Erich Long – Drumming Log Wildlife Management
If you consider yourself a serious deer manager, you must be able to handle yourself in a professional manner at all times. That means being able to handle situations from failure to accomplishment with class because we are true conservationist.
As a professional deer manager, I get the pleasure of meeting all types of people in my travels and engagements. I have to be able to answer questions ranging from off the wall to difficult. Along with meeting people, I come across situations where people are looking to me for the right answers. I had one of those situations the other day and I would like to share. It might shine some light on the topic of those who believe in Quality Deer Management versus consumers.
I stopped by a meat processor just the other day and there was a crowd hanging out watching and waiting to see what hunters might bring in. When I pulled in, I noticed quite a few vehicles had the QDMA logo on the back window. It was a pleasant scene to be around like minded people. I knew a few guys standing around and the conversation instantly went toward growing and managing deer. We had some laughs as the crowd grew and some great deer were brought in as well as some that weren’t so great.
The thing I love to do is observe people’s behavior in these situations. To watch and listen to the difference between QDM’ers vs. consumers is truly amazing. When a good 2.5 year old would come in, the QDM crowd would gather around the truck and say, “One more year on this guy and it would be scary.” Then, they would try their hardest to educate the person on the philosophy of Quality Deer Management. That alone is quite an interesting conversation. What was most interesting was when a great buck would come in they would still promote the beliefs of Quality Deer Management if the person wasn’t a member.
This went on for an hour or so and then a gentlemen came in with a yearling buck. He checked it in with the processor and came over to our crowd to ask for a bag of some sort. One gentleman gave him a bag and he met the processor outside the door where he slipped the rack of that yearling in the plastic bag. He noticed everyone was staring at him and he instantly put his head down like he was embarrassed because he knew what the looks were about. One person asked me, “Stretch, you have been here for an hour and haven’t said two words to people like him. Why?”. I gave a smirk and began to give them the reason for my silence. I told them that was the difference between us. The difference between putting your trophy in a bag versus the rack of a buck being seen above your truck bed is a finger pull away in mentality. I went on to say that I have been quiet listening and watching them. No one can argue their passion for promoting the future of deer hunting, but what they just did was as bad as an “anti” getting in his face for killing the deer. He walked away embarrassed because they had made him feel like he did something wrong. To us, we don’t roll that way, to him, well, we don’t know his story. I ended my sermon with “that there is what makes the world go round gentlemen”!
If you consider yourself a diehard QDM’er or you’re just a weekend deer farmer, you have to be able to handle situations like that. Be professional at all times. Take your words into consideration on how you would feel with the stares and whispering. To promote this great philosophy we love, we will go a lot further keeping our thoughts to ourselves. Promote the cause, but not at a processing plant. The damage is done and you will only have people walking away with the belief you are arrogant and the resentment will build toward QDM or even the QDMA itself. Pick and choose your battles and yes, educate with passion, but educate with common sense. Don’t go into a situation with guns blazing, but with professionalism.
You and I are different for we are believers. We want everybody to benefit from this concept. Accept that challenge with grace and white gloves and remember what I told them that day at the processors, “That there is what makes the world go round”!
Thanks for being a deer manager.