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From the Pen of Robert L. Cook

I need another month between October and November. October just isn’t big enough for us to do and enjoy all the good things going on in Outdoor Texas. I’m about October like my old friend who wanted another month to hunt. “ What are you going to call it?” we asked, “You already hunt 12 months out of the year.” I reckon if I were going to give the new month a name, I’d call it “Anticipation,” because that is what the outdoors in October is all about.

October weather is about as good as it gets. A campfire is beginning to feel good at night. Your down jacket and bedroll are being aired out or may already be in use in north Texas. That early morning fog that hangs over the rivers and valleys is showing up almost daily and many Texans are thinking about the first frost. By now you’ve made several dove hunts, maybe squeezed in a weekend or two of teal hunting and your most patient friends — the bowhunters — are headed to the woods for deer and turkey. You wonder if the Spanish oaks and the maples will be pretty this year and when you’ll hear that first group of sandhills overhead.

For many outdoor Texans, the month kicks off Oct. 2-3 at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo, with fishing, shooting, rock climbing, kayaking, birding, hunting-dog demonstrations and much more, right here on our headquarters grounds in Austin, all weekend, all free. Bring the kids and stay all day. You’ll love it.

Later in the month, people from all over the country who love to walk and ride trails will come to Austin for the National Trails Symposium Oct. 21-24. We’ll hear lots of good ideas about how and where to have more and better trails in Texas. We have only scratched the surface on trails in Texas; we need to do more so that more folks will have an opportunity to see and learn about the outdoors.

On that same Saturday, Oct. 23, the school children of the Rio Grande Valley will attend open house at the new World Birding Center Headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park near Mission. It is their park, and this is their weekend — their celebration. This is a big deal for the folks of the Rio Grande Valley, for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and for conservation. Everyone is invited. Remember, by this time of the month, the fall warblers and migratory waterfowl will be arriving in the Valley for their winter stay, so bring your bird book and binoculars.

Now, let’s see: In addition to the above, I need to spend at least two October weekends in my hunting camp brushing up my ground blinds and scouting for bucks, and one weekend wade-fishing the surf off Matagorda. Mostly, I’ll just be enjoying the Great Outdoors of Texas.

See you outdoors!

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