Texas Lease Hunting

Lease hunting in Texas is a pasttime thousands of hunters look forward to each year. Starting in September with opening dove season, the long wait is finally over. It's all about camaraderie with hunting buddies and the thrill of the big buck out your blind window. It's also about a productive, responsible and enjoyable hunting tradition that will last long after we've pulled a trigger for the last time. Enjoy the Texas lease hunting experience as a steward of the land and as a protector for the next generation of hunters.

From the Hill Country to the Brush Country of South Texas. the enjoyment of hunting in the Lone Star State is not an activity available to only the priveleged few. We firmly believe that hunting, fishing and outdoor recreational activities contribute to the well-being of adults and children alike. Hunt Texas and enjoy Texas.

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Managed Land Deer Permits - MLDP

The Managed Land Deer Program is administered through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and is designed to promote deer herd population stability in conjunction with habitat management and improvement. Basically, the Managed Land Deer Permit program allows for flexibility and extended hunting seasons for landowners, and lessees who voluntarily participate. There are requirements for participants in the program that include program application and submission of a wildlife management plan that has to be approved by Texas Parks and wildlife Department biologist or technician. There are three levels of managed lands deer permits with each having separate requirements.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department MLDP Participation

Participating in the MLD permit program is basically engaging in a partnership between landowners, hunters in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Independent of the level of involvement in the MLD permit program, participants must submit deer harvest data annually. The number of permits issued are in direct relation to the recommended number of does and bucks to be harvested. For instance, if eight bucks and 14 does are recommended to be taken during the season, eight buck permits in 14 doe permits will be issued for the upcoming deer season. Harvested deer taken on Managed Land Deer Permit property must be tagged with the appropriate Managed Land Deer Permit. Deer taken under the MLD program are not required to be tagged with an ordinary hunting license, but rather with an MLDP tag. Hunters shooting in excess of their allowed allotment of deer can jeopardize their participation in the MLD program and can face penalties starting with canceling their participation in the program for one year. In summary, the Managed Land Deer Permit program allows for increased flexibility in bag limits along with more flexibility and an extended hunting season.

MLD Permit Levels

The three levels Managed Land Deer permits are based on years involved with the program and compliance with terms laid out by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. All levels of participation include reporting requirements and collection of deer population data. Managed Land Deer Permit participation starts with level one and continues sequentially to level three, with level three offering the greatest flexibility in deer harvest capability but with increased requirements. The three levels of participation in the MLDP program are outlined as follows:

  • Level 1 MLDP - Allows hunters an extended season for antlerless deer shooting only. No buck permits are issued under level 1. This is the first level of the MLDP program and statewide bag limits on does do not apply to level 1 MLDP hunters.
  • Level 2 MLDP - Allows hunters an extended season for antlerless and Spike bucks only. As with level 1 MLD permits, statewide bag limits do not apply to does and spikes taken under this level of MLD permit.
  • Level 3 MLDP - Allows hunters an extended season for all white tailed deer (spikes, does and bucks) provided the deer harvest does not exceed the allotted number of tags. This level is the highest level of participation in the MLDP program.

MLD Permits and Deer Counts

In order to obtain your MLD permits Texas Parks and Wildlife will require you to perform a deer census. This can be done by helicopter for $500 - $1,000 or you can develop a similar census accepted by TPWD by performing 3 night observations. The observations must be performed on the same line through the ranch each time during the June through August period in order to determine number of bucks, does and fawns. To create the most accurate counts designate a driver and two counters with lightweight Q-beams located on each side of the vehicle. Lightweight Q-beams help you hold the light for a longer period and this is important due to the fact that most observations last around an hour or longer. When a counter locates a deer let the driver record the data (buck, doe or fawn) while the counters stay focused on the deer spotted. After observing each deer for a few minutes honk the horn to see if any other deer stand up or a fawn hiding in the brush appears. The accuracy of these counts is extremely important considering they will dictate the number of buck and doe permits hunters will receive for the entire season. Your game journal will also compliment this information to determine the most accurate buck to doe ratio. TPWD have forms and instructions that will ensure you comply with their requirements in order to qualify for the MLD permits.