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Deer Steward 1:
Habitat Management
Online Module

Learn all about food plots, how to manage the woods and open fields, herbicide applications and using prescribed fire by completing NDA’s Habitat Management online module.

The official NDA Deer Steward online modules will teach you all about deer, how to hunt them, and how to manage habitat and herds.

Why Choose this Course?

Learn from the Nation’s Top Deer Experts and Researchers

This course was developed by the National Deer Association (NDA) and is powered by the leading provider of online hunter safety courses for state agencies and consumers in North America. In this course, you will receive the world’s foremost personal training on habitat management.

Comprehensive Learning

Videos and corresponding photos and slides included throughout the course make information easy to learn and retain. The nation’s top deer experts provide you with a complete understanding of deer biology, ecology, and management.

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Developed and Approved by the NDA

The Deer Steward program was developed to meet the NDA’s standards for safe and ethical hunting practices. Since 1988, NDA has worked to promote sustainable, healthy, and balanced deer populations, wildlife habitat, and ethical hunting experiences through scientific research, hunter education programs, hunting advocacy, and active hunter recruitment. NDA is pleased to join Today’s Hunter in being your guide to becoming an advanced deer manager and hunter, and we know you’re going to find the experience enjoyable and rewarding.


Personal Instruction

The NDA’s Deer Steward online modules were developed with the goal of increasing your knowledge and understanding of a specific topic. Whether you’re a brand-new or experienced hunter, landowner, or an aspiring natural resource professional, this is the place to be. Each course is entirely web based, and you will have access to the materials for 90 days after registering, allowing for the flexibility necessary to cover the materials as quickly or slowly as you desire.

Here's an idea of the topics covered in this module.

Forest Management for Deer – Dr. Craig Harper

Forested areas are a major component of where deer live. Managing the forest in a way that benefits deer greatly improves food and cover and will directly increase your opportunities to see and harvest deer. This module covers everything Forest Management from setting management objectives, forest types, various management methods, and which trees are the best for deer!

Managing Fields and Other Open Areas – Dr. Craig Harper

Deer need a variety of plants to survive, and providing the specific plants that deer love the most will not only improve the health of the herd but also your hunting success. This module will teach you everything you need to know about various vegetation types, how to properly manage them, which plants deer prefer, and how to identify them.

Implementing Prescribed Fire – Dr. Marcus Lashley

Prescribed fire is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to manage the land for deer and other wildlife. Implementing Prescribed Fire will teach you what time of year to burn for specific goals, the effects of fire on different vegetation, firing techniques, and how to safely conduct your own burn!

Developing a Food Plot Program – Dr. Craig Harper

Food plots are an incredibly popular management tool among hunters and have proven to considerably improve hunting success. A healthy food plot can provide thousands of pounds of food per acre for deer and other wildlife. This module covers in depth the benefits of food plots, different plot types, how to arrange, plant and maintain them, and how to make sure they produce at maximum capacity!

Effective Food Plot Mixtures for Deer – Dr. Craig Harper

What should you plant in your food plot? How much should you plant? This module discusses a large variety of different seed mixtures, what rate to plant them, when to plant them, how to keep them weed free, and how to choose what’s best for your individual needs and goals. Healthy plots equals healthy deer!

Course Features


Filmed in front of a live audience, our Deer Steward course videos feature professional biologists and deer researchers, the latest and most relevant science, and engaging footage of deer in the wild that gives you a visual representation of their behavior and how they respond to management.

Watch this 2-minute video to learn more about the new and improved course.

Dr. Craig Harper – Craig is a Professor of Wildlife Management and the Extension Wildlife Specialist at the University of Tennessee. Craig Received his A.A.S. degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Haywood Community College, B.S. in Natural Resources Management from Western Carolina University, M.S. in Biology from University of North Carolina – Wilmington, and Ph.D. in Forest Resources from Clemson University. Dr. Harper maintains an active research and extension program that specializes in upland habitat management, including effects of silviculture, prescribed fire, and herbicide applications on habitat for various wildlife species.

Dr. Marcus Lashley – Marcus is an Assistant Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida. Marcus received a B.S. in Forestry with Wildlife Management emphasis from Mississippi State University; an M.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries from University of Tennessee; and a Ph.D. in Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology from North Carolina State University. Marcus is interested in disturbance ecology and how plant community structure influences interactions between competitors and predator-prey dynamics.

Continuing Education Credits

Just like NDA’s in-person Deer Steward courses, registrants must pass an exam to graduate, and continuing education credits from either the Society of American Foresters and/or The Wildlife Society are available. In addition, we’re proud to announce that this course is now compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Graduates of this course will be eligible to take one of the NDA’s in-person Level 2 courses upon completion.

Learn Your Way on Any Device

Today's Hunter offers online courses that are fully mobile-friendly from start to finish. This safety course is designed to work on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.

Saved Progress

You may complete the course at your own pace. The course can be completed in one sitting or a little at a time over several days. Log in and out at any time, and we'll keep track of your progress. Most students finish the course in a few hours.