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News Room

CONSERVATION CORNER
January 9, 2006
Keep Records Of Your Waterfowl Harvest
by James L. Cummins

The Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a method by which the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are developing reliable estimates of the migratory bird harvest. These estimates provide information to make sound decisions concerning hunting seasons, bag limits and population management.

Be sure that you are included in the HIP process. For hunters who purchase a Sportsman's license, the survey is included on the renewal notice. Completing that portion of the form will provide the information needed for HIP. You will receive your sportsman's license with the word "Migratory" printed on it, indicating that you completed the required HIP information.

For those migratory bird hunters who purchase other licenses, the agents where you purchase your license will have a form for you to complete. Once the form is complete, you will be given a stamp to attach to your license, or if you are exempt, keep the stamp with you while hunting. The agents will mail your completed form to the USFWS.

Names and addresses obtained from the HIP forms are provided to the USFWS, who randomly select hunters and ask them to provide information on the type and number of migratory birds they harvest. This information is then used to develop reliable estimates of the total harvest of all migratory birds throughout the country.

Hunters have been concerned about wildlife conservation long before it was trendy to do so. They have a long history of taxing themselves, paying license fees, buying stamps C all to ensure the health and vigor of wildlife populations C hunted and non-hunted alike. HIP is just another page in that history. It is simple good conservation. Lonnie Williamson, a friend of mine, a conservationist and a writer for Outdoor Life magazine, said "There is no question that the new harvest survey program is absolutely essential, not only to conserve the migratory bird resource, but also to answer possible future challenges to hunting programs. It will take hunters only a few moments to give wildlife managers the information they need."

It is essential to gather the best information possible about the factors affecting these populations. It is in the hunter's best interest to have wildlife management decisions based on science. The HIP program, through the cooperation of hunters, will provide many of the facts needed to ensure that our migratory bird resources, and hunting, will be around for future generations.


James L. Cummins is Executive Director of Wildlife Mississippi, a non-profit, conservation organization founded to conserve, restore and enhance fish, wildlife and plant resources throughout Mississippi. Their web site is www.wildlifemiss.org.



 

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