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TPWD News Release — Aug. 26, 2008

Bird Hunters Reminded to get HIP with Licenses

AUSTIN, Texas — With dove season set to open Sept. 1 in the North and Central Dove Zones, hunters are again reminded to be sure they become Harvest Information Program-certified when buying their hunting license.

The HIP certification is required in addition to the purchase of the Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp, $7. That stamp, and all other state stamps, is included in the Super Combo License for $64.

The Harvest Information Program maintains a database of all migratory game bird hunters for surveys on harvest of ducks, geese, doves, sandhill cranes and other migratory species.  These certified hunters form a pool from which the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service will draw to conduct harvest surveys later in the fall and winter. Not all HIP-certified hunters are surveyed later in the year.

License agents are supposed to ask the hunter how many of a particular species, or groups of species, he or she harvested in the prior hunting season.  The number the hunter provides (for example, "25 doves, 8 ducks and 10 geese), helps place the hunter into an appropriate strata for scientific sampling by the USFWS.

If selected, the hunter will be contacted about participating, and will provide current-year harvest information for the 2008-09 harvest survey. The survey helps wildlife managers determine what the annual harvest has been and how many hunters participated from each state.

"This data is very important in the management of these species," said Vernon Bevill, TPWD game bird program director. "Texas ranks number-one among all states in dove hunters and harvest, with over 300,000 hunters taking more than seven million mourning and white-winged doves combined last year."