Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program


The Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) program as developed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) allows Texas landowners involved in a formal deer management program to have the state’s most flexible seasons and increased harvest opportunities. The MLDP program is incentive based and focused on habitat management. The program really is set up to help landowners manage white-tailed deer. Participation in the MLDP program requires a written Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) approved by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) biologist. However, a TPWD biologist, a landowner, or a landowner’s designated agent may prepare the WMP. A WMP prepared by a landowner or an agent must be in a format approved by TPWD and submitted to TPWD for approval. Although the program seems to be set up to run with minimal paperwork, permits will not be issued unless the WMP has been approved.

There are 3 levels of MLDPs (Level 1, 2, and 3). Higher levels offer additional harvest flexibility to the landowner, but also have more stringent habitat management requirements. There is no fee or written application, other than the WMP, for the MLDP program. Landowners or their designated agents should contact their local TPWD Wildlife biologist to request permits, but don’t wait until right before deer season. New applicants should submit all required information to their local TPWD contact by August 15 if they want to receive their permits before hunting season opens.

Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program

Permits are issued by the TPWD biologists through the Texas Wildlife Information and Management System (TWIMS), a computer automated system. Permits are mailed out of Austin each year after a TPWD biologist enters or modifies a harvest recommendation in the database. By the way, permits are valid only for the specific ranch for which they were issued.

An approved WMP will include an annually updated harvest recommendation for does and/or bucks, dependant on the level of participation. The annual harvest recommendation will determine the number of permits to be issued and will establish the maximum harvest for the property. If permits are issued after the start of deer season, all deer harvested prior to permit issuance, regardless of permit level, must be counted towards the maximum quota. Subsequent survey data may indicate a need to amend the harvest recommendation, which could result in a supplemental issuance of MLDPs.


Once permits are issued, all deer harvested (with the exception of buck deer on Level 1 properties) on that property must be tagged with the appropriate MLDP. Completion of the hunting license log and use of a hunting license tag are not required for deer harvested under the authority of a MLDP, but since all deer must have the MLDP, harvest is stricly regulated and intended to meet a landowners objectives.

Providing reliable harvest data, including accurate ages as determined by tooth wear and replacement, is a requirement for program participation. A suggestion for untrained individuals is to remove and label one jawbone from every deer harvested for a wildlife biologist to age at a later date. Jawbones must be labeled in such a way that the biologist can identify the deer on the data sheet. Check this out for more information on the aging deer using the tooth wear technique.

Now, it’s time for specific information about TPWD’s MLDP program. This information is straight from TPWD’s website:

Level 1 Managed Lands Deer Permits — Level 1 MLDPs offer liberalized antlerless harvest opportunity for landowners in counties with restrictive antlerless harvest regulations. Most requests for Level 1 MLDPs are in areas where county regulations restrict antlerless harvest during all or part of the general season. No buck permits are issued under Level 1.

Level 1 MLDP Benefits — Completion of the hunting license log and use of a hunting license tag are not required on antlerless deer harvested under the authority of this permit; therefore, county and statewide antlerless bag limits do not apply to individual hunters. Since bucks are not included under Level 1, all bucks harvested on the property must be tagged with an appropriate hunting license tag and recorded on the hunting license log. Allows the harvest of antlerless deer as outlined in the WMP during any open season in the county, subject to applicable season legal means and methods.

Level 1 MLDP Requirements –The approved WMP must include current deer population data. Once MLDPs have been issued, all antlerless deer harvested must be tagged with only a Level 1 MLDP, including deer taken during an archery-only season, muzzleloader-only season, or special youth-only season (no MLDP is required for deer taken on the property under the authority of an Antlerless and Spike Deer Control Permit). If there are doe-days in the county, MLDPs must be used during doe-days on properties where they have been issued.

Level 1 MLDP cooperators are required to conduct sound deer population management through the harvest of an appropriate number of antlerless deer, and report the number of bucks and does harvested while enrolled in the MLDP program.

Level 2 Managed Lands Deer Permits — Level 2 MLDPs offer additional harvest flexibility for landowners, but require active habitat and population management and apply only to white-tailed deer.

Level 2 MLDP Benefits — Completion of the hunting license log and use of a hunting license tag are not required on a deer harvested under the authority of this permit; therefore, county and statewide bag limits do not apply to individual hunters. Allows harvest of antlerless deer and spikes (a buck deer with no antler having a fork or branching point) with any lawful means, including modern firearms, from September 27, 2008 through February 28, 2009.

Allows harvest of any buck deer with archery equipment from September 27, 2008 through February 28, 2009; with any lawful means by a youth hunter during the early Youth-Only Season (Oct. 25-26); with any lawful means from November 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009. Once permits have been issued, archery stamp requirements do not apply.

Level 2 MLDP Requirements –The approved WMP must include deer population data from the current year and the preceding year, complete deer harvest data (including age, weight, and antler data) from the preceding year, and must identify at least 2 recommended habitat management practices that are being conducted or will be conducted on the property. Once permits have been issued, every deer (buck and antlerless) harvested on the property must be tagged with an appropriate Level 2 MLDP (no MLDP is required for deer taken on the property under the authority of an Antlerless and Spike Deer Control Permit).

The landowner must accomplish at least 2 habitat management practices specified in the WMP within three years of initial permit issuance. The habitat management practices and harvest management must maintain the habitat in a stable or improving condition. On-site evaluations will be conducted by TPWD to assess progress.

Level 3 Managed Lands Deer Permits –Level 3 MLDPs offer maximum harvest flexibility for landowners, but require active habitat and population management and apply only to white-tailed deer.

Level 3 MLDP Benefits — Completion of the hunting license log and use of a hunting license tag are not required on deer harvested under the authority of this permit; therefore, county and statewide bag limits do not apply to individual hunters. Allows harvest of antlerless and any buck deer with any lawful means from September 27, 2008 through February 28, 2009. Once permits have been issued, archery stamp requirements do not apply.

Level 3 MLDP Requirements — The approved WMP must include deer population data from the current year and the preceding 2 years, complete deer harvest data (including age, weight, and antler data) from the 2 preceding years, and must identify at least 4 recommended habitat management practices that are being conducted or will be conducted on the property. Once permits have been issued, every deer (buck and antlerless) harvested on the property must be tagged with an appropriate Level 3 MLDP (no MLDP is required for deer taken on the property under the authority of an Antlerless and Spike Deer Control Permit).

The landowner must accomplish at least 4 habitat management practices specified in the WMP within three years of initial permit issuance. The habitat management practices and harvest management must maintain the habitat in an acceptable or improving condition. On-site evaluations will be conducted by TPWD to assess progress.


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One Reply to “Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) Program”

  1. I recently hunted on a MLDP ranch is SW Texas. I was devastated at the condition of the habitat. Although not an expert in the field of deer and habitat management, it appeared these animals, whitetail, axis, fallow and several others were starved! When the feeder went off they charged it and fought for the feed. This ranch is nothing more than trophy breeding ranch in my opinion.

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