Q. If I want to waterfowl hunt on my own property, am I required to buy a federal migratory waterfowl stamp?

Yes. All hunters 16 years of age or older, whether they are hunting on their own land or on lands of another party, are required to purchase a federal migratory waterfowl stamp. However, if you are hunting on your own property (landowner privilege and no license required) a harvest information program (HIP) card is not needed. Only licensed hunters need to obtain a harvest information program (HIP) card.

Q. Are senior citizens or underage hunters required to purchase a federal migratory waterfowl stamp? 

All hunters 16 years of age or older are required to purchase a federal migratory waterfowl stamp and all licensed hunters (those not exempt from purchasing a hunting license) must obtain a harvest information program (HIP) card. Youths 15 and under and senior citizens who turned 65 prior to 2012 do not need a HIP card.

Harvest Management of Mallards in the Atlantic Flyway

Migratory game bird hunting seasons and daily bag limits in West Virginia are set in accordance with guidelines established each year by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Services. For the 2023-2024 seasons, the mallard duck daily bag limit was increased from two mallards (only one hen) to four mallards a day, with no more than two hens. The previous limit was set in 2019 in response to sharp and sustained declines in mallard populations breeding in the northeastern United States and parts of eastern Canada as an interim step so Atlantic Flyway biologists could develop a new population model and strategy to guide mallard harvest management. 

Since harvest restrictions went into place in 2019, mallard numbers have rebounded slightly, mostly driven by increases in eastern Canada. Although the increase is encouraging, the northeastern United States population continues to decrease. Hunters should understand that the mallard regulation can go back the other way should population numbers and other data warrant a more conservative harvest regimen. Each year, the decision will be revisited with new population and demographic data to determine the optimal bag limits for mallards. This may result in a return to more moderate bag limits if the data supports such a change.

To learn more about these management decisions, download the Atlantic Flyway’s full report on Harvest Management of Mallards.

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