Gary Moss grew up in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, where his third grade teacher recognized his gift for art. When he was nine, his father took him duck hunting, but only after Moss had learned to identify all the species in Sports Afield's collection of Know Your Ducks and Geese. “I still remember seeing my first duck in flight,” he once reminisced. “It was a mallard.”
He made connections with Minnesota’s celebrated nature painters Francis Lee Jaques and Les Kouba. Through them, he became a part of the state’s wildlife art community. But he also attended MCAD, where “Much to the consternation of my instructors I continued to paint and draw ducks.” He spent his junior year abroad at Atelier 63 in Haarlem, Holland, learning about very different kinds of art.
Moss was drafted in 1968, and became a U. S. Marine Combat Artist in Vietnam. In 1970, he was named the USMC Combat Artist of the Year. By 1976, he was a professional wildlife artist, and moved to Cambridge, Minnesota. He was the 1983 Minnesota Duck Stamp designer, and his commissions for national conservation groups include Ducks Unlimited, the Ruffed Grouse Society, and the National Wildlife Federation.