A dear ‘deer,’ professor set to retire

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, June 25, 2024

STARKVILLE — Steve Demarais, co-director of the MSU Deer Lab, will retire this week. His career working with white-tailed deer began in college although his fascination with deer started in high school. He loved hunting and fishing growing up and his first harvest of a deer was in college when he was at the University of Massachusetts. 

Demarais is a native of Attleboro, Massachusetts but headed south to become one of the MSU Deer Lab’s first graduate students. He spent 15 years teaching and researching in Texas before joining the MSU faculty in 1997. 

Mississippi State College of Forest Resources held a celebratory lunch with Demarais Tuesday afternoon. The Daily Leader is working on a story looking at the impact Demarais had on deer research and his students. 

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Demarais is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists, Mississippi Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Southeastern Section – The Wildlife Society and The Wildlife Society. 

Over his career at MSU, Demarais worked on crucial research projects including the nutritional impacts on deer, habitat management, diseases including Chronic Wasting Disease.

Demarais won numerous awards and honors in his career according to his bio on the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center webpage, 

  • Fellow
    The Wildlife Society
  • Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award
    National Deer Association
  • SEC Faculty Achievement Award
    Southeast Conference
  • Kleberg Award for Applied Wildlife Research
    The Wildlife Society
  • Taylor Chair in Applied Research and Instruction
    Funding obtained from Taylor Foundation (2018-2023)
  • Conservation and Stewardship Award
    Boone and Crockett Club
  • Ralph E. Powe Research Award
    Mississippi State University
  • Deer Management Career Achievement Award
    The Wildlife Society and Deer Study Group
  • Outstanding Media Product
    The Wildlife Society, Mississippi Chapter
  • Publication and Creativity Award
    Oklahoma Chapter of the Wildlife Society
  • Outstanding Peer-Reviewed Article
    Miss Chapter of The Wildlife Society
  • Outstanding Popular Article
    Miss Chapter of The Wildlife Society