The days we deer hunters wait for all year are now upon us. On September 29, Texas’ archery-only season opens. Oklahoma’s archery season opens a couple of days later, on October 1. The big question now is, “Are you ready?”

A friend in Oklahoma is ready. He’s been scouting for more than a month. He’s got a big typical 10-point coming by his ladder stand virtually every day, along with half a dozen other nice bucks. He’s skipping work the first week of October to make the most of his early season chance. Past history tells him that bucks in that area stay in that patch of cover until mid-October, then they disperse like cottonwood seeds on the wind across the prairie country. I’ll be hunting up there as soon as time allows.

I share a lease with three friends here in Texas. We’ve seen a few good bucks on trail cameras in August and September. A few are still on the daylight pattern while others have disappeared. The tradition here is to flip coins to see who gets to hunt the best stands opening weekend. I came in dead last on the flip, so I’m in no hurry to hunt the “Gar Hole!” I’m sure at least one of my friends will punch a tag with a good buck opening weekend.

Before you start to feel too sorry for me, I’ve got a Texas antelope permit. So I’ll be glassing sage-covered hills in the Panhandle for black-faced pronghorn bucks while my friends are all chasing deer.

Have you shot your bow so much drawing it feels as natural as lifting a fork to your mouth? Is Old Betsy out of the gun cabinet and driving tacks on paper? It’s no coincidence the hunters that make the most preparations before the season are usually the most successful.

Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer with a bow in Central Texas at the age of 15. The full-time freelance writer manages his family’s Texas Panhandle ranch, is a licensed New Mexico guide, and last year took a 184 gross P&Y non-typical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM.