Tap into outdoor fun in the August heat

Robert Sloan photo Beat the heat with an early morning or late afternoon hike at

Something that absolutely drives me crazy are the folks that start a conversation about it being so hot during August. Hey, it’s always like this. On any given day you can scramble eggs on your driveway at high noon. We all know it’s Texas hot right now, but there are ways to get outdoors and still have some fun. For example, try:

Crabbing at McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge

One of my favorite mid-summer things to do is to go crabbing at the McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge west of Sabine. The refuge is open daily from about daylight till dusk with free entry. Crabbing on the backwater estuary lakes is excellent during the hottest days of summer. There are marsh ponds along with the 10-mile cut in this refuge. One thing you want to do is to get an early start, even on weekdays, if you want a good spot on the crabbing piers and bridges. 

Village Creek paddling adventure

If you’ve got a kayak or canoe, Village Creek is one of the best summertime adventures you can tap into. One of the best places to put in is at Village Creek State Park. From the launch area, you can paddle up or down creek. Unless we have a deluge of rain, the current will be perfect for going upstream. One very good option is to put in and paddle downstream, stop at the park swimming area and get wet and cool off.  From there you can paddle downstream for a mile or so, then take a break and head in. If you get hot, fall out of your boat and soak up the cool creek water.

Bolivar beaches

It’s always a hoot to spend a day at the beach. Sure it’s salty and sandy, but the kids love it, and what better way to work on a tan. My mother’s favorite quick-hit summer escape was to load up her four kids, pick up our cousins and road trip it to Bolivar Peninsula or Galveston. Definitely this is best done during the week when there aren’t throngs of crazy people on the beach. Take plenty of shade, water, sunscreen and something to cook the hotdogs on.

Hiking and biking at Village Creek and Martin Dies Jr. state parks

We have two great state parks within a short drive of home here in Southeast Texas. They are Village Creek and Martin Dies Jr. Both offer excellent biking and hiking trails through the woods. There are short and long trails. Right about now, I recommend the shorter trails. Pack plenty of water and high-energy snacks. Don’t forget to keep your dog on a leash, and remember they need water, too.

Upper coast WMA public hunting access informational meeting

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has scheduled an informational meeting on public hunting access during upcoming migratory game bird hunting seasons at the J.D. Murphree WMA. Updates on public hunting access within the Upper Coast Wildlife Management Areas and information on the rules and regulations of leased lands will be covered.

The public meeting will be held Tuesday, Aug. 23, from 6-8 p.m. at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area Check Station at 10 Parks and Wildlife Drive in Port Arthur, on the south side of highway 73 near the intersection with Jade Avenue.

Additional information regarding public hunting opportunities on TPWD-owned lands is available at tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/hunt/public/ or by contacting J.D. Murphree WMA at (409) 736-2551.

TPWD releases gator hide tag issuance dates, locations

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has set dates and locations for issuance of alligator hide tags to qualified landowners and their agents.

The open hunting season for alligators in their core habitat area runs Sept. 10-30 and the core range covers Angelina, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Galveston, Hardin, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Nacogdoches, Newton, Orange, Polk, Refugio, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler and Victoria counties.

Additional details about alligator hunting requirements in Texas are available online or by contacting TPWD’s Alligator Program at (409) 736-3625.

In order to receive alligator hide tags, landowners/agents must have GPS coordinates for their property entrance, an aerial map of the property and a copy of the deed or property tax receipt showing ownership. Only checks with proper ID or money orders will be accepted as payment for alligator hide tags. A Social Security number and a valid driver’s license are also required for issuance. If hide tags are not picked up as scheduled, tags will be issued by appointment only. No tags will be issued after Sept. 6, and any hide tags or paperwork returned to the Port Arthur TPWD office after the Oct. 31 deadline will affect future hide tag issuance for those properties.

Alligator hide tag issuance locations and dates:

• J. D. Murphree WMA at 10 Parks and Wildlife Drive, off Highway 73 in Port Arthur. Call (409) 736-3625. Tags issued Wednesday, Aug. 31, from 9 a.m. — noon and 1-5 p.m.

• Jasper TPWD District Office Complex at 289 CR 098, Jasper. Call (409) 384-6894. Tags issued Saturday, Aug. 13, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.