Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Featured Whitetail - Burnett Buck

Don Burnett Buck - 1997

Modern Rifle - Semi Irregular
DeKalb County, MO

Official BTR 165.5
Composite 185.0
IRR 9.9%
Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - McAffrey Buck

Dustin McAffrey Buck - 2000

Modern Rifle - Irregular
Newton County, MO

Official BTR 179.4
Composite 193.4
IRR 12.0%

1996 Original BTR Scoring Team

This is the original BTR scoring team posing for a historic first portrait at the Bass Pro Fish and Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. During this three day scoring event, the team logged over 15,000 inches of antler in this whitetail deer collection.

Front row L to R: Ed Waite, Ohio; Jack McConnell, Missouri; Tony Snow, Wisconsin; Bill Hoagland, Texas. Top row L to R: Russell Thornberry, Executive Editor and Vice President of Buckmasters, Alabama; Tony Fulton and his NEW WORLD RECORD whitetail buck, Mississippi; Ron Boucher, Maine; Ken Witt, Texas. Those not pictured were BTR Administrator, Brian Hicks and Buckmasters videographer, Gene Bidlespacher.

Featured Whitetail - Earp Buck

Michael Earp Buck - 1997

Pick Up - Irregular
Texas County, MO

Official BTR 174.6
Composite 192.6
IRR 16.5%

Photo and Taxidermy By: McConnell

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Featured Whitetail - Hicks Buck

Dale Hicks Buck - 2006
Not Eligible for the BTR

Modern Rifle - Semi Irregular
Webster County, MO

Official BTR 135.2
Composite 159.0
IRR 7.3%

Photo By: McConnell

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Featured Whitetail - Harden Buck

Kim Harden Buck - 2006

Modern Rifle - TBA
Adair County, MO

Official BTR TBA
Composite TBA

Featured Whitetail - Wise Buck

Bill Wise Buck - 2005

Compound - Irregular
Howard County, MO

Official BTR 216.3
Composite 235.7
IRR 14.9%

Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - McConnell Buck

Jack McConnell Buck - 2006
Not Eligible for the BTR

Modern Rifle - Typical
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 74.3 (Don't Laugh)
Composite 90.3 (giggle maybe)
IRR 0.0%

Photo by: R. Cope

Friday, November 24, 2006

Featured Whitetail - McCray Buck # 1

Seth McCray Buck # 1 -2006

Compound Bow - Irregular
Buchanan County, MO

Official BTR 175.6
Composite 190.0
IRR 11.8%

Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - McCray Buck # 2

Seth McCray Buck #2 - 2006

Modern Rifle - Irregular
Buchanan County, MO

Official BTR 202.3
Composite 219.7
IRR 30.2%

Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - Waller Buck

Charley Waller Buck - 1990
Scotty Luthy, Owner

Pick Up - Irregular
Laclede County, MO

Official BTR 216.1
Composite 232.5
IRR 19.6%

Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - Murphy Buck

Richard Murphy Buck 2000

Modern Rifle - Semi Irregular
Pettis County, MO

Official BTR 142.3
Composite 161.1
IRR 5.8%

Featured Whitetail - Hodge Buck

Paul Hodge Buck 2000

Shed Antler - Irregular
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 85.7
Composite N/A
IRR 25.1%

Featured Whitetail - Wilkins Buck

Bobby Wilkins Buck 2000

Shed Antler - Irregular
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 90.2
Composite N/A
IRR 18.4%

Featured Whitetail - Mehl Buck

Tom Mehl Buck 2000

Shed Antler - Irregular
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 98.2
Composite N/A
IRR 46.9%

Featured Whitetail - Simonitch Buck

Randy Simonitch Buck - 2000
Compound Bow - Irregular
Pike County, MO
Official BTR 260.5
Composite 280.6
IRR 36.4%
Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - West Buck

Joe West Buck - 1998
Modern Rifle - Irregular
Dade County, MO
Official BTR 164.7
Composite 184.2
IRR 36.8%
Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - Wilmoth Buck

