October Weekend
Short Story

Its the opening weekend of muzzle loading season in the Big Cypress National Preserve. We enjoyed a four day hunting trip. The weather was very good to us, after threatening us with a hurricane. We were not successful with a harvest, but we could have been, that's a story I will tell, but first let me update you on the progress of the BICY's new cabin at Camp Calusa.
As you can see from the picture to the right, they are almost finished with the new cabin. Its a pretty and cozy looking cabin. Freshly painted, with seemingly only the hanging of some shutters left to do. I can't wait for my next trip to see how it is furnished. Will it be military style, with metal bunk beds, or will it be more of a at home look, with single beds, night stands and modesty screens. After all, it has to be Coed you know. Will it have that large screen TV or just a radio to listen too.  I will keep you updated, on how your tax dollars are being spent..

  BICY new cabin at Calusa Camp
New Cabin at Camp Calusa
Pine Island like the one in the hunt
Pine Island Buckskin Prairie - muhly grass with Pine Flatwoods in background
Buckskin Prairie

Lucky Hog
Four of us from Sixpack have hunted Sat. Sun and now Mon. morning our last day of the hunt. None of us, including the surrounding camps, has been successful so far. Tony and I have sat on stands over looking an area that has fresh hog sign. Each morning and afternoon, we have heard hogs grunting and crashing through the pine island out in front of us, but none have been seen. This morning has been quiet, so the last half hour before having to return to camp, I decided to scout a little, to see where to set the stand for the general gun season.
As I ease along the edge of the pine island, I hear a quiet sound, like a twig breaking. I stop and listen, looking in the thick palmettos. The dark shape of a hog slips by an opening in the palmettos, about twenty feet from me. I cock the hammer on my muzzle loader and the click makes the hog freeze. It has stopped where I can't see it. I take a quiet step forward and the hog quickly moves forward about five feet. Now its shape is visible to me through the palmettos and I put the sights on its chest and pull the trigger. I hear a click and so does the hog. It quickly runs about twenty feet away and starts that deep breathing they do, when they are trying to smell something. Its a deep sound that would terrorize you, if you didn't know it was coming from a hog. The hog never did see me, but the second click, made by the set trigger was enough to send it running. I had pulled the second (set) trigger in my excitement, rather then the first one that would have fired the gun. That's hunting, if it was a sure thing, it wouldn't be fun.
I did get a report that Franklin, from Bears Den, got himself a 2 1/2 year old, fork horn buck, opening weekend. Franklin, who is more my age, showed those young Bears Den guys, how to do it. They got blanked.

On the trip out, as we got down to Buckskin Prairie, Bob's buggy, had a old pine stump jump out in front of it. So as you can see in the picture on the right, the trip to the hard road was delayed. When ever you are in the swamp, and you come across a scene like this, you know something bad has happened to a buggy.
Bob's buggy had a badly bent tie rod. He tried to straighten the tie rod by pulling on it with a strap, but that didn't work out. So it was removed and straightened by wedging it in the frame of  a buggy and three guys putting their collective weight on it. It was soon replaced and off we went.
The rest of the trip to the hard road was un-eventful. For those of you that are wondering how well the hardened trail is holding up under the wet season, its not, on the bottom end. The area where it cuts across a prairie, it is washing out in big holes. In the area that follows the old logging trail (monument road), its holding up well.

  People looking under a Buggy - Never a good sign
Buggy breakdown on Buckskin Prairie
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Story by Steve - October 28, 2002