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Alumni Profile

At home in the wilderness


Armed with a BS Ag ’75 degree, Kurt Kysar protects wildlife for the Missouri Department of Conservation, a job he loves. 

Whether at work protecting wildlife or at play hunting waterfowl, Kurt Kysar, BS Ag ’75, is always enjoying Missouri’s great outdoors.

Kysar grew up on a farm north of Branson, Mo. After graduating from MU, his father encouraged him to become a conservation agent. Kysar’s love of nature made the decision easy. Now he is a high-ranking protection officer in charge of the northern half of the state for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Kysar says he’s worked too many days for much to stand out, but he does remember a time he was teaching a hunter education class. He showed a video that featured a hunting accident. Although it was a simulated accident, a student in the class stood up and passed out at the sight of the fake blood. Kysar says he was sure to warn future classes. 

When Kysar started as a field protection agent, he only dealt with hunting and fishing. Now he works with all kinds of critters, such as the zebra mussel, a non-native invasive species. Zebra mussels attach themselves to hard surfaces and are known to clog water intake systems for industrial and water treatment facilities.

Kysar also runs a duck club on one of his family’s farms. The 1,475-acre farm sits on the Osage River in Taberville, Mo. His family and the four members of the club hunt there November through January, when Kysar says the hunting is exceptional. Besides hunting, Kysar likes gigging — the taking of aquatic game with a multipronged spear. He holds the Missouri record for largest quillback taken by gigging. 

Kysar could retire now, but he’ll keep working another four or five years. “I enjoy my work,” he says. “I’m fortunate to have a job I like.” — Josh Chittum