Geographical Index > United States > Florida > Liberty County > Report # 21254
Submitted on Monday, August 27, 2007.
78 year-old life-long woodsman finds tracks along the Apalachicola River
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COUNTY: Liberty County
NEAREST TOWN: 20 MILES SOUTH OF BRISTOL FLA.
NEAREST ROAD: HI WAY 12 SOUTH
OBSERVED: I DID NOT SEE THE ANIMAL BUT I SAW THE TRACK. IT WAS ABOUT 16 OR 18 IN. LONG AND ABOUT 8 IN, WIDE.
THE HEEL WAS NOT LIKE A HUMAN BUT MORE SHARPE LIKE A BEAR. I KNOW IT WAS NOT A BEAR. I HAVE ALSO SEEN THEM SENSE IN OTHER PLACES CLOSE TO THISA SPOT.
THIS MORNING I HAD STARTED HUNTING AND IT HAD BEEN RAINING AND IT WAS FREEZING. THE FOOTPRINTS
WENT THRU A PUDDLE OF WATWER THAT WAS FROZEN ,OR HAD ICE ON IT . THE TOES ON THIS FOOTPRINT WERE EXTRA LONG FOR A HUMAN AND IT HAD NO SHOES ON IT. IT MADE NO EFFORT TO AVOID THE WATER. THIS TRACK WAS SEEN THIS TIME IN THE NORTH WEST EDGE OF THE APPLACRACOLA FOREST. JUST SOUTH OF WHAT IS KNOW AS RIVER STIX.
ALSO NOTICED: NONE
OTHER WITNESSES: WHEN I SAW IT I LEFT AND WENT AND BROUGHT ONE OF MY FRIENDS TO LOOK AT IT, AND HE SAID HE HAD NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT,
OTHER STORIES: NO BUT SENCE THEN I HAVE SEEN MORE TRACKS IN THESE WOODS.
TIME AND CONDITIONS: EARLY IN THE MORNING ABOUT 7;00
ENVIRONMENT: MIXTURE OF PIN AND HARDWOODS ALSO A LITTLE WET.
Follow-up investigation report by BFRO Investigator David Wright:
[Original report written by David Wright; Edited by Matt Moneymaker]
The actual witness, Jerry C., did not submit the writing above. That submission was written by a friend of Jerry -- a friend who is more comfortable with computers. He wrote it from his own memory of Jerry's story, and consequently got certain details wrong, and did not eloborate on the more compelling information -- an apparent pattern of tracks along part of the Apalachicola River.
On 09/05/07 I interviewed Jerry. He is a 78 year old man who has hunted since childhood. He has quite extensive outdoors experience. If there were a scoring system for measuring a man's authenticity as a "woodsman," Jerry would be in the top 1 percent.
Jerry was making his way through the woods in the dawn hour, and came upon a strange track and noticed a trackway. The trackway approached a large puddle that was frozen (26 degrees that morning). The trackway seemed to change direction to skirt the edge of the water, but still walked through the perimeter of the large puddle.
The track he described broke the ice and left an impression in the mud. He felt a lot of trepidation when he first saw the track. It was roughly about 16"-18" in length, and maybe 8" wide, with the great toe being about 3" in length.
When asked if this could have been a bear print, he said, "I've seen many bear tracks! They're 8"-10" at most (the back feet) for a BIG bear, and they don't always make a full print. These looked exactly like giant human feet, and there was just a single left and right, not like front and back, with the heel a bit narrower than the front. When I saw that thing, I could feel the hair stand up on my whole body, and I got out of there!" He described the stride as being about 4' between successive prints.
He immediately returned to his camp and called the sheriff. He said a sheriff came out and saw the tracks and was surprised. Jerry suggested bringing in a sheriff's tracking dog, but the sheriff declined, not wanting to send in a dog after something large enough to make those tracks. At the time they both felt it was wise not talk about the tracks with a lot of people, so they agreed not to do it.
Jerry said he went back and hunted that general area again about 10 days later, and was on the look out for similar tracks. He found some near Kennedy Creek. There was a trackway of similar tracks with a stride of about 4'. About 3-4 days later, he again discovered more tracks within a mile of that location. All of the trackways were in the vicinity of the Apalachicola River.
He described seeing many things in his lifetime in the woods of this area, including both black and blond panthers, also which seemed to follow the Apalachicola River.
In my opinion, having met him in person, he is very credible, and thus probably observed exactly what he describes.
About BFRO Investigator David Wright:
- Certified Florida Master Naturalist (U. of Florida)
- Visual Tracker, Level 1
- Teaches Biology, A.P. Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Science at a rural high school SE of Jacksonville
- See local TV interview with D. Wright
- Participated in the 2007 Private Florida Expedition [Click the video link on that page.], the 2007 South Carolina Expedition, the 2008 South Florida Expedition and assisted with the organization of the 2008 North Florida Expedition. Assisted with the organization of the 2009 Central Florida Expedition.