Outdoors

Faith, Kennedy and Grace Vaughan posing with hunted Geese near China.

January is one of the very best months to be a duck hunter. The regular gun season on deer is closed across most of the state, and with that down time, it’s easy to work in more waterfowl hunts. It’s cold, there are very few mosquitoes, snakes are scarce and more birds are moving into freshwater ponds and the coastal marsh with each passing cold front.

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Wild hogs captured by night vision camera

Pigs make white-tailed deer look stupid. It’s a fact that deer can become fairly predictable. Where you see them one day, you’ll more than likely see them the next in the same area, especially if you’re sitting in a blind watching a feeder. On the flip side, pigs are capable of being here, there and everywhere on any given day or night.

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Mistletoe

I’ve always wondered about that lore of kissing under the mistletoe, and after countless movies on the Hallmark channel, I thought it might be fun to investigate just where this all started. How could a parasite become something so mystical?

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A red snapper is released by Sea Grant researchers during a study trip

A team of university and government scientists, selected by an expert review panel convened by the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, will conduct an independent study to estimate the number of red snapper in the U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

“I look forward to the insights this project will provide as we work to study and manage this valuable resource,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “Communities around the Gulf of Mexico depend on the availability of healthy red snapper stocks to support their livelihoods.”

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Buddy Oaks photo of three men holding flounder fish

Flounder are some of the wackiest fish we’ll ever catch, but more often than not, they can save the day. That was the case last week during our first good blast of cold air. A few days ago, I was talking to guide Buddy Oaks across the border at the Hackberry Rod and Gun Club. That’s about 30 minutes east of Sabine Lake. He got to talking about their great catches of flounder and sent me a photo. Three guys at the club fished jigs at the mouths of bayous to catch a box full of flounder to four pounds.

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Joette Reger of Garden Gate

It is such a thrill each year to see the little buds come out on my Christmas cactus plants. Seems like they tease me for about three weeks before the buds turn into gorgeous blooms. What a seasonal decoration! Between blooming seasons, I keep them along with “expired” orchids on the tile floor under a piano. That way, it is hard to forget to give them watering every week or so until they surprise me with blooms again.

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deer are set to be moving and looking for food in this week's cold front

Our first good blast of cold air arrived this week, and that will guarantee that both hunters and fishermen will be getting the jump on game and fish across Texas.

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Fall flowers

“If you would be happy for a lifetime, grow Chrysanthemums.”

— Unknown Chinese philosopher

Just look at the wonderful surprise I saw at the Houston area Champions Golf Club. These lovely mums are a reminder of how hardy and long-lasting garden mums can be. And as you can see, they are just beautiful! I rounded the corner after attending a baby shower inside and on my way back to the car, there they were — a huge mass planting brightening everyone’s day.

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Allie Thorpe hunting on Running Bear Ranch near Fredericksburg

As we move into the holidays, there will be a whole lot of deer hunters heading out in hopes of filling tags and stocking up on venison. The good news is that this is about the time that lots of does and bucks begin showing up at corn feeders in the Pineywoods and the Hill Country. That makes it a lot easier to fill doe tags, and maybe get a shot at a pig or turkey. December is definitely one of the finest months to be in the hunt for deer – it’s cool and we have very few pesky mosquitoes to contend with.

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Deer photo by Robert Sloan

This past weekend was the opener of deer season across Texas and the duck season in the South Zone. It was the one weekend when hundreds of thousands of Texas hunters put on the camo, loaded their favorite gun and headed outdoors.

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