DSC_0680 - Version 3Welcome to my webpage describing training opportunities for wildlife biologists. This workshop provides wildlife live trapping experience, morphometric data measures, camera surveying, and radio telemetry in a three-day workshop (March 9-11, 2018).

My first experience with ringtails was in 1985 and I have been very fortunate in being able to work with this species to the present day. The ringtail is also an ideal mammal for developing experience with wildlife studies – this species is a small mesocarnivore (weighing approximately 1,000 g) with a relatively calm disposition and they are susceptible to live-trapping and camera traps. The Sutter Buttes also offers a spectacular venue for my ringtail research (now in the third decade of studies) – and for learning opportunities – with approximately 46,000 acres of contiguous habitat in one of the largest (if not actually the largest) tract of wildlands remaining in the Central Valley of California.


This three-day workshop is scheduled for March 9-11, 2018 (Friday through Sunday). 

This will be a “hands-on” workshop with active participation in live-trapping of ringtails and with demonstrations of morphometric data acquisition and ear-tagging of captured ringtails.  Included are examinations of radio telemetry and camera detection techniques.  The following is a schedule for these three days:

Friday March 9, 2018 – 8:00 am-6:00 pm – Learning about Sutter Buttes history and site information, trapping etiquette, our responsibility to landowners, our responsibility to the animals we capture, site selection for traps, and an introduction to radio telemetry.  Workshop participants will be assisting with setting Tomahawk live-traps in multiple locations.

Saturday March 10, 2018 – 8:00 am-6:00 pm – Checking live-traps for captures, resetting empty traps, transporting any ringtails to a central working location, sedating ringtails, obtaining morphometric measures, and release of recovered ringtails at trapping location(s).  An introduction to camera trapping techniques will also be a part of the curriculum for this day.

Sunday March 11, 2018 – 8:00 am-6:00 pm – Checking live-traps for captures, recovery/removal of empty traps, transporting any ringtails to a central working location, sedating ringtails, obtaining morphometric measures, and release of recovered ringtails at trapping location(s).  Additional radio telemetry experience and camera trapping experience is a part of the curriculum for the day.

Workshop Pricing:  $425.00


Recommended Items to Bring:

  • Field Journal (Preference is for water resistant paper) and permanent ink pens.
  • Good Hiking Boots with Ankle Support.
  • Water Bottle(s) and Food (e.g. lunch, snacks).
  • Raingear (if there is any chance of rain during the workshop).
  • Headlamp or Flashlight (in case we are out there a bit late).
  • Camera.
  • Leather Gloves (for carrying traps, etc.).
  • Hat.

Participants can participate in all aspects of the trapping effort – therefore you would need to be able to hike for several kilometers over uneven and hilly ground. The poison oak (present throughout the Sutter Buttes) will be in a dormant state or will be just leafing out. If you have severe allergies to poison oak, just be careful to watch for the stems and any new leaves – they are quite visible. You will most definitely get a good cardio workout in this workshop…and great photography opportunities of released ringtails (usually).

Please note that you will be required to sign a Waiver of Liability and a Code of Conduct forms upon enrollment in the workshop. Failure to comply with safety instructions could result in dismissal from the workshop without refund. Space is also limited so please sign up early – a wait list will be maintained. A minimum enrollment of 15 is required for the workshop to proceed.

For Workshop Application, Waiver and Conduct Forms, and further information – please contact the instructor (David Wyatt) at the email address found at the bottom of this webpage, please put in the subject line “Ringtail Workshop”.

Some example photographs can be found below of previous live trapping training and research in the Sutter Buttes.  The first three photographs show the type of terrain we often navigate…


We use Tomahawk live traps with six-inch diameter doors when live-trapping for ringtails. This is an ideal size for ringtails and helps to prevent quite a bit of unwanted catch that might occur with larger traps – such as raccoons, foxes, large opossums, and (very importantly) skunks…usually…..


Once we capture the ringtails, we bring them back to a base-camp where we’ll apply the sedative and collect data on the ringtails. A number of standard morphometric measurements are taken, and small numbered ear tags inserted into both ears. Ringtails remain sedated for approximately 20 minutes before they start to recover. Another hour (minimum) is given to the ringtails for full recovery before the ringtails are returned to their capture site and released (great photo opportunities at that time).

Sedated ringtails….


Checking teeth wear….


After full recovery from the sedative, the ringtails are released at their capture site. Occasionally the ringtails rapidly leave the release site but on most occasions, they do take their time leaving and will often stay around to look us over if we remain quiet.

In the workshop, you will have the opportunity to be introduced to radio telemetry and to camera trapping. You will learn about triangulation from set telemetry stations (for example for home range and habitat utilization research) and also directional tracking (e.g. to find individual ringtails or den sites).

This is one of my former students using a three-element Yagi antenna to pinpoint a den site…the den opening is shown in the right side photo with the receiver next to the opening to show size. The ringtail was up in a hollow in the trunk about four feet above the opening.

This is a great photograph of an adult ringtail and her nearly adult kit in a den site in a living Interior Live Oak…note the adult female has ear tags….


This next den site was in a living Blue Oak – I was able to wedge my iPhone into the opening and managed to get this photograph of the ringtail….

Ringtail in Blue Oak

During the workshop, we will also examine camera traps and their uses. I have been using camera traps for over six years in the Sutter Buttes. Interestingly, the most commonly encountered mammal on my cameras have been ringtails. Second most commonly photographed is the Gray Fox.



With an occasional surprise visitor to the camera….



So I hope I’ve sparked your interest in this workshop. We will be able to work in an absolutely beautiful ecosystem with an equally beautiful and interesting animal. I truly can’t wait to be able to share these research techniques with you…I hope you will join us in this unique workshop.


David Wyatt (davidwyatt@mac.com) or (ReportRingtails@gmail.com)

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