BWCA Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge Boundary Waters Group Forum: Other Canoe Camping Locations
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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Group Forum: Other Canoe Camping Locations
      Okefenokee Wildlife Refuge     



01/29/2022 10:56AM  
I have been permitted for a four night, late February, trip through the Okefenokee swamp. Anyone with firsthand knowledge? Ordinarily this would fall into our standard operating procedure but the estimated 10 to 13 thousand gators in a 400k acre is an entirely new twist for me and for some reason I can't shake the gator jitters. I tell myself I am overthinking it, that the proverbial they're more scared of you applies, just give em some space and all will be well. But then questions creep in like, if I fish, won't the splashing and jumping of a fish on the line just be a gator dinner bell? I mean at what point does fish retrieval become trolling for gator? Although future stories might be fun to tell...,"I ever tell you how stumpy got his nickname?" Anyone with thoughts or experiences? Thanks

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01/30/2022 10:52PM  
I spent 2 weeks in the Okefenokee NWR on wildfires one summer, we saw a bunch of gators, I also worked in the Everglades NP one year and did many wildfire rolls in the south east in the winter in gator country. I believe that gators go into some sort of dormancy/and eat very little in the winter since they are cold blooded. I never worried about them.
01/30/2022 11:06PM  
Ok thanks. I mean what you are saying rings true. But maybe it's just a deeply ingrained mammalian response. Some deeply buried response that says that thing wants to eat me. Not really but, you know, pound for pound it'll probably whip me

01/31/2022 12:15PM  
I wouldn't worry about them too much. They don't really want to eat you and most likely would approach out of curiosity. I grew up in south Florida and there were very few dangerous encounters with gators that I can recall hearing about.
01/31/2022 01:23PM  
I have paddled the swamp a few times as well as other coastal plain rivers and wetlands and have had very few uncomfortable situations with gators. Those were always in a narrow spot where passing pretty close was necessary to continue, but each time there was no problem. My bow partner accidently poked one with her paddle as it swam under our canoe and it thrashed its tail a bit. Startling, but harmless.

I might feel a little more vulnerable in a kayak, but a canoe is fine. SUP are prohibited for good reason!

The swamp is an amazing place. Enjoy!
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