retired from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004 after a 30-year career as a wildlife manager and scientist. During that time, he worked with every big game species in the western United States, conducting research on wildlife population dynamics, habitat ecology, diseases, migratory behavior, and predator-prey relationships. He earned B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in wildlife biology and zoology and has written extensively on his experiences. Many of his publications address aspects of elk ecology and conservation and are frequently cited in science journals.
The last 22 years of his government career Smith was senior biologist at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.