This course is designed for individuals wishing to increase their understanding of wildife and wildlife management. Specifically, the course targets Maryland landowners and other citizens with an interest in the principles and practices of wildife management. There are no prerequisites; however, owning or having access to property is necessary to complete the framework of the required wildlife management plan.

The course is divided into five units, with each unit containing between 2-10 lessons.  As a review, there is a quiz containing several questions at the end of each lesson. There are also assignments following most lessons.  Resource information is located in the appendices.

Course Content and Outline

Unit 1: Environmental Landscape (Lessons 1-5)

Offers an overview of conservation and wildlife management, Maryland's landscape, a brief history of wildlife conservation in the United States and Maryland, and a description of the governmental agencies that regulate and manage wildlife.

  • Lesson 1. Introduction
  • Lesson 2. Maryland's Landscape
  • Lesson 3. History of Wildlife Conservation
  • Lesson 4. Maryland's Wildlife and Heritage Service History
  • Lesson 5. Key Players in the United States

Unit 2: Principles of Wildlife Management (Lessons 6-15)

A basic overview of wildlife natural history, ecological factors and principles, habitat and resources, biodiversity, invasive species, wildlife hazards, wildlife diseases and more.

  • Lesson 6. Understanding the Natural History of Wildlife Species
  • Lesson 7. Ecological Niche of a Species
  • Lesson 8. Ecological Factors and Concepts
  • Lesson 9. The Law of Tolerance, Dispersion, and Landscape Ecology
  • Lesson 10. Predator-Prey Relationships
  • Lesson 11. Biodiversity
  • Lesson 12. Habitat and Resources
  • Lesson 13. Invasive Species
  • Lesson 14. Hazards to Wildlife
  • Lesson 15. Wildlife Diseases and Humans

Unit 3: Human Interactions and Urban Wildilfe Systems (Lessons 16-18)

Presents urban resources for wildlife, discussion of hunting and trapping, and the importance of endangered species.

  • Lesson 16. Urban Wildlife Management
  • Lesson 17. Game and Nongame Species: Hunting and Trapping
  • Lesson 18. Endangered and Threatened Species

Unit 4. Putting It All Together: Developing a Wildlife Management Plan (Lessons 19-26)

Highlights elements of a wildlife management plan and the management choices available to the landowner. This unit also covers habitat assessment, plant identification and estimating population numbers.  In the course of learning how to prepare a wildlife management plan, students will develop the framework of a plan for their property.

  • Lesson 19. Landowner Objectives and Planning
  • Lesson 20. Estimating Wildlife Populations
  • Lesson 21. Working with Maps and Photographs
  • Lesson 22. Habitat Assessment
  • Lesson 23. Plant Identification
  • Lesson 24. Habitat Assessment Techniques
  • Lesson 25. Managing Forests for Wildlife and Timber Production
  • Lesson 26. Wildlife Management Practices, Timeline, and Recordkeeping

Unit 5: Ethical and Legal Considerations (Lessons 27-28)

Explains legal issues and landowner responsibilities and well as wildlife damage.

  • Lesson 27. Legal Concerns for Landowners
  • Lesson 28. Wildlife Damage

Additional Information


Several of the lessons are followed by reading assignments, typically one or several wildlife fact sheets. There are lessons with videos, a lesson for mapping your property and yet another for making a plant press.

Many of the assignments require field work on your property:  

  • make a study collection requiring identification of plant species
  • identify and collecting samples of invasive species
  • identify wildlife hazards in your area
  • view your property to determine what steps you can take to manage for wildlife
  • look for animal signs and conduct a count of individuals
  • evaluate your property using record sheets
  • determine the ground and canopy cover
  • obtain soil survey and other maps or photos

Supplementary Texts (included with the course materials)

Wildlife and Timber

Wildlife and Timber from Private Lands: A Landowner’s Guide to Planning and Common Native by R.R. Decker, D.J. Kelley, J.W. Seamans, and T.W. Roth. 1983. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Ithica, New York. 56 pp. 




Trees of Virginia

Trees of Virginia Tree Identification Guide by Virginia Department of Forestry. 2007. 120 pp.

Course Requirements

  • Read each lesson in the course text
  • Complete the additional readings and assignments
  • Answer the questions. The first set of questions is titled What Is Wildlife? located in the Introduction. Quizzes are found at the end of each lesson or under Quizzes in the left column. Submit your responses to the instructor.
  • Develop and write the basic framework for a wildlife management plan
  • Comment on three topics posted on the discussion board

Certificate of Completion

Certificate of Completion

Upon completing the course successfully, students will be awarded a certificate of completion.