often an conscious disregard for science and information. Don't expect even more education to change proudly stubborn skepticism. Be patient, not patronizing. If deer herds remain high in the years ahead, I believe more hunters will make the attitude change that's necessary to carry out more balanced herd management. But as long as human attitudes change more slowly than deer produce, QDM won't spread like wildfire. Maybe we should settle for change that spreads slower than wildfire but faster than glaciers.

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