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Outdoors: Fishing, toys and Christmas

Outdoors: Fishing, toys and Christmas

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Christmas might seem like a long way off, but after today, there are only seven more Sundays until December. The holiday season is a good time for lots of people, but for others, the stresses of money, losses of loved ones, and other factors weigh heavy and make the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day a hard stretch to endure.

There are plenty of ways to help folks out through the holidays, and now’s the time to start planning and taking action. One way you can do something good for people in need, while also promoting the outdoor sports, is by supporting the Fish On Texas Toys for Tots fishing tournament.

The fifth annual tourney will take place on Dec. 4 at Lake Waco’s Lacy Point, and organizers are looking for donations to help bring some extra cheer to kids this Christmas. Some items on the wish list are fishing poles and tackle, canopies and tents, grills and cookers, archery equipment, warm clothing, gift cards, outdoor-grade Bluetooth speakers, camping gear, and about anything else that can be used to fish, hunt, camp, hike, bike, etc.

Tournament sponsorships are also available, and donors/sponsors will be recognized on flyers, advertisements, and websites. Last year’s tournament saw a whopping 50.5-pound blue cat weighed in, along with a lake record-setting 22-pound longnose gar. It also provided three truckloads of new, unwrapped toys and gear for Central Texas youngsters.

For more information, visit Fish On Texas.

Midway Park ramp closure

If you’re looking to launch your boat or set up camp at Lake Waco’s Midway Park, you should look elsewhere for at least the rest of October, says U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lake manager Mike Champagne.

Contractors are busy with construction and facility upgrades in the park, including replacing and repairing underground water lines, and depending on weather and other factors, the work should be completed in the next few weeks.

Currently, the only other closure at Lake Waco is the Reynolds Creek Park campground, according to Champagne.

Archery seasons open

Archery season opened last weekend in all but two of Texas’ 254 counties, and white-tailed deer hunters have reported quality deer in terms of both antler and body size. Other seasons that opened on Oct. 2 were Rio Grande turkey, along with mule deer and pronghorn in a limited number of counties.

The general deer season opens on Nov. 6, and hundreds of thousands of hunters will try to put one of Texas’ more than five million whitetails in their sights. Thanks to wet and mild spring and summer seasons, hunters should find above average antler quality, but with plenty of acorns and other forage available, hunting near feeders might be a little slow.

Wildlife biologist and avid outdoorsman Josh Sears says hunting near acorn-producing oaks is your best bet, and added that the favorable spring and summer weather contributed to an excellent fawn crop, meaning deer hunting should be in good shape for years to come.

The first split of the 2021 dove season continues through Oct. 31. The second split opens on Dec. 17 and runs through Jan. 14 (Central Zone). With every cold front come new waves of doves migrating southward for the winter, and lots of hunters have recently found themselves bagging more birds than during the season’s opening weeks.

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