Elk Research Technician

Elk Research Technician

Classification: Temporary/Seasonal Positions

Agency: Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW)

Location: Grand Junction, CO

Salary: $15.00-18.50/hour based on experience

Start date: January 23, 2023

Last day to Apply: December 30, 2022 or until filled

Description: This is a 6-9 month position, working on all aspects of elk research projects evaluating population dynamics and assessing how elk respond to human recreation. This position is approximately 60% office and 40% fieldwork, with extended periods of 100% office or fieldwork. This position is based out of Grand Junction, Colorado, but field work will occur throughout western Colorado, and extensive travel and overnight stays will be required. The incumbent will be required to be on the road from March 1-March 15 to participate in adult female elk captures. From May 6-July 1, the incumbent will live and work near Carbondale, Craig, or Delta on a 6-8 person crew responsible for locating, catching, and collaring elk calves, using radio telemetry to locate vaginal implant transmitters and collared elk, monitoring calf survival, and assessing cause-specific mortality by field necropsy. If the incumbent has previous leadership experience, they may have the opportunity to lead one of these crews. Free housing is available in Grand Junction and during the calving season, and consists of camp trailers and cabins. No pets are allowed in the provided housing. Work hours are long and variable and will include weekends. Hiking long distances in mountainous terrain will be required. Work vehicles and field gear will be provided.

Job Duties:

This position will focus on data collection and management, field logistics, equipment purchasing, management, and maintenance, and working cooperatively with a wide variety of contacts and collaborators. The incumbent will be responsible for investigating and determining the cause of death of elk mortalities, managing and testing 375 elk collars/year prior to their deployment, retrieving and downloading data from these collars, and inputting and managing all of the elk research data in a Microsoft Access database. During the calving season, the incumbent may supervise an elk calf capture crew, directing a team of 6-8 capture technicians. The incumbent will maintain a fleet of vehicles (trucks, camper and equipment trailers, ATVs, and snowmobiles), and all of the equipment and supplies associated with field research. The incumbent will be responsible for professionally representing CPW in a variety of situations and to a variety of people interested in the elk research projects. This will include landowners, hunters, University personnel, state and federal agency personnel, CPW staff, and the general public. The incumbent will be responsible for working closely with landowners in the elk study areas to maintain and gain access to private land to conduct research. The incumbent will also be responsible for countless other administrative and managerial tasks associated with the elk research projects.

Qualifications: The demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a scientific research team is required. The incumbent must have a strong work ethic, critical thinking skills, attention to detail, positive attitude, and the ability to work successfully alone and in groups. The incumbent must be professional and courteous to landowners, research personnel, and the public. Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, are required.

Demonstrated experience with data entry, database management, Microsoft Access, ESRI GIS, and the statistical software R is preferred. The incumbent must be able to conduct meticulous data entry for up to 8 hours at a time/5 days a week.

This position demands persistence, independence, self-reliance, and the ability/willingness to work long and irregular hours (holidays, weekends, early mornings/late evenings). A demonstrated ability to collect rigorous scientific data in remote and challenging field conditions is required. The incumbent must be prepared to hike extensively off trail in difficult terrain at high elevation on a daily basis, and be willing to travel extensively by truck across Colorado.

Ideal candidates will have demonstrated experience in data entry and management, capturing ungulate neonates and adults, performing ungulate field necropsies, navigating to remote locations with a GPS, operating 4WD vehicles/ATVs, and handheld telemetry. Experience with aerial telemetry, snowmobiles, and winter field work is preferred. The ability to work without supervision in potentially hazardous conditions is expected.

Applicants must be comfortable living in rustic and remote locations without running water, cell service, or internet coverage, and have no scheduling conflicts from March 1-March 15 and from May 6-July 1. Personal sleeping gear and a valid driver’s license are required.


Bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology, fish and wildlife management, animal ecology, biology, or a closely related field is required. 1-2 years experience conducting field research is required. Experience or the ability and interest to learn Microsoft Access, ESRI GIS, and Program R is required. Other combinations of education and experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

To apply, please email the following materials as a single PDF to cpw.elk.tech@gmail.com:

1) A cover letter highlighting relevant experience. In your letter, please state whether or not you have any scheduling conflicts that would prevent you from working continuously in Colorado from March 1-March 15, and from May 6-July 1.

2) Resume/CV

3) Contact information for 3 references (please include current email address and cell phone number)

Please send the PDF as an attachment with the PDF and the email subject titled as LastName-FirstName-Elk-Research-Technician-2023

Closing date and time: December 30, 2022 at 5 p.m. MST or until position is filled. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.