Cold of the Fall

Morning Coffee

Cold of the Fall

Halito (Hello) from Dr. Evan Whitley, Executive Director of Agriculture.

As it relates to weather patterns, fall in Oklahoma is a veritable rollercoaster ride. As I write this, it’s the week before Youth Gun season, and my 16-soon-to-be-17-year-old daughter is borderline frothing at the mouth to get in the stand.

One of the hardest aspects about hunting the early season(s) (i.e., archery, youth gun and muzzleloader) here in Oklahoma is the stark temperature difference between hunting in the morning and evening. It is not atypical to need a fairly thick jacket for morning hunts, then hunt in short sleeves after lunch.

It has me thinking about how these huge (sometimes 20-degree!) daily fall weather changes also impact our decision-making outside of our hunting efforts.

Firstly, for those sometimes-forgetful folks, how many jackets and/or vests have been lost in early fall? You needed it that morning, then took it off about lunchtime and left it laying… somewhere.

Secondly, this is usually when the age-old debate of “straw vs. felt hat” makes its first annual appearance. A felt is warranted in the early morning, but by mid-morning, you’re looking for a little air circulation. I have heard lots of “rules” on when the start/stopping points are but it is evident, if you attend an auction in October, by how many folks are wearing both, that there is not a universal rule for all of us to follow.

Thirdly – and more serious for those of us in ranching during the early fall – is the elevated morbidity and mortality rate in mostly “fresh” calves. Tragically, October is often referred to as “Dead Calf Month,” as many calves are weaned on the trailer going into town. Vaccination programs (while still on the cow and boostered at weaning) can provide calves the passive and active immunity they need to better withstand these trying fall weather patterns. Passive immunity comes from the cow vaccination, Active comes from the individual vaccination.

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