Who inspired you to start QDM?


Staff member
First of all, I refuse to let the QDMA have a monopoly on the idea of QDM and what it stands for.

Second of all, everyone who posts in these forums (here, habitat-talk, and QDMA) has inspired me in some way.

This thread is about how it all got started for you personally. I've obviously done a lot of thinking about this stuff over the last few days. It's hard not to sit back and ask "why is this topic (and community) so important to me?"

For me it starts with my father and his father. They were (and my father continues to be) great stewards of the land. My grandfather, Bop, bought roughly 500 acres in the SC low country in the early 70s. He very quickly donated 200 acres of it (mostly marsh) to the Audubon Society to conserve it for eternity. This move would later literally worth millions of dollars because it decreased the development value of the property significantly, but that wasn't important to him. As Bop retired from a busy banking job in Boston and moved to Charleston full time he was able to spend more and more time at the farm. He could be found down there at least 3 days a week even when blindness overtook him later in life. He was always on his little tractor cutting walking trails through the woods or making small fires from trees that had fallen. He was in heaven on the farm, and his ashes were spread there when he died in 2004.

My father was the true steward of the land. He is a farmer at heart but gave it up professionally when we children came along. He never lost the farming spirit though. He spent every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday down there for as long as I can remember. He had a vision for what he wanted the land to be, and through his hard work that vision became reality. He ran a wildly popular and successful dove club there until the early 2000s, and when the migratory patterns shifted and the doves stopped showing up, he switched from managing for doves to letting me manage for deer.

He was planting thousands of trees before it was popular. He planted pines, oaks, cypress, dug water holes, and planted the fields in diverse mixes that benefited the wildlife. He did it because he loved it. He did it because at his core it represented who he truly was.

That's how I am. We sold the farm a couple of years ago because of family politics, but the new owner is a great man who let me stay on board as the property manager. I love that land and I love continuing to mold it into what my grandfather and father wanted it to be. I was lucky to be inspired by them at such a young age because it's allowed me to see the fruits of our labor while I'm still in my 30s. We have sawtooths that have been dropping for 10 years, chestnuts that started dropping last year, pears that will drop in the next couple of years.

Thanks Bop, Pop, and to all of you who have inspired me.
I remember looking at your property on Google Earth when it was being sold. It's good that you get to still be there.

As for myself, I was self inspired.

QDMA had zero influence.

After many moons... one must decide for themselves if they will continue to draw from the well where they find happiness or if they will refill the well so others may also drink of its pleasures. It is a wise man who becomes a steward of the land and only accepts the accolades of the plants and the trees, the birds and the bees, and the deer and the buffalo. Those who seek the long dollar first will find it's better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. Quality Earth Management should be every hunters objective. We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Question is Who Influenced ...
For me the answer is a great many people did - each by the individual things they taught or demonstrated. The writings of Gene and Barry Wensel influenced me first. Watching my cousin plant pear and chestnut trees that drew deer to his farm. Hearing Jim Ward at a field day in Indiana in the spring of 2014 motivated me greatly when I realized how effective they were at getting deer to bed where and travel where it benefitted the landowner.
Brushpile influenced me when I read the Brushpile twice. The conversion of his land - no the transformation of his land was amazing to me. My son influence me by clearing a small plot in a ridge thicket in Kentucky in the spring of 2014.
It was not a one person moment for me - but the influence of all the good ideas and examples I have seen.
I will add Bill Winke in on the mix - his MidwestWhitetail stuff is one of the fixes I regularly get.
My two cents ...
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As much as I hate to admit it at this time due to recent circumstances, I would have to say the QDMA message board. I've always practiced what I would refer to as "habitat light", that is I was always interested in helping create the best wildlife habitat I knew how. Unfortunately, my know how sucked. My early attempts were often misguided and a waste of both time and money but it made me feel good knowing I was doing something.

When I found the QDMA board it was like getting a Christmas present as a kid. The amount of information on so many diverse topics was overwhelming and I soaked it up like a giant sponge. I would hate to venture to estimate how many hundreds of hours I spent reading through those threads before I even made my first post.

