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Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017

Why outdoorsmen love October

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The recent cold weather came just in time to make waterfowl hunters like Robert Underwood, Springfield, feel more like going goose hunting . This year, the Missouri Department of Conservation, set an early season on Canada geese from Oct. 6-14, with a daily limit of three and possession limit of six birds.

Underwood said he knows of a large pond in Greene County that has attracted a flock of geese where he will be today. "I have to be out of town the opening weekend, but will be ready for the next weekend," he said before the season began.

The main part of the goose season will be next month, but with the earlier season, hunters will have a chance to take birds of the resident flock. Dan Foster, Nixa, said he has been watching some geese that are using a pond and plans of being there during the season. "I have been scouting the area for deer, but when I saw the geese, I decided I will get in an early goose hunt," he said.

October is moving too fast. Its one of my favorite months of the year and it always has a habit of not lasting long enough for all the things I want to do. One of the main reasons October is a great month is the fact that a bunch of hunting seasons open and the fishing is still good and getting better.

The fall turkey season will last all month, archery deer and turkey season is going strong, the woodcock season will start on the 15th, the duck season will open in the north zone near the end of the month and the rabbit season is open, but most rabbit hunters wait until the first snow to get serious.

Hunters aren't the only ones enjoying October outdoors. Campers, hikers, sightseers and anglers also find it a great month. With the recent rains, there is hope the fall color will be good and the autumn fishing, hiking and camping experiences in October are often the best for many Ozarkers .

The trout parks run thru Oct. 31. Jim Dawson, Lebanon, a veteran lunker hunter at Bennett Spring, said, "October is my favorite for catching trout at the park. I use tiny jigs and 2- to 4-pound test line. I have taken more large trout during October than any other month. It's a great time to be out with all the color and the weather is usually good."

Last year, as the baseball season was winding down, I was fishing at Stockton Lake when the white bass were hitting on the surface. I saw the entire cove explode with feeding whites. You could cast in any direction and catch a white bass. The latest fishing report shows the fish are getting active. Crappie are hitting and the bass are going strong. Larry Thomas, Springfield, hooked a 9-pounder at Table Rock last week and had two more over 4 pounds.

The deer are starting to move. Most of the year, you don't get a chance to see a big whitetail buck, but when the rut starts, there's always a chance of seeing one.

The growing number of archers in the state have gotten off to a good start. George Adams, Bolivar, has been in a tree stand nearly every day this month.

"I have seen more deer than any October in the past," he said. "I have watched does pass under the stand and have seen several big bucks, but they were just out of shooting range. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the outdoors. I have seen turkey, bobcats, squirrel, quail and several other species of wildlife while in the stand. It's just nice to be in the woods in October."

The migratory birds have started moving into the state and not just waterfowl. Red-tailed hawks have started to show up along with white pelicans. The bald eagles won't be too far behind.

Woodcock season opens on Monday as they probe the soft ground for earthworms during the night. Snipe are in the state and their numbers are increasing daily. This should be a great season for waterfowl also.

Campers won't be fighting for their favorite campsite this month. Cool nights and warm days make October camping great. A campfire for warmth, grilling steaks and marshmallows with the essence of burning wood floating on autumn air is another reason why October is one of the outdoorsman's favorite months.

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Ken White
Outdoor Living