Dr. Duane Diefenbach of Penn State Receives NDA’s Professional Deer Manager of the Year Award

January 24, 2024 By: NDA Staff
Dr. Duane Diefenbach.

The National Deer Association is pleased to name Dr. Duane Diefenbach, Adjunct Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Leader of the PA Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at The Pennsylvania State University, as its 2023 NDA Professional Deer Manager of the Year Award winner. This award is presented to a person with significant on-the-ground experience, and one who has made a measurable impact to deer and deer hunting through education, research, or management on public or private lands. 

“Duane is an avid bird and deer hunter,” said Kip Adams, NDA’s Chief Conservation Officer. “He and his students have presented their research at numerous NDA national and Branch events during the past 20 years. We are honored to acknowledge him with this award.”

Duane received degrees from Washington State University, the University of Maine, and the University of Georgia.  His areas of expertise include white-tailed deer, biometrics, population estimation and harvest management. He is most widely known for his work on the ecology and management of white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania. 

Duane and his students have been collaborating with the Pennsylvania Game Commission since 2000 on a series of research projects on deer and deer hunters. This work has included studying survival and causes of mortality in fawns, effects of antler restriction regulations on harvest rates and dispersal in bucks, dispersal behavior or female white-tailed deer, and the spatial distribution of hunters and deer harvest as influenced by roads and landscape characteristics.

Duane’s current deer research is The Deer-Forest Study, which is a long-term study of the relationship of deer herbivory, competing vegetation, and soil conditions on the forest vegetation conditions.