Greg Wilmoth Buck - 2000

Modern Rifle - Irregular
Lawrence County, MO

Official BTR 224.1
Composite 244.5
IRR 14.1%

Photo By: C. McConnell

Featured Whitetail - Friend Buck

Paul Friend Buck - 1996

Modern Rifle - Typical
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 147.1
Composite N/A
IRR 2.8%

Featured Whitetail - Aaron Buck

Boyce Aaron Buck - 1995

Modern Rifle - Typical
Polk County, MO

Official BTR 144.5
Composite 160.0
IRR 2.9%

Featured Whitetail - Evans Buck

Rick Evans Buck - 1998

Modern Rifle - Typical
Dade County, MO

Official BTR 176.5
Composite 195.2
IRR 5.0%

Featured Whitetail - Westfall Buck

Danny Westfall Buck - 1991

Shed Antler - Irregular
Greene County, MO

Official BTR 85.6
Composite N/A
IRR 21.4%

Featured Whitetail - Henderson Buck

Kenneth Henderson Buck - 1980

Modern Rifle - Typical
Webster County, MO

Official BTR 146.1
Composite 164.7
IRR 1.4%
Photo and Taxidermy By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - McKinley Buck

Roger McKinley Buck 2004

Modern Rifle - Irregular
Henry County, MO

Official BTR 196.1
Composite 213.5
IRR 17.3%
Photo By: McConnell

Featured Whitetail - Thomas Buck

Kevin Thomas Buck 2001

Modern Rifle - Irregular
Saline County, MO

Official BTR 293.4
Composite 306.4
IRR 53.2%

Photo By: McConnell

Thursday, November 23, 2006

TOP Missouri BTR Records

“Whitetail Trophies of Missouri”
Top Missouri Records
In Each Classification and Category
Minimum Inches to Qualify
140 For Any Firearms Harvest,
105 For Any Archery Harvest,
75 For Shed Antlers
Decimal = 1/8 inch


Ben Barks
BTR 179.0
Callaway Co

Merrill Hall
BTR 187.5
DeKalb Co

Gary Childress
BTR 197.2
Scotland Co

Kevin Thomas
BTR 293.4
Saline Co


Jim Baker
BTR 143.3
Knox Co

Shelton Wheelan
BTR 160.1
Monroe Co

Lance Wagoner
BTR 179.6
Henry Co

Randy Simonitch
BTR 260.5
Pike Co


Ed Nelson
BTR 156.2
Saline Co

James E. Davis
BTR 164.4
St. Charles




Travis Russell
BTR 142.0
Barry Co

Elmer Dehn
BTR 142.3
St. Clair Co


Mike Helland
BTR 314.6
St. Louis Co




Gary Crump
BTR 78.4
Henry Co

Tom Mehl
BTR 98.2
Dade Co





Randy Kasten
BTR 214.3
Cape Girardeau Co

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Optical Illusion

Can you see why this painting is called optical illusion ? You may not see it at first, but the white spaces read the word optical, the blue landscape reads the word illusion. See for yourself !

Saturday, November 18, 2006



Thursday, November 16, 2006

Jus' Monkeyin' Around

In Mourning

Three friends from the local congregation were asked "When you're in your casket, and friends and congregation members are mourning over you, what would you like them to say?"

Jesse said: "I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a fine spiritual leader, and a great family man."

Leroy commented: "I would like them to say I was a wonderful teacher and servant of God who made a huge difference in people's lives."

Jack said: "I'd like them to say, "LOOK, HE'S MOVING!"

Whitetail Trophies of Missouri

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What Makes a Huge Buck? Ask Chandler

I received the following email from a great cousin of mine. It's so hilarious, I have to share it with you. Caution adult language but good enough for an observant 7 year old.


… we hunted both Saturday and yesterday morning with my grandson Chandler along. He’s 7 and hard to keep him quiet. Does a pretty good job in the mornings but is a nightmare in the evenings. ;-)

Yesterday morning after coming out of the blind, we get up to the truck and Chandler says he wants to go road hunting. I said we'll make a little circle on the way back to the house just to see if we can spot anything. We looped back around toward Taylor Ford (just a mile or so west of Dave’s but you've got to loop around to get there).

