Department of Fish and Wildlife
Kentucky Afield Outdoors: New procedures for the Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.) benefit future hunting
– Hunters possess a long history of taking actions that benefit wildlife
conservation. They tax themselves and buy licenses, permits and stamps that
support the vitality of both game and non-game animals.
Information Program (H.I.P.) of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is an
evolution of these long-standing practices. This year, changes to the program
caused some consternation among outdoors enthusiasts who must answer a few questions
after purchasing their Kentucky Migratory Game Bird- Waterfowl Hunting Permit.
“People are always
concerned about change,” said John Brunjes, migratory bird program coordinator
for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. “We previously
collected this information in a manner that produced insufficient harvest data.
So, we are changing how we do it.”
the changes are not made to place an additional burden on hunters. “We are
doing this because we need this data,” he said. “We wouldn’t ask people to do a
little extra if this data wasn’t critical for the scientific management of
The H.I.P. program
came about because biologists and management professionals at both the state
and federal level realized they didn’t have an accurate number of migratory
“We could guess by
the number of migratory bird – waterfowl hunting permits sold,” Brunjes said.
“But, those who purchase a senior/disabled license or a Sportsman’s license get
a permit with their license, whether they hunt migratory birds or not.”
situation exists for the federal migratory bird hunting permit, commonly called
a duck stamp. Many purchase them to help with conservation of waterfowl, but
don’t hunt. You can also use a current duck stamp for free entry into national
wildlife refuges that charge a daily use fee.
didn’t know how many birds were being harvested,” Brunjes said. “The H.I.P.
survey gives us a tool to tell us how many hunters we have in Kentucky. It also
shows us how many of each species is being harvested as well as the age and sex
ratio of the harvested birds.”
H.I.P. survey allows the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to classify hunters
into a sampling group based on the species hunted and the number of migratory
birds harvested in order to get more comprehensive, voluntary information
“They may contact
you via mail to participate in these surveys or they may ask you to participate
in a wing collection survey,” Brunjes said. “This information gives biologists
at the state and federal level more accurate data to help better manage these
in Kentucky and across the nation usually means more conservative dove, duck
and goose seasons.
The fluctuation in
the daily duck bag limit for canvasback ducks over the past 10 to 12 years is
an example of the impact of insufficient data. This data also showed a dove
harvest estimate of about 633,000 birds in 2013, but only 255,000 birds last
year. This wild fluctuation is likely rooted in inconsistent H.I.P. data.
“It costs Kentucky
hunters more opportunity afield,” Brunjes said.
The H.I.P. process is simple and it takes less
than five minutes. On the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife webpage at fw.ky.gov, click on
the “My Profile” tab on the upper left section of the page. This will bring you
to a page that asks for some basic information to confirm your identity. After
completing the H.I.P. questions, you will receive a confirmation number that
must be written on your hunting license or Kentucky Migratory Game Bird –
Waterfowl Hunting Permit.
When you purchase licenses and permits online,
you are given the option to go to the My Profile page, via a box that appears
on the screen. If you buy them from a license vendor or over the phone, you’ll
have to go the “My Profile” page to fill out the H.I.P. questionnaire or call
Kentucky Fish and Wildlife to complete it.
“We prefer hunters
to do it online if possible,” Brunjes said. “We want Kentucky hunters to have
quality hunting in the future. That is why we need this important information