Joe Hamilton recalls a time when advocates of the Quality Deer Management (QDM) philosophy like himself were a small minority at meetings of the Southeast Deer Study Group, a gathering of professional deer managers and biologists that recently convened for the 34th year. Now, both Joe and the organization he founded to promote QDM have received Career Achievement Awards from the same group. Joe was honored in 2000, and the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) was named the 2011 winner in February.

"Quality Deer Management is no longer the novel approach it once was, and this award is a testament to that fact," said Hamilton. "The perseverance of the early advocates has brought about a revolution in deer management and one that is here to stay."

While the Southeast Deer Study Group's Career Achievement Award can be presented to individuals or associations, QDMA is the first group to receive the award since it was created in 1996.

"Realizing that all the previous awards have gone to individuals, it's a real testament to what QDMA has accomplished to be recognized by this professional society," said Joe. "I can think of no better endorsement than one from our professional peers."

The Southeast Deer Study Group is a subcommittee of the international nonprofit Wildlife Society (wildlife.org), a professional association dedicated to excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education.

"Deer populations have changed immeasurably, and they will go on changing. We can't just sit back and say 'This is how we do it.'" said Hamilton, who was recently named Budweiser Outdoors Conservationist of the Year. "Our effectiveness as deer managers will depend on being flexible and knowledgeable, and our knowledge comes from research."