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Duck hunters will choose from two bag limits this year

LINCOLN, Neb. — Duck hunters in Nebraska and South Dakota will choose between two daily bag limits — two tiers of limits — before waterfowl season this year.

The new “two-tier” duck hunting regulations recently adopted by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and allows hunters to select between Tier I or Tier II when they register for their Harvest Information Program (HIP) number.

Tier I is the current traditional six-duck limit with species and sex restrictions. Tier II is a three-duck limit with no species or sex restrictions.

Nationally, duck hunter numbers have fallen nearly 44% since 1990, resulting in a loss of 464 duck hunters per year in Nebraska since that time. A recent survey conducted by Game and Parks, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has determined that duck identification skills are a major factor preventing potential hunters from coming on board. The two-tier regulations are an effort to combat the problem.

Nebraska is entering this pilot program jointly with South Dakota. These new regulations start in both states during the 2021-2022 season and will continue for the next four seasons. The regulations will not apply to goose limits or during the early teal season in Nebraska.

After four seasons, the two-tier system will be reexamined to determine the impact it had on waterfowl hunter numbers, as well as duck populations.

All hunters wishing to register for Tier II in the system will be required to obtain a HIP number. Hunters must select one of the tiers when they register – and they will be bound to for the entire season. Hunters may begin registering for their HIP number Aug. 1.

HIP, which is required by federal regulation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, helps wildlife managers estimate the number of migratory game birds harvested each year. Those estimates help justify hunting seasons but also aid biologists in setting limits and seasons.

For more information, visit OutdoorNebraska.org/DuckTiers.

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