By Brandon Butler
If only October would happen more than once a year.
Everything about this month entices one to venture outdoors. The weather is cool in the morning and evening, but warm in the afternoon. Leaves are changing colors. Fish are biting. Hunting seasons are open, and crowds have dissipated from our parks.
If ever there was a time to combine outdoor pursuits, it’s now.
There isn’t a time of year I don’t enjoy being outside. I can always find something to do. But I don’t like being hot — and I don’t like chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes, but they sure seem to like me. I’m also not really a fan of crowds. October somehow takes care of all of this.
You can again walk through the woods without being bitten, and chances are you’ll have the trail to yourself. This is the best time of year to just be outside.
If you’re a sportsman, then you know October is when the magic happens. You can hunt deer, turkey, squirrels and more. Fish are on the feed, getting ready for the winter. In our lakes and rivers across the state, anglers are finding success no matter the species they’re after.
October may also be the best time to go camping. Sitting by a campfire in your favorite flannel shirt on a crisp October night under a canopy of stars, roasting marshmallows and drinking a cup of hot chocolate? How it gets better than that, I’ve yet to figure out.
The beauty of this time of year is you don’t have to choose what pastime to enjoy this weekend. You can combine many, and a number of Indiana DNR properties are perfect for doing so. With great campsites, outstanding water resources for fishing and plenty of nearby public lands, these three Indiana destinations allow outdoors enthusiasts to combine activities in one immediate area:
Raccoon State Recreation Area
Raccoon Lake is located near the town of a beautiful reservoir located in Parke County, near Rockville. The campground is top notch, with beautiful sites, easy access to the water and plenty of other amenities for family fun. There are 240 electric sites, 37 primitive sites, a youth tent area and a camp store. Raccoon Lake offers excellent fishing.
Yellowwood State Forest
Yellowwood is located between Bloomington and Nashville, with possibly some of the best fall foliage in the state. Yellowwood offers a primitive campground, meaning there is no electricity. There are vault toilets and drinking water. The natural surroundings are fantastic. There are 80 primitive campsites and a carry-in tent site area back in the forest.
The 13-acre lake, hiking trails, and playgrounds make Yellowwood a great place to get away from it all.
Patoka Lake State Recreation Area
With an 8,800-acre lake as the centerpiece of this incredible property, Patoka is a prime destination for hunters and fishermen looking to camp in the fall. Along with hunting and fishing, Patoka offers hiking, biking, wildlife watching and more.
The campground offers modern facilities with restrooms and showers. There are 455 electric sites and 45 primitive. Patoka is located between French Lick and Jasper.
See you down the trail.
Brandon Butler writes a weekly outdoors column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.