Hunting & Heritage  |  05/12/2021

Podcast Ep. 117: Biologist Brad Bortner on How Migratory Bird Harvest Influences Upland Habitat

Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Brad Bortner, a bird biologist and the recently retired chief of migratory bird management at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, for a conversation about the federal Harvest Information Program (HIP) for migratory birds. All bird hunters are asked about HIP certification when they purchase a small game license, and this is a discussion to explore what those questions mean and how the data is used.

Episode Highlights:
  • Bortner talks about how his career brought him to every state in the U.S. and most other continents to evaluate wildlife, habitat, hunting regulations, and different country’s approaches to conservation. 
  • Bortner explains the genesis of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s HIP program that all bird hunters answer questions about each year when they buy a license and how the US. Fish & Wildlife Service uses that data to monitor the harvest of migratory birds like ducks and geese, but also doves, woodcock, rails, and snipe. 
  • The guys also talk about how that migratory harvest data influences the Department of Interior’s purchase of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) so beneficial to upland game birds like pheasants, quail, and prairie grouse in addition to migratory species.
Check out all the data available through the National Migratory Bird Harvest Survey: