Wolf Named TPWD Wildlife Division Director

Steve Lightfoot, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov

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AUSTIN, Texas — After a nationwide search, Clayton Wolf has been selected to lead the Wildlife Division at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Wolf brings 20 years experience as a wildlife biologist in Texas, the last six as the agency’s big game program director. Headquartered in Austin, he begins his job Monday, Nov. 16.

"Clayton has demonstrated strong leadership skills and an inherent ability to develop consensus among diverse groups for the greater good of Texas wildlife," said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. "He is a consummate conservation professional."

As TPWD’s Big Game Program Director since 2003, Wolf has overseen management of Texas’ internationally-acclaimed white-tailed deer herd.

"Clayton’s record of accomplishment in the big game program, coupled with his ‘can-do’ attitude and the trust and respect he has earned from private landowners, various constituent groups, and his professional colleagues, has well-equipped him to serve as Wildlife Division Director," said Ross Melinchuk, TPWD Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources.

During his tenure, Wolf guided expansion of buck antler restrictions designed to improve deer age class structure across more than 100 counties. He also coordinated with stakeholders and advisory groups to implement massive changes to the state’s deer breeder program and helped develop measures to protect Texas deer populations from diseases, such as Chronic Wasting Disease.

"With the continued increase in the state’s human population and urban sprawl, we have quite a challenge ahead of us," Wolf said. "It is my goal as wildlife division director to help ensure our resources are focused on the things we do best — working with private landowners and land managers to help them manage and conserve wildlife habitat. If we can do this successfully, and I know we can, we will be able to ensure that Texans continue to have places where they can enjoy Texas wildlife, whether hunting or wildlife viewing."

Wolf began his career with TPWD in 1993 as a district biologist for the Pineywoods, where he helped implement a new habitat-driven permitting process for managing antlerless deer on private lands and assisted in the restoration effort for eastern wild turkey.

In 2001, Wolf became TPWD’s white-tailed deer program leader where he coordinated statewide activities related to management, regulations and research efforts.

Wolf received his Master’s degree from Texas A&M University and completed his undergraduate studies at Stephen F. Austin State University. He is a Certified Wildlife Biologist with The Wildlife Society.