William D. Pickett was born October 2, 1827 near Huntsville, Alabama. He moved to Kentucky as a child and received an education that prepared him for a career in engineering. He served in the Mexican War, though his duties were fighting Comanche in Texas rather than in Mexico itself. After his discharge he returned to Kentucky where he helped with the design and construction of several railroads.

At the beginning of the Civil War, he joined the Confederate Army, rising to the rank of colonel and serving until the surrender. After the war, he returned to engineering with the Memphis and Ohio Railroad, and in 1876, he came west to hunt and explore. In 1883, he bought land along the Greybull River in north central Wyoming and took up  ranching. He stayed until 1904, serving three terms in the Wyoming Legislature before returning to Kentucky where he died in 1917.

Pickett was one of the earliest members of the Boone and Crockett Club, the group Theodore  Roosevelt created in 1887 "to work for the  preservation of large game in this country" and  "to promote inquiry into, and to record observations on, the habits and natural  history of various wild animals." Pickett served as the organization's vice  president in 1897, contributed to several of its  early books, and was the primary author of Hunting at High Altitudes, a Boone and Crockett volume published in 1913. No less an authority that George Bird Grinnell wrote that Pickett "has had an experience hunting grizzly bear greater probably than that of any man who ever lived. A keen sportsman, a lover of outdoor life, and a Southern gentleman, Colonel Pickett represents the ideals of the Boone and Crockett Club."

Inductee Teaser Photo
Parent Node
Node order