MLD Permits for Deer Management in Texas

Question: “We have a 550 acre property in Texas and are interested in the Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permit program. Our recently-purchased land is low-fenced and was part of a ranch that was in the MLDP program (Level 3), but was divided out. We are interested in deer management and improved deer hunting, but not familiar with how the deer permits work.

We have not completed the deer survey of the ranch for division purposes and are contemplating whether or not we should. Thus said, we will have family and/or guests who will hunt on our ranch. Want to figure out how we want to manage the deer found on the place. We understand that we must log the kills if we enroll in the MLDP program. Is this correct?”

Whitetail Deer Hunting - MLDP Program - MLD Permits

Response: The MLDP program is administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and is a good program for landowners interested in whitetail deer management. You must contact the county biologist and complete your surveys if you wish for the property to stay enrolled. Most of the time you stay enrolled at the ranch’s current level or advance upward since there is past data associated with the ranch.

As for the hunters on your property, anyone that you allow can deer hunt out there. However, if your property is included in the MLDP program, every buck and doe harvested must have an MLD permit attached. Hunters can not use tags off their deer hunting licenses. It is illegal to do so. Also, each harvested deer must be logged and recorded. Make sure all hunters realize that before they go out there if you participate in the program.

The MLD program is a habitat-based deer management program. It is administered by TPWD and allows landowners that are interested in maintaining or improving their property, as well as managing for improved, sustainable deer populations, to received technical guidance from biologist. There is no cost for the program, so it’s a great deal for private landowners interested in deer management. My recommendation would be to complete the surveys and give it a shot this deer hunting season. Otherwise, falling out of the program will not only jeopardize your Level 3 status, but also the progress of the program on the land. Can also opt out later if it’s not for you.

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