October 2003 Weekend
Short Story

Its October, the weekend opening of Muzzle loading hunting in the Big Cypress National Preserve. The rains of summer have filled the Big Cypress Swamp. Everything is very wet out there right now. Most of the pine and palmetto islands have water in them. This greatly affected our hunt. The usual places we would go, were too much of a chore to get too, in the high water. Its a good thing that hunting is not the most important part of the going.
On our weekend trip we took two of the new owners of Camp Kanawha. Camp Kanawha was owned by John Woodrum and was used by Jim Sharbono (Whiskers) the last many years. The new owners are Matthew Taylor, Jason Groover, Peter Mackey and Kyle Pennington
(whom didn't make the trip). They are sportsmen, familiar with the Big Cypress, as Matthew and his family lost their first Big Cypress Camp to the NPS years ago. They are going to be a welcome addition to the owners of camps in our area of the Big Cypress.

Jason & Matt on left
Jason, Matthew, Tony, Steve, Rich

Sunrise in the Big Cypress Swamp
Big Cypress Sunrise

While new owners are like the sunrise, at the beginning of the day, it also means the sunset of somebody's time in the Big Cypress Swamp. This is a change that is inevitable. Life always has a beginning and an end with a variable time in between. So does the time in the Big Cypress. In our area of the Big Cypress, we have seen this change in the last years. Most of the original sportsmen in our area are gone. Wayne Drake, Ed Stewart and Jack Kavanaugh remain. Not that we don't have good people following them, its just the ending of an era of the original settlers.

We have decided to restart one of the traditions in our area of the Big Cypress. That tradition is to hold a cookout opening weekend of general gun season. We have invited all the camps in our area to join us Saturday night, including the Game Wardens and National Park Service. There are a few camp owners in our area that I have not met, so this a good time to meet new people and renew old acquaintances. Looking forward to everyone coming.

I did hear that Franklin, over at Bears Den got the first deer in their camp. Seems like that happened last year also. Franklin is still showing those younger guys how it is done. Franklin also got the thrill of watching a black bear rip up a log for about twenty minutes, while he was in his stand. Too bad he didn't have a camera. Bob over at Big Pine Lodge got a nice 7 pointer Monday morning.

Story by Steve - October, 2003                                                                                        

You have to watch your step around Camp, You never know who your visitors will be.