I am currently working my way through Marc Boglioli's A Matter of Life and Death: Hunting in Contemporary Vermont, and I know that Eric has already read the book.
Boglioli has some interesting things to say about "Quality Deer Management," or QDM. The following paragraph caught my eye in light of a comment Eric has made on this blog recently about things that "take the hunt out of hunting," e.g., hunting gadgets, or high-fence. Does QDM fall into this category of potential threats to hunting's future?
"While QDM may be an unqualified success for deer management in Vermont, it could well alter local meanings of hunting because of its emphasis on 'the trophy.' Most hunters, while certainly not opposed to the idea of bagging a 'Rackasaurus' on opening day, are thrilled to bring home any deer at all. If it happens to be unusually large, or has a trophy rack, so much the better. But QDM is a different philosophy. It focuses on the size of the deer and/or its rack as a way of determining the value of a hunting experience. This thought first crossed my mind when I initially learned about QDM in 2002 r 2003, and it was emphasized again in a conversation with a Vermont game warden in 2004, who said, 'The cultural perception of hunting has gone from process to product. . . . They're taking the hunt out of hunting.' A man at a local deer camp shared similar sentiments and pointed out (even though he agreed that it might be good for growing bigger deer) that QDM was a completely different approach from what he referred to as the Vermont 'family' hunting tradition, which is not oriented around a quest for trophy bucks but rather around the love of fresh venison, the enjoyment of family and friends, and the chance to spend some time in the woods rather than at work. Considering how many times I have heard hunters say 'You can't eat the horns,' I think this guy had a point." (p. 29)Well, what do you think? Does QDM, Earn-a-Buck programs, and the like "take the hunt out of hunting"? Do we risk altering the "family hunting tradition" if we change the focus of hunting from process to product? Is this the end of hunting as we know it?