Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

There’s been a close call, little bucks everywhere and a pig on the run. This was only the first week and who knows what the last week of gun season will bring.

Hunting showed real potential Monday when a big group of does showed up for the first time. It was one of those situations that felt like a big deer could be close by. It became pretty clear that was true after two does decided to leave and head back into the woods.

They quickly returned at a full sprint with a buck chasing them that obviously checked all the boxes. He busted the group of does like a bird dog on a covey of quail and vanished back into the woods as quickly as he appeared.

To add insult to injury, he came back after a few minutes and stood directly behind a pipe h-brace on a fence corner. One more step and my uncle’s tag would have been punched, but there was never an opportunity to make an ethical shot. The buck slipped out of sight into dense cover and back into the secret world that old bucks live in.

My uncle ended up tagging a nice buck, but he was that close to tagging a true Oklahoma brute. Hopefully the memory will bring him back to hunt next year.

The season has been full of young bucks walking around all day. Even with the peak of breeding in the rear view mirror, local bucks remain wound up and on the move. There is no reason to think that a couple slow days of hunting means the season is over.

There has been one real disappointment this season. I knew that the day would come when deer hunting would also provide opportunities to get bacon and ham. Tuesday night, I turned to see the native long-stem prairie grass moving. A chestnut submarine was motoring toward dense cover and after a few seconds I realized it was a feral hog.

I wasn’t quick enough to make a shot as it disappeared into the brush. I spent the rest of other evening disappointed because I knew feral hogs were in the area, but had never seen them or captured them on trail camera.

Our area has remained somewhat insulated from feral hogs, but slowly they continue to populate north central Oklahoma. This is an issue that will only get worse as time goes by, and it’s one that can’t be ignored.

Hunting is at its peak throughout the Cross Timbers landscape. Here’s hoping for more close calls, young bucks keeping things interesting and no more sightings of feral hogs.

Don’t forget

Waterfowl season will close Sunday for the annual mid-season break. Duck and goose hunting will resume in both Zone 1 and 2 on Dec. 8. Ducks have been abundant in our area and waterfowl hunting should continue to be good as the second half of the season kicks off.

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

Recommended for you