Dude Ranch Rules

Are you allergic to animals? Well, every square inch of a dude ranch is covered with pollen from a thousand different wildflowers, as well as the dander from horses, donkeys, mules, goats, dogs, cats, and who knows what else!

Over the years ranch owners have found that a happy and efficient staff needs some guidelines to work together in a congenial atmosphere. By hiring staff who are comfortable within these guidelines, they have found that staff come together with common interests and goals in mind. It may sound a little “old fashioned”, but besides working on the ranch, you will be living there too. The entire ranch is an extension of a home basically; therefore, staff are expected to share many common values and standards of moral conduct while at the ranch.

A simple checklist graphic with checks in all boxes

Here are some typical rules. Remember that every ranch is different! If you are not comfortable with these, then consider pursuing a different kind of summer job:

  • “Noise” curfew on the ranch grounds is 10:00.
  • Absolutely no drinking and/or drugs on the ranch property.
  • Absolutely no smoking on property
  • Foul language is prohibited
  • Staff are expected be polite and courteous to ranch guests and each other at all times.
  • The staff will not be disruptive to guest activities.
  • Stereos must not be heard outside cabins.
  • No radios on the job.
  • Clean, neat appearance is expected at all times. ABSOLUTELY NO BARE FEET, sandals, or clogs on the job.
  • Employees must dress western while on the job. This is a ranch and ranch attire, such as jeans, walking shoes, or boots is expected.
  • Dating among staff members is discouraged.
  • Off ranch activities are very limited, therefore staff members usually spend the evenings around the ranch visiting with the guests and other staff members.
  • Inviting friends or family to the ranch must be cleared by the management first
  • Staff bedrooms are the only places on the ranch where staff can have privacy – absolutely no guests in staff bedrooms. Female staff shall stay out of male housing and male staff shall stay out of female housing.
  • Staff are responsible for the upkeep and cleanliness of their own bedrooms and bathrooms. We suggest that staff set up rotating bathroom cleaning schedules in order to share this responsibility equally. Staff bedrooms and bathrooms will be inspected regularly. If, in the sole opinion of the owners, unacceptable conditions persist, a maid service will be hired to clean, and will be paid by those staff receiving services, by payroll deduction.
  • Personal vehicles are encouraged.
  • Guests are your customers, not your friends. Staff never:
    1. Discuss your personal problems, your problems with management, your roommates, or the ranch
    2. Discuss religion or politics
    3. Ask them what they do for a living (This week they are cowboys and cowgirls – this is vacation – there is no past, there is no future.)
    4. Tell “off-color” jokes
    5. Argue
    6. Lose your temper in public
    7. Accept sexual invitations
    8. Tease
    9. Act silly
  • Minimal impact and no trace ethics.
    1. When in the forest or on neighbor’s land, make as few changes as possible, and leave no evidence of having been there.
    2. Respect elk calving season, and follow the calving season scheduling restrictions.
    3. Respect ranch neighbor’s rights and preferences.
    4. Do not chase or harass in any way either wildlife or domestic stock.
  • There is no excuse for animal neglect or abuse:
    1. Do not strike or throw stones at animals.
    2. Do not allow horses unrestricted access to grain or hay.
    3. Do not chase wildlife or cattle.
    4. Do not poach.
  • Sexual harassment or intimidation shall not be tolerated in any form or manner.
  • Staff are welcome to bring their own horses. Only the owner of the horse may ride that horse. Guests and other employees are strictly prohibited from riding staff owned horses.


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