Going down a hill (these are very lightly traveled gravel "almost-roads") I spotted a doe on the passenger side standing in some brush about 25 yards off the road. As I eased to a stop I told Chandler "There's a deer standing there, it's a doe" and sort of pointed at the doe. Chandler said, "No, it's a buck" and I again said it was a doe. "No, it's a buck!" and I realized he must be seeing a different deer. Looking behind the doe, I saw what Chandler saw.

OH MY!! BIG beautiful 8 point that would go at least 140-150 B&C - perfect rack! Chandler said, "SHOOT IT". To which I said NO!, we are just going to watch him.

That big ol' smart buck, instead of doing what he would normally do (which would be to take about 2 steps into that brush and disappear) wasn't about to abandon the sweet little doe he was following. And she just wasn't too bright.

She tried to head to the road just ahead of us so I eased down to where they were - a process repeated three times as we traveled farther down the hill. Total distance traveled was probably no more than 50 or 60 yards but she wanted across that road!! And he wouldn't leave her.

After her third try, she stuck it in a faster gear and headed for the corner at the bottom of the hill with him close behind. They each touched the road once immediately in front of us on that corner - and what a view he presented at that point!

We were later discussing just how big that buck we had seen might have been and Chandler pops up with, "Did you see how BIG that buck's balls were?" My reaction was an AAAAaaaawwww! in disbelief. He said, "I'm not kiddin'! That buck's balls were huge!"

Have to admit it never occurred to me to even look at that part of the buck's anatomy so I can't say for sure whether Chandler was right or wrong. But his observation cracked me up. I had him repeat it to grandma.


Whitetail Trophies of Missouri

Saturday, November 11, 2006

My 2006 Firearms Deer Season Chronicles


Well, the first day of the 2006 Missouri Firearms Deer Season has begun. I missed a good buck around 7:35 a.m. He was larger than most deer I've taken the last few years. I couldn't see his rack too well, but the right side was tall and the left side much shorter.

At first, I thought it was broken off. The angle and lighting made it difficult to see. Most deer I see are 3 second deer and I usually need 4 or 5 seconds, if you know what I mean. The longer he stood there, the more nervous I got. He was about 125 yards away. He started running TOWARD me and my heart just went crazy and out of control. I couldn't breathe! I PICKED A BAD TIME TO GET BUCK FEVER! He came to within 75 yards and turned sideways to me.

I had my Remington 30.06 rifle resting on my shooting stick, that I cut from a sapling a few years ago. The verticle rest was excellent. But my horizontal hold was out of kelter. I couldn't hold it steady. Just as I fired the shot, I jerked and missed. You'd thought this was my first deer hunt the way my heart was pounding. It was hard to breathe. I'm surprised that old dude didn't fall over laughing at me.

I'll remedy my shooting stick problem this evening by converting it to a bi-pod. That should fix my horizontal hold.

Now I should locate an AED and a brown paper bag to control the hyperventalization. Oxygen might help too. Somewhere out in the woods, I'm sure he's told all his buddies of the spectacle he witnessed this morning. He does that again tomorrow, the dude is mine.


I must've gotten closer to that buck yesterday than I thought. Neither he nor his buddies were anywhere to be seen today. I think they packed their bags and got out of Dodge.

Today was a turkey day. I saw turkeys six different times by noon. I'm sure some were the same but they all didn't come from the same direction.

I arrived to my deer stand well before daylight. I never dreamed there would be a welcoming committee in my midst as I prepared to settle in. I set up my camo hunting chair and my warm Lava Buns heated seat pad. MY BRAND NEW homemade modified shooting sticks cradled in front of me with my rifle resting on them. My hand warmers were doing their job. It was very dark but the horizon was beginning to lighten. It was very quiet and peaceful. A gentle wind could be heard. Off in the distance I could hear a train making its way through the lonely countryside many miles away. AHHH, this IS the life.

