Range rider programs can be useful tools with which to reduce wildlife-livestock conflict by providing an additional presence on the range. These programs can also assist livestock producers by identifying potential depredation events and notifying landowners and Wildlife Services so producers can be reimbursed for their losses. BHWC currently has two range rider programs – one in its 7th year and one developing.

Upper Big HOle Range Rider

BHWC employs a Range Rider who monitors 8 USFS and BLM grazing allotments in the Upper Big Hole basin. Ranchers turn their cows onto these lands July – September each year. The range rider monitors the allotments (using day & night patrols, photo monitoring, foot, horse and vehicle patrols) for predator activity, cattle behavior, and range health during this time period. The rider reports any predator activity to the livestock producer who can then adjust cattle accordingly. If livestock predation is suspected, the rider reports to both the livestock producer and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks wolf biologists who then investigate the situation to determine if the producer can be reimbursed for their loss.

The Upper Big Hole Range Rider program was created in 2010.


Middle Big Hole Range Rider – developing

In 2016, BHWC secured funding for the development of a Middle Range Rider Program to serve the area between Wisdom and Wise River. Program development is in progress. Please contact Tana Nulph (contact information at bottom of page) if you have any questions or are interested in enrolling your grazing allotments. Eligible allotments include: Pintler Creek, Mudd Creek, Fish Trap, Toomey Creek, Calvert Hill, and Seymore. Private lands may also be enrolled. The 2017 Middle Big Hole Range Rider has not yet been hired.

Range rider Resources

USFWS: Gray Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains