I invited my friend and colleague Rebecca Mowry for a conversation about her job as a big game wildlife biologist on my podcast. Rebecca is the Bitterroot area Wildlife Biologist for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. I’ve been seeing her photos of mountain goats, moose, bighorn sheep and more pop up in my Facebook feed for years now and thought it would be great to have her on the podcast to talk about her journey into wildlife biology.
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I met Rebecca in graduate school where we both worked in the same lab studying very different species (river otters and forest elephants) using non-invasive techniques. Since then, she graduated with a Master’s degree, but Rebecca still didn’t have a straight and narrow path to a permanent job in wildlife biology.
Now she does have a very cool job as a big game wildlife biologist where she monitors and conducts research on various ungulates like elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. We chat about what she does on a day-to-day basis (and how there is no typical day).
We also go over in detail Rebecca’s path to her permanent job. She has A LOT of experience – for real over a dozen tech positions. She talked about how she struggled to find a job numerous times and almost transitioned careers, even after her Master’s degree. Aspiring wildlife biologists will find this conversation very helpful with lots of advice.
My fave #mountaingoat survey pic of the day— Rebecca 🐾 April (@beckoftheyukon) March 4, 2021
This is why they're hard to find, by the way. This is very zoomed in. They hear the helicopter and they hide under rocks and don't move and you just have to be super lucky to pick them out. pic.twitter.com/NiYtEiIZv0
Specifically we chat about:
- What does a big game wildlife biologist do from day to day? How does Rebecca’s work vary over the year?
- How often is Rebecca in the field and what type of field work does she do?
- How do you count ungulates like bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, and mountain goats?
- What kind of challenges did Rebecca face on the job market
- Why Rebecca decided to get a Master’s degree
- What it was like to find a permanent job post Master’s degree
- Rebecca’s advice to someone who wants a job like hers
Resources and Sources Mentioned in Big Game Biology with Rebecca Mowry:
Stephanie Schuttler is a wildlife biologist with 17 years of experience in mammal ecology and conservation, education, and outreach. Read her inspirational story, “My Unexpected Journey Into Science” to find out how she went from the daughter of a jeweler to a Ph.D. in wildlife biology. Feel free to contact Stephanie here.