Managing the Lost Person Incident

Deputy Coroner (GACO and YNP)

Park Medic (26 years)

Hug-A-Tree Instructor 


Law Enforcement
Search Manager 
ICS 100 – 300 
EMT-I / Park Medic since 1988
Tactical Tracking
Dog Obedience
Wildland Fire

Bonnie is an excellent detection and search dog trainer. She has a gift for communicating with students. Her ability to fine tune dog behavior for searching is outstanding.

Bonnie Whitman (Gafney) has been a Park Ranger with the National Park Service for 34 years, working in six different parks.  She has been stationed in Yellowstone for 25 years, doing Law Enforcement and Emergency Response, adding K9 drug detection in 2005 with her second GSD. 

Bonnie started training SAR dogs in 1988, and is currently working her fourth dog, Gator  and 5th dog Sabre (5 months old).  She and five other teams started Western Montana Search Dogs in the 1990’s, and they remain an active and credible group sponsored and supported by the Gallatin County (MT) Sheriff’s Department.   Bonnie is the Unit Trainer for WMSD, and a certifying official for the National Police Canine Association in detection and trailing. 

During my career as a search dog handler, I have participated in both LE and SAR responses utilizing and integrating all training facets of trailing, area search, cadaver, avalanche, water recovery and evidence detection. I work closely with Federal, State and local agencies, and feel that maintaining that professional relationship is a key to providing the strongest response for the subject.

I have taught seminars in avalanche response, and have assisted in cadaver and trailing seminars.  I regularly teach popular dog obedience classes, and am frequently requested to present Hug-A-Tree programs with my K9 partner, Gator. In my 25 years of SAR dog training, I have had the opportunity to observe and evaluate over 100 teams in the various facets of SAR. I enjoy the aspect of different techniques and styles, and share the enthusiasm after a good day of training.  As I am preparing to retire form my Park Service career, I look forward to more time for dog training and responses!

Bonnie Whitman​

​​WindRiver K-9 Seminars

​​WindRiver K-9 Seminars

   As you can see by the pictures above, Bonnie communicates very well with her dogs......And they communicate right back!!!!!