The Monteith Shop

Our research group, the Monteith Shop, is focused on providing a scientific basis for management and conservation of large mammals. Often through individual-based research and intensive field studies, we connect individual animals to their environment to gain a mechanistic understanding of what influences their behavior, growth, reproduction, and survival in the face of a changing world. Our motto reflects the core of our aim, which is to “advance science and management one data point at a time.” From our perspective, moving the needle for scientific learning and its implications for sound decisions in natural resources, is contingent upon empirical data, which are not always easily won. Beyond scientific inquiry, we strive to provide the general public with tangible and digestible information on the intriguing nuances of the ecology of large mammals and the science that informs wildlife management decisions. Through comprehensive field studies, scientific output, and active engagement with scientists, stakeholders, and the general public, the overarching goal of our group is to provide meaningful contributions to the field of wildlife ecology while effectively informing management decisions.

Group leader:


Kevin Monteith

Nickname: Montax
Hometown: Bristol, SD aka Small Town South Dakota
Alma mater(s): South Dakota State University (BSc in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences; MSc in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences) and Idaho State University (PhD in Biological Sciences)
Primary food: Venison (or other wild game) steak and potatoes
Top 3 favorite pastimes: hunting, taking family hunting, filling the freezer
Allergies:  bureaucratic inertia;   Symptoms:  elevated blood pressure, loss of hair, worn out keyboards, aggressive outbursts
Expertise: integrating redneck thinking into science
Animals tracked: mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, pronghorn, nyala, bushbuck, kudu, coyotes

Projects: All of them...


Mitch Brunet

Nickname: The Canadian
Hometown: Brantford ON, Canada
Alma mater(s): University of Guelph (BSc wildlife biology & conservation)
Primary food: beer, squirrel, blue cheese dressing
Top 3 favorite pastimes: hunting, fishing, hunting
Allergies: unfinished beer; Symptoms: rapid consumption 
Expertise: developing game calls with random items—field equipment, grass, quarters; you name it, I'll make a call out of it
Animals tracked: wild turkey, white-tailed deer, coyote, cottontail rabbit, elk, mule deer, mountain lion, eastern gray squirrel, raccoon, ruffed grouse, sea lamprey

Projects: Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project


Rhiannon Jakopak

Nickname: RPG
Hometown: Scotland, SD
Alma mater(s): University of Wyoming (BSc in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management; BA in Religious Studies)
Primary food: dumpster veggies
Top 3 favorite pastimes: looking at birds, keeping my dogs from rolling in dead stuff, playing with dead stuff
Allergies:   when people leave water in sinks running for no clear reason (e.g., washing dishes with the water on full blast without turning it off when actually scrubbing a dish, brushing your teeth with the water on THE WHOLE TIME); Symptoms: a sinking feeling that all of our resources are going to be used for no reason, an existential crisis of whether to burst in and shut the water off or to just stand there shaking, overwhelming feeling of helplessness and dread       
Expertise: picking out a real good font
Animals tracked: deer, shake and bake powder tracking of rodents in Kenya, northern Idaho ground squirrels, jackalope

Projects: Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project


Tayler LaSharr

Nickname: Trailer
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ
Alma mater(s): University of Arizona (BSc in Natural Resources emphasis Conservation Biology) and University of Wyoming (MSc in Zoology and Physiology)
Primary food: cheese, coffee, beer
Top 3 favorite pastimes: playing in the mountains with my dog, taking pictures of animals (including my dog), drinking beer…with my dog
Allergies: being away from dogs for more than 12 hours; Symptoms: sadness, irritability, uncontrollable crying      
Expertise: losing expensive gear in the field and then finding it again
Animals tracked: mule deer, bighorn sheep, western and mountain bluebirds

Projects: Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project, Harvest Records Project

Rachel Smiley

Nickname: Smiles
Hometown: Marlborough, CT
Alma mater(s): University of Connecticut (BSc in Natural Resources)
Primary food: Chinese buffet
Top 3 favorite pastimes: long walks up steep hills, vertical climbs up large rocks, crossword puzzles
Allergies: vanilla ice cream; Symptoms: feelings of disappointment, despair, and lack of hope for the world            
Expertise: 2x2 Rubik's cube
Animals tracked: bighorn sheep, mule deer, piping plovers

Projects: Wyoming Bighorn Sheep Nutrition and Disease Project

Brittany Wagler

Nickname: BW
Hometown: Cody, WY
Alma mater(s)/degrees: University of Wyoming (BSc in zoology and physiology)
Primary food: roasted garlic
Top 3 favorite pastimes: traveling up and down mountains any way possible, dance parties, wrestling dogs
Allergies: Dr. Kevin Monteith; Symptoms: fatigue, stress, blurting out offensive words
Expertise: injuring myself while killing time during capture delays
Animals tracked: bighorn sheep, mule deer, sagebrush songbirds, sagebrush smammals, porcupines

Projects: Wyoming Bighorn Sheep Nutrition and Disease Project



Samantha Dwinnell

Nickname: Paige
Hometown: Faribault, MN
Alma mater(s): University of Minnesota-Duluth (BSc in biology; BA in environmental studies); University of Wyoming (MSc in zoology and physiology)
Primary food: beer, seltzer water, beets
Top 3 favorite pastimes: powder skiing, dancing like an idiot, swimming in extremely cold water
Allergies: listening to a song more than once in a day; Symptoms: irritability, eye twitching, bleeding ears
Expertise: finding excuses to ski for work
Animals tracked: mule deer, bighorn sheep, great gray owls, Canada lynx, gray wolves, sagebrush songbirds, migratory birds of Minnesota, wolverines, moose, northern goshawks, American pikas, earthworms and elk, strictly for eating purposes.

