Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s [TPWD] Managed Lands Deer Program, commonly referred to as the MLDP, is an integral part of white-tailed deer hunting in Texas. This program allows landowners involved in a formal management program to have the state’s most flexible seasons and bag limits. The program is incentive based and habitat focused. Many landowners are involved in the MLDP because they are interested in habitat management, deer management, and the benefits that the program offers them in the management of their property.
Every year MLD Program participants are asked to complete a Daylight Observation Form, to count the number of deer they see each day on their property, in order to complete a census of number of bucks, does, and fawns. Every year, beginning August 1 and going through Labor Day, this count is made and turned it in to the TPWD Biologist, who uses this information to calculate the harvest numbers. Download the Daylight Observation Form here. Based on this data, the TPWD Biologist emails his harvest recommendation (the number of deer to be harvested). Once members accept the harvest recommendation, the TPWD Biologist will email the MLD deer tags, which then can be printed out by each member.
The Vista Mountain Wildlife Management Association notes that MLDP data is very valuable for evaluating your herd’s progress, and for tracking your management decisions’ impact on the herd. Each MLDP participant/property owner usually completes an Annual Harvest Survey in late summer or early fall to submit to the TPWD Biologist.
Harvest data will likely include:
- date of harvest
- sex of deer
- age of deer as determined by tooth wear and replacement
- field dressed body weight
Additional harvest data could include:
- number of antler points on both right and left beams
- inside spread
- one main beam length
- one basal circumference
- presence or absence of lactation for does
- full gross B&C scores for all bucks harvested (except spikes), including cull bucks
- a photograph of each buck harvested
This information helps determine annual harvest, identify potential problems with the herd dynamics, and can be useful in tracking hunter satisfaction through time.
Landowners participating in MLDP can now submit the Annual Harvest Survey online at Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Land Management Assistance, or the data can be mailed or emailed to your cooperating TPWD Biologist:
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.
By submitting it into LMA, you will be able to compare your data with other ranches by county (while still keeping all personal information confidential). The Managed Lands Deer Program is an important component of deer hunting and deer management in Texas, but it only works when willing landowners take an interest in managing their property.
Additional Information: www.tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/land/technical_guidance/biologists/