CODY, WYOMING - A new western hero has emerged from Wyoming. It's a game warden named Joe Pickett. Pickett is the main character featured in six national best selling books. The fictional character is based on a real character from Cody.
Wyoming's abundant accessible wildlife, huge open spaces, and wild windy weather make a game warden's job lonely, rewarding, and even dangerous at times. Such is the life of Joe Pickett, the game warden and central character in a series of best selling books written by Wyoming author C.J. Box. More than 300,000 have sold so far.
Box told KULR 8, "Each book has sold more. I've been surprised as anyone." Box says the idea for the character came to him in Saratoga Wyoming, years ago. He said, "At the time I lived in Saratoga and I worked for the newspaper there. I started the book Open Season. I was originally going to have the protagonist be either a sheriff or a newspaper reporter. I was doing ride alongs with Gary Brown at the time and saw how his life was. I thought what a perfect fit. What a perfect kind of protagonist for this novel."
Gary Brown is now the supervisor of the Cody Game and Fish office. He told KULR 8 he never dreamed that would inspire a series of best selling novels. We asked Brown, if he, like the fictional game warden, ever gunned down a man. His answer was short, like Pickett's would have been: "No." Did he ever pull his weapon? "Yes, I have." Did he ever arrest the governor for fishing without a license, like the fictional Joe Pickett did? "Uh, no, I haven't."
So the fictional game warden, Joe Pickett, is not the real game warden, Gary Brown. The author admits he uses experiences from several Wyoming game and fish employees. We asked Box when he would write about Wyoming's most famous place, Yellowstone? He smiled and said, " The next book. It's called Free Fire. It'll be out in May."
Box says Bruce Willis bought the movie rights to his books. Joe Pickett may be on the big screen soon.