John Caid: A Man of Many Hats
By Hannah Ryan, Bugle Intern
John Caid may be the ultimate multi-tasker. He is a biologist and the director of the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish Department, where he manages a summer crew of over 100 outdoor recreation staff, biologists and law enforcement officers for the reservation. This past summer he also worked a good deal with fire management during Arizona’s explosive fire season. Caid’s other full-time job is a dad, granddad and husband. In his free time, he serves as chairman of the RMEF’s board of directors, is an author and hunting guide, and owns a wildlife management consulting company, Renewable Resource Managers, LLC.
“He likes to keep his hands full,” says Jeff Cade, immediate past chairman of the board. Caid also has a real dry sense of humor and can always come up with a one-liner to break up silences, he adds. “This keeps board meetings interesting.”
Because of their names, the two started introducing themselves at banquets as brothers. “Pretty soon people started saying, ‘Yeah, I see the resemblance,’” Jeff Cade says. “We sure got a good laugh out of that one.”
John Caid lives in Pinetop, Arizona, with his wife Teri. The couple has 11 children (seven boys and four girls) and 25 grandchildren. “We’ll have somewhere around 50 grandkids by the time they all stop having them,” he laughs. Teri and all of their children are involved in hunting. Though they live all over the country, the family comes together during turkey season. “That’s my favorite time of year,” Caid says.
Growing up with Caid as a father was always interesting and exciting, says his daughter, Julie McLaughlin. “He would bring all sorts of rescued animals home, as part of his job as a biologist for the tribe," she adds. The lineup included a black bear cub, red-tailed hawk, sparrow hawk, burrowing owl, elk calf and a mountain lion.
Though her dad travels often for work and the Elk Foundation, there is always time for family get-togethers. Those times are full of funny stories, and learning about wildlife and outdoor stewardship, McLaughlin says.
One of Caid’s other hats is as an author and guide. He tells the story of many of his guiding adventures in The Golden Age of Elk Hunting. This 276-page book is full of color photos and descriptions where he profiles dozens of hunters, record bulls, their stalks and their kills.
Though his passion for elk and conservation began much earlier, Caid began volunteering with the Elk Foundation when he became a member in 1985. He was a member of the original White Mountain Chapter, and after serving for the past five years on the board of directors, Caid was elected in 2010 to be chairman of the board. “He’s very humble. It floored him when he was nominated,” Jeff Cade says.
“I’m still overwhelmed,” Caid says. “Everyone on the board has so many strengths.”
One of Caid’s greatest leadership skills is that he understands who volunteers are and their importance, Cade said. “He’s always out to learn what people in the Elk Foundation are doing.”
Caid believes that anyone with a passion for wild places can make a difference. “People volunteer because they believe in the right to be out there watching the sunset, standing on a ridge with their kids or grandkids, feeling that cold air drift in when they hear a bull bugle down below,” Caid says. “It’s important that people contribute what they can, whether it be time or wealth.”