Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

I’m rooting for the guy that deer hunts across the road from me to get a good buck and he’s rooting for me to do the same.

After several years of passing in the dark, I finally met the guy who deer hunts across the road from me. I know the land owner and knew some things about him, but hadn’t really become acquainted until early this fall.

I wasn’t sure what to expect other than I was told he lives out of town and only bow hunts. The first of many chats on the side of the road revealed we both had the same goals and we both had an appreciation for the area we hunted. We both wanted to harvest bucks four years and older and we both were willing to put in the time hunting to do so.

By muzzleloader season, we were sharing hunting experiences and by November, trail camera pictures and videos. We quickly realized that our experiences across the road from each other showed two separate populations of deer.

I’m usually pretty competitive when it comes to deer hunting, but so far there hasn’t been any need to be in competition with the guy that deer hunts across the road. By sharing information from hunting experiences and trail cameras, I was blown away to find out that we rarely had the chance to hunt the same bucks.

Sure there were few that we both had hoped to run into over the years, but for the most part we hunted deer that didn’t seem to know how to cross the road. This made it easy to share and acquire information.

I’m not the most social person, but on the last day of gun season I found myself walking down the road after dark once again to chat. We had both hunted hard without firing a shot. I would come to find out later that the buck I was hunting was standing in front of my trail camera a few hundred yards away at the time. The guy across the road hadn’t had a buck worth hunting in his area for the better part of a week.

There wasn’t a thought in my mind that my deer season was over even though gun season had passed without punching a buck tag. We both took a deep breath thinking about how rewarding and difficult bow hunting could be for the next month. Both of us were finding difficulty thinking our odds were going to be good, but both of us were not considering giving up.

After checking the last week of trail camera pictures we both would have to say that bucks are still on the move and hunting expectations are high. This weekend we’re going to be once again positioned across the road from each other hunting bucks that don’t venture across the road. We both have the best bucks of the year making occasional visits and we’re both rooting for each other’s success.

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

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