The cattle industry of Wyoming does not include a man who is any better known in connection therewith than Harry A. Hunter, of Big Creek, the present and principal owner and for years the directing head of the Hunter, Casteel & Hunter outfit. He has been connected with the cattle business in Wyoming for thirty years and in attaining his present prominence therein has come up from the bottom, acquiring a thoroughly practical knowledge of every branch of the business as well as a familiarity with every phase of labor necessary in connection with the cattle industry.
Mr. Hunter was born January 13. 1867, in Greenville, Bond county, Illinois, being the fifth child and second son of Samuel Jefferson and Sarah (Young) Hunter. This family is of Scotch extraction, the great-grandfather of Harry A. Hunter having come from the land of hills and heather. Harry Hunter was reared in Illinois and acquired a good common school education. He remained in that state until about seventeen years of age, when, in 1884, he came to Wyoming and made his way to the same ranch on Big creek on which he now resides. His uncle. Barney Hunter. was then conducting the property, which had been taken up by this uncle, his son. Will Hunter, and by Billy Poor. Harry A. Hunter rode the range for two or three years and rapidly acquired a knowledge of the work, for he was steady, reliable and never shirked any part of his duties. In fact, he was the type of a young man that is bound to succeed in any business he undertakes. It was not long until he was admitted to a partnership. the company being then known as the Big Creek Live Stock Company, and later he was made its general manager. He proved himself capable in this capacity, just as he had in the less responsible ones. When the firm of Hunter, Casteel & Hunter was organized he became president, and as the business expanded, his good judgment and executive ability became more and more the main factor in the success of the organization. From time to time he has added to his holdings until he has become the principal owner of the business, which has for years received the benefit of his excellent powers of management and which, under his direction, has grown to be one of the big outfits in the state. Their holdings of over twenty thousand acres of deeded land comprise some of the finest ranch land in the state, with the most valuable water rights. The home ranch on Big creek is one of the show ranches of Wyoming. The general arrangement of their properties and the superb utilization of the natural resources, all attest the master mind of Mr. Hunter. Running an average of about five thousand head of cattle and cutting about seven thousand tons of hay in a season, the extent of the operations of the company and the productive character of its property is thus indicated. Much more hay could be cut if not that it has been their practice to pasture extensively. In times past their herds were largely thoroughbreds, while in more recent years range cattle have predominated. However, they have always had as herd headers the best blood obtainable in both male and female. Three years in succession Hunter, Casteel & Hunter showed the grand champion carload of feeders at the Western Stock Show in Denver. While cattle have been the main product, they yet raise a number of very excellent draught horses, and in recent years some sheep, for mutton, have been raised upon their ranch. The contribution to the state's progress and development by the operations of such a company is very important. It is doubtful if a greater transformation by ranch development can be found in the state than that presented by the home ranch on Big creek. Mr. Hunter has not only seen but taken a most important part in bringing about this change. When he first came to the property the improvements included two log cabins and not a foot of land was irrigated. These conditions have been changed until the place bears no resemblance scarcely to the one on which he took up his abode. The log cabins have been supplanted by a most pleasant home with every modern convenience and there is one of the best ranch barns in the state, while other substantial structures have been erected and the ranch equipment is thoroughly up-to-date in every particular.
Mr. Hunter is the type of man who does things, not tomorrow, but today, and in a manner that provides not merely for present conditions but for future needs as well. This practice has characterized him from boyhood. When riding the range he displayed the same qualities. If work was to be done he kept at it until it was done, whether it required eight or eighteen hours out of the day. He was one of the organizers and has since been vice president of the Encampment State Bank at Encampment. His interest in the cattle business, receiving the closest attention, has been exacting almost to the exclusion of anything else, but the rewards of close application and perseverance are his and he is today one of the foremost cattle men of the state.
In January, 1914, Mr. Hunter was married in Denver to Mrs. Alice Coy, a native of England, who by her former marriage had a daughter, Alice, who now lives with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter.
In politics Mr. Hunter is a stanch republican and is interested in getting good men in office but has never sought political preferment for himself. He belongs to Laramie Lodge, B. P. 0. E. Personally popular and very democratic in his manner, he has a wide acquaintance with men prominent in the public and business life of the state. His home is a most popular place and many are entertained there, enjoying the genuine hospitality which is there dispensed. Mr. Hunter's success has come from his own efforts entirely. His capital as a boy consisted of his energy and his willingness to do well and completely whatever he undertook. Though but little past middle age, he has accomplished a great deal and all in a manner to retain the respect and esteem of those with whom he has been brought in contact. “Harry” Hunter, as his friends prefer to call him, is known as a man of his word and one whose attitude is never misleading.