The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), in partnership with Clemson University, is pleased to announce that the online version of its Deer Steward certification course will be free-of-charge (a $200 value) for active military personnel serving in combat zones in 2013.
"Over the last year, the Deer Steward Level I online course has proven to be immensely popular among our members that either live too far or don't have the time and/or resources to attend one of the in-person classes," said QDMA Certification Programs Manager Matt Ross. "With that accessibility, it just makes sense to provide our nations' soldiers stationed abroad in combat zones the opportunity to escape their surroundings, even for a few hours, and learn about Quality Deer Management. We at QDMA are extremely proud to make it available to them for free, and it's the least we can do to say thank you for their service to our country."
"Clemson University is honored to help provide the Deer Steward I certification course to United States military personnel serving in combat zones," said Dr. Susan T. Guynn, extension associate in the School of Agricultural, Forest and Environmental Sciences at Clemson. "Many of these men and women care deeply about our natural resources, and we hope participation in this course brings home a little closer for them."
The idea to make Deer Steward online available to active military in combat zones came about after two soldiers contacted QDMA about enrolling in the course. Captain Brandon Bonfiglio of the 1st Infantry Division located at a forward operating base in Gamberi, Afghanistan, and Senior Master Sergeant Dana Rogers of the 445 Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron at Shindand Airbase in Afghanistan were both interested in obtaining Deer Steward Certification.
"My duty is to be here to protect our freedoms, but my passion is managing for quality whitetails," said Senior Master Sergeant Rogers. "QDMA has made missing my hunting and plotting season a little bit easier. Thank you!"
A third soldier, Staff Sergeant Christopher Scott Daniels of the 1-167th Infantry Battalion stationed in Afghanistan, became the first active duty serviceman to complete the course, and he did it in only three days!
In its second year, the online Deer Steward course gives enrollees access to digital recordings of a previous in-person Level I course (filmed in front of a live audience). Students will have up to 180 days to complete the series of six sessions (approximately 17 one-hour topics) at their own pace. Speakers include Kip Adams, Dr. David Guynn, Joe Hamilton, Dr. Craig Harper, Dr. Karl V. Miller, Brian Murphy, Matt Ross and Dr. Grant Woods. A high-speed Internet connection is required for quality viewing of digital recordings; also, the web browser Mozilla Firefox is recommended.
Just like the in-person classes, registrants must pass an exam to graduate, and Continuing Forestry Education (CFEs) credits from the Society of American Foresters will be available. In addition, graduates of the online version of Deer Steward will be eligible to take one of the in-person Level II courses upon completion.
Anyone interested in deer hunting and management can participate in the online course. Those interested, including active duty military in combat zones, can enroll in the Deer Steward online course by obtaining a registration form online at www.qdma.com/corporate/deer-steward-online.