OCTOBER HAS ALWAYS been our favorite month. Sure, December has Christmas and one of our birthdays (hint: Roy can never have too many t-shirts, size XL), and the spring and summer months are all loaded with freshwater and saltwater fishing, long days and vacations.
But October is special. Although Texas has more year-round hunting opportunities than most jurisdictions on the planet, by October the sport has shifted into high gear, as hunting season for everything but deer with rifles has arrived. Even without the long guns, there are plenty of reasons to get on the lease, into the woods or out in the field. Waterfowl hunting is hitting its stride, the doves are still flying and bow (and crossbow) season is here. And, if you are itching to get that rifle out now, there are exotics in increasing abundance and availability, and hogs aren’t going anywhere (except into the next few places they haven’t invaded yet).
Then, of course, there is plenty of fishing action to enjoy. All over the state, bass may not still be spawning but they are hungry, with cooler weather coming, and while the patterns are changing, there are still plenty of ways to catch them—in much less crowded and much more pleasant conditions. Crappie, catfish and other freshwater species also await the October angler.
Saltwater, of course, has its October highlights. Bull redfish are moving now. “The Hunt for Reds in October” has been a staple headline in outdoor publications since the ‘80s. Flounder are also on the move and this month is the beginning of a flatfish season that more and more Texans are beginning to appreciate.
In addition to all of these outdoor opportunities, the change of seasons begins this month. Forget what the calendar says. In Texas, there are really only two seasons—Summer and Autumn—with Summer beginning in mid-April and Autumn beginning in mid-October.
Yes, we do get cold weather in Texas. Coastal freezes happen here, even on normally sun-drenched South Padre beaches. (In fact we discuss this very possibility in the feature story “Trout Trouble,” on pages 20-23 of this issue.) But, c’mon. Other than the northern extremes of the state, typical “winter” days in Texas are what people from Missouri to Canada call “late August.”
Still, this month we start to feel the hints of change from the past six months of relentless, blistering heat over most of Texas. The first cold (okay, cool-ish) fronts start arriving and deciduous trees begin their slow transition from green to shades of gold. Mornings get a little crisper. The days get shorter, but in most places are lit by a brilliant hue that gives everything a warm glow.
This is the best time of the year to be outdoors. The moderate weather during this change of seasons is neither too hot nor too cold. The scenery is more vivid. And whether you are in the woods or on the water, there is plenty of sporting action to keep you occupied. So, get out there and be part of it. You can finish reading the rest of this great issue later.
And for you die-hard December fans, October does have a Christmassy feel. Just go into any retail store after about September 15.