Small in stature, he cast a giant shadow in the hunting and fishing world |

Small in stature, he cast a giant shadow in the hunting and fishing world

Don Quilici
Appeal Staff Writer
Dick Biggs with his wife of 61 years, Wanda, at Davis Lake in California in June 2005. Biggs, who came to Carson City in 1945, died Thursday morning. Elaine Quilici/ For the Nevada Appeal

Richard “Dick” Biggs, age 89, died in his sleep at home on Thursday.

With his passing, Carson City lost a man who, although small in stature, cast a giant shadow in the hunting and fishing world.

He was a very special and very close personal friend for more years than we both would ever admit.

Best of all, we were longtime neighbors, only separated by one block.

The two of us (plus our wives) would frequently get together in the late afternoons to enjoy a quiet, leisurely Manhattan cocktail, while visiting with one another. I will deeply miss that special part of my life.

Dick Biggs and Don Q also spent countless days enjoying hunting, fishing, camping, backpacking and being together, all the way from the Carson City area to the far reaches of Alaska.

We shared many memorable events such as: backpacking into Roosevelt and Lane Lakes in the Hoover Wilderness Area of California; fishing for king salmon and halibut at Anchor Point, Alaska, watching grizzly bears at Denali National Park, riding over Summit Pass (11,000 feet) on horseback in an early September snowstorm, deer hunting in the mountains in Carson City, Elko, Humboldt and Washoe counties, trolling for trout at Wildhorse Reservoir, fishing deep for kokanee salmon at Stampede Reservoir, erecting man-made goose nests in Washoe Valley, teaching Hunter Education courses to area youngsters, attending OSA meetings and banquets, etc.

One year, the two of us drew buck mule deer hunting tags for the big game management area around Virginia City. During that season, we never missed an opportunity to hunt every day. We saw a huge number of deer, many different bucks and never fired one shot. We were having way too much fun just talking, telling jokes, sharing stories, riding in the pickup, walking across a hillside, sitting on a rock, drinking coffee, eating lunch, etc., to mess up our hunting season by actually firing a shot and getting a buck. Without exception, it was the most enjoyable hunting trip that I’ve ever been on anywhere with anybody at anytime.

If you never met Dick Biggs, you missed a golden opportunity to know a very special individual. He was often described with many different, but highly-accurate adjectives. Through the years, I have heard him described as: one-of-a-kind, rare, special, unique, friendly, warm, old-timer, funny, feisty, etc.

And, when you carefully mix any or all of those adjectives together with the unbelievable colorful and totally outrageous language of a sailor, the end result was someone truly special: Dick Biggs.

He was born in Pagosa Springs, Colo., on Feb. 10, 1917.

He had lived in Carson City since 1945, and had been retired since 1979 from the Materials and Testing Division of the Nevada Department of Transportation.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda. They had been married 61 years, as of May 2.

They have two children, Dave (wife Margaret) Biggs of Douglas County and Laura Todd (husband Rick) of Stockton, Calif., six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (and one more on the way).

He is also survived by a sister, Laurel Cooney, of Carson City.

His background reads like a virtual “Who’s Who” in the local outdoor world.

He claimed to be the first non-American Indian to successfully take a buck mule deer with a bow and arrow in the Carson City area.

He had been an active member of the Ormsby Sportsmen’s Association (OSA) in Carson City since the late 1940’s, and was the club’s oldest, active member.

Biggs was one of a very few individuals to be selected as an Honorary Life Member in the 60-year history of the association.

He had served in every OSA office, including several different times as the club’s president.

He served for many years as a member on the Carson City Advisory Board to Manage Wildlife.

Biggs was the only person in Carson City to have been selected as an Honorary Life Member in two different sportsmen’s groups (OSA and the Carson Rifle and Pistol Club).

He spent many years as the Chief Hunter Education Instructor for the Carson City area. He was extremely proud (and correctly so!) of the fact that out of more than 2,000 students he taught, none have ever been involved in a hunting mishap. That is a truly remarkable achievement.

He was honored on two different occasions by the Nevada Wildlife Federation as the State Hunter Education Instructor of The Year.

In 1994, Gov. Bob Miller selected Dec. 3, as Dick Biggs Day in honor of his many years of dedication and contribution to the Nevada Hunter Education Program.

The Nevada Wildlife Federation also honored him one year as the State Conservationist of The Year.

He was a former longtime member of the state board of directors of the Nevada Wildlife Federation.

He was also a longtime member of the National Rifle Association.

In his later years, he instigated an OSA project to erect a number of bird stands along Highway 395 in Washoe Valley for use by the many hawks in that area. You can see them today, as you drive to and from Reno.

At age 83, he remodeled their bathroom, all by himself.

Then, earlier this year, at age 89, he remodeled an upper kitchen cabinet, so the refrigerator would fit under it!

A remarkable individual.

Dick Biggs (1917-2006) will be deeply missed.

Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at St. Peters Episcopal Church.

• Don Quilici is an outdoor writer for the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at or 881-1214.