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.
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.
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.
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.