Stillwater News Press

Sports Columns

July 13, 2014

Cross Timbers Outdoor Report: Is the pond half full or half empty?

STILLWATER, Okla. — Is the pond half full or half empty? Some may say totally dry. I bet there’s at least some mud.

We’re fortunate to receive rain in July, and that’s what we got Thursday. We got rain and a cool easterly breeze to compliment that 70-degree evening temperature. But we’re not out of the woods yet.

Trees still show dead branches; sacrificed during times when water was scare and double-digit temperatures hung around for three months.

Tuesday, the forecast calls for 70 degree high temperatures, chances for rain and a period of tremendous July weather that will extend for several days.

It has been difficult to bear the stress that scorching summers and little rain has brought about. You can feel it in the weight on your shoulders and see it in every turn you make while outdoors. A lot of trees and plants have been dying.

The permanent damage cannot yet be seen, but plot lines are forming. Disease is slowly killing tress all across Payne County. The rains and cool temperatures can do nothing to help. But animals with young should excel and find life good.

By February headlines will be pouring out of the Midwest left and right concerning the drop in deer populations and hunting success. The problem used to be how many deer were being hit on the road and, now it is that there are not enough deer.

The changes will take several years to restore deer herds, and lessons learned will be valuable. This has been the worst drought of my lifetime. I have never had the perspective of seeing hay crumble into dust before it could be baled. But I have to think it will not stay like it has been forever.

Trees that have stood the test of time will not come back to life next spring, no matter how much rain we get this summer and fall. Deer harvest totals will be lower than what we have come to expect over the last 20 years. But it’s rained twice in the last week, and we have high temperatures in the 70s coming our way.

My pond is half full with the chance of a top off coming soon.

Jon Kocan is an outdoor columnist for the Stillwater News Press. Kocan is a longtime local hunter. Email Kocan at

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