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Regulating harvest, health, and enhancement of wildlife populations

ODFW Wildlife and Fish Health Veterinary Externship Opportunities


  • Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep capture in Hell's Canyon, NE Oregon - SW Washington using helicopter and net gun
  • Capture of bighorn sheep in the extreme NE Oregon via corral trap (January - March) at 9,000 feet. Site access involves driving, so getting there depends on snowfall and whether the unimproved Forest Service roads are plowed.

January - April

  • Research deer capture in central Oregon. Involves sitting in a blind with a biologist and darting mule deer, radio-collar placement.
  • Management action captures (removal of elk from pear orchards and off golf courses using a corral trap), disease sampling and translocation involved. Captures of elk for mark, test and translocation from Wildlife Management Areas including Jewell Meadows, Ladd Marsh units.
  • We conduct disease sampling via serum analysis and fecal evaluation on wild quail, turkey, and grouse that are slated for translocation to other states.

March - June

  • Support marine mammal program and biologists during pinneped capture, marking and management actions. 


  • After July 4th, assist with capture and relocation of Rocky Mountain goats usually 20-30 animals, 7,000 + elevation operation using a drop net. Campout on-site, usually a 3-5 day event.
  • Every other year, usually the week following the 4th, we help with gas anesthesia of up to 200 Stellar Sea Lion pups on a pupping island 15 miles off the SE Oregon shore. The animals are measured, weighed and marked by a team of state and fed marine mammal folks.

July - September

  • October 15ish and the first weekend of November we set up Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance check stations throughout the state for sampling of hunter harvested deer and elk.


  • During the first 2 weeks of December, capture 20-100 California bighorn using helicopter and net gun operation.  A week-long event.

Other projects/ experiences

Write paper on an Oregon current event involving wildlife health issue, disease topic or immobilization topic and present during staff rounds. 

Spend several days at Wildlife Safari (a semi-free ranging zoo) near Roseburg, OR. Work with zoo vet, Dr. Ben Alcavar, on captive animal health issues.

Work with Dr. Rob Bildfell, OSU wildlife pathologist – May involve case workup from a field investigation with ODFW vet to the diagnostic lab and final diagnosis with Dr. Bildfell.

Fish Health Services Laboratory in Nash Hall – Hatchery and free-ranging fish disease and health issues involving testing, diagnostic workup and hatchery prescription treatment. Lab (sample processing, microscopy work, cell culture, virus, ELISA and PCR) and field opportunities while accompanying a fish health specialist to a hatchery during monthly examinations, increased loss events or spawning operations and assist with the examinations and sample collection. On some occasions sampling of naturally reared fish in field locations occurs.

Population laboratory - Involves tissue sampling and necropsy, understanding population age structure via tooth cementum annuli evaluation, reproductive population statistics via examination of repro tracts, etc

We can also assist with setting the student up to work in several neighboring states (Nevada, Idaho, WA) for a collaborative or regional experience. Car and drivers license needed.

For information about setting up an extership contact Colin Gillin at and provide a letter of interest, curriculum vitae, and reference letter from a wildlife or veterinary faculty from your academic institution.


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