- Hike and Explore the Deer Trails
- Hang Your Tree Stands
- Enjoy Watching the Bird Migrations
- Fall is On-The-Way
By Larry Whitely
August has been unusually mild and wonderfully cool and comfortable here in Missouri. Some mornings call for a light jacket and pants instead of shorts and t-shirt. It has felt more like late September or early October. I didn’t hear anyone complain about the weather.
Most years, September can still be hot, muggy and buggy here in Missouri, but this year the weatherman is telling us to continue to expect even cooler weather than we had in August. Here in southwest Missouri they are even predicting some nights in the 40s. Lake water temperatures have already dropped into the low 70s in some places.
After Labor Day the summer crowds will be gone from our local lakes and rivers, and the waters will be quieter and more enjoyable. Because of this cooler weather, fish are starting to become more active and fattening up for the long winter months ahead. It’s a great time to stock the freezer with fish to enjoy on the cold days to come.
If you don’t fish, it’s a great time to paddle around the lake or go float a river. Maybe stop for a rest on the bank or gravel bar and build a campfire to sit around to relax and enjoy the flickering flames.
The cooler weather has also got the squirrels busy storing nuts sooner than usual. The whitetail deer coats are changing from reddish brown to gray.
If you’re a hunter it’s time to get ready or go hunting. Dove hunting opened September 1st and teal season opens September 9th.
Deer and turkey archery season opens September 15th. Firearms turkey goes from October 1st to the 31st. If you’re one of the lucky ones that head west to hunt, the majestic elk are waiting, so are the mule deer and pronghorn antelope.
This cooler weather will also make all your preparations for the hunting seasons a lot more tolerable than usual too. Now you can make sure you can get those deer stands up and blinds set, get in more bow practice, make sure your rifle or shotgun is properly sighted, and get all your gear inventoried and ready.
If you are not a hunter but love to camp don’t put away your camping gear yet. Campgrounds are a lot less crowded than summer days. Sometimes you may even have the whole place to yourself.
The cooler September weather this year is also great for hiking the multitude of trails Missouri has to offer so get out there and enjoy. There’s no better way to get the exercise we all need and enjoy nature’s beauty at the same time.
Birds tell us that fall is at hand long before our human senses detect it. At wetlands and marshes throughout the state, shorebirds are already beginning to head to more exotic places than here.
Bird watching trips might offer the opportunity to see migratory birds that you don’t normally see at any other time of year in Missouri.
The bug-eating Purple Martin’s are growing restless and some are already bound for their winter home in Brazil. Hummingbird feeders are suddenly abuzz with hummers energizing for their long flight south.
Other winged creatures sensing the cooler weather are also on the move. Bats flutter and dive through the early night sky consuming the last of the insect crop. What few Monarch butterflies we still get coming through Missouri are getting ready to begin their incredible journey to Mexico or have already left.
The buckeye tree has already lost most of its leaves, but a few buckeyes might still cling to the bare branches. I was always told a buckeye in your pocket brings you good luck. Maybe I need to make sure I have one in my pocket for deer season.
Papaw and persimmon trees have fruited and will soon be ripening for the enjoyment of the wildlife, and those of us humans who still enjoy them too. Acorns are also falling to the ground, much to the delight of the squirrels, chipmunks, deer, turkey and other critters.
The leaves of poison ivy and Virginia Creeper vines have begun to turn a crimson red. So have the leaves of our Missouri State tree, the Dogwood. The rest of the trees will soon follow with their special colors to give us the glorious fall kaleidoscope of colors that awaits us in October.
All of these are signs that summer is almost gone and come September 22nd it officially is. Now, let’s just hope the weatherman’s predictions are accurate and we can get out in this year’s cooler September weather and enjoy Missouri’s great outdoors.