Joel Brice has always been fascinated by wetland systems.
“In the dead of winter, you’re hard-pressed to find anything living in them,” he said. “But come spring, they come alive with more animals and sounds than you thought possible.”
His interest led him to pursue a bachelor of science in wildlife management from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point and a Master of Science in biology from the University of North Dakota. In early 2001, he was working for the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota, when he received a call from his former graduate advisor.
“He had heard from the vice president of Delta Waterfowl, who was looking to hire a young biologist,” Brice said. “I applied, interviewed, and the rest is history.”
That history includes an impactful career with The Duck Hunters Organization. He is responsible for duck production (Predator Management, Hen Houses, etc.), research and education, HunteR3, marketing, and communications at Delta.
Ground-breaking research and education on duck production and habitat conservation in the prairie pothole region is a hallmark of Delta’s mission and vision. Brice oversees the scientists and technicians who plan and execute that research. He considers this among his most rewarding work in many ways.
As chief conservation officer—a title acquired with more than 20 years of experience at Delta—his oversight extends to the organization’s HunteR3 programming, including First Hunt and the University Hunting Program. These initiatives are designed to address the issue of hunter retention, recruitment, and reactivation in the United States and Canada.
“I grew up in a long line of hunters and went to college with hundreds of guys who also hunted,” he said. “Until I came to Delta, I didn’t realize that the future of hunting is at risk. I’m proud to work for an organization that is strongly focused on waterfowl hunting as well as waterfowl. The opportunity to help impact the future of a continental resource is a monumental task that I thrive upon.”
Given Brice’s interest in wetlands, perhaps it’s no surprise he most enjoys hunting ducks with his yellow Lab, Chester, over water.
“To me, the splash of a duck and a swimming Labrador go together like milk and cookies,” he said.
Brice is also an avid western hunter and enjoys fishing, camping, horseback riding and hiking with his wife and children.