I'm now settled in and contemplating my game plan when SUDDENLY, it started hailing Butterball TURKEYS! FLOP, FLOP, SWOOSH, THUD, CRASH, FLOP, FLOP! My ground blind was under attack UNDER their ROOST! The wind off a turkeys wing as it flies to the ground is very frightening in the dark. Sounds like a 747 coming in! I could feel the wind from their wings. I'm taking shelter by covering up my head with my arms. My hunting cap wasn't enough protection. I couldn't get out of my folding chair! As Murphy's Law has it, I have a fist full of turkey tags with me, wrong weapon, wrong season.

Luckily the birds didn't leave any souvenirs on me during their awkward noisy crash landing. Tranquility finally returned as the turkeys went their own way. The sun is about to rise. My heart is calm again, I'm relaxed and I'm enjoying the sunrise over my right shoulder when a twig with a cluster of dried leaves lands on my left shoulder. I almost screamed like a little girl! Going to the deer stand in the dark will never be the same now. NEVER GO INTO THE WOODS WITHOUT A FLASHLIGHT. I don't care how close it is to daylight.

My little brother, Brad, tags a small buck late in the day.


This morning, I had a tough time climbing out of a nice warm bed. But I forced myself to get ready for the drive out to the woods. I was somewhat reluctant to leave the SUV in the dark but I knew I had to go. I very carefully checked the tree tops as I slowly made my way to my ground blind. GREAT, NO WELCOMING COMMITTEE!

This morning, I didn't see anything but a few squirrels off in the distance running from tree to tree. I heard my feathered friends nearby but this time, I left them alone. There were at least three very active gobblers calling.

I had some business to attend to at the office so around noon, I made my way to Springfield for about an hour to get a couple of reports ready. Afterward, I took a little drive out to Little Sac Woods, northeast of Willard. Looks like a really good place to hunt. Very deery looking. I walked down a trail and sat for a little while before returning home for the day. Will give it another try again tomorrow.


Ooops! I forgot to set the alarm for this morning! Honest...it wasn't intentional. Oh well, being that it's 8:30 a.m. I think I'll go have my hair trimmed. It's getting a bit shaggy. It's supposed to storm later today and maybe snow tomorrow. Better get my personal running taken care of quickly as this may be my last good chance before having to go back to work on Thursday.

Made it out to my hunting grounds at noon. I saw only one Bluejay. No squirrels, ducks, geese, turkeys were seen or heard from this afternoon. My guess is the front moving in that is supposed to bring some heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and snow later on tomorrow. Only sound was the wind in the trees. It was an eerie type of afternoon. The woods seemed empty. I never heard one gun shot all afternoon until 3:54 p.m. My Remington broke the silence as a nice 8 point buck stepped out into my shooting lane. He never knew what hit him. Thanks to my new fangled homeade shooting sticks to steady my shot. Buck fever was not a factor this time.

When I fired the fatal shot, the rifle scope hit my eye glasses, saving me from receiving a half moon brand from the scope between my eyes. It hurt none the less. I got hold of Dad and he enlisted the help of my nephew, Brandon to help drag this dude up the steep hill. I don't know why but all my deer are always at the bottom of a steep hill and the car is usually parked at the top. Somehow I need to reverse the situation but unfortunately that's how Sand Mountain is made up.

Dragging deer up hill after heart surgery still sucks, even seven years and two days later. I'm doing well but I need to come up with a better plan like building a new fangled motorized cart to haul my gear in and out of the woods, even my deer.


Me thinks, me broke the bridge of my nose when the rifle scope hit my glasses. It's really sore this morning and slightly bruised and swollen. At least my eyes aren't black...yet. I'm thankful my glasses caught the brunt of the impact of the scope.

Took my deer over to the processor in Walnut Grove this morning. I must say the weather today really stinks. It's been raining all night and very windy out. Very miserable to be out on the deer stand. I drove out to Sand Mountain and watched a field for a little while. Dad was soaked after being on his stand this morning. Even my cousin Rich stayed home today. It was basically an ugly day to be out and about.

I returned to Willard about noon and enjoyed a brisket salad at the Downtown Barbeque. Spent the rest of the afternoon updating some computer files for www.findagrave.com, BTR score sheets, and the family tree which by the way has 5240 names listed.


