The best month of the year is here. I wish October stretched into Spring.
The undisputed king of the calendar offers everything outdoors folk could want. Winter has snow, Spring has showers, Summer has sunshine—October has all of that and more. Sure, it might be short of wildflowers and swimming and snow skiing, but good Ole October makes some savvy trades.
We get to wear shorts and sandals on the warmest afternoons and we get to pull out the waxed cotton and wool to combat sleet and snow.
Great bird migrations pass back South through the Mitten and excited, amateur ornithologists flock to shorelines and flights paths peering through binoculars to put checkmarks next to the feathered transients.
Camouflaged wingshooters do the same. For many hunters, duck and goose season is the greatest of all outdoor pursuits. A menagerie of web-footed, water birds make our state their home. It is a perfect land. To the extent that some, like golf course geese, have become a nuisance and warrant a special, extended season.
And Michigan is a such wonderful, watery rest stop that birds which have summered in the Northern wilds funnel into our territory by the many thousands. Skies filled with chattering, deep duck V’s and flooded fields crowded with gossiping gaggles of geese make Michigan’s Fall a waterfowling paradise.
There’s upland hunting too. Grouse are the king of gamebirds and make fools of even the most seasoned dogs and grizzled hunters. Woodcock migrations help heel their wounded pride by holding tight for pointers and giving the orange vested gunslingers close and easy shots.
Fishing, also, gets good again in October. Lake temperatures lower and warmwater species put on a final feed bag. While in the rivers, trout and salmon move to spawning grounds en masse and make for fast angling targets.
Deer and small game hunters find their stage places and don their appropriate costumes, as well.
Fall mushroom hunters, too, slink around secretly gathering a fungus abundance far greater and easier to find than Spring Morels. Sometimes disguised with an orange hunter’s hat, the mycophiles still give themselves away by toting with them baskets and mesh bags and hypoallergenic dogs.
And it all happens backdropped by Fall Colors.
No one can do it all—some try. I try.
It all ends with Halloween candy and costumes that we haven’t gotten to wear yet.
It’s going to be November in a blink, so don’t dawdle to the water.