Dayton Hyde was born in Marquette, Michigan. At thirteen he fled his parents’ home and caught a freight train heading west to his uncle’s cattle ranch in Oregon. The ranch cowboys enthralled Dayton and he absorbed their tales of days and nights spent on the open range. Stationed in Europe during WWII, Dayton got permission to stage western rodeos for the troops. After the war ended he earned a degree in English at the University of California at Berkeley because, along with his love of horses and the range, he realized he wanted to become a writer. While at Berkeley he also met his future wife.
In the 1950’s photo editors at LIFE Magazine were looking for someone brave enough to get into a ring with a bucking bronco and capture the forceful animals and riders. One of his powerful photos became LIFE Magazine’s Picture of the Week. Despite his success as a photographer, Dayton longed for his uncle’s Oregon ranch and accepted an opportunity to return and manage the land. He and his wife settled and raised five children there.
Through the years Dayton undertook increasingly ambitious conservation projects. He successfully rejuvenated a lake while he single-handedly saved the Sand Hill Crane from extinction. His book Don Coyote, about his efforts to protect coyotes on his land while neighbors poisoned them, was named one of the best ten books of the 1980’s by the American Library Association.
When Dayton turned sixty-five, he began a new chapter in life when he said goodbye to his family and headed to South Dakota. Using personal credit cards and a government sponsored loan, he purchased 11,000 acres of prairie land in the Black Hills and traveled throughout the western United States collecting wild mustangs from government feedlots–horses left to die. He brought them back to his land in the Black Hills, setting each of them free.
Dayton O. Hyde’s Books
Sandy Dial Press, 1968 reprinted 2000 by Oregon State University Press (soft cover)
The Brand of a Boy WPBCO Press 1969
Yamsi Dial Press, 1971 reprinted 1996 by Oregon State University Press (soft cover)
Last Free Man, Dial Press, 1971
Cranes in My Corral, Dial Press 1972
Strange Companions, Dutton 1973
Raising Waterfowl in Captivity Dutton 1975
Island of the Loons, Macmillan, 1983 reprinted 2002 Boyds Mills Press
Thunder Down the Track, Macmillan, 1984
Wilderness Ranch, Macmillan, 1985
One Summer in Montana, Macmillan,1985
The Major, The Poacher, and the Wonderful One Trout River Macmillan, 1986 reprinted in 1986 Boyds Mills Press
Don Coyote Arbor House, 1986. On the American Library Association List Best Books of the Decade, 1987
The Bells of Lake Superior, Boyds Mills Press 1995
Life in the Saddle, essay Tehabi Books, 1995
Thunder of the Mustangs, essay Tehabi Books, Sierra Club Books, 1997
Mr. Beans, Boyds Mills Press, 2000
All the Wild Horses, Vovageur Press 2006
Alone in the Forest, 2012
Dayton O. Hyde’s Awards & Honors
Honor Award from Whooping Crane Conservation Association
Oregon Governor’s Conservationist of the Year, Sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the National Wildlife Federation – Governor Tom McCall
Issac Walton League of Golden Beaver Award
National Cattlemen’s Association Region 7, Environmentalist of the Year
Dutton Literary Award
Willamette Writers, Distinguished Northwest Writer of the Year
International Wild Waterfowl Association, Inc. Conservation Award
Northwest Booksellers Award
American Library Association Ten Best Books of the Decade Don Coyote
First Hero of the Earth, Eddie Bauer Inc.
A.S.C.P.A. Founder’s Award
1999 Oregon State University, College of Agricultural Science Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Achievement Award
Highlights for Children, Author of the Month and Author of the Year, July Issue “Medicine Hattie”.
International Reading Association, Paul Witty Award for “Medicine Hattie”
Cate School Outstanding Alumni of the Year
American Association of Equine Practitioners, “Lavin Cup Award” Equine Welfare
2009 Black Hills, Badlands & Lake Association “Special Achievement Award”
For Further information about Dayton O. Hyde visit www.daytonohyde.com