Duck hunters must choose between two bag limits when enrolling in the HIP program | Recreation

LINCOLN – Duck hunters must choose between two daily bag limits when signing up for their Harvest Information Program number this year.

Nebraska and South Dakota enter a new “two tier” program starting with the 2021-22 duck regular season.

Level I is the current traditional limit of six bags of ducks with restrictions on species and sex. Level II is a bag limit of three ducks without restriction of species or sex.

Registration for HIP begins August 1. When hunters go to register, they will be asked if they intend to hunt duck. If so, they will be prompted to select a level. Hunters will be bound by this bag limit for the entire season.

The rule will not apply to goose limits or the start of the teal season, which have their own bag limits.

All hunters aged 16 and over, including residents, non-residents, lifetime licensees, veterans, and senior license holders, are required to enroll in the HIP program if they plan to hunt migratory game birds in Nebraska between September 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022..

Residents under the age of 16 are exempt from the HIP requirement if they choose the Level I bag limit, but must register for HIP if they choose Level II. All non-residents under the age of 16 must register for HIP, regardless of the level they choose.

Hunters who choose the Level II option will receive a log, where they will record information about hunting activity and harvesting. The log will be submitted to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission at the end of the hunting season. In addition, stamped envelopes will be provided to each hunter in the hope that a wing of each duck harvested will also be sent. This process will be similar to ongoing federal collection efforts to estimate the harvest. Duck harvest and species composition will then be compared to hunters using the Tier I option.

In a survey, duck identification skills were identified as a factor preventing would-be hunters from playing the sport. The new two-tiered regulation is an effort to remove the barrier associated with identifying skills.

Beginning August 1, hunters can register for HIP at OutdoorNebraska.gov/HIP. Registered hunters are assigned a number that they must carry with them when hunting.

HIP, which is required by federal regulations for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, helps wildlife managers estimate the number of migratory game birds harvested each year. Migratory birds include doves, ducks, geese, snipe, rails, coots and woodcock.

The two-pronged program will continue for the next four seasons and then be reviewed to determine if it has affected waterfowl hunters and duck populations.

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