New Mexico hiring professional bear huggers: Wildlife job opening

Posted bywp_12122045 Posted onMarch 22, 2023 Comments0


The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is hiring professional bear huggers.

You read that right.

Candidates “must have ability to hike in strenuous conditions, have the courage to crawl into a bear den, and have the trust in your coworkers to keep you safe during the process,” the agency’s hiring post for a “wildlife conservation officer” reads.

“Not all law enforcement field work is this glamorous, but we would love for you to join the team where you can have the experience of a lifetime,” the post reads.

The job stems from a research project in northern New Mexico, according to the department, which added pictures of wildlife officers reaching into a bear den, noting that the bears “were handled safely.”

“P.S. We do not recommend crawling into bear dens,” it cautioned. “If you do, our officers will have to have a chat with you.”

How to apply to be a bear hugger

Bear hugger applicants have until March 30 to apply for the cuddly gig.

Requirements for for the job include:

  • Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, forestry, ecology or other related fields.
  • Passing a physical training test.
  • Passing written, medical and psychological examinations.
  • Job interview.

If selected, hirees undergo about a year of training for firearms, boat operation, hunter education, patrol skills and wildlife handling. 

The onboarding includes training at the Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy and 14 weeks of field training under another conservation officer.

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Deer protectors also wanted

The agency is also currently hiring “professional deer protectors.”

“Bambi doesn’t have a thing on the real-life version,” the department wrote in a separate post. “As spring gets near, our conservation officers must respond to many baby deer reports… which means we need help!”

Deadline to apply: March 30.

Natalie Neysa Alund covers trending news for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.


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