We gun owners meet once a year at the big National Rifle Association convention.
Elk hunters migrate annually to Elk Camp, while turkey hunters flock up at the National Wild Turkey Federation convention.
And, it seems, the entire outdoor industry descends on the SHOT (Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade) Show.
We hunters and shooters are a community of gatherers, but there has never been a national assembly of people and organizations focused on what is arguably the single most influential wildlife species in North America: the white-tailed deer.
That’s about to change. Next week, the Quality Deer Management Association is hosting the first-ever North American Whitetail Summit, and Outdoor Life will be there to report on the proceedings. Check back here several times a day next week as we provide hour-by-hour coverage of the proceedings.
The event will be held March 3-6 at Bass Pro Shops’ Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri, and it promises to be a gathering of some heavy-hitters in the whitetail world, all assembled to discuss the myriad threats and challenges facing white-tailed deer and deer hunters.
Stakeholder groups include:**
• Deer hunters
• Non-governmental organizations like the QDMA and other groups
• State and provincial wildlife agencies
• Land owners and managers, including federal land management agencies like the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, as well as private land managers like large timber and energy companies
• The scientific community, including deer researchers and university institutes
• The hunting industry, including companies whose identity and financial health depend on healthy deer hunting
• And the outdoor media, including Outdoor Life
It’s in that last capacity that we want to involve you. If you haven’t already contributed to our National Deer Survey, please do. We’ll be reporting the results of the survey in Branson. But we also want you to comment below with your questions, concerns, or any perspective about deer population dynamics, whitetail health, or hunting in your area.
The QDMA’s summit is ambitious, likely contentious, and timely, as EHD, CWD, and significant population declines have been reported in the last year or two.
The premise of the summit is correct: We are a nation of deer hunters. Let’s let participants know what’s on your mind, and be sure to check back here frequently to hear what’s on participants’ minds.