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New to MLD #7926163 08/06/20 07:29 PM
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Well the summer is winding down and I guess it's time to start paying attention to the brush country again. We just converted to MLD and so far it seems a little too good to be true. The biologist did her thing and sent us a long report that basically confirms that we should continue using the management strategies we've been using for 15+ years. Helicopter survey numbers were a little lower than expected, but that's what we get for surveying in the middle of a busy quail season. We don't have the tag numbers yet, but even if they're really conservative, we'll probably have more tags than we will use.

I guess what I'm saying is that the process of getting qualified and the requirements going forward seem a little too good to be true. Suddenly our rifle season is 5 months long and without any real inconvenience.

Am I missing something? Are there any cons?

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926187 08/06/20 07:56 PM
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no cons come to mind if the management plan is what you have had in place for years. Our place in east TX converted to MLDP3 5 years ago ... the biggest thing was getting the old hunters that had been there for 10-30 years to convert over to the mentality of what the plan was trying to get to. They saw a pretty 2.5-3.5 year old and shot it instead of waiting until at least 5.5 year old. Likewise, they didn't want to shoot does, so we ended up taking a LOT of does Jan/Feb to fill tags. Likewise, they showed up opening weekend of the extended season as the first time out since the previous mid Jan. to get all their crud set up. Just about all of those old hunters are gone now, they just couldn't adapt to the plan or that way of thinking.


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Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926204 08/06/20 08:16 PM
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This'll be my first year also, but I went the Harvest Option route. 'Didn't have to have a biologist out, although I have previously, just to get his take on the place. He's the one that suggested MLD Harvest Option. I went on line, established an account, drew out my boundary and submitted it. Bada-bing, approved and printed out my tags. I'm pretty OCD about keeping logs filing a report at the end of the season, etc., when they're required, so I don't think I'll have a problem. I've read everything the state has put in print about the program and keep it handy. Pretty sure I understand the rules and will make sure anybody on the place follows them. As long as my "archery only" neighbor doesn't call the game warden when he hears all the shooting, but even then, I'll have my ducks in a row. (Funny, how often I hear centerfire rifle fire over there.) 'Hope it's a good season. We're hurting for rain.


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926205 08/06/20 08:16 PM
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Only con is when you’re the one doing all the work to qualify for the conservation option of MLDP.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Txhunter65] #7926233 08/06/20 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Txhunter65
Only con is when you’re the one doing all the work to qualify for the conservation option of MLDP.


^^^Truth! including having to kill the remaining does that you can't get anyone to kill. I now have backup plans to handle the excess doe issue, but I had a few years where I spent weekends by myself hunting does at the end of the season. I quickly get tired of cleaning deer.

Grosvenor - A couple of things: 1) Be sure you guys fill your tags, especially your does. My biologists really emphasizes the doe harvest. 2) have some backup hunters that will come in and help finish filling your doe tags. Youth hunt programs are a good option. I have one that comes in October to knock several down right off the bat. 3) mature does get just as wary as bucks toward the end of the season, and waiting to kill your does at the last minute is harder than you might think.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926494 08/07/20 12:33 AM
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One thing to keep in mind is when your season is winding down and you are trying finish taking all your does in February that you look them over real good before pulling the trigger- it can be easy to pop a buck that has dropped his antlers thinking it is a doe. I was on a lease in Cherokee county years ago that was MLD and the bucks would begin dropping their antlers the end of January/first part of February.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926547 08/07/20 01:10 AM
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Been hunting MLD for over 10 years now just my experience harvest those does early man they wise up fast,plus the place we hunt the Bucks keep the does ran away from the feeders.And I never get tired of harvesting and cleaning does,if anyone needs help.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Russ79] #7926887 08/07/20 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ79
One thing to keep in mind is when your season is winding down and you are trying finish taking all your does in February that you look them over real good before pulling the trigger- it can be easy to pop a buck that has dropped his antlers thinking it is a doe.

I was going to say the same thing, but with button bucks. By late January and Early February, some of our button bucks are almost as big as a full grown doe.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926896 08/07/20 12:48 PM
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Just depends on how many you have to kill, have people lined up to give the meat too.

And don't feel bad, I've not shot a doe before because when it came down to it, I didn't want to clean one that night.


