At the end of Deer Steward 2 training, attendees can plan and implement advanced deer management strategies where they hunt. As it stands now, nearly 4,000 people have become Deer Stewards since the program began in 2007.

Program Overview

Deer Steward is the National Deer Association’s (NDA) individual certification program. This program includes three levels of potential achievement, and each must be completed in sequence.

Deer Steward 1 will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the key principles of deer and habitat biology, ecology and management.

Deer Steward 2 will teach students how to apply the principles learned in level one through hands-on and field experience.

Deer Steward 3, the most prestigious, must be earned through an individual’s long-term service to NDA, and/or the white-tailed deer.

In addition, starting in 2015, we also now offer the Deer Steward Modules where attendees dive into one particular topic that makes up part of an “umbrella” QDM plan, such as food plots, prescribed burning, or predator control. For more on the online or in-person modules, use the menu on the left.

2021 Deer Steward 2 Course


May 21-24, Union Springs, Alabama, at Great Southern Outdoors with special guests from The Management Advantage.

The Deer Steward 2 course will focus on the application of principles covered in Deer Steward 1. Those principles being the Four Cornerstones of QDM: herd management, habitat management, hunter management and herd monitoring. Level 2 will include a mix of classroom and field instruction, and the course will end by having the students apply their knowledge and develop an actual deer management plan. Level 2 courses also includes  CFE credits from the Society of American Foresters (SAF).

By taking Deer Steward Levels 1 and 2, attendees will have gained enough knowledge to write their very own property-specific deer management plan!

Program Instructors

  • Kip Adams, Wildlife Biologist, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer
  • Joe Hamilton, Wildlife Biologist, NDA Founder
  • Dr. Craig Harper, Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist, University of Tennessee
  • Dr. Karl V. Miller, Professor, University of Georgia
  • Matt Ross, Wildlife Biologist, Forester and NDA’s Director of Conservation

Note: Not all instructors will be at each course and others may be added.

Program Costs

Level 2 In-person Course:

$1,000 Non-NDA Members (includes an NDA membership)
$950 Regular NDA Members
$900 NDA Life Members, Sponsor Members and Corporate Sponsors, Partners and Supporters.

Early Bird discount ($50 off per level) will be applied if paying on/before March 1, 2021. Special group savings also available for NDA Branch officers/directors (up to 25% off). Discounts cannot be combined. Contact Matt Ross for more info.

Cost includes instruction, most meals, a course notebook, five 1-year NDA gift memberships ($150 value), coupons for “The Shed” and Life/Sponsor memberships (10-35% off), and a course certificate. Travel and lodging are not included. Once your course application form has been received and processed, you will be provided instructions regarding lodging, directions to course venues and a list of suggested readings prior to attending the course.

How to Register

Registration opens February 1, 2021

By phoning the NDA National Office at: 800-209-3337

By faxing a completed registration form to: 706-353-0223

By mailing a completed registration form to:

National Deer Association
P.O. Box 160
Bogart, GA 30622

Once all openings for the courses are filled, applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the next available course in the order their applications were received.

Scholarship Opportunity

For each of the in-person Level 2 classes, the NDA will also award a high school junior or senior, or college student, interested in a career in wildlife management a scholarship to attend free of charge. Applicants for the scholarships should have a strong interest in wildlife conservation and the Quality Deer Management (QDM) philosophy. Applications are due by March 1, 2021.

Download the Deer Steward 2 Scholarship Application

Cancellation Policy

Applicants of in-person Deer Steward courses shall be entitled to a full refund of course fees if the NDA National Office is notified within fourteen (14) business days of the course date. Cancellations made less than fourteen (14) business days from the course date shall entitle the applicant to a fifty percent (50%) refund of course fees. No refunds shall be made for cancellations less than two (2) business days before the course date.

Deer Steward 3

Deer Steward Level 3 is the final step in NDA’s Individual Deer Steward Certification Program. Unlike Levels 1 and 2, Level 3 is not a course and no test is required. Level 3 is achieved through personal achievement and long-term service to the white-tailed deer resource and/or the NDA. For many, Level 3 status will take years to qualify. Fortunately the effort needed to meet the qualifications will be replaced with pride and satisfaction upon attaining Level 3 status.

Download the Deer Steward 3 Application Form


If you have questions regarding course availability or registration, please contact the NDA National Office at 800-209-3337.

If you have any questions regarding course content, including online Deer Steward, please contact:

Ben Westfall
NDA Conservation Coordinator
Phone: 251-753-3040