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Animal Behavior Society
Animal Behavior Society

Working towards a better understanding of animal behavior

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Field technicians needed for monitoring feral horses
Field Assistants
Posted Dec 30
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) and Colorado State University (CSU) are conducting scientific research and monitoring to assist the BLM in management of free-roaming wild horses and burros on public lands. These projects are led by Dr. Kate Schoenecker (USGS/CSU) and Dr. Sarah King (CSU). For the 2022 field season we are seeking 2 field technicians to work on projects involving radio telemetry of wild horses in remote sites in the western United States (Utah and Nevada). These positions provide a great opportunity to learn and polish wildlife monitoring techniques. More information about our projects can be found at
In 2022 we will be monitoring feral horses fitted with radio collars or telemetry tags to record aspects of their demography. Herd Management Areas where the horses are located are large (~75,000 acres) and remote, and the horses tend to be widely dispersed. The position therefore requires extensive driving time to get to the field site and locate animals. Once a study individual is found the field work is rigorous due to the Great Basin habitat of mountains and valleys. It may require extensive hiking across rugged terrain, frequently off-trail on high rocky slopes. Work may be conducted under variable weather conditions at elevations above 6,000 feet, with the potential for both extreme heat and temperatures below freezing (even within the same week). Independence, stamina, patience, flexibility, and a tenacious work ethic are essential. All positions are located in remote field sites and generally involve working in a small team of 2 people, necessitating excellent teamwork, good communication skills, and a positive attitude. Basic housing is provided near the field sites - small shared trailers with hookups but no wifi.
Positions are for March/April thru September. Please confirm your availability in your application. We will not accept applicants who cannot work the entire field season. Field technicians will be employed by Colorado State University. Fieldwork is conducted in 10 day field sessions (salary is $14/hr, equating to $1,120 per 10-day field session).Each field session is followed by a 4 day break which allows time to explore the spectacular scenery near field sites or simply rest up thoroughly. Due to the nature of field work there may be long work days. These positions are not eligible for paid sick leave, paid vacation, or paid holidays. We can only hire candidates currently eligible to work in the United States.
To apply send both a letter of interest and CV with contact information for two references to Sarah King at Clearly state how your experience qualifies you for this position, and your availability. These positions are very competitive; applicants with relevant prior experience are most likely to be considered.
Duties and responsibilities:
Locating radio-collared or radio-tagged horses using radio telemetry.
Collecting demographic data, recording data, and entering it in to a database.
Scanning datasheets at the end of each field session.
Field reporting at the end of each field session.
Maintaining databases and proofing data that has been entered.
Participation in related field projects as needed (this may entail travelling to a different HMA).
Regular communication with field supervisor and PI.
Skills needed:
  • Ability to drive 4WD vehicles across varied and rugged terrain.
  • Ability to complete necessary USGS online safety courses and certifications once hired.
  • Excellent communication skills required to maintain contact with remote supervisor during protracted fieldwork.
  • Familiarity with use of GPS and/or map and compass.
  • Maintaining and safeguarding personally assigned and project equipment.
  • Assistance in routine maintenance of lodging.
Minimum qualifications:
  • One year of laboratory or field research, or any equivalent combination of experience, training and/or education.
  • A state driver’s license valid during period of employment (any US state).
  • Ability to hike in backcountry covering 4-5 miles each day while carrying a 35lb pack.
Preferred qualifications(in addition to above):
  • Bachelors degree in wildlife science, biology, or related discipline.
  • Experience with radio telemetry in field conditions.
  • Experience with behavioral observations of mammals under natural conditions.
  • Understanding of animal behavior and ecology.
  • Experience driving 4WD vehicles in the back country.
  • Ability to manage and maintain a computer database.