By Gary Joiner
TFB Radio Network Manager
Texas landowners who want to enhance management of white-tailed deer or mule deer on their property should consider enrolling in the state’s Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP).
MLDP, administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), is intended to foster and support sound management and stewardship of native wildlife and wildlife habitats on private lands in Texas. The program has been around in one form or another since 1996.
Deer harvest is an important aspect of habitat management and conservation. Landowners enrolled in either the MLDP Harvest Option or Conservation Option can take advantage of extended season lengths and liberalized harvest opportunities.
The Harvest Option is an automated, “do-it-yourself” option for MLDP participation that provides landowners with a deer harvest recommendation, tag issuance and general guidance about wildlife and wildlife habitat management. Participation in the Harvest Option does not require habitat management practices, deer population data or the participant to receive technical assistance from a TPWD wildlife biologist.
The Conservation Option offers program participants the opportunity to work with a TPWD biologist to receive customized, ranch-specific habitat and deer harvest recommendations and MLDP tag issuance for white-tailed deer and/or mule deer. This option does require the reporting of certain types of deer data, as well as completion of specific habitat management practices each year, to participate and remain in the program.
MLDP participation is voluntary. Once enrolled, program participants must meet MLDP requirements for the full year of enrollment.
Applicants seeking to enroll in either the MLDP Harvest Option or Conservation Option must complete an application through TPWD’s Land Management Assistance online system. The application will require the landowner to create an account and draw a property boundary. An email address is required for the landowner and any designated agents the landowner may assign to the account.
Open enrollment for the Harvest Option is available from May 1 through Sept. 1.
Harvest Option enrollment is not automatically renewed, and it must be requested each year.
Open enrollment for the Conservation Option is available from April 2 through June 15. Once a Conservation Option enrollment is approved, it will be automatically renewed for the next hunting season, if all required reports are submitted by April 1 each year.
Details about MLDP can be found at www.tpwd.texas.gov/ or by contacting your nearest TPWD wildlife biologist or technician.