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State Programs Help Landowners Manage White-tailed Deer Populations

Posted Feb. 1, 2006

The Oklahoma Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) is administered by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the Texas Managed Lands Deer Permit (MLDP) program is administered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They offer these programs to help land managers better manage deer habitat and deer populations. DMAP started in 1992, and MLDP started in 1998. Even though these programs have been around a while, many landowners are not aware of them.

Both programs provide increased doe harvest opportunity beyond standard regulations, which helps managers better manage deer populations. For example, does can be harvested during more days and individual hunters can harvest more does than normally allowed by standard antlerless regulations. State agency wildlife biologists usually help deer managers evaluate habitat, interpret population data and develop harvest recommendations.

Additional responsibilities come with the extra opportunities. Both programs require a cooperator to perform annual deer population surveys, record data from all harvested deer and share this information with a specified agency biologist or technician. Knowledgeable deer managers view these responsibilities as added opportunities, because they realize the value of deer population survey data and harvest data for making better management decisions.

DMAP requires each cooperator to enroll at least 1,000 contiguous acres. Managers of several smaller properties can cooperate and enroll as a group to satisfy the minimum acreage. A cooperator can be a single landowner, a group of landowners, a hunting club or a hunting lease manager. Oklahoma had 157 DMAP cooperators representing about 655,000 acres during 2005. This represented more than 157 landowners because several cooperators, such as the Walnut Bayou Deer Management Association, enrolled as groups. A completed application form and an enrollment fee are due annually by May 15. The annual enrollment fee is $200 for cooperator acreages smaller than 5,000 acres and $400 for larger acreages. Each cooperator maintains one or more check stations where all harvested deer must be checked in before leaving the property. This eliminates the need to transport and check in deer elsewhere. DMAP application forms can be obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Wildlife Division at (405) 521-2739.

MLDP requires a biologist, technician, landowner or landowner's agent to develop a wildlife management plan in a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-approved format. Program participants must improve or at least maintain deer habitat. There are no fees and no application form is necessary to participate in the MLDP program, but a landowner or the landowner's agent must contact a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist or technician to request permits. MLDPs have three levels higher levels provide more harvest flexibility but have more requirements. More than 3,500 landowners, representing about 9 million acres, participated in the MLDP program during 2005.

During the last 25 years, Noble Research Institute wildlife staff have helped several cooperators evaluate habitat, develop management plans, establish population surveys, establish check stations and harvest records, interpret survey and harvest data and determine harvest limits. Landowners within the Noble Research Institute Agricultural Division's service area are welcome to request assistance with these and other wildlife and fisheries issues. Call the Ag Division at (580) 224-6500 for more information.

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