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Home > Laws and Rules > Hunting and Trapping > Maine's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program

Maine's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.)

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If you or anyone in Maine (except license-exempt landowners and complimentary license holders) plan to hunt woodcock, ducks, geese, snipe, rails, coots, or gallinules, you will be required to indicate on your license/license application your intention of doing so.

At the time you purchase your license, there will be a special place on your license/license application for you to indicate whether or not you plan to hunt any migratory game birds. If you don't indicate your intentions towards these species, and later decide to hunt them without making your new intentions known, you will do so in violation of law.

The information obtained from this activity will be used by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (H.I.P.).

Why a migratory bird harvest information program?

Across the county, wildlife biologists and hunters have noted that populations of ducks and woodcock have declined in recent years. Habitat loss is believed to be the primary problem; better information is needed, however, to fully assess the role that hunting plays in this problem. Inadequate information regarding species populations and impacts of hunting has even been cited in legal challenges to hunting seasons in some states!

Past migratory bird surveys were unable to provide adequate information. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service (USFWS) conducts a voluntary survey of hunters who purchase federal duck stamps, but low response rates result in insufficient information. And this survey doesn't include millions of hunters of woodcock and other migratory birds.

State small game surveys are inadequate because methods and timing of these surveys differ among states, making it impossible to use their results in estimating harvests of migratory birds at regional or national levels.

How does the program work?

A migratory bird hunter in Maine will be required to check a box on the license/license application stating that migratory bird species will be hunted. It is possible to change one's mind later and still hunt these species, but you must make it known and obtain a sticker to affix to your license. To do otherwise is a violation of law.

Using this information, the USFWS will create a database of migratory bird hunters to whom they can send hunter record cards and other survey-type information. The USFWS will compile and analyze data and send reports back to the states. Lists of survey cooperators will be destroyed following the survey. Information from the survey will enable the USFWS and states to more accurately determine the status of our migratory bird resources and ensure future opportunities to hunt these birds.