Game and Fish Deputy Director Scott Smith retires after 35 years

Smith spent his career tackling some of the state’s most important wildlife challenges.

4/29/2019 7:59:29 PM

Cheyenne - Scott Smith, Wyoming Game and Fish Department deputy director, is retiring after 35 years of service to the State of Wyoming. Smith spent his career tackling some of the state’s most important wildlife challenges.

“Scott Smith is a professional wildlife manager whose stellar performance and noteworthy achievements define the high standards of service our citizens expect. His work ethic is unmatched and his passion for wildlife inspires others to do great things,” said Game and Fish Director Brian Nesvik. “He is a quiet professional who works behind the scenes to ensure the whole agency can do great things for wildlife. He is undoubtedly one of the finest people and one the best wildlife managers I have worked with, and his impact on our agency and state will be long lasting.”  

Smith began with Game and Fish in 1983 in Jackson as a temporary unit laborer, and later worked as a biologist aid, wildlife management data control specialist, district biologist and brucellosis biologist. In 1992, Smith took over the brucellosis program and implemented brucellosis testing and vaccinations on state feedgrounds. His work enabled the department to deliver the Strain 19 vaccine to calf elk; the vaccine helped boost immunity to later help prevent sexually mature elk from aborting their calves.

“I’m proud of the brucellosis surveillance testing we were able to accomplish at the 22 state operated feedgrounds and National Elk Refuge,” said Smith. “The disease work our team initiated gave the agency a better understanding of the distribution and prevalence of brucellosis in our elk feedground program, paving the way for additional management strategies and research that continues today.”

In 2002, Smith was promoted to wildlife management coordinator for the Jackson and Pinedale regions, providing oversight for big game management and research in northwest Wyoming, including research on oil and gas developments impacts for mule deer on the Pinedale anticline. Smith was also integral to the Trapper’s Point highway wildlife overpass project, coordinating wildlife data with the Wyoming Department of Transportation. He received another promotion in 2013 to serve as the deputy chief of wildlife where he worked on the management of all species in the state, ranging from elk to upland game birds. He held that role for three years before assuming the deputy director position in 2016, most recently finishing a five-year strategic plan for Game and Fish.

“I never thought as a young field biologist that policy work would be appealing to me, but the intrigue of helping to shape management and conservation across the agency ultimately drew me to be deputy director,” said Smith. “And I’ll retire knowing that the Game and Fish strategic plan is in place to help shape management and conservation efforts for future generations.”

Smith received numerous internal recognitions for his work including the Game and Fish 1995 Habitat and Technical Services Division Employee of the Year, the 2011 Wildlife Division Employee of the Year and the 2016 Director’s Award. He was also honored by the Wyoming Wildlife Federation in 2006 with the Wildlife Conservationist Award and in 2015 by the Wyoming Chapter of the Wildlife Society with the Roger Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I’m going to miss the people the most. Game and Fish has the most dedicated, hardworking employees, and that is what makes our agency the best in the country,” said Smith.

Smith’s last day with Game and Fish is May 2. Upon retirement, he will return to Pinedale with his wife, Judy, to golf, hunt, fish and hike throughout the Rocky Mountains, and spend time with his children and five grandchildren.


(Sara DiRienzo (307-777-4540))

- WGFD -

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