Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

The wait is over and hunting is set to begin again. The smell of gun oil, a wet dog and freshly cleaned doves equals opening weekend hunting success, but more seasons will be coming soon.

Saturday will mark the start of fall hunting with dove season officially opening 30 minutes before sunrise. Our household is excited to once again have hunting opportunities in the Cross Timbers landscape. But dove season is only the beginning. The calendar is full of seasons set to open as summer turns to fall.

This year the start of dove season will coincide with the state’s annual free hunting days. No hunting license is required for Oklahoma residents Sept. 1-2. This offer from the state makes it easy to add a new hunter to the blind and share the adventures afield we all love.

My son is pretty pumped about dove season. He made me buy him shotgun shells with his own money the last time we were at Wal-Mart. It had been a long time since I bought a box of 4-10 shells, and I am concerned for any dove that attempts to fly past him in the month of September.

My son has been an observer on all previous dove hunts, but he figured out this year he could shoot at 4-10 just fine. Now I have to face the fact that he’s going to be armed and dangerous the next time we go hunting.

Looking beyond dove season, the fall calendar for hunting should be favorable locally. The start of deer hunting is five weeks away, but the weeks of late October and early November are most intriguing.

For the second year in a row, muzzleloader season will spill well into November. The Oct. 27 start should be perfect timing for finding bucks engulfed in rutting behavior. Gun hunters have drawn a favorable calendar once again with one weekend separating muzzleloader from the start of the regular gun season.

That two week break should bring the peak of the rut and some of the season’s best days for local bow hunters. This year the biggest day of hunting in our state will fall on Nov. 17, the opening day of gun season.

Just when the rut kicks into high gear, waterfowl hunters will get their chance to get in on the action. Hunting opens Oct. 27 in duck Zone 1, and Nov. 3 in Zone 2. Early action will see teal hunting open Sept. 15, along with the special resident Canada goose season.

As with any season, the weather and how the north wind blows will have a large influence on area hunting.

Soon whistling wings will serenade rutting bucks at sunrise, but until then take advantage of the early hunting the our area has to offer. Each week the calendar will bring new opportunities for hunting adventures throughout the Cross Timbers landscape.

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