• Jim Uhing

Birthday Bears!



So, I had a nice start to my birthday. I'm glamping at Wekiwa State Park. I woke up a 5:30am. Was in the woods at 6am. My goal...to catch some photos of some bears. I had seen two the previous morning, but they caught me off guard and were running. Those guys weren't interested in stopping for a photoshoot.


Sunrise is a 6:42am. My goal is to be at my hot spot by 7am. I have a spot that I know the bears travel frequently. I have a trail camera set up there. That's where I saw the two the morning before at 7:30am. On my way there, just before sunrise, I'm going through an area that is wetlands. I hear something, so I stop. I look into the dark palmettos and there's a bear coming right at me. It stops and stares at me. It's so dark that I can't even see it with my camera.


I try to move to get a better view, then it moves into some dense foliage. From what I know about Florida black bears, in the am, they are on their way back to cover. They're kinda like vampires except a little behind schedule. I know sometimes you can catch them out during the day, but at least in this park they seem to have this routine. So I know that even though they know I'm still there, they are going to cross this road. So I move forward a bit and wait. Not even a minute later, one crosses the road behind me probably 50 yards away. Again, it was so fast, I had no time to get my camera up and focus on the bear. Then another crosses and then another. I got no good shots, but it was cool.


At this point, it's 6:50 and I'm running late for my other bear appointment. So I start to head that way. I get there about right at 7am and get in my spot ready for anything that comes at me. Behind me are some awesome sun rays coming through the trees. I'm tempted to take a picture, but it would require a lens change and that's too risky. I could miss the bear if it comes. Then I think, well, I can take the picture with my phone. So I do. Then I could post it on facebook and describe my "current situation". So I do. I explain that I'm waiting for my bears that I saw yesterday at 7:30 and it's now 7:25. Before I can hit "post", I hear the breathing of a bear. I look up and there's Big Mama coming down the trail. I'm literally trying to take pictures with my camera while still holding my phone. Big Mama stopped on the road for a breather and I got a few shots. Then she came up over the embankment and went right in front of my trail cam (I haven't looked at those pics yet). She went on like I wasn't even there. Then I whispered "pssst" and she stopped and looked for a sec and then ran off for a few feet and said "the hell with this running stuff" and continued to walk. I was so happy that my plan worked out. But this wasn't one of the bears I saw yesterday. So maybe there's more to come. So I waited a bit longer.

15 minutes later, I saw two bears running in the distance. They looked like the pair I saw the day before. And they were running the same way.

So in a park that I've known there are bears, but couldn't really find them at one time, I see 6 bears in one morning. 8 sitings in 2 days. I'm getting better at this.

Now if I could just find those bobcats!



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