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Re: New to MLD [Re: KWood_TSU] #7926975 08/07/20 02:19 PM
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We’re not strangers to taking out does and our ratio is pretty ideal already, so the doe harvest isn’t a problem. That being said, what is the consequence of not filling all your mld tags?

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7926998 08/07/20 02:43 PM
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Grosvenor, I don't know about the new MLD system but in the old system if you didn't use all your tags they would begin reducing what they issue to you.

Re: New to MLD [Re: David7912] #7927016 08/07/20 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by David7912
Been hunting MLD for over 10 years now just my experience harvest those does early man they wise up fast,plus the place we hunt the Bucks keep the does ran away from the feeders.And I never get tired of harvesting and cleaning does,if anyone needs help.

Yup.. We started last year taking does fast...first couple of weekends...

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927036 08/07/20 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Grosvenor
We’re not strangers to taking out does and our ratio is pretty ideal already, so the doe harvest isn’t a problem. That being said, what is the consequence of not filling all your mld tags?


They might drop you from the program for not taking their advice.


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Re: New to MLD [Re: Russ79] #7927105 08/07/20 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ79
Grosvenor, I don't know about the new MLD system but in the old system if you didn't use all your tags they would begin reducing what they issue to you.


Well that seems counterproductive.

I assume there is some level of negotiation when they issue tags. In other words, if we think what we're seeing from the blinds and in our blind surveys isn't consistent with their harvest recs, then it's possible to adjust. There are too many variable for this to work if there is no flexibility.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927150 08/07/20 05:13 PM
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There is definitely some flexibility especially on LF. Like you said there are too many variables to issue a set number of tags and demand all those tags be filled. There is a lot that goes into the number of tags issued and between when you do those requirements and when the tags are issued and when hunting season arrives a lot can change, just keep you biologist informed. However, with that said if you do your surveys, stand counts, daylight counts, etc. and they issue you 50 do tags and you kill 5....that's probably not going to fly. Most biologist are pretty reasonable especially when it comes to LF and understand the variables, I'm sure everything will work out fine.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927271 08/07/20 07:27 PM
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MLD was set up with the extended season in order for you to have enough time to manage the state's assets like they lay out. If the population is so out of whack that you get 50 doe tags, and say you have 10 members and only five are killed, the biologist will know that it isn't for lack of seeing does- it is because you have members that probably don't like to shoot does. There are three choices at that point: replace members that won't shoot a doe for those that are willing to work with the biologist, have a late season doe hunt and open it up to anyone willing to kill a doe, remove you from the MLD program because why give you the extra month and a half to hunt if you aren't going to use it productively. The problem with waiting until the end of the season to shoot does is that you will now be killing a lot that are bred thus reducing your upcoming fawn crop.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927437 08/07/20 09:53 PM
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How would killing does at the end of season reduce fawn crop shooting them early or late has the same effect on fawn crop. Only benefit in shooting them early is your bucks don’t waste energy breading them. All does that come into estrus will be bred.

If you have 5, 10, or 50 tags if you fill all your tags it has the same effect on your fawn crop regardless of when you kill them.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Txhunter65] #7927453 08/07/20 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Txhunter65
How would killing does at the end of season reduce fawn crop shooting them early or late has the same effect on fawn crop. Only benefit in shooting them early is your bucks don’t waste energy breading them. All does that come into estrus will be bred.

If you have 5, 10, or 50 tags if you fill all your tags it has the same effect on your fawn crop regardless of when you kill them.


I was thinking the same thing. My feeble brain, and bleeding heart, figures, if you don't wanna see Bambi hanging around, and you don't wanna see an embryo in the belly (although I try to move quick and not look around too close), around Christmas is the best time to lay 'em down. up


...and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Gen. 1:28
Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927521 08/07/20 11:03 PM
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Make sure you read the fine print as to what you signed. up Also one of the first things the GW will check when he visits is the harvest log...so make sure it is filled out as soon as you get the deer into camp and tagged. Keep the log in the cleaning area. They will know you are MLD and will probably be by to check. Depending on your biologist, they may be a bit stricter on getting your numbers off to comply with the program rules.
Originally Posted by Grosvenor
Originally Posted by Russ79
Grosvenor, I don't know about the new MLD system but in the old system if you didn't use all your tags they would begin reducing what they issue to you.


