Warren County, Mo.—Missouri Department of Conservation Agent Bob Lyons is flying solo now—and he’s embracing all the challenges and rewards that come with it.
Lyons assumed his post in Warren County to replace Agent Jim Kuenzle, who retired last October. Lyons is a 15-year veteran with the agency, having served as a conservation agent in two different counties before arriving in Warren County. His last assignment was in Callaway County, and he’s spending much of his time getting to know his new county and becoming familiar with a host of new conservation areas.
Serving in a one-agent county is also a change for Lyons, who has always been assigned to two-agent counties in the past. “One of the things that intrigued me about Warren County is being on my own . . . I just wanted to try something different,” he said.
Lyons, who lives in Warrenton, enjoys the independence he has being the county’s sole conservation agent. But it also brings some challenges.
“It can be a double-edged sword. When it does get busy, you’re the one that has to take care of everything. If you have two people, you can divide and conquer, so to speak.”
Lyons was born and grew up in South Dakota, another very different environment. “South Dakota might have about a tenth of the wooded areas that Missouri does, and it’s super flat . . . so the landscape is completely different,” noted Lyons. He said his drive to become a conservation agent began when he was in middle school. He came in contact with a game warden and the idea of working in that field captured his interest.
“I always liked the outdoors, hunting and fishing. I always liked law enforcement, too. All those things kind of fit together and so I just pursued my way there,” Lyons remembered. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Fisheries and Wildlife Science from South Dakota State University and worked seasonally for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Lyons said he enjoys many aspects of his job—from working on his own, doing something different every day, spending time outdoors, or helping out with a youth clinic. But the highlight for him is the opportunity to come in contact with good people.
“I like dealing with people because usually you end up with good stories and conversation. It’s probably one of the nicer things about the job,” said Lyons.
One thing Lyons is particularly proud of in his career is being one of the agents to help establish the Discover Nature Girls Camp. It is a free three-day, two-night camp aimed at introducing girls, ages 11-15, to a variety of outdoors skills in a supportive learning environment. At the end of the camp, the participants have the chance to become hunter education certified.
When he’s off duty, Lyons has plenty to keep him busy. He enjoys immersing himself in home improvement and remolding projects around his house, and tinkering on his old pickup truck. But his biggest thrill is when he gets a chance to climb aboard his Harley Davidson.
“I ride that motorcycle as often as I can, whenever the days off and the weather allow me to get out!” said Lyons.
Cruising down the road on days off with his Harley, or flying solo as Warren County’s lone conservation agent—either way, Lyons is enjoying the ride.
Lyons can be reached at 636-235-1422, or by email at Robert.Lyons@mdc.mo.gov.