Deputy director Scott Smith retires after 35 years

Wyoming Game and Fish photo

Scott Smith, Wyoming

Game and Fish Department deputy director,

is retiring after 35 years of service to 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 maintained 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


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’s last day with Game and Fish was

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.


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