Connecticut Migratory Bird Hunting Guide

State and Federal Stamps and HIP

Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp

The 2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which features an Atlantic brant.

The 2023 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which features an Atlantic brant, was painted by Sophie Archer, the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest winner for 2022. The 2023 stamp costs $17 and is valid from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023.

The 2024 CT Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp, which features a long-tailed duck, was painted by Sulan Zhang, the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest winner for 2023. The 2024 stamp will be valid from January 1, 2024, until December 31, 2024.

Painting of a long-tailed duck by Sulan Zhang, which won the 2023 Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest.

2024 Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp Artist -- Sulan Zhang: Sulan is a grade 11 student from Tolland who was working with the Lin Lin Art Studio out of Glastonbury. She began her journey through art with colored pencils in sixth grade and later switched to acrylic paint. Aside from working on personal pieces, Sulan enjoys teaching painting classes at the Tolland elementary schools. From sunsets to pumpkins to ocean waves, she has helped younger kids realize the beauty in creativity and art. Sulan hopes she can inspire an even greater appreciation for painting through her work. Having grown increasingly focused over the years on moving closer to and preserving nature, she feels strongly about the conservation aspect of the Duck Stamp competition and the mission of the Connecticut Waterfowl Association and DEEP to preserve and protect habitat for Connecticut's wildlife. (The Connecticut Waterfowl Association sponsors and holds the annual Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest.) Learn more about the Connecticut Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest and the Connecticut Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp.

Put Your Stamp on Conservation

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 3,845 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. Learn more about how Migratory Bird Conservation Stamp dollars deliver results!

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 

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Federal Duck Stamps can be purchased for $25 each at most post offices. They also are available by telephone or online. The stamp must be signed in ink across its face.

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.

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.

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 and retail agents 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.

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 were implemented starting in 2021 with 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 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 has not changed. Your printed license for the HIP portion should look like this:

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

For all other purchases through third-party vendors:

  • 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 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, made changes starting in license year 2021 that 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 2023.