Louisiana’s waterfowlers have always had to have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification with their hunting licenses. But this year, all migratory bird hunters must complete the HIP certification process either online or in person at the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries headquarters in Baton Rouge. You can not add HIP to your license at retail vendors as you could in the past simply because it was not working.
What HIP is for
Now for the good news. HIP does actually help migratory bird hunters by providing the data to justify and maintain the best possible waterfowl seasons for hunters.
“The Harvest Information Program is designed to generate harvest estimates for migratory birds, which are necessary for justifying and maintaining open hunting seasons under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,” says LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager Larry Reynolds. “LDWF’s role in HIP is to provide a list of names and addresses of migratory bird hunters in our state along with information on which species they hunt, and whether they kill low, moderate, or high numbers of each species. This information is necessary for the USFWS to get a representative sample of hunters to receive the harvest surveys each year.
“To select woodcock or waterfowl, or dove hunters, they need to know who hunts those species, and if they know the relative number each hunter kills, they can use a stratified random sample to estimate harvest each year in a more cost-effective way. THAT is the purpose of the registration questions each migratory bird hunter is supposed to be asked when getting a HIP certification. Unfortunately, that is NOT being done adequately by retail license vendors.”
How it benefits the sport
In a nutshell, while hunters are leery of sharing information with the government or having to spend additional time and money doing HIP, it does directly benefit the sport.
“Let me use a real-life example from our recent 2020 Louisiana Waterfowl Hunter Survey,” Reynolds said. “My LSU research partners and I looked at the information for every HIP-registered hunter in the LDWF hunting license database to make sure we were sending the survey to known waterfowl hunters and not woodcock, dove, snipe, etc. hunters. But we found that according to those data, 75% of our migratory bird hunters “did not hunt” the prior year! That is not reasonable at all, and resulted from license retailers automatically entering “did not hunt” and not asking hunters the questions.
“Consequently, we had no idea what species were hunted by three fourths of our HIP registrants and sent surveys to all that had valid e-mail addresses. We received 13,797 responses to the survey, and 3,152 (23%) of them were from hunters that had not hunted ducks in over 5 years if ever. That might not be critical when you are doing an electronic survey via e-mail, but it is a big problem for the USFWS who mails out hard-copy hunting logs and envelopes for wings to incorrect hunters. The retail license vendors are contractually obligated to collect this information, but have consistently refused to do so. Thus LDWF is part of a multi-state pilot study with a goal of improving HIP data collection by removing third-party registration.”
Getting your HIP certification online
- Go to the licensing site.
- You’ll see several boxes with photos. Click on the one that says LICENSES & PERMITS (with the photo of the dog retrieving a gray duck, in the upper left part of the page).
- Scroll to the bottom of the Licenses & Permit information page and click on the CONTINUE box.
- If you’ve previously purchased a Louisiana hunting license, on the Customer Search page in the left-hand column (Existing Customers), click on the arrow in the blank box to select a method to log into your account. Then type in your information and click on the SEARCH box.
If you have never purchased a Louisiana hunting license, on the Customer Search page in the right-hand column (First Time Customer), click the NEW CUSTOMER box.
- On the Customer Edit page, first, click “Yes” that you are a Louisiana resident, then complete and/or check all of your information. Be sure to add an email address if you have not previously provided one. Next, click on the box that says “I hereby declare that all information provided is true and correct,” and click on the CONTINUE box.
- On the Product Catalog page, click on the HUNTING tab at the top to go to the page with HIP CERTIFICATION. Click on every license that you would like to buy, then click the CHECKOUT box. If you have a Lifetime License or already bought a license, clicking on HIP CERTIFICATION will direct you to the HIP registration questions. When answering the HIP registration questions, for every species, click on the arrow in each box and tell us whether you hunted and killed 0, 1-10, 11+, or did not hunt. Then click CONTINUE.
- On the Sales Confirmation page, you can edit your purchases, make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry, and enter your payment information. When finished, click PURCHASE PRODUCT(S).
- On the Sales Receipt page, you will have options to PRINT LICENSE(S) or EMAIL LICENSE. Select the method you prefer (you can select more than one), and you’re done!
Getting your HIP certification online is a lot easier when you are actually doing it than these instructions make it sound, but it is a lot of clicking. Please share these instructions with anyone who might be having trouble with getting their HIP certification online.
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