Well that seems counterproductive.

I assume there is some level of negotiation when they issue tags. In other words, if we think what we're seeing from the blinds and in our blind surveys isn't consistent with their harvest recs, then it's possible to adjust. There are too many variable for this to work if there is no flexibility.

I know in years past you had a first issuance on tags and could adjust the amount given with a second issuance. If you have not gotten an amount on your tags you may or may not like the numbers.


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Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927673 08/08/20 01:41 AM
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For those that question my logic, do ya'll not realize that not every doe gets bred? Shoot them early reduces the numbers out there for bucks to chase, which most times will lead to more buck sightings since the bucks have to move about more to find a receptive doe plus a better chance for most all does to be bred. At least that is the logic I work with.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7927695 08/08/20 02:06 AM
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The logic I work with states the only does in Texas that don’t get bred are the ones born that year that haven’t reached the body weight required to come into estrus usually around 65-70lbs in Texas. So yes doe fawns can be bred. I would doubt there are does in the wild old enough to stop breeding, breeders have does that breed to 15 years and beyond. Not many wild does would ever see 10 much less 15.
If a does isn’t bred in her first cycle she will come in again about 17-28 days later. That process will continue until she is bred. If they go beyond march with out being bred they will stop estrus but the odds of that in Texas are almost none. I’ve seen week old fawns on 10/31. Meaning the doe wasn’t bred until March.
If you have does that don’t get bred you have some major problems.

Last edited by Txhunter65; 08/08/20 02:10 AM.
Re: New to MLD [Re: Russ79] #7928535 08/09/20 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Russ79
For those that question my logic, do ya'll not realize that not every doe gets bred? Shoot them early reduces the numbers out there for bucks to chase, which most times will lead to more buck sightings since the bucks have to move about more to find a receptive doe plus a better chance for most all does to be bred. At least that is the logic I work with.

Good logic.


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Re: New to MLD [Re: dogcatcher] #7928560 08/09/20 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by dogcatcher
Originally Posted by Russ79
For those that question my logic, do ya'll not realize that not every doe gets bred? Shoot them early reduces the numbers out there for bucks to chase, which most times will lead to more buck sightings since the bucks have to move about more to find a receptive doe plus a better chance for most all does to be bred. At least that is the logic I work with.

Good logic.


It's not just good logic, it is scientifically based and a good management practice. By reducing the number of does BEFORE the rut begins, it not only makes the bucks more focused on finding a doe, it also helps to insure that the does that are available get bred by the more mature vigorous bucks insuring that continuation of the better gene pool. A mature buck will not leave a doe for several days as she comes into estrous leaving the other (scrub) bucks to find and breed other available does. If you wait until after the rut to harvest your does, how do you know which buck impregnated that doe that you are about to harvest. Managing for the best deer herd possible is a lot more than just controlling numbers.

Re: New to MLD [Re: Grosvenor] #7929427 08/09/20 11:09 PM
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As I stated there are benefits to shooting does early, increasing the fawn crop is not one of them. If there is scientific data to suggest otherwise please post a link.

Within a healthy deer herd 95% of does will be bred annually. Regardless of when they are shot. With the majority of the state not having proper age structure in bucks or buck doe ratio the logic of the available does left after an early harvest being bred by the “more mature vigorous bucks” sounds great; however, it’s not reality. The average doe in Texas is likely bred by a 2.5-3.5 year old buck. In addition, trying to improve the genetics of an average (<1,000 acre) LF ranch in Texas with a trigger is futile. I’d also say recruitment is much more important to determine herd health than fawn crop. Example: a fawn crop of 1.5-1.8 fawns per doe with a recruit of 10% compared to a fawn crop of 1.0-1.2 fawns per doe with a recruitment of 30%, I’ll take a higher recruitment rate.

The negatives to shooting does early include increased pressure on the property reducing daylight activity of bucks, also reduces the number of does on the property for bucks to breed. The average doe home range in Texas is 80-150 acres shooting multiple does from doe groups means less reasons for bucks to be on your property especially if you’re hunting small acreage.

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