Harvest Information Program
Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest Report Released
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest Report for the 2016-17and 2017-18 hunting seasons. These estimates, which are based on the information from the Harvest Information Program (HIP) surveys are preliminary, pending final verification of data.
The HIP surveys includes hunters of migratory game birds, including waterfowl, dove species, band-tailed pigeon, American woodcock, Wilson’s snipe, American coot, gallinules, and rails. Information includes total hunter numbers and species harvests.
Over 1 million waterfowl hunters harvested 11.6 million ducks and 3.2 million geese in the 2016-17 hunting season, and 12.1 million ducks and 3.6 million geese in the 2017-18 season. Mallard, green-winged teal, gadwall, wood duck, and blue-winged/cinnamon teal were the most-harvested duck species in the U.S., and Canada goose was the predominant goose species in the goose harvest.
The HIP is a cooperative state-federal program requires licensed migratory game bird hunters to register annually in each state in which they hunt. Each state is responsible for collecting the name, address, and date of birth from each migratory bird hunter, asking each of them a series of general screening questions about their his/her hunting success the previous year, and sending all of this information to the FWS. The Service uses this data to systematically sample and survey migratory game bird hunters nationwide. Sampled hunters are asked to keep a record of the number of days they hunted and the birds they harvested.
A subset of hunters that were selected for and responded to the diary survey the previous year are asked in subsequent years to participate in the parts collection survey (PCS), and send in a wing (ducks), or wing primaries and tail feathers (geese) to the FWS. Service and state personnel work cooperatively at “wingbees” held in each of the four flyways during the winter, to determine the age, sex, and species of the collected parts, and these data are used to estimate the composition of the harvest.
Harvest estimates are calculated by state, flyway, and nationwide, by species, annually. Estimates of active waterfowl hunters and days afield are also available at state, flyway, and national scales. These data are used in a variety of ways to manage migratory waterfowl and ensure that harvest and populations are sustainable. The full report is available here.