Ep. 29 – Season 2 Wrap Up Show

Season 2: The Off Season is a wrap! Hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher discuss the technical difficulties of publishing the show during the summer, and they talk about highlights from the season. The DU Podcast will take a break in August but will return with all-things waterfowl content in September. Catch up on all of Seasons 1 and 2 before September 1!

Ep. 28 – Are There Better Ways of Getting HIP?

Migratory Bird Hunters, Listen up! The DU Podcast welcomes back Brad Bortner and Larry Reynolds for an informative and unusually candid conversation about some concerning issues with the Harvest Information Program registration process and how it may influence the data. Importantly, we also discuss diagnosis of the issues and exploratory efforts that are underway to improve and modernize the HIP certification process.

Ep. 27 – HIP Certification 101

Brad Bortner, retired Chief of the USFWS Division of Migratory Bird Management, and Larry Reynolds, Waterfowl Study Leader for Louisiana, join the show for a refresher on the Harvest Information Program. We review its importance for enabling hunting seasons, how it works, and why hunter participation in HIP is critical. This episode lays the foundation for a future discussion of potential changes to the HIP certification process.

Ep. 26 – How to Introduce a Gun Dog to…Guns, Water, Blinds, Decoys, and More

Mike Stewart, owner of Wildrose Kennels, joins Chris Jennings on this podcast to discuss introductions. There’s a right way and a wrong way to introduce dogs, even puppies, to the world of duck and goose hunting. Stewart talks about introducing gunfire, water, blinds, decoys, and the various obstacles waterfowling presents.

Bonus Episode – Update on Breeding Habitat Conditions Across U.S. Prairies

Dr. Mike Brasher is joined by Johann Walker, director of operations Great Plains Region, for an update on current habitat conditions throughout the U.S. Prairie Pothole Region. Good conditions early in the summer have continued to provide suitable wetlands and associated habitats. Walker shares some insight as to what biologists are seeing in the field.

Bonus Episode – Mid-July Prairie Canada Habitat Update 

Dr. Scott Stephens, director of operations Prairie and Boreal for DU Canada, joins host Dr. Mike Brasher to provide an update on breeding habitat conditions across Prairie Canada. The pair discuss late rains, which may not benefit nesting waterfowl, but will help brood rearing efforts. Stephens also discusses potential scenarios with border closures. 

Ep. 25 – Jim Ronquest Talks Duck Calls, Hunting, and Puppies 

Jim Ronquest, Rich-N-Tone Calls, joins host Chris Jennings for an off-season conversation. The two discuss summer calling tips, and Ronquest points out a few tactics callers should be doing this time of year to stay ready for duck season. They also dive into new duck calls, look back at last year’s duck season, and talk about the excitement of having new puppy.

Ep. 24 – Impacts on Waterfowl, Hunters if Canadian Border Doesn’t Open this Fall 

Hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher discuss the numbers behind U.S hunters in Canada and the hypothetical impacts on waterfowl. Brasher brings some interesting non-resident information from the Canadian Wildlife Service and the pair chat about potential what-if scenarios on the Dakotas.

Ep. 23 – An Innovative Study of Avian Brood Parasitism in Wood Ducks

We continue our fascinating discussion about brood parasitism in waterfowl. In particular, Dr. John Eadie walks us through a most remarkable study of this phenomenon in wood ducks, using innovative tracking methods and state-of-the-art genetics to reveal previously unimaginable behaviors and unraveling long-standing mysteries in avian brood parasitism. You will never look at a wood duck box the same way again.

Ep. 22 – Unsanctioned Childcare: Brood Parasitism in Birds 

We like to think of ducks as a fairly innocent and an honest group of species, but that isn’t always the case. Nesting hens of some ducks, along with other non-waterfowl species, often deposit their eggs in the nests of other individuals, in a practice known as avian brood parasitism. In this first episode of an exciting two-part series, we begin the discussion with our distinguished guest, Dr. John Eadie, UC Davis, as we explore this phenomenon and what we know about it.

Ep. 21 – Breaking News: Eastern Screech Owl Hatches a Pair of Wood Ducks 

A screech owl hatched a couple of wood ducks? Nothing could go wrong there, could it? Listen in as we discuss this oddity of nature and other observations from an ongoing, large-scale study of wood ducks in the eastern United States. Clemson graduate student, Emily Miller and her research technicians, Sam Fishman and Jake Merendino, join Dr. Mike Brasher for this educational and entertaining discussion.

Ep. 20 – Summer Retriever Training Focus

Host Chris Jennings is joined by Mike Stewart, owner of Wildrose Kennels to discuss retriever training during the peak of summer heat. Stewart brings to light several training, nutrition, and health tips to keep your retriever in shape and safe from heat stroke.

Ep. 19 – Shotgunning Safety in the Field with Phil Bourjaily

Phil Bourjaily, Ducks Unlimited magazine shotgunning columnist, joins Chris Jennings for a in-depth conversation about safety in the duck blind. Bourjaily stresses the importance of communicating safety rules and clearly defining what should and should not be done while hunting ducks and geese.

