Here's a short primer about the Harvest Information Program:
1. The Feds are responsible for collecting harvest data as part of their requirements for opening a duck season. In other words, duck seasons are CLOSED unless justification is provided to open them, not vice-versa. Until 1999, only hunters who bought their federal Duck Stamp at selected Post Offices and returned a contact card were eligible to be selected for the Harvest Surveys. Because more and more hunters bought their Stamp at Wal-mart, Cabela's, LDWF, etc. there were fewer and fewer hunters to participate in the surveys and thus poorer and poorer harvest data.
2. In response to threats from anti-hunting forces to close the duck season because of inadequate harvest information, HIP was formulated to do 3 things: 1) get addresses for every hunter that intended to hunt migratory birds, and 2) find out which of those hunters hunted doves, woodcock, snipe, gallinules, etc. (because prior to HIP, harvest estimates for those species came only from duck hunters who also shot them), and 3) find out which hunters are high-kill and which are low-kill so they can sample appropriately to get the best harvest info for the least amount of money.
3. So when you register for HIP, the vendor is supposed to ask you if you hunted ducks, geese, doves, woodcock, snipe, gallinules, etc. and approximately how many you killed. That is NOT the harvest data .... how can it be when the harvest estimates are published in July and you aren't buying your license and registering with HIP until August or September? No, those questions are used to stratify hunters into High (>10), Medium (1-10), and Low (zero) kill groups from which a sample is selected. We select about 6% of High, 4% of Medium, and 2% of Low kill hunters and ask them to participate in the Harvest Surveys.
4. Many retailers do NOT ask the questions because it slows up their line, which is BS because they get paid to collect that information. What they do is just answer "No" to the first question, "Did you hunt migratory birds last year" and then go on about their business. I've made scenes at Cabela's in Gonzales, Wal-mart in Jennings, and Academy in Baton Rouge, because I'm the one guy that pays for and uses those data in my program, and you better damn well ask me those questions.
I know it's too late for most of us this year, and most of you don't give a damn ..... but I would appreciate it if you would insist that they ask you the questions. That really pisses them off because HIP is free, but LDWF pays the vendors for collecting that information.
5. You have to register with HIP in every state you hunt; it's not like the federal Duck Stamp which is valid wherever you go. Then if you are selected, you will receive a "Diary" to record all of your hunts and how many ducks, geese, and coots you kill. From hunters that were selected, participated, and reported killing at least 1 duck last year, another sample is selected and those hunters are asked to submit wings from every duck and tails from every goose they kill. Taken together, the "diaries" and the wings make up the harvest data that are reported in documents like those at: LINK
So that is where the information goes.
This post was edited on 11/25 at 5:04 pm