OUTDOORS: State parks open despite government shutdown

Taylor Mitchell By Taylor Mitchell

Oct. 15, 2013 at 5:15 a.m.

As is the case with most federal buildings, if you drive up to a national park, you'll see a closed sign.

The federal government shutdown, which is in its second week, is affecting many, like people wanting to get away for a quick weekend or a Boy Scouts troop rescheduling its camping trip.

But for those looking to spend time outdoors, there are still plenty of options available, including Goliad State Park. In fact, all Texas state parks are open for business.

You can still visit the Mission Rosario State Historic Site, the Spanish Colonial Era Mission of Nuestra Senora del Espiritu Santo de Zuniga and go hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, swimming and fishing.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reported an increase in activity last week and could possibly see even more if the shutdown persists into the holiday season.

Favorable outlook forTexas deer season

With the general deer hunting season right around the corner, the TPWD is reporting there are roughly 3.6 million deer in the Lone Star state available to hunters.

"Statewide population trends remain stable, and hunters should expect good numbers of deer year in and year out," said TPWD whitetail deer program leader Alan Cain in a press release. "One factor hunters should also keep in mind is the good carryover of deer from the 2012 season, as harvest was down resulting from heavy acorn and mast crops in several regions of the state. For hunters, this translates into plenty of opportunities to harvest a deer."

Cain also predicts antler quality to be above average in areas that received good spring rains.

"Rainfall plays a key role by influencing the native habitat and forage, ultimately affecting the quality of nutrition a buck receives in order to grow antlers," Cain said. "In dry years, we typically see a decline in overall antler quality and increases in wet years related to nutrition."



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