Outdoors

The archery season on deer is open for the entire month of October, and once again bowhunters will be allowed to use both crossbows and compound bows in most Texas counties. The only county not allowing crossbows is Grayson.

The big question is what can hunters expect to see, now that we’re in the middle of the worst drought in Texas history? Without a doubt, white-tailed deer in Texas are facing tough conditions heading into the fall hunting season.

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Exit teal season, enter archery deer season and you have what’s happening for hunters in Texas. The icing on the dessert is that squirrel season, archery for Rio Grande turkey season, and javelina season mean there is no shortage of outdoor opportunities available.

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I have gotten so many reports — mostly good — this week that I might not be able to cover them all. There are a couple of hunting seasons now open and another coming along soon. Fishing has been good in some places and excellent in others. There has also been some news concerning the drought’s effect on wildlife.

It is the time of year to finalize your hunting places and dates and to sight in rifles. Hey, folks, it is the early fall in Southeast Texas and things are beginning to happen, so it’s time to get ready.

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On the second morning of this month’s teal season, Beaumont’s Warren Claybar pretty much summed it up as four of us sat in a blind near Winnie with very few birds to shoot at.

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It normally takes some fairly strong cold fronts to put the flounder on the move. That has not been the case this year. At least it hasn’t been the case for those anglers that are going after them primarily.

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It does seem more like the beginning of summer than the beginning of fall. There was an extended winter last year with very little springtime before the hot summer began. With a cold dry fall and a hot dry summer, many of the duck ponds have disappeared. With the bluewing teal already migrating into our area, the folks that have water will have teal.

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I love snakes. NOT! In fact, in my way of thinking, the only good snake is a dead snake. And yes, I know that there are a lot of “good” snakes that keep the rodent population under control around our homes. That was going through my mind this week as I dispatched not one but two big rat snakes that just about gave me heart failure.

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 The latest report that I’ve received concerning the drought in the Texas Hill Country has been spotty, at best. The ranches that are in similar areas have different reports, at times. What seems to be the difference is that the ranches may be only a few miles apart and one has gotten a little rain while the other hasn’t. There is also the element of natural creeks or rivers and the presence of water tanks that are not dried up. No matter whether a ranch contains all of the water positives or none of them, it is super dry in the Hill Country.

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It’s been a long hot summer and it’s not nearly over yet, but hunting is on the horizon and Sept. 1 is the opener on doves, with teal up shortly after that. And before you know, it we’ll be getting up at 4 a.m. to make a duck hunt. With that in mind, it’s time to think about how the statewide Texas drought is going to impact duck hunts.

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Tarpon fishing along much of the Gulf Coast usually comes to life in June and gets better as we head in the hot months of August and September. Many are caught in October, or until the cool fronts begin to chill the water. In fact, the Texas state record tarpon was caught on Oct 4, 2006.

So where is the best place to fish for tarpon along the Gulf Coast? Based on personnel experience, you can’t go wrong out of Venice, La. Along the Texas coast, tarpon fishing can be pretty darned good from the Sabine jetties and on down the coast around Port O’Connor.

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