Projects: Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project


Katey Huggler

Nickname: Ziggy
Hometown: Priest River, Idaho
Alma mater(s): University of Idaho (BSc in wildlife resources) and University of Wyoming (MSc zoology and physiology)
Primary food: beer, spaghetti, avocados
Top 3 favorite pastimes: watching Netflix, endless fetch sessions with Gusto, baking
Allergies: feet, sticky hands; Symptoms: panic attacks, sweating, nausea/vomiting
Expertise: quoting Will Ferrell movies while acing cornhole
Animals tracked: elk, mule deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, burrowing owls, harvester ants, black bears, wolves, waterfowl

Projects: Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project

Tana Verzuh

Nickname: Ver jus
Hometown: Grand Junction, CO
Alma mater(s): Colorado State University (BSc zoology), Montana State University (MSc science education), University of Wyoming (MSc zoology and physiology, pert near there)
Primary food: chips and salsa
Top 3 favorite pastimes: rafting, mountain biking, splitboarding
Allergies: people talking with a mouth full of food; Symptoms: immediate, irrational anger, nausea
Expertise: evading groover duty
Animals tracked: black bears, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, moose, hummingbirds, mountain lions, coyotes

Projects: Snowy Range Moose Project

Ellen Aikens

Nickname: Duke’s mom
Hometown: Kintnersville, PA
Alma mater(s)/degrees: Ursinus College (BSc in biology; BA in environmental studies), University of Wyoming (PhD in ecology)
Primary food: chocolate, wine, yogurt
Top 3 favorite pastimes: taking my dog on adventures, cooking and baking, knitting
Allergies: paperwork; Symptoms: irrational behavior, anxiety
Expertise: finding excuses to travel for work
Animals tracked: mule deer, elk, red deer, roe deer

Projects: Wyoming Range Mule Deer Project

Kristin Denryter

Nickname: Caribou Whisperer
Hometown: Clinton Township, MI
Alma mater(s): Madonna University (BSc general biology), Northern Michigan University (MSc Biology), University of Northern British Columbia (PhD natural resources and environmental studies), University of Wyoming (postdoc).
Primary food: carbs
Top 3 favorite pastimes: backpacking, skiing, and anything with my dog and husband
Allergies: cilantro; Symptoms: it freakin' tastes like soap to me!
Expertise: spending way too much time on the computer
Animals tracked: caribou, bighorn sheep, elk, and pronghorn; oh, and one time I wrote a paper about marmots

Projects: Sierra Nevada Desert Bighorn Sheep Project

Emily Reed

Nickname: Em
Hometown: Cody, WY
Alma mater(s): University of Wyoming (BA in environmental studies; BA in English)
Primary food: fruit snacks (but not just any fruit snacks they have to be Gushers) and Beer
Top 3 favorite pastimes: multi-sport adventures, playing Catan, perfecting my pain au chocolat recipe
Allergies: anything that is above 'medium' spicy; Symptoms: crying, excessive milk consumption
Expertise: finding any excuse to get out of the office
Animals tracked:  my Canis lupis familiaris and the occasional deceased Odocoileus hemionus and Antilocapra americana

Projects: Ungulate Compendium

Matt Hayes

Nickname: Hayes
Hometown: Hastings, MI
Alma mater(s): University of Wyoming (BSc wildlife and fisheries biology and management; MSc rangeland resources; MSc water resources)
Primary food: Tacos
Top 3 favorite pastimes: mountain biking, hunting, programming
Allergies: stupidity; Symptoms: silently staring until it stops
Expertise: big data analytics
Animals tracked: wolves, mule deer, white-tailed deer, moose, coyotes, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, elk, dogs, humans

Projects: Deer-Elk Ecology Research Project


Alex May

Nickname: Alex
Alma mater(s): Colorado College (BA in biology) and University of Wyoming (MSc in zoology and physiology in progress)
Primary food: coffee and oatmeal
Top 3 favorite pastimes: walk, look, ski
Allergies: none, thanks to intestinal parasites; Symptoms: fatigue, higher grocery bills
Expertise: fringe composting methods
Animals tracked: moose, mule deer, pronghorn, elk, cougar, marten, Kodiak bear, gray wolf, black bear, pika, leopard, wolverine, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, pygmy rabbit, Kevin

Projects: Snowy Range Moose Project

Bryan Lamont

Nickname: Brainie Highnie
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Alma mater(s)/degrees: Appalachian State University (BSc sociology) , Colorado State University (BSc wildlife biology), Sierra Nevada College (Teaching Certificate), and University of Wyoming (MSc zoology and physiology)
Primary food: Meat
Top 3 favorite pastimes: growing mullets with perms, listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd in my '82 Camaro, smoking filter-less Marlboros
Allergies: anesthesia; Symptoms: itchy, vomiting, overall feeling like I want to die
Expertise: Jack of all trades and master of none
Animals tracked: elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, moose, mountain lions, raptors, and Mormon crickets

Projects: Sierra Madre Elk Project