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The 2015 North American Deer Summit is kicking off this week, and I’ll be heading down to join in on all the excitement. Somehow haven’t heard about the Summit? In short, this is the follow-up to last year’s inaugural event which brought together stakeholders in the deer community from all walks of life—hunters, wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, industry reps and media—to discuss the issues facing deer and deer hunters. This year’s event now looks to take things a step further and “identify specific strategies, timelines and measurable goals for the key issues identified at the 2014 Summit.”

That said, with the who’s who of the hunting world in attendance and hundreds of attendees representing all aspects of the deer hunting community coming together, I have high hopes for this week. Personally, I’d like to see these three outcomes happen as a result of the Summit:

1. Get hunters and wildlife agencies on the same page
One of the great things about the Summit is that it will offer an opportunity for hunters, wildlife agencies and everyone else involved in the deer hunting world to sit down together and hash things out. And if you’ve paid attention to the news over the past year or so, you’ve likely noticed just how badly hashing out is needed.

A Quality Deer Management Association poll, shared in the 2015 Whitetail Report, asked state wildlife agencies what the greatest issue of concern for them currently was and the majority cited too high of deer densities. Meanwhile when hunters were asked the same question, they voted for the exact opposite issue, that being too few deer. Some heart-to-heart communication is needed on this front.

2. Clear up misinformation
With the increase in concern regarding deer populations recently, there’s been much to-do made about the factors potentially impacting deer and their well being across the country. While much of this talk has been grounded in real data and sound research, there’s been an increased amount of fear mongering and finger pointing tossed around as well.

With a slate of well renowned and experienced speakers on tap, I’m hoping this event can help quell some of the misinformation that’s been finding its way into the conversation of late.

3. Action
We identified a number of clear issues facing deer and deer hunters during the 2014 Summit, as well as a need for a national organization to spearhead those issues. Since then, the National Deer Alliance was formed, but in the following months a tremendous amount of foundational work was required to get the NDA off the ground. With much of that work now done, I’m excited to see the deer hunting community come together at the 2015 Summit to set a plan and priorities in place for the National Deer Alliance. And from there it’s full steam ahead.

Interested in attending the 2015 North American Deer Summit and lending your voice to the conversation? Registration is still available on-site, starting May 6th in Louisville, Kentucky. Get more details here.

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