Columbia, SC –Joe Hamilton, founder of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA) was recently named South Carolina’s Wildlife Conservationist of the Year. Ben Gregg, Executive Director of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, and Cary Chamblee, Lobbyist with the South Carolina Camo Coalition, presented the award to the deserving Mr. Hamilton during the South Carolina Wildlife Federation’s 45th Annual Conservation Awards Banquet in Columbia last weekend.
“It is a humbling experience to be recognized for my professional activities and lifestyle, which, often at the expense of my family, are inseparable,” said Hamilton. “Although presented to an individual, this award’s recognition should extend to the dedicated deer hunters who embraced a new paradigm in deer management, now commonly known and practiced as quality deer management (QDM), and to the Quality Deer Management Association which was established to foster the movement,” he continued.
Since earning a Master of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Georgia’s School of Forest Resources, Hamilton has dedicated thirty years to wildlife management in the state of South Carolina. His efforts have enhanced management practices in South Carolina and impacted deer management throughout the region.
The title “Wildlife Conservationist of the Year” is not the first honor that Hamilton has received for his work. He is one of only two Americans to be inducted into The Keepers of the Hunting Spirit, an honorary fraternity of hunters based in Australia; he has also earned North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Governor’s Award as Wildlife Conservationist of the Year, along with the Wildlife Society’s Deer Management Achievement Award, and the South Carolina Wildlife Federation’s Harry Hampton “Woods and Waters” Conservation Memorial Journalism Award for excellence in natural-resource reporting, among others.
In 1979, Hamilton began his career with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources as a deer research biologist. Working with biologists across the country, he helped develop the quality deer management philosophy. In 1988, Hamilton founded the South Carolina Quality Deer Management Association. The organization, now known as QDMA, has grown from a group of South Carolina landowners and deer hunters to a well-recognized non-profit with 50,000 members operating in all fifty states and several foreign countries. Currently, Hamilton serves as QDMA’s Director of Education and Outreach for the Southern Region.
“Joe has been a leader in the conservation arena for more than three decades. We are so honored to have him as the founder of the QDMA and are proud to work with him each and every day,” said Brian Murphy, CEO of QDMA.
Founded in 1988, QDMA is a national nonprofit wildlife conservation organization with more than 50,000 members in all 50 states and Canada, and several foreign countries. Membership in QDMA is open to anyone interested in better deer and better deer hunting, and committed to ethical hunting, sound deer management and the preservation of the deer-hunting heritage. To learn more about QDMA and why it is the future of deer hunting, call (800) 209-3337 or visit www.QDMA.com.