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Deer Steward 1:
History, Biology, and Ecology
Online Module

Learn all about the history of deer management, deer behavior, how they communicate, antler growth and more by completing NDA’s History, Biology, and Ecology 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 deer management history, biology, and ecology.

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.

Deer Management Today – Ben Westfall

Dive deep into the history of deer management and how it has changed throughout the years. Learn about historical deer populations in North America, the rise of quality deer management and its impact, and how the National Deer Association has played a major role in how deer are managed today.

Biology and Behavior – Kip Adams

Have you ever wondered why deer behave the way they do? Learn everything you need to know about social behavior and how deer interact with their environment, breeding patterns, fawns, and much more.

Movements and Home Range Use – Matt Ross

Deer are very active and mobile animals. This module will explain several key components of their movements including dispersal, home range and core area use, seasonal shifts, average daily movement, excursions, and the factors that influence these movements.

Senses and Communication – Dr. Gino D’Angelo

Deer have five senses just like us! Learn all about the mechanisms that allow deer to navigate their surroundings through sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. This module will help you understand the various ways in which deer gather information and communicate.

Antler Growth, Deformities and Genetics – Dr. Bronson Strickland

We all love big antlers, but do you know exactly how they grow or why? This module goes in depth to teach you all about how antlers grow, what determines how big they get, and some of the unique qualities that influence how they look.

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.

Ben Westfall – Ben is NDA’s Conservation Coordinator. Ben received his B.S. in Wildlife Conservation/Biology and M.S. in Biology from Southeast Missouri State University. Ben oversees NDA’s Certification Programs and is a Life Member of NDA.

Dr. Bronson Strickland – Bronson is the St. John Family Professor of Wildlife Management, and the Extension Wildlife Specialist for Mississippi State University. He received a B.S. degree in Forest Resources from the University of Georgia and an M.S. degree from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, and his Ph.D. from Mississippi State University. Bronson is a co-director of the MSU Deer Lab, a certified Wildlife Biologist, and Professional member of the Boone and Crockett Club.

Kip Adams – Kip is NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. Kip received his B.S. in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the Pennsylvania State University and his M.S. in Wildlife from the University of New Hampshire. Kip is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, Life Member of NDA, and a member of the Brothers-Hamilton Legacy Society.

Matt Ross – Matt is NDA’s Director of Conservation. Matt received his B.S. in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Massachusetts and his M.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of New Hampshire. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, a Licensed Forester, a Life Member of NDA, and a member of the Brothers-Hamilton Legacy Society.

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.