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Quality Hunting Ecology

Year Awarded: 1998
Awarded: $300,000
Team Leader:  Sand County Foundation

This project team increased the quality of deer health and reduced the impact of deer on forest regeneration in Northwest Pennsylvania. Team members guided forestland managers, hunters, biologists, and foresters in forming the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC). They also combined lands from the Allegheny National Forest, the Bradford Municipal Watershed and private timber companies (Forest Investment Associates, RAM Forest Products and Collins Pine Company) to form the 74,000-acre KQDC Area. The Pennsylvania Game Commission formally adopted the team’s model as part of their “Forest Restoration Area” policy, and the state accepted the team’s recommendations in addition to committing more than $650,000 for further work.

Over the course of the project, KQDC biologists documented significant increases in deer body weights and antler characteristics as well as improvements in habitat quality. Forest managers reduced the use of deer-proof fencing for reforestation, meaning more space for both wildlife and hunters. Hunting on the Kinzua Quality Area is free and open to the public.

This wildlife and forestry success story is the result of deer hunters and land managers working together, voluntarily committing to scientific deer management for quality deer and quality habitat.