Born in the US Territory of Alaska before Statehood, second of five sons, of Gary Sr and Carol Polsky, founders of Gary King Sporting Goods with stores in Anchorage, Kenia and later Wasilla. Gary "Butch" King, Jr. started his Alaska hunting career at young age of 12 years old, as camp boy at the Wrangell Mountain Lodge for legendary Alaska guide Lee Holen. Holen would be Butch’s mentor for the next seventeen years as he came up through the ranks of Alaska big game guides. Butch purchased Cinder River Lodge; when Holen retired in 1983. As a young Registered Guide, Butch faced many challenges of the early '80s; The Oswcheck Decision, which abolished all State of Alaska Exclusive Guide Areas and the passage of The Alaska National Interest Lands Claim ACT (ANILCA), which put 2/3 of Alaska in Federal Parks, Preserves or National Monuments and Refuges. A a board member and during his term as President or the Alaska Professional Hunter's Association, Butch participated, along with many of his collogues and various NPS and USF&W employees, in developing Federal guidelines for Guided Hunting Permits on these newly established parks and refuges. Based on experience in the areas, he was awarded some of the first Federal Permits on the Alaska Peninsula in the Aniakchak Preserve, Alaska Peninsula Wildlife Refuge and Alaska Maritime Wildlife Refuge. In 1996, Gary "Butch" King, earned Master Guide License #97, married, lifetime Alaskan, Kathleen McNealy and together purchased Wildman Lake Lodge, just 80 miles southwest of Cinder River, from retiring guide Keith Johnson. For the next 13 years, Butch and Kathy owned and operated both lodges, with the help of pilot/guides, Brad Adams and Bill Lomax, they were licensed to hunt approximately two million acres of Alaska finest trophy brown bear and moose habitat on the famed Alaska Peninsula. Butch sold Cinder River Lodge to Lance Kroneberer in 2010. and continued to expand the sport fishing and wildlife viewing business at Wildman Lake Lodge. For the past 27 years, Wildlman Lake Lodge has set the standard for the highest quality moose and brown bear hunts in Alaska. In 2023, Butch and Kathy sold Wildman Lake Lodge to Alex Foltz and Jimmy Martin who will carry on the the Wildman Lake Lodge tradition of excellence.
First learning to fly at age 14, Gary "Butch" King obtained his private pilot license at age 17, commercial pilot by age 18. He has logged well over 14,000 hours flying the Alaska bush in all types of aircraft and all kinds of weather. Butch holds rating to fly single or multi engine airplanes equipped with floats, wheels or skis, in visual or instrument flight conditions and is an FAA licensed helicopter pilot and also holds an aircraft and engine mechanic. He can pretty much build, maintain and fly anything with wings or rotors.
Butch has personally guided hundreds of clients to huge Alaska trophies including brown bear, moose, caribou, grizzly, wolf and Dall sheep. At age 70 he participated in the entire 2023 fall bear and moose seasons, flying all hunt support and personally guiding two bear hunts by jetboat from the lodge.
As a hunter, he has taken pretty much all of the Alaskan species and has hunted in the Yukon and Northwest Territories of Canada as well as several western United States, Mexico and South America. Overseas safaris have taken he and Kathy to Botswana and South Africa as well as Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory of Australia.
Butch and Kathy King have spend the past 28 springs, summers and falls seasons at Wildman Lake Lodge on the remote Alaska Peninsula. During Butch’s unprecedented Alaska guiding career, he has outfitted hunts for approximately 500 Alaska Brown Bear. His clients have taken the #1 SCI Brown Bear on two occasions, several in the top ten and currently hold thirteen of the top 25 ranking Alaska Brown Bear in the Safari Club International Book of World Records. At the 2000 Safari Club International Convention, Butch received the “North American Professional Hunter of the Year Award” and received Dallas Safari Club’s “Outfitter of the Year Award” in 2000. Butch says what he enjoys most is showing people Alaska, where he and Kathy were both born and grew up.
Gary "Butch" King started his decades lodge guiding career in 1966 as a camp boy at the Wrangell Mountain Lodge for legendary Alaska Guide Lee Holen. Butch came to the Alaska Peninsula with Holen in 1971, as a young pilot and guide at the Cinder River Lodge, eventually becoming a partner in Holen's guiding business until Lee retired in 1983. In 1996, Butch & Kathy King purchased Wildman Lake Lodge .where they continued the tradition of quality fair-chase hunts for superior trophy class Brown Bear and Alaska Moose as well as entertained 140 sport fishing guests annually, during the summer and fall fishing seasons.