Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

I double checked this to make sure I wasn’t wrong, and there is no doubt that fall hunting will begin in less than a month.

I’ve been fighting day dreams of wing shooting in September and rutting bucks in October and November for a while now. A few nice bucks captured on trail cameras last week and a cold front just made it worse for me.

It’s really exciting to be near the start of another hunting season. To be in a dove blind again on the edge of a freshly planted wheat field on the first weekend in September seems too good to be true. In less than a month, that’s where I’ll be.

I just pinched myself to make sure it was true that deer hunting opens in less than two months. The cold front that blew through last weekend had me dreaming of being in a tree stand in early October watching bucks begin the final phases of falling into full-on rut.

It seems like a long ways away, but in three months the Cross Timbers landscape will be close to entering a dormant state as day length decrease and winters nears. Local bucks will have fought several times for the right to breed and a large portion of the hunting seasons will be open or just around the corner.

The beginnings of fall changes are much closer than they seem. Local bucks are mostly done growing antlers and in three weeks, some will begin to strip the summer velvet away. Fawns will lose their spots around the same time. Teal will begin to filter through and a changing of the guard will begin to occur for those that migrate for the winter.  

I have plenty to do in the next few months – I only have one arrow, I want to put up new deer stands and all the little things that go into making a hunting location just right. I’m fortunate that having places to hunt isn’t one of my worries. For those that don’t, keep in mind a new program.

The Oklahoma Land Access Program will be in its third year this fall. The addition of accessible acres has been slow, but there are new tracts of land enrolled in the program that are close to home. It will be worth checking on the program throughout the fall to find new places that are open to public hunting.  

The first two years, the program did not have any land enrolled in my area. It would be really great to see it continue to grow and provide public hunting access in the sea of private land that is north-central Oklahoma.

I just pinched myself again. New public hunting opportunities and hunting season less than a month away – it’s still setting in how close we are to hunting. It’s time to make sure that things will be ready when opening day comes. 

Jon Kocan is the Stillwater News Press outdoors writer and a longtime hunter. He can be reached at

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