Executive Director

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Carter Smith serves as the executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), a position he has held since January 2008.

A native of central Texas, Smith developed his passion for wildlife and the out of doors at a young age while roaming his family’s farm and ranch land interests in Gonzales, Williamson, and Edwards Counties. He has a wildlife management degree from Texas Tech and a master’s degree in conservation biology from Yale University. He began his professional career in 1992 as a management intern at TPWD, assisting in the Private Lands and Public Hunting programs. As a biologist, he has worked on a variety of research projects ranging from studying moose in the boreal forests of Saskatchewan to mule deer and pronghorn antelope in far west Texas to waterfowl in the Laguna Madre of Texas and Tamaulipas, Mexico.

He serves on a number of conservation-related boards of directors and advisory councils, including the Texas Land Trust Council, and the Katy Prairie Conservancy. He has served as past President of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Chair of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and as Chair of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He is also a Professional member of the Boone & Crockett Club and a lifetime member of the Texas Bighorn Society, The Dallas Safari Club, and the Houston Safari Club. Smith was recently named an outstanding alumnus by Yale University and Texas Tech, and was honored by the Audubon Society with their Victor Emmanuel Conservation Award, and the Texas Wildlife Association with the Sam Beasom Conservation Leader Award.

Prior to his selection as TPWD executive director, Smith was with The Nature Conservancy of Texas, serving as state director.
At Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, he is responsible for overseeing an agency of 3,100 professionals in 13 different divisions, including Coastal Fisheries, Communications, Executive Office, Financial Resources, Human Resources, Information Technology, Infrastructure, Inland Fisheries, Law Enforcement, Legal, State Parks, Support Resources and Wildlife. Smith has been particularly active in the realms of private lands stewardship, coastal issues relating to the state’s involvement with the Deepwater Horizon incident, children in nature initiatives, invasive species issues, expanded outreach to the state’s urban populace, and most recently acquisition of new state park and wildlife management areas and the state’s response to the chronic wasting disease situation in captive cervid facilities.

Carter and his wife, Stacy, and their son, Ryland, reside in Austin.