My nose is still sore but looks better today than yesterday. Very sensitive to the touch.

I was susposed to return to work this morning but instead, will go in this evening to cover for one of my dispatchers that was needing the night off to recover from working a 16 hour shift a night or two ago. It wouldn't suprise me he is hunting today and sleeping in his deer stand at the same time.

I should go out but I have a few things around the house to tend to. Besides, its very cold outside this morning.

Turns out my dispatcher decided to work this evening after all. Thanks Josh T. He just saved me from pulling a double shift tonight. Oh well, I get to enjoy an unexpected extra vacation day today.

Lunch at Downtown Bar-B-Que again today. MMmmm good.

It's been a busy day at home. I don't know how many calls I've answered about BTR scoring questions to taxidermy services. This is about normal for the calls to start coming in like this. The next two weeks should be really busy dealing with regular and prospective customers.

Dad tagged a buck late in the day. Too bad he, Brad and I didn't do this all on the first day of season.


No news to report for this day. I worked the midnight shift this morning and you guessed it...I slept the whole day. I have to go back in at 8 p.m. tonight and work a 12 hour shift. Can't say for sure if I will feel up to hunting in the morning but perhaps the afternoon. We'll see how that goes.


I'm just about to complete a 12 hour shift. In 40 minutes, I'll drive out to Bass Pro...if I'm awake and check out their "game carts". If they're what I think they are, I'll bring one home and get it ready for my hunt tomorrow morning. I'd love to field test it with a big old deer tomorrow at the bottom of my ol' steep hill.

I'm screening all calls today as I plan to get some serious sleeping done.


It was very chilly morning. It was a nice drive out to the country with all the frost on the ground. It was like snow in several places. Only gunshots heard were way off in the distance. Even then, they were very few shots. No turkeys to play with this morning. No deer either.

Today was our Thanksgiving Day at mom and dad's. It was a great lunch and everyone in our immediate family were present and enjoy the get together. Mom did it up right. The food was great with all the trimmings. After a great meal like that, there was no way I could go back out into the woods. I was stuffed and I could feel the aftermeal fatigue sneaking up on me.

I decided to head home for the day and get some rest. I got to bed about 4 p.m. and woke up at 6 p.m. thinking it was 6 a.m.! OH MY GOSH! I'M LATE! I thought. When I realized I had 10 more hours of sleep ahead of me before the alarm would sound...it felt SO GOOD!


I was up at 4 a.m. Didn't get in a big hurry this morning. Sort of tinkered around on the computer a little then I headed back out to Dad's. Again, the morning drive was very nice. The frost was like snow in the fields. It was a bone chilling 17 degrees.

It was so cold, I saw the neighbors dog stuck to a fire hydrant.

It was so cold, my thermometer was shivering.

It was so cold, I thought about just sitting in the SUV instead of going to the deer stand. We'll I braved the cold and stayed put until about 9:30 a.m. I had to come back to the SUV to warm up. My gut was growling too, I stayed put until about 11 then met Dad at Backwoods Restaurant in Greenfield for lunch.

Afterward, I made a stop at the Greenfield and Hays Cemeteries to document and photograph a few gravesites for www.findagrave.com.

Got back to the woods about 2 p.m. It wasn't so cold now. I had to take my coat off for awhile. About 2 hours later, my cell phone began ringing from the office. OH NO! What now? My phone wouldn't let me dial out nor would it let me answer calls due to the no service area I was in. But it SURE let me know I had calls.

Twilight is the magic hour and is an excellent time to be hunting. These are the best shooting hours. When it was too dark to hunt, I hiked back to the SUV and found that I was needed at the office. I worked until midnight. I'll have to cut my hunt short tomorrow and cover the evening shift again. No deer today. Doesn't appear I'll get to try out my new fangled game cart.


Today is the last day of the regular firearms deer season in Missouri. It's been a long hunt but fun none the less. Dad and my brother Brad had seen several deer but not I. I saw only three the entire season not counting those harvested by others.

