Calvin King

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004

Cal is a true Renaissance man, constantly learning and researching. Cal King was probably the most educated game warden in the country during his time patrolling the backcountry of Wyoming, and he put his knowledge to work, applying new scientific principles to wildlife management and helping change its course in the West.

A graduate of the  U.S. Naval Academy, Colorado A&M (now Colorado State), the University of Wyoming, and later, Purdue University. The former WWII fighter pilot began his wildlife career as a game warden in Thermopolis in 1919. "I couldn't have gotten a better job," he says .

Even though he was known for his courtesy, he got tough on poachers and drastically cut the number of
crimes. He even nabbed one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted before moving on to become the first wildlife biologist in the Bighorn Basin in 1956. Right away, he began taking inventory of big-game habitat and established vegetation transects and photo points in crucial winter ranges. King was one of the first to connect the size of big-game herds and the management of hunting with the availability and quality of forage.

King authored three books based on his research, Reestablishing Elk in the Bighorn  Mountains of Wyoming, History of Wildlife in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming, and  Reasons for the Decline of Game in the in Bighorn Basin of Wyoming, now a Wyoming wildlife biologist's staple. He was always on the lookout for the different perspec­tive, the different approach. For his book on wildlife history, he conducted extensive interviews with old game wardens, trappers, and cowboys who knew the area and the wildlife that frequented it. He once took a trip to the Arctic to hunt with the native Inuit and study their polar-bear traps.

An untiring advocate for wildlife, King fought off proposals to convert public big-game winter ranges to pri­vate land and granted a conservation easement to the Nature Conservancy on his own land above Thermopolis. King has spoken around the country on ecological issues, including a stint at the World's Fair in Seattle. A phi­lanthropist and successful investor, King still studies history and science and freely shares his knowledge with anyone who wants it. Since his retirement, he works with his prize homing pigeons, recently patented a new skunk trap, and donated his extensive plant collection, accumulated over decades of field work, to the University of Wyoming.

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