Bonus Episode – Results from the 2020 North Dakota Breeding Duck Survey 

The DU Podcast is joined by Mike Szymanski, North Dakota Game and Fish Department, to discuss the results of their 2020 Breeding Duck Survey. By all accounts the numbers are encouraging. The North Dakota wetland index was the 6th highest on record and the duck numbers were the 13th highest on record signaling a likely good year for duck production in that state. Join us on this episode to hear the details.

Ep. 18 – Wetland Conservation in the ACE Basin, South Carolina 

Partnerships among public and private entities are the lifeblood for successful waterfowl conservation programs across North America. A long-time participant in one such partnership, Dean Harrigal, formerly of South Carolina DNR, joins the podcast to discuss a particularly noteworthy example and the landscape-scale wetland conservation that has resulted in the ACE Basin of South Carolina.

Ep. 17 – Are Snow Geese Competing for Winter Duck Foods?

Dr. Mark Petrie, Director of Conservation Planning for DU’s Western Region, joins co-hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher to discuss the double-edged sword of abundant populations of Arctic geese. On one hand, they provide expanded hunting opportunities, but on the other they also compete for the same food resources as ducks, presenting new challenges to hunters, habitat managers, and conservation planners.

Bonus Episode: Habitat Conditions Updates from the Dakotas and Eastern Montana

John Pollmann, Ducks Unlimited magazine freelance contributor and South Dakota resident, joins host Chris Jennings for an informative update on what the habitat conditions look like this summer in South Dakota, North Dakota, and eastern Montana.

Ep. 16 – Off-Season Duck and Goose Calling 

Jay Anglin joins host Chris Jennings to discuss a few calling tips for the summer, including tuning and cleaning your calls. Summer is the ideal time to get your calls into working order and Anglin even discusses shipping calls back to call makers for tuning and replacement parts. You want to address any calling issue now, rather than wait until opening day.

Ep. 15 – Texas Prairie Wetlands Project – A Flagship Conservation Program

 Dr. Mike Brasher is joined by colleague and native Texan, Dr. Todd Merendino to learn about the Texas Prairie Wetlands Project, one of the longest running and most successful private land wetland conservation programs in North America. Recognized in 2019 with a Texas by Nature aware, since 1991, the TPWP has allowed DU and partners to restore or enhance more than 85,000 acres of wetlands on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Ep. 14 – Mike Stewart, Wildrose Kennels Joins the Show

Mike Stewart, owner and operator of Wildrose Kennels joins the show to talk with host Chris Jennings about his operation and his training method. Stewart has branched out from his original facility and build regional Wildrose training facilities throughout the country. Learn more about Wildrose Kennels and the various methods Stewart uses for each client.

Bonus Episode – Update on Wetland Conditions in Alberta 

Continuing our virtual tour of wetland conditions in the Canadian prairie provinces, the DU Podcast today visits with Ron Maher, DU Canada’s Manager of Provincial Operations in Alberta, to receive an update on habitat conditions in that province.  Reports of a delayed spring, decent runoff, and recent rains has produced generally average wetland conditions in the southern prairies, but better wetland conditions in the parklands and boreal forests to the north.

Ep. 13 – The Super Cool and Expanding Role of Drones in Waterfowl Research

The DU podcast is again joined by Dr. Susan Felege to discuss additional ways in which she and her students are applying new technologies to study waterfowl ecology. In this episode we learn how drones, video cameras, and thermal cameras are being used to collect massive amounts of data more efficiently, at larger scales, and with less disturbance to ducks and geese.


Bonus Episode – Update on Wetland Conditions in Southwestern Manitoba

 Another week, another bonus episode on breeding habitat conditions in the Duck Factory. This update, provided by Dr. Mike Anderson, Emeritus Scientist with DU Canada’s Institute for Wetland and Waterfowl Research, shares on-the-ground insights from a location considered a historical hotbed of waterfowl research – Minnedosa, Manitoba. Based on >40 years of observations, Dr. Anderson shares how this year is shaping up compared to past.


Ep. 12 – Using Cameras to Study Duck Nesting Ecology

Dr. Susan Felege from the University of North Dakota is conducting pioneering research using video cameras to study nesting ducks in the U.S. prairies. Dr. Felege joins Dr. Mike Brasher to discuss some of this work and shares some of the interesting observations that she and her students have collected, including at least one example of white-tailed deer eating duck eggs!

Ep. 11 – Conserving Playa Wetlands to Benefit Birds, People, and Water Supplies

Mike Carter of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture and Matt Hough of DU rejoin the show to describe a terrific example of how DU’s conservation footprint can grow through approaches that deliver diverse benefits for birds and people. As a principle source of groundwater recharge for the Ogallala Aquifer, playa wetland conservation is being valued by a growing number of communities and landowners for the benefits they provide in securing the future of regional water supplies.

