Diary Surveys

Migratory Bird Hunter Survey (Hunter Survey)

The USFWS receives name, address, and screening question information from about 3,500,000 migratory bird hunters each year via the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Based on answers to the questions asked during the HIP registration process, we select samples of hunters and ask them to participate in one of our five Migratory Bird Harvest Surveys. Each of these surveys ask about the harvest of a different migratory game bird species or species group. The five surveys are: 1) doves (mourning and white-winged) and band-tailed pigeons; 2) waterfowl (ducks, sea ducks, geese, and brant); 3) American woodcock; 4) webless species (snipe, coots, rails, and gallinules); and 5) sandhill cranes.

Hunters selected to participate in a survey are sent a survey form as close to the beginning of the hunting season as possible, so that can they record their hunting experiences throughout the season. We keep sampling hunters approximately twice each month during the hunting season, as we receive additional HIP registration information.

We need harvest reports from as many survey participants as possible, so after the hunting season is over we send reminders to sampled hunters who have not responded. Currently survey response rates are about 50% for all Migratory Bird Harvest Surveys.

Participation is voluntary and responses from hunters who choose to participate are kept strictly confidential.

Hunters' survey responses are analyzed using standard statistical techniques and are used to estimate the total harvest of migratory bird species, the number of active hunters, the total number of days they spend afield, and the average seasonal bag per active hunter.

For waterfowl, this survey produces estimates for groups of species: ducks, geese and sea ducks. In order to calculate species-specific harvest estimates, results from the Migratory Bird Harvest Survey are combined with those from the Parts Collection Survey.

If you are a survey participant and you need more space to record all of your hunting trips, you can order more Migratory Bird Harvest Survey forms by going to  HIPWeb.

Last Updated: January 22, 2016