I would mention some folks who I think were the biggest influence on my readings but I know I would leave someone out. In addition, if I even picked up one useful tidbit of information from someone's post they deserve the same recognition as those who taught me a lot.

Who influenced me to start QDM - every single person on that board who ever took the time to offer their method, opinion, or advice.

Thank you all - you're the greatest!
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"Who influenced me to start QDM - every single person on that board who ever took the time to offer their method, opinion, or advice."

Same here. That is why I am on this site as well, to continue learning.
I grew up with my father and grandfather talking about responsible land use. Not particularly QDM but just respecting and caring for the land and the wildlife that used it. Once I had a place of my own that sense of responsibility really hit home. As far as QDM specifically - that came in 2007 when I joined QDMA and I specifically started working toward QDM the true motivation came from a lack of what I was seeing in TV and what I was seeing coming from QDMA - it really went into high gear with my involvement with the QDMA forum. I would have NEVER done some of my larger projects without the help and support of my fellow QDMA forum family!
My dad started a passion for bowhunting in me. I loved turkey hunting more than deer during high school. While in college in Cincinnati, I happened upon permission on a 50 acre paradise. Give me that 50 during those three years and I'd take it over permission to any other 500 acre tract. In three years, I went 131" 3 yr old, 162 4 yr old, and 141 4 yr old. Since the 162" I've been obsessed with hunting big deer. I still just hunt by permission, but still practice QDM in every way I can.
When I first started researching food plots on the Internet I found the QDMA site. I started reading and more reading. I started to change my approach little by little. Now I am more habitat focused than deer on the ground focused. So my thanks goes as others have already said in this thread- to all the posters that gave their knowledge.
I wish I could say my dad or grandfather but can't. My folks let me hunt when I was about 12 yrs old on. My dad only took me coon hunting so anything that had to do with hunting in the daylight was on me. Dad and my grandpa's raised cattle/horses. No place was off limits to them and they ate everything a deer could possibly want to eat. We never saw a deer on our place until I was in my 20's and that is because my dad finally put a cross fence up because he was having to feed hay in the summer because they ate everything and he was trying to get a little grass to grow. When cattle moved out a few deer came in there to get persimmons.

When we were young our parents told us 3 kids we would each get 10 acres of the original 54 acres. I got mine in my 30's and my wife and I moved onto it. The first several years dad still ran a few horses in there and deer were few and far between but finally he moved them all out so I planted a few fruit trees, apples, and pears. Didn't know anything about TSI so never did any of that until I read about it on QDMA forum. I have hunted a deer lease since 1998 and we aren't allowed to cut on living trees there. Killed a lot of nice deer up in the big woods with no plots or anything but over on our home 10 we needed to draw deer so I started planting some wheat and clover about 20 years ago. It drew deer well there.

3 years ago I found QDMA and read up on hinge cutting so I started doing that on our 10 to thicken it up and boy howdy di it do that. I think I hinged too much because it is so thick in some areas deer don't use it at all but I cut it too low at the time being new at it.

When we bought our 80 acres in January 2014 is when the bug hit bad and I finally had a place to practice what I was reading about. Mistakes I learned on Home 10 were not reproduced on our new property. Since we are so new to our place I still have several years of work to do on it but everything I have done so far has improved it.

In order of benefit from work done is.

1. Fence
2. waterholes
3 food plots
4 hinge cuts
Nobody in my family deer hunted before me. We had some family land that had been passed on through 3 generations that I had access to hunt on. My parents also had 80 acres that they purchased when I was a young child. I really didn't know what QDM was I just wanted something that would allow me to see more deer while hunting. So close to 20 years ago I planted my first plot--just disced up a small are and tossed in some wheat, clover, and a bag of triple 13. I saw more deer in that little plot---mainly does and small bucks. I then decided I wanted more. I got on the internet and at that time there was very little written on food plots. About the only thing I could find was stuff written by some by named Ed Spinazolla. The man was way ahead of his time. I ended up joining the Michigan Sportsman Forum---was really the only forum I could find that actually had a dedicated forum for Habitat/Food Plots. I was surprised they welcomed a guy from Oklahoma but many of those guys were very helpful---even Mr. Spinazolla. I read everything he wrote and absorbed as much info as I could from all they guys over at the Michigan Forum.
Every single person in my life who has influenced me to do the right thing has influenced me (either directly or indirectly) to do QDM - because QDM is the right thing for mankind, the land and creation as a whole. Our creator gave mankind "dominion" over the earth, and that is not something we should take lightly, because there will come a time when we will answer individually for how we react.

