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Re: [ft-l] Going to Wekiwa Springs State Park

There are black bears in Wekiwa.  The rangers sometimes have pictures
displayed on a bulletin board near the spring.  My only bear sighting there
was several years ago near Camp Cozy, along the river.  We hear loud
scratching sounds in the trees and looked up to see two cubs clinging to the
trunk high up in an old oak.  We figured with cubs up there momma was
probably somewhere close, so we didn't linger long.  But it was a wonderful
sight.  The closest I have gotten to an adult bear there was to find a
still-oozing hind paw print, also up along the river.  It was a very large
print for a Florida Black Bear.  A really good place for bear sightings is
Seminole State Forest and the Lower Wekiva Reserve, on the other side of the
Wekiva River.  I saw three in that area last year. Or maybe it was the same
bear three times!

I have had problems with raccoons in the two trail campsites, at the
established campground and near the picnic area at the springs, but we
didn't have any trouble at all at the canoe campsite.  Maybe the canoe sites
are not used enough for the 'coons to associate them with food.

Also, you can see loads of deer in Wekiwa, especially during general gun
season.  I was there early in the fall, waiting in the entrance parking lot
to meet some people, and three large deer - 2 does and a 6-point buck -
wandered through the parking area.

PS, the panther sighting was 15 years ago, before the area around the park
was subdivision. Haven't seen any since and don't expect to.  Wouldn't have
seen the panthers then, but a jogger set off down the horse trail as we were
getting our packs on in the Sand Lake parking lot.  He reappeared about 2
minutes later saying "somebody come quick, I need witnesses to believe I saw
what I think I just saw."  We walked down the trail with him and he pointed
to the NE and told us I thought he had seen a panther in the palmettos over
there.  We didn't see anything, but 10 yards up the trail we found fresh
track where they had moseyed across the trail.  We continued up the trail a
little further and as we rounded a bend just caught a glimpse of 2 panthers
melting into the forest.  I was ecstatic.  Reported the sighting to the
rangers when we left and they confirmed that there had been other sighting
in the park recently, but no photos.


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