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Connecticut Migratory Bird Hunting Guide 

The 2021-2022 Connecticut Migratory Bird Hunting Guide will be available in mid-summer 2021.
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 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 https://ct.aspirafocus.com/hunterreporting 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 deep.wildlife@ct.gov.
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.