Usually I see a dozen deer or so before tagging out. I had my opportunity the first morning and blew it. I took a nice 8 pointer on the fourth day of season. The other deer I saw while driving home. It was a doe and someone must've spooked her as she came flying across a field and along side the road next to my SUV at highway speeds, she jumped back into a small patch of brush and disappeared, all in a flash.

Overall, I saw lots of wildlife especially the turkeys. Had it been hard times, my family wouldn't have gone hungry. We are blessed with abundant wildlife in our part of the country.

As mentioned in the previous day's blog, I was called in to the office. I didn't get home until about 2 this morning. I could've gone back out to hunt this morning but my vacation/hunt was called short on staff shortages. Yes, I have to go back this afternoon. Then back at 8 tomorrow morning. Rest is short.

My regular 2006 Missouri Firearms Season is now officially over...but stay tuned for PART 2 coming in December! YES! There is a second firearms season! No matter what happens from now on, the hunt continues throughout the year with camera, research, scouting, or maybe a quick weekend archery hunt.

Thanks to all that have taken time to read this journal. Hope you found it entertaining and informative. Thanks to Mom and Dad. I love you both.

Whitetail Trophies of Missouri

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Bigfoot - Fact, Fiction, or Was I Drinkin' Too Much White Lightnin'?

This is what I observed one frosty morning while deer hunting in November 1996. Can you imagine what ran through my mind when I turned and saw this "thing" standing there about 100 yards away? NO WONDER I DIDN'T SEE A DEER! It's a good thing, he didn't start SCREAMING! I danged near had an accident in my under drawers anyway.

This photo received a lot of attention after it was published in the Greenfield Vedette. I had calls from all over the USA from people wanting to know more details. Some even wanted to hunt for him. One UFO magazine wanted to do a feature story on the "alien". They were serious! I declined to give up any detail and left it as is...for the imagination to wonder, could it really be? Only a few know the secret to this astonishing mystery.


Coon and Cat Mount

Here's a coon and bobcat mount.
Whitetail Trophies of Missouri

Deer I Mounted Recently

Here are two bucks I mounted not long ago. I was experimenting with the background and low lighting. Made a great portrait. Great desktop photo for the computer too!


Bird Flu Hits Florida With a Vengence

It appears the bird flu has hit Florida pretty hard.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Jim Stafford Show

I recently attended the Jim Stafford Show in Branson, Missouri. As the audience is being seated, everyone is given a card in which to write down your funny experiences or little jokes or anecdotes. After intermission, Jim reads a selected few on stage. Well... we all know how frustrating the latest political candidates have been with their negative advertising lately. I had a chance to take a jab back at them with the following, which by the way, Jim read on stage after admitting he loved it.

A cannibal walking through the jungle one day came upon a Cannibal Cafe. He sat down to read the menu:

Steamed Salesman $5.00
Fried Preacher $10.00
Baked Politician $100.00

The cannibal inquired of the cannibal waiter about the price
difference of the Politician and the others. He replied, "Have
you ever tried to clean a politician"?

The story received a huge applause. It about scared me.

Whitetail Trophies of Missouri


A man was telling his neighbor, "I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, and it's state of the art. I can hear perfectly now!" "Really?", answered the neighbor. "What kind is it?" The man looks at his watch, "Twelve thirty."


Important WARNING!

If someone comes to your front door saying they're conducting a survey on deer ticks and asks you to take your clothes off, don't do it! IT'S A SCAM! They only want to see you naked. I wish I'd gotten this information yesterday. I feel so stupid and cheap now....


Minnie Pearl - True Story

Minnie Pearl told me this funny little story several years ago (February, 1985) the first time I met her in Nashville, Tennessee on Music Row.

She was walking down the street one Sunday morning in Grinder's Switch. As she walked by the little local church, the pastor was greeting everyone with a handshake. In her southern hillbilly accent, she asked, "Is mass out?" He replied, "No, but your hat's on a little crooked."

Then she run her fingers through my beard and said she didn't mind walking through the forest to get to the picnic. Of course, she made my day.