Big Cypress Swamp - Winter 2007
Jump'n Round Like a Frog

Monroe Station
(looking South)
Monroe Station
Foreground is Designated Trail, Indian Village, with Monroe Station on the other side of the Tamiami Trail and the Everglades Conservation and Sportsmen Club in the background
Everglades Conservation and Sportsmen Club (looking East)
Everglades Conservation & Sportsmen Club
The Everglades Conservation and Sportsmen Club includes club grounds and facilities. These private 80 acres are enjoyed by members families in tradition of the "Gladesman Folk Culture".
An ole time Big Cypress Swamper, "Spence Fischer" sent me these pictures he took recently while visiting South Florida. He used to spend a lot of time at Monroe Station and in the swamps during the 1970's

Banana Spider

I find it interesting that the National Park Service has recently published a few fancy glossy documents on their Web Site. The most recent one being " Big Cypress Enabling Legislation" i.e.: "Public Law 93-440, as amended by Public Law 100-301". Just because you see one of my swamp buggies and four of my hunting buddies pictured on the front of the booklet, don't think I am endorsing the contents, but it seems to be a straight copy of the enabling law. If you would like to read the original law, before the amendment, read here: page1, page2, page3, page4.
The second document made available, is the "Big Cypress National Preserve, Private Property Owners Question and Answers, November 2005. I would have to say in reading this document that the NPS has made interpretations of the original law from their point of view to come up with some of their answers. Question 18 is a good example: Show me the term "in use" in the original or amended law? Section 3, b), i and ii has the words "is used", not "in use" within the section. To invent a meaning "must be in continual use" from words that don't exist ("in use") in the original legislation shows an arrogance toward following the written law, toward the writers of the law (your congressmen) and toward the land owners. (of course none of that make any sense to you, if you have not read the original law and question 18)

I hate to count how many times I have driven through the swamp at night and face first into one of these spider webs. The headlights always seem to miss reflecting on them and suddenly, smack! right across the face. It feels like that spider has two dozen legs as it runs across your face to get away.

Landowners - Read the original law yourself, the "Original Legislation", not a reprint from the National Park Service. The Landowners Q&A is full of word changes, when you think they are quoting the actual law wording. They are not, it contains subtle word changes that change the meaning from the original law.
Be smart, Be informed.

For those landowners in the Addition Lands, the third paragraph, second sentence of P.L. 93-440 states: "No improved property, as defined by this Act, nor oil and gas rights, shall be acquired without the consent of the owner unless the Secretary, in his judgment, determines that such property is subject to, or threatened with, uses which are, or would be detrimental to the purposes of the preserve." You do not have to sell or take a 25 year estate or a life estate, you can continue to own the improved property, don't let the NPS bluff you otherwise.

Wild Turkeys
Wild Turkeys
December Sunrise
December Sunrise
Wild Turkeys everywhere! The Big Cypress Swamp is enjoying a rejuvenation of wild turkeys. Why is that so? Its an unexpected benefit of the Florida Panther program. The success of the panther program has been at the expense of the small game in the Big Cypress Swamp.  Raccoons, Possums, Armadillos, wild hogs, most all the small game have been eaten by the expanded number of panthers in the Big Cypress Swamp. This means that wild turkeys are able to nest without the normal predators destroying their nests and eating their eggs or hatchlings. When man alters nature, the result is always unexpected. "The Early Bird gets the Worm", an old saying, but as I watched the Sunrise on this December morning, I was asking myself why I had gotten up in the dark and traveled a mile from camp, to sit in a damp tree stand as the sun began to break day. The reason was fresh hog rooting in the grassy area in front of me. A lone big boar has been in this area of the swamp for the last few years. Too big for a panther to take, it is leading a lonely existence, rooting the pine forest floor and the swampy edges of the cypress for food. No other hogs in his domain, for they were long ago panther food. A lonely life for sure. On this day, there were no worms to see, and this bird went home hungry.
Small Panther Track
Panther Track
NPS Property
Closed Sign

We kept wondering why we were not seeing deer in the usual places around our camp. Then mid-morning one of our party was sitting on a tree stand and as he scanned the surrounding swamp, his eyes settled on a pair of eyes looking back at him. A small panther was watching him intently as he hunted on his tree stand. He put his scope up on the eyes. Yep! a panther not a bob cat, no collar, so the panther program is not following this one around yet. There it is spoiling the hunt, no wonder there are no deer about.
Lower the scope and scanning the horizon again for game, eyes returning to the spot and gone. Disappeared as stealthily as it appeared, but the spot is spoiled, tomorrow a new spot will chosen for the hunt, by both man and cat.

You have to see the humor in this sign. Its posted on a metal grated door, pad locked shut, protecting another door, on a building with metal shutters and no openings, in the middle of the swamp. "the area behind the sign is closed to the public", duh!
In the old days in the swamp, anybody and everyone out there knew if they were on the wrong side of a locked door, they were making a big mistake. But I guess times are changing and people need a sign to tell them not to break open a locked door. I guess that is what the designated trails are bring to our door.
In the old days, when wilderness law prevailed, a quick swim in the local alligator hole, usually ended any repeats of that kind of nonsense.
Sick Deer
This deer stood in a puddle of water for a long time, then staggered slowly away from us.
Sick Deer
Here is a situation that I found disturbing. After a weekend in the swamp, our group was returning along the designated trail, when we came upon this deer. It is a legal buck and it was hunting season, but only the most callus hunter would not notice the deer was not well. Most smart hunters will not kill and eat a sick animal. We observed it for a while and discussed euthanizing it, but in the end let it walk off to let nature decide its faith.




Unknown Camp



This picture of a Big Cypress Swamp camp was sent to me recently, I anyone can identify it and tell me the owners name, it would be appreciated.

Email me at :Steve




written by Steve - 12/15/2007