The history of North American waterfowl harvest management has been characterized by attempts to use population monitoring data to make informed harvest management decisions. Early attempts can be characterized as intuitive decision processes, and later efforts were guided increasingly by population models and associated predictions. In 1995, a formal adaptive management process was implemented, and annual decisions about duck harvest regulations in the United States are still based on this process. This formal decision process is designed to deal appropriately with the various forms of uncertainty that characterize management decisions, environmental uncertainty, structural uncertainty, partial controllability and partial observability. The key components of the process are (1) objectives, (2) potential management actions, (3) model(s) of population response to management actions, (4) credibility measures for these models, and (5) a monitoring program. The operation of this iterative process is described, and a brief history of a decade of its use is presented. Future challenges range from social and political issues such as appropriate objectives and management actions, to technical issues such as multispecies management, geographic allocation of harvest, and incorporation of actions that include habitat acquisition and management.