Joseph Kalbfus figure in PA conservation

Joseph H. Kalbfus

1852 - August 10, 1919

Dr. Joseph Kalbfus was Pennsylvania’s second Secretary of the State Gaming Commission and Chief Game Protector during the years 1895-1919. Beginning his work in the early years of wildlife protection when laws weren’t readily followed or enforced, Dr. Kalbfus was known for his tenacity in achieving compliance in dangerous environments.

From his autobiography, A Sportman’s Experiences & Impressions In East & West:

The circumstances surrounding the early life of Doctor Kalbfus were unusual. He spent a number of years on the western plains during dangerous frontier days, and suffered untold hardships. Later he read law and was admitted to the Carbon County bar, participating in numerous notable criminal cases. He then became a revenue officer in the anthracite coal region during the reign of the Molly Maguires – a most hazardous duty.

During his tenure at the PA Game Commission, Dr. Kalbfus was instrumental in the creation of a resident hunting license to fund wildlife management, restocking Pennsylvania’s depleted deer herd, and launching the game-refuge system. This was the precursor to the State Game Lands system, which now comprises about 1.5 million acres statewide.