Bonus Episode – Cancellation of the 2020 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey

 For the first time in its 65-year history, the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey is not being conducted. With questions swirling about what this means for population management and harvest regulations, we reached out to Dr. Ken Richkus, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management, for first-hand answers to these questions and more. Settle in as we discuss this most important survey and unprecedented decision.

Ep. 10 – Introduction to Innovative Solutions for Playa Wetland Conservation

Dr. Mike Brasher is joined by Mike Carter, Coordinator of the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, and Matt Hough, DU’s Director of Conservation Programs for Kansas, to discuss playa wetland conservation in the Western Great Plains. Our guests describe the importance of playa wetlands for wetland birds and groundwater recharge and provide an overview of historical and exciting new approaches to playa conservation.

Bonus Episode – Early Spring Wetland Conditions in Saskatchewan

The DU Podcast is joined by our colleague from DU Canada, Kelly Rempel, Head of Habitat Asset Management Saskatchewan Provincial Operations, to discuss early observations of wetland conditions in the prairies and parklands of Saskatchewan, The Land of the Living Skies. It’s generally dry in the prairies with favorable conditions farther north in the parklands and Boreal Forest.

Ep. 9 – Waterfowl Settling and Nesting

Waterfowl, for the most part, have returned to the breeding grounds. Join co-hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher as they discuss the processes involved with their return to nesting areas. The two discuss the preferred habitats of breeding ducks, the risks involved in nesting, the perils of being a duckling, and how science helps us better conserve and manage these habitats to benefit waterfowl populations.

Bonus Episode – Breeding Habitat Conditions: Dr. Scott Stephens Gives a Spring Habitat Update from Canada

In the absence of typical habitat and duck reports from the May survey, we are turning to our folks in the field for first-hand updates and insights. On this episode, host Dr. Mike Brasher visits with Dr. Scott Stephens, DU Canada, for an early spring update on habitat conditions across the Canadian Prairies.

Ep. 8 – Off-Season Shotgunning w/ Phil Bourjaily (Part 2 of 2)

Phil Bourjaily, DU Magazine shotgunning columnist joins host Chris Jennings for another in-depth conversation on what waterfowlers should be doing in the off-season to prepare for the coming season. Bourjaily provides great detail on 10 additional tactics hunters can use to improve their shotgunning.

Ep. 7 – Off-Season Shotgunning w/ Phil Bourjaily (Part 1 of 2)

Phil Bourjaily, DU Magazine shotgunning columnist joins host Chris Jennings for a discussion on what waterfowlers should be doing in the off-season to prepare for the coming season. Bourjaily provides great detail on 10 tactics hunters can use to improve their shotgunning.

Ep. 6 – A Conversation with Jerry Holden, Director of DU’s Southern Regions (Part 3 of 3)

We conclude our 3-part series with Jerry Holden by discussing our organizational mission, the legacy of conservation support from waterfowl hunters, pursuit of expanded partnerships, and the broad-based benefits of DU’s wetlands conservation in the Southern Region. Lastly, Jerry and host Dr. Mike Brasher share personal experiences and the inspiration that comes from working with DU’s dedicated volunteers, members, and staff.

Ep. 5 – A Conversation with Jerry Holden, Director of DU’s Southern Regions (Part 2 of 3)

We continue with part 2 of a 3-part conversation with Jerry Holden, Director of Operations for DU’s Southern Region. In this episode, Jerry introduces the people, places, habitats, and conservation efforts within the Southern Region, and what makes it both incredibly special and immensely challenging.

Ep. 4 – A Conversation with Jerry Holden, Director of DU’s Southern Regions (Part 1 of 3)

In early February, we sat down for a wide-ranging discussion with Jerry Holden, Director of Operations for DU’s Southern Region. In the first of a 3-part series, Jerry shares his path to DU, his passion for conservation, and trades stories with podcast host Dr. Mike Brasher about the challenges and rewards of waterfowl hunting, including personal experiences from the 2019-20 hunting season.

Ep. 3 – What’s the Deal with Birds? A Lesson on Predatory Journals

Today, we go off the beaten path to discuss an entertaining adventure and important lesson on predatory journals. Dr. Dan Baldassarre, Assistant Professor of Zoology at SUNY Oswego, recently made headlines for the successful publication of a satirical article designed to expose the existence and dangers of unscrupulous actors among scientific journals. Listen and get wiser as we learn about The Deal With Birds!

Ep. 2 – Ducks Nesting in your Backyard? Learn what to do

So, you found yourself with a mallard or Canada goose nesting in your flowerpot. Why is this happening, what should you know, and what are your options? Join the DU Podcast as hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher share their answers to these questions and more, when discussing urban nesting waterfowl.

Ep. 1 – Introduction to Season 2: The Off Season 

DU Podcast is back for Season 2: The Off Season! Hosts Chris Jennings and Dr. Mike Brasher return to bring the DU audience discussions on conservation, science and research, off-season shotgunning, retriever training, and much more. The DU Podcast will continue to be a source of information on all-things waterfowl conservation.