After being named runner-up for the Missouri Department of Conservation's Agent of the Year award, Texas County agent Cpl. Chris Ely, left, stands with Capt. Gerald Smith. Credit: MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION

Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Cpl. Chris Ely of Texas County has been named runner-up for Outstanding Conservation Agent of the Year based on his knowledge, work ethic and dedication.

“In addition to having a strong Wildlife Code and community policing presence, Cpl. Ely goes beyond the call of duty,” said MDC Capt. Gerald Smith. “He demonstrates adaptability, creativity and resourcefulness in serving a providing information to the residents of Texas County.”

The Agent of the Year award went to Cpl. Aaron Post of the Kansas City region.

Smith said Ely also strives to be “creative and self-motivated,” which led to the recent creation of a successful community bear-watch program.

“The program takes a proactive approach to preventing bear problems by educating the public about black bears before issues arise,” Smith said. “He works directly with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department and its Community Watch Program, State Representative Bennie Cook and the citizens of Texas County.”

Communication concerning bear activity brings early warning to others within the watch area, allowing bird feeders, trash and other bear attractants to be removed before bears can cause property damage and learn bad habits, Smith said. The programs have not only educated many of the public in Texas County, Smith said, but have also educated many of the county’s deputies regarding bear response.

“Cpl. Ely is professional, polite, humble, genuine, kind and sincere,” Smith said. “These qualities help make him an impressive person and an outstanding conservation agent. It is a privilege to serve alongside him to protect the wildlife resources of the state.”

For information about conservation agent jobs in Missouri, visit

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