Migratory game birds include rails, doves, moorhens, woodcock, snipe, ducks and geese.
Migratory game bird and waterfowl hunting dates are set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in cooperation with Indiana and other states. Dates are usually available mid- to late-August. Check DNR.IN.gov/fishwild/2713.htm for updates to migratory bird season dates.
State/Federal Regulation Reminders
HIP is a joint effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state wildlife agencies.
The program is designed to improve harvest estimates for migratory game birds nationwide. Once harvest information is gathered, the information is used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and states to ensure decisions regarding migratory game bird hunting seasons are based on sound scientific evidence.
All hunters in Indiana, including those exempt from purchasing a license, must register with the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting coots, doves, ducks, mergansers, gallinules, geese, snipe, sora rails or woodcock.
Hunters must register at hunting.IN.gov or by calling (866) 671-4499 and providing the information requested. At the end of the registration, the hunter is given a validation number to record on his or her license. This number is valid from the date of registration through the close of the last current migratory bird hunting season.
Lifetime license holders and those exempt from Indiana license and stamp requirements must also register with HIP.
Hunters need to register for HIP only once each season, not each time they hunt; however, hunters must register in each state in which they hunt.
In addition to providing name and address, hunters are asked questions designed to identify which species they hunted last year and, in some cases, the number of birds they harvested.
Hunters are required to use approved non-toxic shot while hunting all waterfowl. Hunters are also required to use non-toxic shot to hunt mourning doves on all DNR properties. Non-toxic shot currently approved for use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are:
Copper-plated, zinc chromate-plated, zinc chloride-plated and nickel-plated steel shot is approved as long as the plating represents less than 1 percent of the shot’s weight. Lead shot plated with copper, nickel or other material does not qualify.
It is illegal to possess shells loaded with anything other than approved non-toxic shot while hunting ducks, geese and coots anywhere in the state.
The use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl was banned nationwide in 1991.
Waterfowl Hunting on State Areas
Hunters can apply for reserved waterfowl hunts by completing the reserved waterfowl hunt application online at hunting.IN.gov.
For more information concerning waterfowl hunting on state-owned properties, contact the property (see Public Hunting Areas for phone number).
No person shall take migratory game birds:
Shooting hours for geese and ducks are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. Shooting hours may vary at some DNR properties. Check property regulations before hunting.
Ohio River Regulations
Indiana waterfowlers must have an Indiana hunting license and appropriate stamps and hunt only when the waterfowl season is open in Indiana when hunting the Indiana shoreline of the Ohio River, including tributaries and embayments. Hunting from the mainstem (only) of the Ohio River can be with either state’s hunting license and appropriate stamp(s) and must be during the open season in the state for which you are licensed. A person hunting on the Ohio River in Kentucky embayments, tributaries, islands, and along the Kentucky shoreline must have a Kentucky hunting license and appropriate stamp(s) and hunt only when the waterfowl season is open in Kentucky.
Report Bird Bands
All waterfowl hunters are urged to report bird bands to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Call 1-800-327-BAND (1-800-327-2263). During the hunting season, operators are on duty 8 am to 4:30 pm EST, Monday through Friday. You may also report the bands by visitinghttp://www.reportband.gov. Band information is used in the management of waterfowl populations, and assists biologists in providing optimum hunting opportunities where possible.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.