Former slave Holt Collier served as a Confederate sharpshooter, cavalryman and spy during the Civil War. After the war, Collier’s knowledge of the wilderness and his expertise in tracking game allowed him to become a well-respected professional hunter. When President Theodore Roosevelt, a passionate sportsman, traveled to Mississippi for a private bear hunt in 1902, Collier was tasked with planning almost every aspect of the adventure. Roosevelt told Collier during the trip that he “was the best guide and hunter he’d ever seen.” In 2004, the legendary outdoorsman was honored with the creation of Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. Visitors today can explore the refuges fields and forests and spot alligators, migratory waterfowl and songbirds, wading birds, white-tailed deer, squirrels, rabbits and many other species.
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.