Before you head to the dove field this year, hunters should be sure to obtain the free Hunter Information Program (HIP) migratory bird license, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division. The license is available to hunters after they report previous year harvest rates via a short survey when a hunting license is purchased.

“Determining accurate harvest levels for game species, such as doves is critical to the scientific management of game populations,” says wildlife biologist Don McGowan. “The HIP program gives biologists the information they need to ensure conservation of migratory bird populations while providing quality hunting opportunities.”

The HIP program, now in its 18th year, details both the number of migratory game bird hunters and their harvests. This information helps wildlife managers monitor migratory bird populations, set hunting seasons and bag limits and ensure healthy, sustainable populations.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies collaborated to conduct harvest surveys for decades, but the methods used varied from state to state, making it difficult to compare results.

HIP provides a consistent method to gather and compare information from all states, and multi-state information is critical for managing migratory populations.

A HIP license is required to pursue doves, ducks, geese, rails and other migratory bird species.  Once the survey is complete, the HIP participation permit is listed on a hunter’s license. Some HIP participants will be asked to complete a more detailed national harvest information survey about the species they hunted.

Hunting licenses, including HIP, are available at , phone at 1-800-366-2661 or from more than 800 license agents (list of agents available online).

For more information, contact a Wildlife Resources Division Game Management office or call 770-918-6416.

Logo courtesy Georgia Department of Natural Resources

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