The Centennial Valley Association is seeking one dedicated individual to join our Range Rider/Wildlife Team for the 2019 season! The Centennial Valley Association (CVA) is a locally driven, landowner-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve traditional ranching as a way of life in the Centennial Valley, and to maintain quality open space, wildlife habitat, water quality, and wildlife migration corridors as they exist today for future generations. The CVA is located in the Centennial Valley in southwestern Montana, an extremely remote, high altitude valley, with the nearest grocery store about two hours away. The CVA is known for being the main disseminator of information in the Valley and uniting local ranchers, the community, agencies, NGOs, and other groups to collaborate effectively to make informed conservation decisions.
Range Riders will report directly to the CVA’s Wildlife Program Coordinator. Riders will be responsible for closely monitoring herds of cattle of participating landowners, with the intent of minimizing livestock stress and losses due to depredation, as well as tracking wildlife across the Centennial Valley. Range Riders will work as a team to accomplish the goals of:
• Identifying and documenting key wildlife and their movements in the Valley, especially bears and wolves.
• Minimizing wildlife-livestock conflict, especially depredation.
• Reducing the number of unconfirmed cattle deaths.
• Removing cattle carcasses when and where it is appropriate.
• Effectively communicating information about wildlife and the wildlife program to the community.
Job Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
• Riding on horseback through cattle in effort to:
o Deter predators from areas used by livestock.
o Accurately assess, at first light, any overnight incidents of predators harassing livestock.
o Identify sick or injured cattle, and potential hazards in pastures.
• Distributing human presence across the landscape.
• Monitoring cattle for sickness and injury and reporting any health concerns to the cattle owner.
• Monitoring herds for signs of human theft or other forms of loss or stress not from depredation.
• Placing and managing trail cameras in areas of high predator use, carcass locations, or areas of interest, checking them periodically, and going through captured pictures.
• Tracking wildlife in areas used by cattle to determine wildlife presence in the area and how that presence is affecting cattle.
o Rider will track wildlife by searching for sign, using trail cameras, and visual observation.
• Finding carcasses of domestic and wild animals around cattle and reporting all carcasses to the Wildlife Program Coordinator, and cattle carcasses to the rancher.
o Rider will never be required to approach a carcass or potential carcass area, allowing individuals to use their own discretion in determining safety of a situation.
• Assisting in meetings with Wildlife Services to investigate carcasses, and helping move carcasses if they pose a threat to livestock.
• Communicating daily with the Wildlife Program Coordinator.
• Communicating daily with ranchers, landowners, and community members.
• Travelling by ATV/UTV.
• Filling out daily paperwork, for the Coordinator, on what Rider did and saw each day.
• Uploading pictures, GPS points, and GPS tracks to CVA hard drive weekly.
• Properly caring for all vehicles and field equipment.
• Occasionally gathering/moving cattle when asked by participating ranches.
• Start date is flexible, but applicant must be able to commit to working through October.
• 5+ years of horseback experience, preferably with cattle and in remote, backcountry locations, or verifiable horsemanship qualifications via references or training experiences, or a combination of the two. Preference will be given to applicants with 10+ years of horseback experience.
• Ability to ride long distances on horseback (15+ miles/day) in remote settings (often alone) with large predators and hazardous conditions (bogs, badger holes, downed wire, inclement weather, etc.).
• Ability to care for horses.
• Willingness to work long and odd hours (early mornings, nights, weekends, and holidays).
• Willingness to carry bear spray, radio, and SPOT device on horseback (provided by CVA).
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a remote, rural setting.
• Ability to work well with others, who may also be bunkhouse roommates, in a small organization.
• Self-motivated, flexible, and can remain neutral on whether predators are good or bad.
• Willingness and ability to take direction from the Wildlife Program Coordinator and/or CVA’s Chairwoman.
• Willingness to handle cattle in manner that owners prefer.
• Willingness to learn and practice low-stress livestock handling methods.
• Verizon cell phone service (this is the only carrier that works in the Centennial Valley).
• Must bring own tack, and any items needed to care for horses (e.g. grooming supplies, water and feed buckets, halters, etc.).
* Range Riders are not required to provide their own horses, however, it is strongly recommended, and preference will be given to applicants with horses.
• Bachelor’s degree/working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management, Agricultural Sciences, or related field, or >3 years applicable job experience in wildlife or agricultural fields, or a combination of both.
• Experience with ranching operations or with cattle handling/monitoring, working with ranchers, and small, local communities.
• Familiarity with predator behavior and movements, particularly wolves and grizzly bears.
• Experience working in grizzly bear territory.
• Experience with GPS units and Microsoft Office programs.
• Experience operating an ATV/UTV (training course will be provided, and is required by CVA).
• Strong problem-solving skills.
• Ability to assess risk, and take appropriate safety precautions.
• Excellent communication skills.
• Familiarity operating manual transmission (stick-shift) trucks, and hauling trailers, on rough dirt roads.
Applications will be accepted from January 15th through February 15th, 2019. Please submit a cover letter, resume, and three references (at least one reference must be able to verify your horseback riding experience) to firstname.lastname@example.org (include “2019 Range Rider” in the subject line) or to:
Centennial Valley Association
c/o Yvonne Martinell
PO Box 240077
Dell, MT 59724
Applications sent via United States Postal Service must be postmarked prior to February 16th to be reviewed. Applications sent via email must be submitted by 11:59pm (MST) on February 15th. The selection committee hopes to make final hiring decisions by March 22nd.