MLDP Level 1 Permits for Deer Hunting

In Texas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) administers a program called the Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) program that is designed to help landowners better manage the deer herd found on their property. This program is available for both white-tailed deer and mule deer and gives participating landowners a better understanding of the deer and habitat found on their property. It also allows more deer hunting opportunity in areas where healthy deer populations exist. From my experience, the MLDP program is great, but permit usage can be confusing for those new new the program. I recently received this question:

“I have been getting a lot of good deer hunting information from this site for some time now. There really is lots of great info to be found here. Anyway, I am on a MLD permit Level 1 deer lease and we have some leftover doe tags that need to be used. My question is concerning whether or not there is an extended season for MLD Level 1 permits? I have been hearing differing opinions on the matter, so what is the deal? Also, can these MLD permits be used by adults during late youth season? I deer hunt in San Saba County. Any info will be appreciated.”

This is a good question. First, let me just point out that there are 3 Levels to the MLDP program. Level 1 permits are typically only issued to landowners in doe-only counties OR to first-year participants in counties that allow both buck and doe harvest. Since this question is about Level 1 permits, lets discuss this a bit further.

MLDP Permits for Deer Hunting

Most buck-only counties found in Texas either have highly fragmented deer habitat throughout the county or high deer hunting pressure, making an open general doe season a bad idea from a management perspective. Because deer habitat can vary from very good to non-existent in these counties, TPWD is willing to work with cooperating landowners to allow the harvest of antlerless (doe) deer on those private lands where high deer numbers exist. This is where Level 1 MLD Permits come in.

A TPWD biologist will meet with landowners on their property and make an assessment of the deer carrying capacity of the deer habitat found on the property. Then, the biologist will instruct landowners on how to survey the deer found on the property. Once you return this data to the biologist, they make a deer harvest recommendation based on the landowner’s objectives and the difference in deer numbers between the carrying capacity of the habitat and the estimated deer population. If there are too many deer for the habitat permits get issued. If not, then maybe in the future.

With regards to Level 1 MLDP Permits, they can only be used on the property for which they were issued. Hunting license tags can not be used to tag antlerless deer on these properties, only permits! In addition, these whitetail deer hunting permits can be used during any open season in the county, but hunters are limited to the legal hunting means and methods for that season.

During Archery Season hunters can use Level 1 permits for antlerless deer harvested with a bow. During the General Season hunters can use these permits for deer harvested by any legal means or method for the county they hunt. During the Special Late General Season (extended doe and spike season) hunters can use these permits just as they would during the general deer hunting season. They can also use them during the early Special Youth-Only Season or January Special Youth-Only Season.

So to answer the question as to whether or not MLDP Level 1 permits can be used in San Saba County during the late deer hunting season, the answer is definitely yes! This county has a Special Late General Season that allows the harvest of antlerless and spike deer. Any legal hunting method can be used.

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