Hunting External Affairs

Since the late 19th century, hunters concerned about the future of wildlife and the outdoor tradition have made countless contributions to the conservation of the nation's wildlife resources. Today, millions of Americans deepen their appreciation and understanding of the land and its wildlife through hunting. Hunting organizations contribute millions of dollars and countless hours of labor to various conservation causes each year.

The Service recognizes that in many cases, hunting is an important tool for wildlife management. Hunting gives resource managers a valuable tool to control populations of some species that might otherwise exceed the carrying capacity of their habitat and threaten the well-being of other wildlife species, and in some instances, that of human health and safety.

The Wildlife & Hunting Heritage Conservation Council-The Service also recognizes the importance to promote and preserve America’s hunting heritage for future generations. A new Advisory Council on Wildlife Conservation and Hunting Issues was recently established called the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council –WHHCC. The Council will provide advice to the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture about wildlife and habitat conservation endeavors that benefit recreational hunting, wildlife resources, and encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation community, the shooting and hunting sports industry, wildlife conservation organizations, the states, Native American tribes, and the Federal Government.

Under Federal law established by international treaties with Canada, Mexico and other countries with whom we share migratory birds, the Service has ultimate responsibility for regulating migratory bird hunting nationwide. Through a regulatory process that begins each year in January and includes public consultation, the Service establishes the frameworks that govern all migratory bird hunting in the United States. Within the boundaries established by those frameworks, state wildlife agencies have the flexibility to determine season length, bag limits, and areas for migratory game bird hunting.

Each state has primary responsibility and authority over the hunting of wildlife that resides within state boundaries. State wildlife agencies that sell hunting licences are the best source of information regarding hunting seasons, areas open/closed to hunting, etc. (Hunting of migratory birds such as ducks and geese is managed cooperatively by state fish and wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service). Migratory waterfowl hunters must possess both a state hunting license and a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), and each hunter needs a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number for each state in which they hunt migratory birds.

Director Dale Hall Speaks at the Wonders of Wildlife Museum (c) Video Courtesy of Bass Pro ShopsThe Legacy of Conservation - National Hunting and Fishing Day was celebrated at the Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri. Then FWS Director Dale Hall thanked hunters and anglers for their contributions to wildlife conservation and spoke of the importance of involving children in nature. Wonders of Wildlife Museum, Springfield, Mo., September 23, 2006
VideoWindows Media (Note: To download right click on Video link and select "Save As Target.")




Some Frequently Asked Questions regarding hunting and the Service are:

Where can I go for hunting or fishing license?
Where can I go hunting? FWS Law Enforcement Checks Hunting License at Great Swamp NWR, NJ Credit by John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS PhotoDuck Hunting in Swanquarter NWR, NC Credit by Dr. F. Eugene Hester,USFWS Photo
What responsibilities do migratory bird hunters have?
What is the Harvest Information Program (HIP)?
What do hunters do for conservation?
What are current refuge-specific hunting regulations?
What are the current migratory bird hunting regulations? Horicon NWR, Wetland, WI Credit by Ryan Hagenty, USFWS Photo
What does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do for hunters?
How are the migratory bird hunting regulations established?
Do you have some statistics and economic information about hunting?
What's the difference between State and Federal roles in managing migratory birds?
What are the hunting and fishing llicense statistics?