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Braggarts Welcome

Oct 27, 2012

Just a couple weeks ago, and well before daylight, my wife and I stepped out the door of our home to meet the first really crisp morning of the fall. We were on our way to class but, with the dark and the cold air, I couldn’t help but feel that I should have had a rifle sling on my shoulder instead of a backpack. For me, there’s always that first crisp morning of the fall that feels like deer season and brings back the memories of the hunts in years past.

Morning’s Reward

When I think back to those childhood memories, I’m particularly fond of the late mornings after a successful hunt. We would load up in the truck with my trophy—which generally wasn’t as much of a trophy as I thought—and head to town to the Sinclair station to check in. As we’d drive up, orange and camo laden men would be standing around truck beds, peering in at another hunter’s morning reward, while the kids stood on the rear tires to catch a glimpse. Generally, the more people around the truck, the bigger the deer was. After the deer was checked in, someone from the station would always take a picture of the hunter and their prize with a Polaroid and hang it immediately on the wall with all the others. As a kid, on slow mornings in the stand I often staved off the boredom and distracted myself from my numb toes by day-dreaming, and sometimes actually dreaming, about my picture hanging on that wall, holding a deer like the Missouri Monarch. Of course this never happened, but my fondness for that Sinclair station and the company there was never affected.

Changes in the Seasons

Since my childhood, a lot has changed about deer season; the most substantial change of my lifetime being the implementation of Telecheck to record harvested deer counts. When MDC instituted Telecheck, it brought with it great rewards. Hunters no longer had to drive extra miles to a check-in station, harvested deer were not kept from processing any longer than need and Telecheck gave conservation agents more time in the field to ensure that everyone has a safe and fair deer season. The rewards of Telecheck far outweigh any disadvantages, but the one negative and unintended consequence was that the camaraderie that I grew up with at the local gas stations in the middle of November was no longer necessary.

Bragging Rights

After reminiscing about similar experiences at the check-in stations with my colleague and clearing it with my manager, The Bragging Wall was put up on the first floor of Twin Pines to mimic the check-in stations of the past and to showcase our area’s successful hunters. It’s something that we feel many in the area miss along with us and we are excited to recreate some of that atmosphere. So, if you live or hunt in the area, and it’s convenient and safe for you to do so, we’d love for you to bring your trophies by Twin Pines. We’ll take your picture with your deer, swap some hunting stories and let you place your photo on the bragging wall.  


JT Barkley with his first buck
JT Barkley with his first buck and first bragging rights
Showing off that trophy buck is a rite of passage that has been resurrected at Twin Pines CEC for area youth including JT Barkley and his trophy.


Fall Color at Hickory Canyons Natural Area
Fall color at Hickory Canyons Natural Area.


Ms Newlin, Thanks for your comment on mountain lion sightings.  I am in Shannon County and don't have first hand knowledge of your area but I have forwarded your question to the proper folks so they should be getting back on it shortly.  I know we have had several recently confirmed in our neck of the woods.  Very exciting.  I do hope to get to see one someday, from a distance of course!  Thanks so much for reading the Pine Needle! 

I do miss the check-in stations especially for the kids. A bragging board on this website would be a great idea. Happy Thanksgiving to all.......

Was wondering if anyone in Barton county is seeing mountain lions. Three families have noticed a lion in our area near Nashville, which is about ten miles east of the Kansas state line. One siting was in a farmer' s back yard, another in a pasture, and my husband and I stopped our car to watch one cross a bare field. All three sightings discussed with neighbors within a two mile radius. We guess they are feeding on the ever growing wild turkey populations here.

According to MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team, widely scattered mountain-lion sightings have been confirmed in Missouri and likely will continue. Some sightings or photographs of mountain lions may be of the same animal, but MDC cannot confirm individual animals without DNA evidence. Evidence to date indicates these mountain lions are dispersing from other states to the west of Missouri. The most extreme evidence of this dispersal occurred in early 2011 when a mountain lion that was killed in Connecticut was genetically traced to South Dakota. MDC has no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri. MDC receives many reports each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions and encourage these reports. MDC can only confirm those for which there is physical evidence. Reports of sightings can be emailed to, or by contacting local conservation agents or the Response Team at 573-815-7901, ext.3623, or 573-522-4115, ext. 3147 or 3262.Mountain lions are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations. Although mountain lions are protected by law, Missouri’s Wildlife Code does allow people to protect themselves and their property if they feel threatened. For more information, visit and search “mountain lion.”

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I loved the Check In Station experience. It was always interesting to see who you knew there. In 2004 I checked in my biggest buck ever, and was so dissapointed that no one was at the check station when my uncle and I got there to check my buck in. So I had to drive around to show it off to everyone I knew with the deer in the back of my truck, with the tailgate down of course. I think every business needs a Brag Board hanging in their store.

Why not add this to all C.A. that allow deer hunting, or encourage people to put photos up on the board in the parking lot, at the end of the year the department could store them as a sort of living record. also collect some extra data on the deer you may not have otherwise.

did anyone ever consider putting up a bragging board on this website? what a great was for the kids to see what they have done.

That is exactly the experience we are looking to provide for area youth.  Thanks so much for sharing your memory and for your support of conservation. 

Thank You, I am from the same era and miss Hales station in Greene county as our check station too, spent many an hour there with good friends watching people check in their deer.I checked in my biggest buck there and didn't leave for 3 hours afterwards because of all the people coming up to the truck and wanting to hear my story.

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