Jon Kocan

Jon Kocan

Deer hunters have hit the woods with the start of archery season. A few have found success, but all have most certainly found the happiness that climbing back into a blind or tree stand brings. I look forward to this time of year more than any other, and some of the reasons might be ones that only hunters can understand.

Now that hunters are back in the woods, it’s important to remember there are a lot of things that make avid deer hunters different from everybody else. We willingly shun the company of others to sit by ourselves in the woods. Right now, that also means feeding aggressive mosquitoes, but in a few months it could include enduring freezing temperatures with a smile on your face.

Our alarms are set earlier on the weekend than during the work week. We all wear similar clothes that are a rendition of some type of tree bark, limbs and leaves. The only way we will be home before dark is if a successful harvest occurs.

We begin to carry around odd supplies. I keep a container of rechargeable batteries and handful of SD cards on me at all times. They leave with me like my cup of coffee in the morning just in case I get the chance to check a trail camera. It also means I spend more time recharging batteries than people who drive electric cars.

In late November, the smell of Thanksgiving dinner has only one rival, and that’s the smell of a buck in rut. The mark of success for my deer season is having a buck in the back of my SUV that smells so bad of rut and urine that I have to drive with the windows down no matter how cold it is.

I can’t speak for all hunters, but I have a laundry list of superstitions that begin to dictate my hunting success. One is wearing a shirt my brother gave me 25 years ago. I wouldn’t think of deer hunting without it on. Others are too odd to divulge, but sometimes it takes a lot to appease the deer Gods.

I draw the line at carrying around a bottle of deer urine, but many do.

The No. 1 piece of weather information for the next two months will be wind direction. Next will be how hard the wind will blow, then the temperature and other measurable information. There is also a definite increase in tracking the moon phase.

Unfortunately for those who don’t deer hunt, they miss amazing sunrises and sunsets, and the chance to absorb and observe the Cross Timbers as local deer go through the fall ritual that is the rut.

To those who do deer hunt, I’ll also be somewhere in a tree this weekend, weather permitting. I’ll have my lucky shirt on while swatting mosquitos, and mainly concerned with the direction the wind is blowing. With me will be SD cards and batteries, and if everything works out, my truck will smell like a deer that’s been peeing on himself.

Rut report

There’s nothing like warm weather and windy conditions to make a slow start to bow season. The next week or two of deer activity always seems hard to predict, but bucks are sliding into the rut and opportunities exist.

Rubs and scrapes should appear any time, and as soon as this sign appears can be the best time to catch a buck making his mark.

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

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