If QDM was only about managing for deer, I wouldn't be interested in it at all. I can write a check and go somewhere else and shoot a deer. For me, its about subduing and ruling the earth (Genesis 1) as we were charged to do - in the way we were charged to do it. That doesn't mean running over everyone else, destroying all that is good or creating empires - it means taking what we have been given and sustaining it, enhancing it and building upon it in the best ways possible.

Introduce a child to a handful of chestnuts, a ripe sweet pear and a strip of deer jerky - you're off to a good start on being the person who inspires the next generation....
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As weird as it might sound the Missouri Department of Conservation. They were always liberal with the doe tags, that combined with a teenagers blood lust I always killed a lot of does. The mature bucks came more from wanting to hunt longer than 15 minutes on my one buck tag. That and ego of killing better deer than my buddies (not the proudest answer but honest). I have seen it gone to far as well when an older hunter tells a kid with his first buck "would have been a good one in a few years", to that kid he is a good one now! I think the QDM mindset is a natural progression for most hunters, hunters just progress at different speeds.
The writings of Charlie Alsheimer got me on the path to practicing QDM. I had been hunting on my uncle's place since I was old enough too. We hunted hard and we shot a lot of little bucks over the years. As I got into my early to mid 20's I started thinking about what would happen if we passed these bucks until they got a little older after reading Charlie's articles in deer and deer hunting about what he was doing at his place in the same county we were hunting in. Unfortunately my new found thinking didn't go over so good with everyone who hunted the place and some got mad at the idea. So I eventually bought my own place to hunt and do things my own way. I've since bought and sold two hunting camps and now live on 90 acres and hope to get my kid's into hunting at some point.
My father built our camp in 1969. We are on a little under 5 acres, mostly open, surrounded by the Catskill park. as far back as I can remember I wanted to plant that field but my fathers idea of deer management was whether to make sausage or chop meat. Once the place was turned over to me a combination of things happened.
1 - I did some work for someone in exchange for a trail mower and I had a way to cut the whole field
2 - I discovered the Ground Hog Max which I purchased and started putting some small plots in. The first plot I put in was Big and Beasty and it grew to over my waste...I was hooked
3 - I found the QDMA forum and started asking some questions, I was amazed on how everyone wanted to help and how no one fought with each other. I cant tell you the amount of info I got from you guys. SO glad we are doing our own thing here now
4 - KUBOTA :)
I have more fun planting plots than I do hunting now. It's become a pretty serious hobby for me. I wish I can get some more land. I would be living the dream.
My dad started a passion for bowhunting in me. I loved turkey hunting more than deer during high school. While in college in Cincinnati, I happened upon permission on a 50 acre paradise. Give me that 50 during those three years and I'd take it over permission to any other 500 acre tract. In three years, I went 131" 3 yr old, 162 4 yr old, and 141 4 yr old. Since the 162" I've been obsessed with hunting big deer. I still just hunt by permission, but still practice QDM in every way I can.

Do you still hunt that ground? If not, can I?

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My biggest hunting influence is my dad.

Biggest QDM influence was finding the forum that is recently deceased.

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Boy, that's really a tall order. My dad's not a big hunter, could really care less, but he did his best to see I learned about what was right and wrong. My papaw emery was, as most grandfather's are, my hero. He'd take me hunting when I was to small to carry that j c higgins 20ga, stay up late and tell endless stories, had a jar we saved dimes in every week so that we could buy our own place someday. We'd plant a garden every year and there were always tree catalogs to go over and study. He's been gone since 86, but I feel he's been there.
I've been blessed to have so many good people around me over the years and the parts of them that I made parts of me are responsible for my qdm.
Wether it's a deer, squirrel, bird, kids or grandkids, even the many copperheads we seem to have enjoying what I've tried to build, I'm happy.