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Will N. Graves: 

Founder of Wolf Education International

I was born in Ladonia, Texas in 1927. I am proud to say I am a Texan. In the early thirties we moved to Milwaukee, WI and then later to Edgerton, Wisconsin. My father rented a house on a dairy farm near Edgerton where I grew up. The house had a tennis court with a circle around it for riding five gaited horses. The farm owner had five and three gaited horses which I could ride anytime. As youngster this was like heaven on earth. The principal of the high school hired me to shoot pigeons off the roof of the school. I did this safely and efficiently and then the Edgerton City Council hired me to shoot gophers in the city cemetery. I was paid 3 pennies for each pigeon and gopher. At this time .22 shorts cost 7 cents, longs 9 cents and LR a whopping 12 to 15 cents per box of 50. The money I earned made me feel “rich.” I have always been an avid hunter, and a competition rifle and pistol shooter. I am an Endowment Member of the NRA. I have had nine articles relating to Russian Sporting Firearms, hunting, and shooting published in “The American Rifleman” or in the “Shooting Times” magazines.

Many times I took my .22 rifle or shotgun to school with me where it was kept in a closet by the janitor. This was not unusual and many farm boys took their firearms to school with them. There were no problems.

In 1945 I graduated from Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri with Academic and Military Honors. Later I owned a cottage and was a voting member of the Carcajou Hunting Club which was on Lake Koshkonong, WI. Duck, goose and pheasant hunting on club property was excellent at this time.

In 1946 I went to Mexico City were I lived with a Mexican family and studied Spanish at the “College of the Americas.” I joined the Moctezuma Hunting Club and hunted ducks and wild pigeons. I went jaguar hunting in Chiapas, Mexico. While living in Mexico, the foot and mouth disease (FMD) broke out in Vera Cruze. In 1950 I started to work for the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry as an Assistant Veterinarian in Cozolapa, Oaxaca, Sector 26. This region was a tropical rain forest. I was the Chief of an Inspection and Vaccinating Brigade in this horseback section. I worked hard trying to stamp out the FMD disease and to help the Mazatec Indians.

The Korean War changed everything for me. In 1951 I volunteered for a four year period in the US Air Force to study Russian at Syracuse University. Studying Russian was stressful and demanding. I studied hard and graduated from Syracuse in 1952 with a BA with majors in Russian and Spanish. I was certified as being fluent in Russian. After six weeks of technical training in San Antonio, I was assigned to Tempelhof Air Base in Berlin, Germany. It did not take me long to become fluent in conversational German. I applied for and became the Chief Instructor in the “American – German Youth Friendship Club.” One result was that I received a Permanent Pass so I could leave Tempelhof Air Base and return anytime I wanted. I earned the “Hunter’s Certificate” which authorized me to hunt in Berlin.

In 1952 I began to use my knowledge of Russian as a research tool to study the characteristics, habits and behavior of wolves in Czarist Russia and in the USSR. One thing I wanted to learn was if wolves had ever carried or spread the FMD in Russia. In 1990 I started to research about wolves in the US and Canada.

After my 1955 discharge from the Air Force I applied to the National Security Agency (NSA) and was immediately hired as a Russian Linguist at Fort Meade, Maryland. I worked for NSA for 35 years. I became president of the NSA Tennis club and I organized and became president of the NSA Rifle and Pistol Club. Both clubs competed in organized competitions. In 1959 I received a Direct Commission as a Captain in Army Intelligence and Security (AIS) in the reserves and I trained with them. In 1962 I graduated from the two year US Army Advanced Russian Language Training Program taught in Russian in Oberammergau, Germany.

I am a Life Member of the Anne Arundel Fish and Wildlife Conservation Club in Maryland. For ten years I was the Chairman of its Legislative and Political Committee. I worked to help preserve the rights of law abiding citizens to buy and own firearms in Maryland. For about eight years the NRA paid me a fee to send them a précis each month on developments in the area of international sporting firearms, hunting, shooting and firearms laws. I was a member of the Cheltenham Police Pistol Team and competed with them at Bisley in 1976. I was a licensed firearms dealer in England and I purchased many BSA Martini Rifles. I enjoyed wonderful pheasant and wood pigeon shooting. I was a Federally Licensed Firearms Dealer for 50 years.

While working at NSA, I was stationed overseas many times. I spent about ten noncontiguous years in Germany in Herzogenaurach, Oberammergau, Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart. I also served as a Senior Liaison Officer in Cheltenham, England for three years. I have earned three Professional Qualifications at NSA. After retiring from NSA in 1986, I worked for GTE in Mt View, CA, for Information Security International near Ft. Meade, as Manager of Language Training for DLS in Columbia, and part time teacher of English as a Second Language for AA Community College. I worked as an Assistant Consular Officer at the US Embassy in Moscow from 1993-1995. While working in Moscow I hunted wolves in Kazakhstan, Siberia, and Karelia and collected data about wolves from many sources. I had frequent contacts with Dr. Dimitri Bibikov who helped me with my book “Wolves in Russia.” In 1994 we published a joint paper on Russian wolves and presented it at the International Symposium on Predators held in Poland. I also made contact with other Russian scientists who helped me with information on my book. In Cheltenham in 1976 I was the winner of the National Air Rifle and Pistol Association (NARPA) Championship in the Senior Class (age over 45) in precision air pistol shooting.

In 1975 I earned a Masters of Arts Degree in Russian from American University, Washington D.C.. In 1983 I received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award from NSA. I am fluent in Russian, German, and Spanish. I am the author of the book “Wolves in Russia,” and coauthor of “The Real Wolf.” I am cofounder of the web site wolfeducationinternational.com.