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SNYDER: Cooler weather means autumn, and great outdoor activities, are near

ANDY SNYDER
YorkDispatch

It's finally here — cooler weather.

While I never want to wish away the warmth and sun of summer, there's nothing quite like those first few days when fall lets us know it's on its way.

I've got leaves on my grass, pumpkins on the table and, best of all, acorns beneath the oak tree behind my house. That means, not only are we going from summer to fall, but we're also ushering in another hunting season. I'm ready for it.

The summer of 2015 is just a couple of weeks away from going into the history books. It was a busy summer, but it was a good one. I got in some good hikes, some great fishing and even spent some hours on the boat with just my son.

My head was swimming with thoughts earlier this week as the hot summer weather suddenly turned cooler, hinting at the fall weather ahead. Archery season, duck hunting, striped bass fishing, deer scouting, camping, a return to the trout streams —you name it, and it's at its prime over the next three months.

There's plenty of fun to be had. But every year somebody asks me to hypothetically pick just one activity for the whole season. The thought of leaving the bow, the rods or even the shotgun at home in autumn is enough to make me shiver, but I always play along. It's a fun game and helps set priorities.

If my schedule erupts and I get just one day to be outdoors this fall, I would go striped bass fishing at the mouth of the Delaware Bay. It's an incredible adventure, one that allows us to tap into a world-class fishery. The fish are big, they fight hard and, most appealing, the coastal waters are flat-out gorgeous from now through the New Year.

A mixture of crisp fall air and saltwater still holding a summer's worth of warmth blitzing your face as a 30-pound fish fights to stay out of the net is all the proof we need to convince us Mother Nature is good. It may be one of the best sensations in all of the outdoors sports.

A close second place would be climbing into my deer stand during the heat of the rut. The woods come alive with the energy of whitetail bucks fighting for dominance and searching for does. On a good day, it's a virtual deer parade walking by your stand. It's awesome.

Fortunately, even the busiest of schedules allows us to take advantage of autumn's many treats. If variety truly is the spice of life, autumn is a great time of the year to be a fan of the outdoors. This fall will be one of the best.

Bring on the cool air.

Andy Snyder writes about the outdoors for The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sports@yorkdispatch.com.