We have lots of wildlife around the little town of Sopchoppy, which is nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Ochlockonee River near the Appalachicola National Forest in North Florida. The Native Americans gave the town and the River its name. Sopchoppy means dark, winding river. This area is home to bears, bobcats, coyote, otters, an occassional beaver, alligators, many kinds of birds, as well as every insect known to mankind. My husband, Sammy, and I spend a lot of time walking along the roads near our 25 acre homestead, as well as in the National Forest land near Sopchoppy and often see bear and bobcat tracks. We don't see the actual bears and bobcats very often, but their tracks show they are sharing the forest with us.
One of my favorite hobbies is to make plaster casts of the various tracks we find on our sandy roadways. When the plaster casts are pressed into clay and fired, these pottery paw prints make useful items such as soap dishes, spoon rests, refrigerator magnets, wind chimes and other interesting pieces.