AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved changes to the Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP), which provides landowners and land managers with additional flexibility to manage deer populations, improve habitats, and provide greater hunting opportunities under the guidance of department biologists. The approved changes include clarifying existing program provisions and establishing fees for participation in the growing program.
“In the last 20 years the MLDP has grown from 800 tracts of land on 3 million acres to more than 12,000 tracts of land on 28 million acres, but in that time we have not had a source of funding to hire any new staff to help address the challenges we face with that growth,” said Alan Cain, TPWD white-tailed deer program leader. “The revenue generated by the new fees will be used to hire new field biologists to meaningfully engage with MLDP participants, meet technical guidance requests, and administer the MLDP.”
The fee amendment establishes a $30 fee for each management unit within a property that is enrolled in the Harvest Option (HO), provided the property is not part of an aggregate acreage enrolled in the MLDP; a $30 fee for each aggregate acreage enrolled in the HO; a $300 fee for the first management unit of each property enrolled in the Conservation Option (CO) plus a $30 fee for each additional management unit of a property enrolled in the CO; a $300 fee for each aggregate acreage enrolled in the CO; and a $30 fee for each management unit of a wildlife management association or cooperative enrolled in the CO.
The fee amounts were selected by the department after soliciting and receiving input from department staff, stakeholder groups, and advisory committees regarding what would be a reasonable fee for participation in the MLDP considering the benefits received, the demands on department staff in administering the various options available to landowners under the MLDP, and which would not result in significant attrition from the MLDP by landowners.
The department will begin collecting MLDP participation fees in the spring of 2021 in preparation for the 2021-22 hunting season.