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HIP Frequently Asked Questions
HIP Frequently Asked Questions
Sharp-tailed Grouse

What is HIP?

HIP is the joint state and federal Harvest Information Program designed to improve harvest estimates for migratory bird species and, in Colorado, resident small game species.

Why do we need HIP? Small game surveys are already conducted.

We need HIP to improve our harvest estimates. Traditional small game surveys don't provide adequate information on lesser hunted small game species (sage grouse, mountain sharp-tailed grouse, ptarmigan, etc.). HIP allows Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to instantly and randomly select a harvest sample of hunters, the vast majority of which have given us a clue as to their likelihood to hunt sage grouse, for example. Selecting a sample in this manner is much more efficient than randomly sampling all small game license buyers, and in the end, exposes less hunters to survey calls or emails.

Is the live operator phone service open 24 hours per day during the HIP season?

No. While this service was offered overnight in previous years, it was modified in 2021. The live operator system is open daily from 7:00 am to 10:30 pm and is closed on Thanksgiving day, Christmas day and New Years day. However, hunters should remember that they can still register with HIP 24 hours per day by using the online system at

Can I sign up with Colorado's HIP on the Internet?

Will I be able to get my HIP number when I buy a license via the Colorado Parks and Wildlife's Licensing System?

No. HIP is not included in the licensing system. 

I just bought my 2023 small game license. When do I need to sign up for a new HIP number?

You can obtain a 2023-24 HIP number beginning on April 1, but legally, you can get a HIP number anytime after April 1, yet before you hunt small game in Colorado during the 2023-24 season. Peak months for signing up with HIP are traditionally August, September, October and November. 

I lost my small game license and tried to sign up again for HIP; they told me I was already in the system. What do I do?

If you no longer have your current HIP#, you can go online to and recover it by re-entering your date of birth and CID (Customer Identification) number. If you have a valid HIP number on record, the system will show you that number, plus the sandhill crane number if you have one. You will also be able to call into the HIP phone system during open hours and recover the lost numbers.

Do I have to sign up for HIP every time I go small game hunting in Colorado during the 2023-24 season?

No. Once you've signed up for the current season, you're set for the entire season.

Do I have to sign up for HIP if I purchase a license and do not hunt?

No. If you purchase a small game license or combination license and do not hunt small game you should not sign up for HIP.

I purchased a small game license as a qualifying license for the big game application period this past spring. Do I need to register with HIP?  

Only if you plan to hunt small game in Colorado with that small game license.

I'm hunting with a youth small game license. Do I need to register with HIP?

Yes. All small game hunters, regardless of age or type of small game license, must register for HIP. Because HIP’s purpose is to obtain more precise harvest estimates, all segments of the hunting population must be surveyed, including youth hunters.

What happens if I don't participate in the program?

In the past, reminders were given out to hunters who were checked in the field and did not have a HIP#. If you are checked in the field and do not have a HIP confirmation number, you may be issued a warning and if you are checked a second time and still have not obtained a HIP number, you can be ticketed for non-compliance with the program, fined, and assessed 5 points against your licensing privileges. You will not be able to hunt until you obtain your HIP#.

Will I have to sign up with HIP in other states?

Yes. All states, except Hawaii, are participating in HIP. You will need to sign up for the Harvest Information Program in all states in which you hunt migratory birds. In some states, resident small game species are also included in HIP. Check with each state prior to hunting there. You can go to and select the "Other States HIPs" option on the website menu for links to other state's home pages or HIP Web sites. You can also get information on other state's programs by calling 1-866-COLOHIP (265-6447).

Are all the state programs the same?

No. Although similar personal and migratory bird information is collected, collection methods differ. Some states will have a written permit (charged for or free) and others will have a stamp, a toll-free phone number, or Internet option(s).

What happens to the information?

Hunter information is transferred electronically in an encrypted form to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  (USFWS) Migratory Bird Management Office as well as to CPW. The USFWS will destroy the files as soon as their current year's surveys are completed. CPW will retain the files to update CORIS (our internal hunter records) and to conduct long-term hunter preference surveys. In addition, small game harvest surveys are conducted based on the HIP database for a given season.

Why can't I sign up immediately for my 2023-24 HIP number when I purchase my 2023 license in March?

The HIP sign up system automatically attributes a sign-up to the specific small game season in which the sign-up occurs. That means that a March 2023 signup, which falls in the 2022-23 small game season, does not carry over through the next HIP period, which begins April 1, 2023. The system does not know which season year you will hunt in, thus the requirement to sign up with HIP for each small game season.

I hunt with a lifetime license, a disability license, a one-day license or a falconry permit; do I need to sign up with HIP?

YES. Special license/permit holders are able to sign up in Colorado’s HIP using their license or permit numbers. They just need to press the appropriate key or click on the appropriate web choice when asked by the system how they would like to sign up. On those licenses/permits with no specific space allocated for the HIP #, the hunter just needs to write their number on the license/permit or on a piece of paper to take with them when hunting small game. Hunters who apply for a Disability License will be informed that they should sign up for HIP annually at the time they receive their license.

I called to sign up with Colorado's HIP and didn't obtain a sandhill crane (SHC) permit number. I'd like one now. What do I need to do?

You may go online to Re-enter your date of birth and customer identification number and the system will ask you if you need to get a SHC number. You may call the HIP customer service help line during open hours at 1-866-265-6447 and let them know you need to obtain a SHC permit # for the new season.

How do I sign up for HIP if I am hearing impaired?

The online option is available at or using your normal relay service provider call 800-368-4683.

What does HIP do for me as a hunter? Why should I bother to participate?

HIP provides both your state and federal wildlife agencies with information necessary to justify and maintain the hunting seasons you now enjoy. Without accurate harvest information, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain seasons for those small game species which have proven to be very difficult to estimate annual harvest.

HIP is free (not so in other states), easy and convenient. You can complete a survey online or with a live operator 7 days a week, once registrations are available on April 1. 

HIP will provide you with the opportunity to obtain your sandhill crane number over the phone or online negating the need for you to come into the office and obtain a permit(s).

HIP gives you, the hunter, a great opportunity to provide information necessary to manage your wildlife and to conserve the resource for future hunters. By participating in HIP you provide your state and federal agencies with the avenue to collect good harvest information in a cost effective manner.

Planning to use your small game license in 2023-24?

Hunters planning to use their small game license to hunt or trap (not just as a qualifying license for the big game draw) will need to obtain their 2023 HIP number through the Colorado HIP website​ or by calling and speaking with a live operator, during open hours, at 1-866-COLOHIP (265-6447) before they can legally hunt. 

Although small game licenses go on sale March 1, HIP numbers for that license will not be available until April 1.