Prepare yourselves local outdoorsman because the biggest day of hunting in our state is next weekend.

Next Saturday morning, a small army of Oklahoma hunters will take to the woods for the opening of the regular gun season. I will definitely be participating and hoping for love-stuck bucks running wild through the Cross Timbers landscape.

This is a season that was going to be good to gun hunters if only from how the calendar falls. The most favorable scenario is muzzleloader season running well into November and then only one weekend before the start of gun season. This gives gun hunters valuable days of hunting close to the peak of the rut and this is what hunters got this fall.

The hunting outlook for the season is similar to any year. It does seem the rut is ahead of the schedule this season, but that could also mean it’s right on time because we’ve had good weather this fall as opposed to warm temperatures.

Evidence of rutting activity can differ widely throughout the county, but my observations had things hitting full throttle last weekend. The final Saturday of muzzleloader season, one of the oldest does I know of busted out of a dense creek bottom mid-morning. Behind her was a handsome mature 10-point who had no intention of letting her back into the creek bottom.

He chased her and steered her until they were within 50 yards of my blind. A few seconds later, I had my first muzzleloader buck in two years. One of the first hot does led me to hunting success, and since then the bell curve of breeding activity has reached its peak.

That same curve will decline as we enter gun season, placing the timing on the backside of the peak of the rut. This is how most years go, but I’m banking that the strong run into the rut and good weather will mean local bucks rut harder this year than they recently have.

This is a perfect recipe for local gun hunters. I would expect older deer to be searching for the last few does in heat from the initial wave of breeding and that’s a good outlook for hunting success.

Most every hunter in the state waits all year for the opening weekend of gun season. The chance to hunt rutting bucks with a rifle is something that can make Oklahoma fans wear orange without feeling bad.

Something that should not be forgotten is that gun season generally accounts for 70,000 deer harvested from a renewable resource that is shared by the people of the state of Oklahoma. While the world of hunting continues to focus on antlers, the real impact from gun season is deer in the freezer of Oklahoma hunters.

The greatest day of hunting in our state is on the horizon, and this should be a good one. The bucks are rutting, the weather has been good, and all you need is a little luck for the buck of a lifetime to make an appearance. Good luck to everyone this gun season.

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

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