Jack Ballard grew up on a ranch/farm west of Three Forks homesteaded by his grandfather in 1907. By the time he entered grade school he was feeding chickens, pulling weeds and harvesting vegetables from a massive garden from which his mother fed the family. He started directly into first grade at the elementary school in Three Forks in 1969 as the ranch was too far away from the school for kindergarten. By the time he entered junior high, Jack did an hour of “chores” before and after school, awakening in the dark during the winter to break ice on a trough to pack water to hogs and feed the ranch bulls hay. He spent summers putting up hay by hand, repairing fences, branding calves and throughout high school logged untold hours on the seat of an unshaded tractor pulling a chisel plow to cultivate wheat, oats and barley.
After high school Jack graduated from Yellowstone Baptist College (now Yellowstone Christian College) in Billings and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also earned a Masters of Arts degree at the University of Louisville. Subsequently, he completed a Masters of Education degree from Montana State University-Billings (MSU-B).
Before obtaining a full-time faculty position in the College of Education at MSU-B, Jack worked as a minister, manager for a fencing contractor, roofer and temporary laborer. He taught at MSU-B for over a decade, writing articles and producing photos, on the side, for various outdoor magazines. He eventually resigned his teaching position to become a full-time, freelance writer and photographer, his current occupation.
Over the past two decades, Jack has become a nationally renowned outdoor writer and photographer. His articles and photos have appeared in numerous regional and national magazines and websites, as well as books, calendars, posters and other media. He primarily covers hunting, fishing, wildlife biology, conservation and general outdoor recreation. He has written 13 books, the latest of which are Wildlife Photography: Proven Techniques for Capturing Stunning Digital Images (2018) and Large Mammals of the Rocky Mountains (2018). Jack has received multiple awards for his writing and photography from the Outdoor Writers Association of America and other professional organizations.
In addition to his media work, Jack owns, manages and maintains several rental properties in Billings, Joliet and Bridger, Montana. During the winter, he coaches junior and adult ski racers with the Silver Run Ski Foundation at Red Lodge Mountain and the Big Sky Ski Educational Foundation at Big Sky. He has four adult children. He lives with his wife, Lisa, and his English setters, Percy and Lance, in Red Lodge.