Presenters: Scott Boruff, Clay Brewer

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Managed Lands Deer Program – Mule Deer
May 2003

I. Discussion: At the August 2002 Commission meeting, two landowners requested that the Managed Land Deer (MLD) program be expanded to fully include mule deer management. In response, a draft mule deer MLD proposal was developed by staff in December of 2002 and forwarded to the TransPecos Advisory Committee for review and comment. That committee made its recommendations in April and at that time staff published the proposal in the Texas Register for the required 30-day comment period. The proposal appeared in the April 25, 2003 issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 3481). Additionally, the department posted the proposal on its Web site and held six public hearings in the Panhandle and Trans-Pecos regions to further solicit public comment. A summary of the public comment will be presented at the time of the meeting.

II. Recommendation: Staff recommends that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motions:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopts 31 TAC §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits – Mule Deer, with changes to the proposed text as published in the April 25, 2003, issue of the Texas Register (28 TexReg 3481)."

Exhibit A – Proposed Rule
Exhibit B – Fiscal Note ( Available Upon Request)

Commission Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

MLD Program Regulations – Mule Deer
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes new §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits – Mule Deer. The new section is necessary to expand the MLD program, which has proven to be successful in encouraging effective habitat management in those parts of the state with white-tailed deer, to include mule deer. In general, the new section will function by creating an incentive-based, habitat-focused permit program to facilitate the management goals of landowners and land managers. Specifically, the new section will function by: requiring an approved wildlife management plan (WMP) for permit issuance; establishing the minimum content of a WMP in terms of landowner-supplied data and habitat management practices; specifying the period of validity for permits and requirements for their use; providing for the waiver of regulatory requirements in the event of extenuating circumstances such as droughts and floods; establishing the conditions under which the department may exercise the right to cease issuing permits to individuals; and specifying an annual deadline for permit applications.

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state and local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rule.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the rule as proposed is in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rule as proposed will be the availability of flexible management opportunities for landowners and land managers, which will biologically benefit the resources the department is charged with protecting and, ultimately, their enjoyment by the people of this state.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effect on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the rule as proposed.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rule as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rule.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rule may be submitted to Robert Macdonald, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4775 (e-mail:

5. Statutory Authority.

The new section is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act (Wildlife Conservation Act of 1983), which provides the Commission with authority to establish wildlife resource regulations for this state.

The proposed new rule and amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

§65.34. Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Permits – Mule Deer.

(a) MLD permits for mule deer may be issued only to a landowner who has a current wildlife management plan (WMP) in accordance with subsection (b) of this section that specifies a harvest quota for both buck and antlerless mule deer. A WMP is not valid unless it is:

(1) consistent with Parks and Wildlife Code, §§61.053 and 61.056; and

(2) signed by a Wildlife Division biologist or technician. A WMP is valid for one year following the date of such signature.

(b) MLD permit issuance for mule deer shall be determined by the WMP as follows. MLD permits shall be issued to a landowner whose WMP includes:

(1) deer population data for both the current year and the two immediately

preceding years;

(2) deer harvest data from the immediately preceding two years; and

(3) at least three recommended habitat management practices.

(c) An MLD issued under this subsection permits the take of antlerless and/or buck mule deer, as specified on the permit. An MLD permit issued under this paragraph is valid:

(1) only on the property for which it is issued (as described in the WMP); and

(2) for the period of time beginning seven days before the first day of the general open season for mule deer (in the county of issuance) through December 31 of the same year.

(d) All deer harvested by MLD permit must immediately be tagged with an appropriate tag (i.e., buck tag for buck deer, antlerless tag for antlerless deer) from the hunting license of the person who killed the deer. If an appropriate MLD permit is not attached immediately at the time of kill, the person who killed the deer shall immediately take the carcass to a location on the property where an appropriate MLD tag shall be attached.

(e) If a landowner in possession of MLD permits does not wish to abide by the harvest quota or habitat management practices specified by the WMP, the landowner must return all MLD permits to the department no later than one day prior to the date that the permits are valid under subsection (c) of this section.

(f) In the event that unforeseeable developments such as floods, droughts, or other

natural disasters make the attainment of recommended habitat management practices impractical or impossible, the department may, on a case-by-case basis, waive the requirements of this section.

(g) The department reserves the right to deny further issuance of MLD permits to a landowner who exceeds the harvest quota specified by the WMP or who does not otherwise abide by the WMP. A property for which the department denies further permit issuance under this subsection is ineligible to receive MLD permits for a period of three years from the date of denial.

(h) MLD permit requests received by the department before August 15 of each year shall be approved or denied by November 1 of the same year.

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