"PLANNING IS HALF THE FUN! " by Luke Clayton Luke Clayton I truly believe that most of us enjoy planning for an upcoming outdoor adventure almost as much as actually being there. About the time youre reading this, I plan to be enjoying a quiet evening at dove camp situated on the Holt River Ranch in Palo Pinto County. Im packed and ready to roll! I plan to drive up in the afternoon, set up a little camp on the Brazos River, launch my Buster Boat, and do some bass fishing during the last couple hours of daylight. After a good nights sleep, I will be refreshed and ready for an early morning dove hunt. Photo courtesy of Luke Clayton. Ive learned long ago that planning is of paramount importance on fishing and hunting trips, especially when these outings incorporate overnight campouts. My little camp will be five or six miles from the nearest public road and another five miles to the nearest store. Once I arrive and get camp set up, I dont plan to break the tranquility by having to drive out and pick up an item in town that I might have forgotten. On outings such as this, I make a list a couple of days before the trip. On trips where one plans to hunt and fish, its necessary to take a smorgasbord of items. Forget your shells, game bag or even something as minor as a zip lock bag for keeping dove breasts fresh in the ice cooler and youve got problems. Likewise with fishing; nothing worse than planning to use Texas rig worms to trick those river bass and look in your tackle box to discover you forgot the worm weights! I usually set up a pretty Spartan camp but even when only the basic of items are used, theres lots of things to remember. Im planning a meal of wild turkey fajitas the first evening. I can easily count 6 items necessary to prepare this relatively simple meal. I will join some friends for the morning dove hunt but the afternoon and evenings will be spent in solitude fishing, cooking and later in the evening, watching the heavens for the nightly display of our universe in motion. The late summer night sky is stunningly brilliant this far from artificial lights; it does the soul good to spend time contemplating just how huge is the universe and how small we are. A half mile or so up the river from where I camp is a huge section of rock, about 50 yards long and 30 feet high that is removed from the nearby mountain by about thirty feet. It looks as though that eon ago, it was sawed from the face of the mountain and moved out to create a prefect dwelling place for ancient hunters and fishermen that called this Brazos River country home. I never spend time on the Holt River Ranch that I dont take time to reflect upon all the peoples before me that had the privilege of spending time in this stunningly beautiful but rough cedar county. I also think of the noted author John Graves that traveled this stretch of the Brazos in his canoe, stopping each evening to camp and fish. The details of his days spend alone on the Brazos are in his book, Goodbye To A River. The spirit of Graves and every other adventurer that has camped and lived in this country is somehow embedded in the rocks, water and ancient live oaks. Not far from my camp, ranch manager John Bryan once showed me the remains of what was once an old wagon road. Well over a hundred years ago, this deeply rutted trail served as the only means of land travel in what must have then been a pristine wilderness. This is Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving country. In truth these famous cowmen began their cattle drives from this area, rather than deep south Texas as depicted in the movie Lonesome Dove. Loving is buried in the Greenwood Cemetary in nearby Weatherford. Ill bait a couple of rods for catfish, in hopes of catching some fresh fish to enjoy with a meal of dove breast wrapped in bacon and grilled over hot mesquite coals. Hopefully by sundown, Ill have a few river bass on ice. I have a lure of frayed nylon rope that I plan to use to sight cast for gar. The deeper holes in the Brazos are good spots to target these good eating and hard fighting fish. If you love the outdoors as I do, I am certain you share my anticipation for getting out there for a couple of days. Heres wishing you great times in the great outdoors this fall. As a wise old fellow once said, my health is always better in the fall. I agree wholeheartedly! Outdoor Tip of the Week- Bow season for whitetail is only a month or so away. Now is prime time to devote time to practicing on 3D targets. We live on a few acres that is covered with trees. For practice just before bow season or any other upcoming hunt, I set the targets in heavy cover and walk through the area with my bow, stopping to take shots where an opening presents the opportunity. These impromptu practice sessions are great for learning to judge distance and quickly decide the proper shot angle to make on game. Its also a good idea to shoot from elevated positions, especially if you will be hunting from a tree stand. LC 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!