Payton Adams received his bachelor’s degree in wildlife biology and earned a minor in wilderness studies at The University of Montana (2020). Payton is from Ronan, Montana and is an enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. He has always felt most comfortable out in nature. He spends his free time hiking, hunting, foraging, fishing and camping, especially in the Jocko.
Payton’s first bit of exposure to a career in natural resources came as a sophomore in high school when he was hired by the Youth Conservation Corps. He spent a summer working at a fish hatchery, transporting swans for reintroduction, planting native vegetation for habitat restoration, and participating in a Western fence lizard count.
He originally began his college career as a civil engineering major at a different university, but quickly realized his passion for working outdoors and transferred to the University of Montana. During his first summer in Missoula, he was hired as a technician with the CSKT Wildlife Program. He continued this position for four years, working in the summer and during winter breaks. He also found time to work with Dr. Scott Mills on a long-term snowshoe hare study. Payton was given the opportunity to create his own outreach project where he taught high school students from the reservation about trail cameras with the purpose of introducing them to careers in natural resources. Currently, Payton works alongside biologist Paden Alexander in the summer months handling grizzly bear research and conflicts. He also helps game wardens in black bear and other carnivore conflicts. Suring winter months, Payton conducts small carnivore studies, helps out with big game surveys, and assists other biologists with projects as needed.