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COUNTY: Collier County
LOCATION DETAILS: North of 41
NEAREST TOWN: Ochopee
NEAREST ROAD: US 41
OBSERVED: I was at a conference in Miami and I decided to take a hike in the big cypress preserve. After a couple hours of hiking and on my way back I found a track. That's when everything changed and my energy level went way up. It was off to the side of the old road or trail I was on. Looked like it probably been made after the water covering the road at one time had receded. I circled the track, going farther out each time looking for more. I got my camera and a measuring tape. It measured about 14" long and 6" wide and was probably about a week or two old. About 1 inch deep. Still holding its shape I could make out the outline of four toes. As I was measuring and taking photos I found myself looking over my shoulder every couple of minutes.
OTHER WITNESSES: Just myself
OTHER STORIES: I have read several reports from Collier County
TIME AND CONDITIONS: About 2:30 p.m. Sunny and warm
ENVIRONMENT: Swampy and the track was found on a bit of higher ground
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
Craig called us when he got home to Georgia, hoping we might be able to go out and cast the track he found. He forwarded us his photos, including the one shown below.
Due to its seclusion and the availability of food and water, this will be one area of interest during the South Florida Expedition in February.
Here's the best photo taken by Craig:
About BFRO Investigator Caroline Curtis:
- Worked as an Assistant to a Circuit Court Judge in Florida for thirteen years
- An avid outdoorswoman, growing up in the UP of Michigan on a family-owned fishing and hunting resort. Currently lives in the Hiawatha National Forest
- Certified Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Attended and assisted with numerous public and private BFRO expeditions
- She and the Florida BFRO organized South Florida Expedition 2008, North Florida Expedition 2008 and Central Florida Expedition in 2009.
- She and the Michigan BFRO organized the Lower-Michigan Expedition in 2011, Michigan UP Expeditions in 2012, 2013 and 2015. She will be co-organizing the 2016 Michigan UP Expedition in October.