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Banding Together for Waterfowl

Harvest Information Program (HIP)

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In an effort to improve the management of North America’s migratory birds, the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) was implemented in 1998 in all 50 states.

HIP is a cooperative state and federal program to gather accurate information on the size and distribution of harvest of all migratory birds, including ducks and geese.

Initiated in California, South Dakota, and Missouri in 1992, additional states have joined the program in subsequent years. The 1998-1999 waterfowl season marked the first time all states participated.

The need for HIP was identified more than two decades ago, but the logistics of developing a program among states with varying hunting license distribution systems was complicated.

Under the guidance of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has worked diligently with individual states to overcome these obstacles and develop a reliable migratory bird harvest measurement system.

Compliance with HIP is fairly painless for waterfowlers. Federal regulations require all migratory bird hunters to carry with them proof—typically in the form of a card or attachment to a hunting license—that they have provided the appropriate state wildlife agency with their name and address, and have answered questions about their hunting activity.

In turn, state agencies provide a list of migratory bird hunters’ names and addresses to the USFWS, which surveys a representative sample of hunters in each state, flyway, and management unit to monitor migratory bird harvests.

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