“Eager” is how Department of Natural Resources conservation officer Kyle Quittschreiber will be remembered by fellow DNR officer Eric Benjamin.

“He loved the job,” Benjamin said. “The first time I worked with him, he and I were partnered up on a detail during the sturgeon season on the Rainy River.”

Other officers that day were positioned up and down the river along the Minnesota-Ontario border, Benjamin recalled. If they saw something suspicious, they would radio the information to Benjamin and Quittschreiber, who would take a closer look.

“Basically, our job was to just stand by. That was hard for Kyle to do,” Benjamin said. “He was 23 years old at the time and loved to work.”

Quittschreiber, 26, died Aug. 24 while driving a skid-steer loader on property he had recently purchased in Frazee, Minn., near where he grew up.

A onetime deputy sheriff in Marshall County, Minn., Quittschreiber always wanted to be a conservation officer. His dream came true when he was accepted to the DNR conservation officer academy, from which he graduated in 2015. His first station was in Blackduck, and his coverage area included Upper Red Lake, a premier walleye-fishing destination.

Among Quittschreiber’s passions were duck hunting and fishing.

“He liked to bow hunt as well,” Benjamin said. “He had gotten a new bow recently, and always had targets set up in his yard.”

Though he loved living and working in Minnesota’s far north, Quittschreiber jumped at the chance to return to the area where he grew up when the Detroit Lakes conservation officer station opened earlier this year.

Quittschreiber had graduated in 2011 from nearby Frazee High School, where he was president of his Future Farmers of America chapter and a captain of the football team. He later graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston and from Alexandria Technical and Community College, where he earned a law enforcement degree.

DNR enforcement division director Col. Rodmen Smith praised Quittschreiber’s dedication to protecting natural resources.

“Kyle turned his dream of becoming a conservation officer into a reality,” Smith said. “He was a big-hearted, hardworking officer who got into conservation law enforcement for all the right reasons — because he loved the outdoors and had a strong desire to help people. He’s gone far too soon but he made a big impact in the short time he was with us.”

Survivors include his parents, Kathy and Kevin Quittschreiber, of Vergas; sister Kayla Quittschreiber among others.

Kyle Kevin Quittschreiber’s funeral will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Frazee High School.