A history of the Wildlife Biology Program at the University of Montana

In 1936, a specialization within Forestry in Wild Life Management was created and in 1937 a somewhat similar specialization within what is now the College of Arts and Sciences in Wild Life Technology was created.

In 1965, for the first time, a B.S. was offered in Wildlife Biology with three options (Terrestrial, Aquatic, or Wildlife Sciences). During that same year, one could earn a B.S. in Forestry with a wildlife option. There was also a Forestry master’s degree offered in Wildlife Management. In 1969, the wildlife option under Forestry was removed. The wildlife graduate degree in Forestry was renamed Wildlife Biology. However, the Wildlife Biology bachelor's degree was still separate from Forestry at that time.

Finally, in 1970, Wildlife Biology became a cooperative program between Forestry, Botany, Zoology, and the Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit. The Wildlife Sciences option was renamed the Honors Option. This cooperative structure, now between the W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation, Division of Biological Sciences, and Montana Cooperative Research Unit, still stands today.

This video outlines the Program history and includes audio recordings of Dick Taber, John Craighead, Les Pengelly, Phil Wright, and Bart O'Gara.

75th anniversary celebration

In 2012, the Wildlife Biology program celebrated its 75th anniversary. We welcomed more than 150 alumni, former and current faculty, students, and friends back to campus. 

Conservation Media (owned and operated by Jeremy Roberts, '03) produced seven films for our 75th anniversary. The longest piece (11 minutes) is "The University of Montana Wildlife Biology Program: 75 years" about our first 75 years of history. This film includes brief segments on former faculty: John J. Craighead, Dick Taber, Bart O'Gara, Les Pengelly, and Phil Wright. We premiered this piece at our 75th anniversary.

The next six films are shorter (averaging 3 minutes) and focus on specific, current faculty and students: Mark Hebblewhite, Scott Mills, Dave Naugle, Erick Greene, Dick Hutto, and Ellen Brandell (and undergraduate student).

Watch these videos on our YouTube channel.