Outdoors

The Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center will be reopening, after closing for more than a year due to Hurricane Harvey, Wednesday, Sept. 12. Admission is free; however, due to the flooding from Harvey, the Outpost Tours will be under repair and therefore suspended until early 2019. The Exhibit Hall will also be closed. Though it has been closed for some time the garden is ready for visitors again. 

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 With the dove hunting opener fast approaching it’s time to get geared up with everything from a new hunting license to shotgun shells.

The new 2018-19 hunting and fishing licenses went on sale last week. Now is a good time to go ahead and renew. If you wait until the day before dove season opens you could be stuck standing in line for a good while. The most popular license is the Super Combo that includes both hunting and fishing and stamps. That way you’ve got everything on one piece of paper.

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Another season of dove hunting begins Saturday, Sept. 1. That’s when the North and Central Zones will open, and the regular season of the South Zone will open Friday, Sept. 14. One thing is certain: It’s not going to be much cooler then. With that in mind, you might want to start making short walks around the neighborhood to kind of get yourself in shape for hunting in steamy weather. Ditto that for your retriever.

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Joshua Davis

Memorials, objects that serve to remind of a person or event, have been erected for various people, occasions and organizations from the Haymarket Martyr Memorial to the National September 11th Memorial & Museum. Memorials serve a much-needed function for citizens to remember and, therefore, live with a greater passion. The Big Thicket is now host to one of these remembrances thanks to Joshua Davis, West Brook freshman.

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Buddy Oaks photo

This past weekend was one to forget if you had plans on being outdoors. With temperatures in the 40s and a gusting, cold and wet wind, it was the perfect weekend for watching the Masters golf tournament. But believe it or not, if the weather is not topsy-turvy, there’s some pretty good fishing to be had.

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Corky fishing lures

Without a doubt, the best lure you can tie on and fish for trophy trout right now is a Corky. It’s the lure Jim Wallace used to catch the state record rod and reel trout weighing 13.11 pounds. It’s a classic mullet imitator, which is why it’s so good at catching big trout from Sabine Lake on down to the Laguna Madre. There are three types of these lures made: the Paul Brown Original, the Fat Boy and the Soft Dine.

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Cold and wet weather put the skids to fishing on inland lakes and bays last weekend, but with a decent warming trend this week, things should pick up.

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Cool weather flowers

Just when you think one more day of dreary drizzly weather will send you straight to Mexico, you see a patch of colorful winter blooms that cheer you up. February is when I need a splash of color the most. We seldom freeze, but our cool weather temperatures have scared away most of our summer bloomers by now. But think about cheery pansies, snapdragons, ornamental kale, English daisies and my favorites, primrose and cyclamen. We can enjoy them here until temperatures start to climb in late spring.

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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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