"AUTUMN IS OUR TIME OF THE YEAR" by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton Were right in the middle of what many of us that enjoy hunting and fishing perceive to be the very best time of the year. Cooling temperatures make spending time on the water much more enjoyable than just a few short weeks ago. We hunters have already had dove, teal and now the archery season to further fire us up. Mother Nature has already given the fish a heads up that it is time to put on the feed bag, winter is coming and their metabolism will be slowing down. Right now, there is a smorgasbord of food for them to eat, the summers hatch of shad, crayfish, sunfish and a host of invertebrates make for a time of plenty the next couple months. If you enjoy camping, it just doesnt get any better than the next month or so. I recently set up a little camp down on the Brazos River and enjoyed catching a few of those scrappy river bass. What is better than fresh fish fillets cooked in a cast iron skillet over an open campfire? If youve never smelled the blended aroma of frying fish, wood smoke, boiling coffee, and fresh Autumn air that is a pleasant combination of drying leaves, ripe grasses mixed with a hint of chill, I sincerely hope you get away from the traffic, noise and often chaotic lifestyle of living in the city and spend a couple of days out there! Photo courtesy of Luke Clayton. Lake Caddo in East Texas is a destination that we enjoy visiting each fall. Its a surreal place where the scenery can best be described as a huge inland swamp, infested with groves of cypress trees. Boat lanes were cut through this thick forest years ago and channel intersections are great places to fish. As a matter of fact, Im planning to head that direction in a couple days to fish with Henry Lewis. Mr. Henry, as most folks call him, calls Johnsons Ranch Marina headquarters; he has guided at Caddo for crappie since 1950 when he was a youngster. Fall has a different feel and look at Caddo than any place Ive been and each year, I find myself called back to once again take in the sights, scenes and smells that somehow keep pulling me back. Life at Caddo Lake has changed little for folks that live by her shores. Going there is like stepping back into my boyhood days of the late fifties and early sixties. When youre in the outdoors this time of year, keep an eye and ear tuned to the sky. Weve already had an influx of migrating blue and greenwing teal. Soon, probably by the third week of the month, depending upon cold fronts up in Canada and Alaska, well hear the haunting cry of geese heading south to winter along the Texas coast. White Front (Specks) are the first to leave their breeding grounds on the tundra but cold weather will soon trigger the major migration of snows and Canadas. Ive been told by a friend that lived for many years in Alaska adjacent a huge snow goose nesting area, that the major migration begin each fall with the first full moon of October. His accounts of the many times when he would look out his cabin window and the fields would be white with geese, then during the night, he would hear them taking wing and, the next morning, they would be well on their way to their ultimate destination to the prairies of the Texas coast. Ive often thought of just how lonesome the feeling must be to have thousands of nesting geese living almost in your back yard one day and have wake up the next to total silence. My friend managed the wildlife and fishing on over 2 million acres of wilderness in Alaska for several years for the U.S. military. I can listen to his tells of trapping and relocating bear, hunting moose, sheep and caribou from remote camps for hours on end! If youre bound by tight budgets, heavy work schedules and simply cannot find the times or means to travel to enjoy the outdoors, take a minute and look at the opportunities in your own backyard. Chances are very good you live a few minutes from a city or state park or lake with a camping/picnicking area. Pick up some charcoal, stop by the store and grab some hot dogs or hamburger meat and spend a few hours in the outdoors with your family. Or, pack that cast iron Dutch Kettle and make a pot of chili oven an open fire. Everything tastes better in the outdoors! I can guarantee you will come back home refreshed and recharged! Lets get out there and enjoy this true blessing God has given us we call AUTUMN! ***************************************************************************** CAT Texas State Crappie Championship CAT will wind up its second year of competition by hosting what is expected to be the biggest, richest crappie tournament in the state of Texas; the first-ever CAT Texas State Crappie Championship (TSCC). The TSCC will be a two-day championship, October 16-17, 2009, held at Northshore Marina on the shores of Richland-Chambers Reservoir, just south of Corsicana, Texas. Over 145 anglers are qualified to compete for a total purse of more than $12,000 in cash and prizes. For more information about becoming a member of The Crappie Anglers of Texas and fishing upcoming tournaments, visit the clubs website: www.crappieclub.org. OUTDOOR TIP OF THE WEEK- Firearms season for whitetail is quickly approaching. Now is a great time to spend a couple hours at the range and make sure Ole Betsy is still shooting where you aim. In a couple of weeks, gun ranges will become crowded with deer hunters checking their rifles. Before heading out, make sure the scope bases and rings are tight. Dont over tighten the set screws, just get them snug. You dont want to strip out any threads here at the last minute! In years past, Ive had rifles with scopes that worked perfectly, then after a few months in the gun cabinet, lose their zero when tested at the rifle range. Make sure and sight in your rifle with the same ammo you plan to hunt with, switching brands often changes the point of impact. When installing a new scope, have your rifle bore sighted first to assure your first shot is on paper, then adjust your crosshairs to be dead on at 30 yards then, move out to 100 yards and complete your adjustments. After each adjustment of the windage and elevation screws, give each a light tap to insure its locked in place. One last tip, if you will be hunting from a box blind, as many rifle hunters do, bring along some sort of pad to set in the window to help steady your rifle. And, when actually shooting from your blind, avoid resting the rifles stock too close to the trigger guard, this creates an unstable rest. Place the end of the forestock on the window ledge and your shot will be much more stable. Want even more of Luke's hunting/fishing tips and tricks, wild game recipes etc? Listen to Outdoors With Luke Clayton for a new show each week at www.catfishradio.com and check out the new fishing videos at lukeshotspots.com Contact Luke at firstname.lastname@example.org The BOC has a virtual library of Luke's stories right here on the forums; just about anything you could want to read about the outdoors. Click here to see a boat load of information!