Duck Stamps and HIP

Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp

he 2022 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which expires on December 31, 2022, features a wood duck painted by Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp winner, Sophie Archer. The 2023 Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which features an Atlantic brant, was also painted by Sophie Archer, the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp winner for 2022. The 2023 stamp will be valid from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023.

The image for the 2023 Connecticut Duck Stamp, which is a painting of an Atlantic brant by Sophie Archer.

2022 Duck Stamp Artist: Congratulations are extended to Sophie Archer, age 18, of Old Lyme, CT, whose acrylic painting of an Atlantic brant was selected as the "Best in Show" for the 2022 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Competition. This is Sophie's second straight victory. The painting also won first place in the 10th-12th grade age category. Sophie has participated in the Junior Federal Duck Stamp competition from the age of six as a kindergartener. Her love of the arts runs in the family, her mother having graduated from Parson's School of Design, and her grandmother and sister both studying art and working as artists and designers in New York City. Aside from painting, Sophie studies ballet and enjoys baking, pottery, history, and classical literature. Having grown increasingly focused over the years on moving closer to and preserving nature, she feels particularly strongly about the conservation aspect of the Duck Stamp competition and the CWA's and DEEP's mission to preserve and protect the habitat of Connecticut's wildlife. She feels honored for the opportunity to participate in this ever-growing and ever important project. (The Connecticut Waterfowl Association sponsors and holds the annual Junior Duck Stamp Competition.)

Sophie’s artwork will be featured on the 2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation (Duck) Stamp. The change to using the Junior Duck Stamp winning art insures that a Connecticut artist represents our state Duck Stamp. Further, the school curriculum associated with the Junior Duck Stamp Contest is geared towards waterfowl and wetland conservation. This helps foster an appreciation for the species being painted by the students and, hopefully, provides students with a better connection to the natural world. With Sophie "graduating" from the Junior ranks, we are looking forward to crowning a new winner in the 2023 contest.

The Junior Duck Stamp Contest is divided into four age groups spanning from kindergarten through high school. Winners in each age group are then judged against each other to determine the overall state winner. Evelyn Tuccio, age 5, of Danbury, won the K-3rd Grade age group with her portrayal of a ruddy duck. Adele Morgan, age 10, of Simsbury, won the 4th-6th Grade age group with a depiction of a long-tailed duck. This was Adele's second straight win in her age group. Chloe Hunske, age 14, from Cos Cob, won the 7th-9th Grade age group with a drawing of a king eider. Sophie Archer (overall winner) won the 8th-12th Grade age group with her Atlantic brant painting.

All migratory bird hunters (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rail, and crow), including 12 to 15-year-olds, are required to purchase and carry the current Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, and hunters 16 years and older are required to purchase and carry the federal Duck Stamp. However, conservationists, stamp collectors, and others may also purchase stamps in support of wetland habitat conservation. Revenue from the sale of Migratory Bird Stamps is a major source of funding for wetland restoration projects in our state. Since 1994, Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp funds have been used to restore and enhance over 3,145 acres of wetlands, encompassing nearly 50 sites, mostly on state-owned wildlife management areas. Funds also have been used to purchase specialized large equipment to conduct extensive marsh restoration work, particularly along the coast.

The Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp (which also includes the HIP permit) can be purchased for $17.00 wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold: participating town clerks and retail agentsselect DEEP offices, and through the DEEP's Online Outdoor Licensing System(The CT Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp is $9 for hunters aged 12 to 17 years old.) Upon request, stamps can be sent through the mail.

Federal Duck Stamp

Hunters who have encountered problems purchasing the Federal Duck Stamp at local post offices can purchase the Electronic Duck Stamp, or E-Stamp, online for immediate use. You may purchase the E-Stamp from another state as DEEP's online system currently is unable to process Federal Duck Stamp purchases. The actual stamp will be mailed to you after purchase, but you will have an E-Stamp to use until you receive the actual stamp. Details on how to purchase an E-Stamp are on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Ninety-eight percent of the purchase price of the stamp goes directly to buy and lease wetland habitat on national wildlife refuges. Federal Duck Stamp sales raise about $25 million each year to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. To date, Duck Stamp funds have been used to acquire over 6 million acres of critical habitat at hundreds of refuges in nearly every state in our nation. In Connecticut, 39% of the acreage of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge was purchased with Federal Duck Stamp funds. Federal Duck Stamps can be purchased for $25 each at most post offices. They also are available by telephone or online. Stamp must be signed in ink across its face.

