The Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) is pleased to announce that its founder, Joe Hamilton of South Carolina, has been named the 2011 Budweiser Conservationist of the Year, an honor bestowed through an open public vote that elected Joe from among four national finalists. The award includes a $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, which Joe has chosen to give to the organization he founded in 1988 – QDMA – to ensure the future of white-tailed deer, wildlife habitat and our hunting heritage.
“We have done a commendable job of managing deer and their habitats in QDMA’s relatively brief history,” Joe said. “The $50,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will enable the QDMA to devote more energy and attention toward educating, nurturing, and guiding future stewards of our precious natural resources.”
Joe Hamilton’s involvement in wildlife management and conservation spans 40 years, beginning in the early 1970s with his research on the ecology of the black bear in southeastern North Carolina while working on his master’s degree in wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. As a young wildlife biologist with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Joe saw how deer populations in the Southeast and other regions were being mis-managed, to the detriment of habitat and the health of deer and many other species. He formed the nonprofit Quality Deer Management Association in 1988 to educate hunters about sound deer and habitat management.