Harvest Information Program

Collecting Harvest Data

The Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a method your state wildlife agency and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) use to generate reliable estimates of hunting activity and the number of all migratory game birds harvested throughout the country. These estimates give biologists the information they need to make sound decisions concerning hunting seasons, bag limits, and population management.

HIP went nationwide in 1999, replacing the previous program that only surveyed hunters who bought a Federal Duck Stamp. However, many migratory bird hunters were excluded from that previous program because they didn't hunt waterfowl. HIP allows us to survey samples of all migratory bird hunters.

If you hunt ducks, coots, geese, brant, swans, doves, woodcock, rails, snipe, sandhill cranes, band-tailed pigeons, or gallinules, you are REQUIRED to participate in HIP. To comply with HIP, first you must identify yourself as a migratory bird hunter and provide your name, address, and date of birth at the time you purchase your license--something most hunters do already. You must do this in every state in which you hunt migratory game birds.

Second, you must have proof of your participation in HIP with you whenever you hunt migratory birds in that state. The state wildlife agency will provide you with a card, stamp, or other proof of participation when you sign up.

In addition, when you sign up for HIP, you will be asked to voluntarily answer several questions about your hunting experience during last year's season. Your answers to these questions are not used to compile harvest estimates, but are simply used to identify what types of birds you usually hunt. This allows the USFWS to mail its surveys to the appropriate hunters. For example, most surveys about dove harvest are sent to hunters who hunted doves the previous year, while most waterfowl harvest surveys are sent to hunters who usually hunt ducks and/or geese.

Most of the HIP sign-up methods rely on the state hunting license vendors to ask hunters the appropriate HIP questions. If you plan to hunt migratory game birds, please make sure that the license vendor asks you the HIP questions and gets you signed up for HIP.

Some states may charge a fee to cover their costs of administrating HIP, but the USFWS will not make any money from the program. HIP is strictly to gather information and is not a means of raising money for conservation programs.

HIP uses two types of surveys to generate hunter activity and harvest estimates:
Migratory Bird Hunter Survey (Hunter Survey)
Migratory Bird Parts Collection Survey (Wing Survey)

Last Updated: January 22, 2016