Don't Forget About HIP

Migratory bird hunters are reminded that the HIP permit is purchased as part of the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp. Those hunting for ducks, coots, geese, brant, woodcock, rails, snipe, or crows are required to obtain the Stamp along with their license. The Migratory Bird Stamp can be purchased online or at select town halls for $17.00. The Stamp must be purchased annually. Information derived from HIP permits is used to estimate the total waterfowl harvest across the country. These estimates are very important because they help determine federal waterfowl regulations. Please fill out the survey truthfully and entirely.

NEW! Changes to HIP Permits Purchased Through Third-party Vendors (town halls and businesses)

In an effort to improve data collection for HIP when the permits are purchased through third-party vendors in Connecticut (e.g., retail stores, town clerks, or bait and tackle shops), changes are being implemented, beginning with any 2021 license sales that include HIP or the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp at any DEEP license agent locations.

In Connecticut, approximately 20% of all HIP certifications are purchased from a third-party vendor. The changes being implemented only apply to these third-party vendor transactions, making sure that all HIP questions are answered by the hunter and not a sales clerk. If you already purchase HIP online through DEEP’s Online Outdoor Licensing System, you are answering the HIP questions yourself. This will not change. Your printed license for the HIP portion will look like:

Diagram from the online licensing system when HIP permit is purchased.

For all other purchases through third-party vendors, these are the changes that are occurring:

  • The HIP certification that is required to legally hunt migratory birds will not be valid until you either call 877-337-4868 or go to to complete the HIP survey.
  • The clerk should inform you that the HIP certification is not valid until you answer the questions yourself through either one of the above methods.
  • The license printed out for you at the store/town clerk will look like this:

Image of what appears on a hunting license if HIP permit is purchased through a third-party vendor.

  • Upon completion of the HIP questions, you will be provided a confirmation number. You can either write that number onto your existing license, or go into the online system and reprint a new license. The reprinted license will look like the first example above and indicate “HIP Survey Completed”.
  • This new change of getting a confirmation number is the same process that one follows upon harvesting a turkey or deer.
  • Questions can be directed to
Background on the Changes to HIP

The Harvest Information Program (HIP) is a critical national program that allows biologists to estimate annual hunter participation and harvest of migratory birds, such as ducks, geese, doves, and rails. The DEEP Wildlife Division is responsible for administering HIP in Connecticut. All migratory bird hunters are required to have a HIP certification in each state that they hunt migratory birds. All HIP registrants comprise the “sampling frame” from which hunters are then selected to participate in the parts collection survey or the diary survey. The parts collection survey provides information on the composition of the harvest and productivity of each species in that year. The diary survey provides information on hunting activity and allows for estimation of overall harvest. Accurate estimates of both hunter participation and harvest are critical for insuring continued hunting opportunity.

Each state in the country is responsible for administering HIP, and states accomplish this in many different ways. Several problems have been identified that are affecting the quality of data and the management decisions that are made based upon that data. One issue that needs to be addressed is inaccurate information being entered into the system, typically by third-party license vendors and also when hunters purchase packaged licenses, such as a Sportsmen’s license. This problem was first identified during the 2002 initial review of HIP. As new agents come online, DEEP would like to mitigate the issue from continuing.

The biggest problem with not answering the HIP questions accurately is that migratory bird hunters are being excluded from the sample frame, resulting in erroneous estimates of hunter activity and harvest. Inaccurate estimates of harvest make assessment of migratory bird hunting programs problematic. Further, this leads to increased operational expenses for both the states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

In an effort to fix this critical problem with HIP, a National Pilot project is underway to determine the best ways for individual states to rectify this issue. A number of states – Colorado, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, and New York – already require direct hunter input in answering HIP stratification questions. Therefore, no changes are needed in third-party data entry in these states.

Connecticut, along with a few other states, are making changes for license year 2021 that will eliminate third-party data entry. Changes to HIP across the country represent and will affect 23% of all migratory bird hunters in the nation. Eventually, it is hoped that all states will fully evaluate their HIP administration and make necessary changes to insure that the data being collected is useful.

Content last updated in June 2022.