Bear Claw Ranch Opens in Eustis and Mount Dora Area
This 500 acre ranch offers a venue for weddings, parties and corporate events and retreats. Bear Claw Ranch provides much more than just a banquet facility. They also have a rifle range, pistol range and a skeet shooting range. Located at the skeet shooting range is one of their two bars and a fire pit. Additionally there is a golf practice area.
With many walking trails and an abundance of wildlife and beautiful Florida scenery, all of the amenities make this a perfect spot with something for all of your guests to enjoy.
Located at 33200 Pine Road in Eustis consider holding you next event here. 904-881-1241 www.bearclawranch.club
A history of the property:
Situated west of Hontoon Island which is on the St. Johns River, this property is a mix of pine flatwood, oak hammocks, swamps and marshes and was originally inhabited by the Mayaca Indians. Research indicates the Mayaca hunted in this immediate area for over several thousand years before the Spanish explorers encountered them in the late 16th century. The Spanish brought violence and new diseases to this area that annihilated most of the Indians. The Spanish rule was followed by the French. By the time of the Revolutionary War in the late 1700s, this area was claimed by the British. The Revolutionary War was followed by the Seminole Wars, and the War Between the States. American settlers began to homestead along the St. Johns River in Lake County after the 2nd Seminole War. The property that we currently call Bear Claw Ranch, was a portion of many hundreds of acres along the St. Johns River purchased by Col. E. Hood Wilkerson who moved to Lake County from Georgia. He valiantly served in France during WWI and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1982, Dr. Clay Reynolds III and his family purchased their first 160 acres consisting mainly of marshes and swamp that led toward the St. Johns River. The entire western length of the property was the Old Railroad Track “tram road” which was used in the 1920s to fish huge Cypress trees out of the low areas. From the 1930s to the 1980s the property was basically void of human life with possibly the exception of a lost hunter or two. The land was an excellent example of what we think of as “Old Florida”. Huge oak trees covered in Spanish moss, lots of Sable Palms, hardwood trees, and stumps of virgin Cypress. It was not unusual to see deer, Osceola turkeys, and Sandhill cranes. Dr. Clay and his wife Linda, along with their young sons Murphy and Jason, cut their way through the dense bushes and trees to build their first one room cabin with a big screen porch. This became their weekend retreat.
As surrounding properties became available, Dr. Clay and Linda purchased all that their budgets allowed. Pastures were created and soon cattle were added. The most recent purchase was the property on the “high land”. This piece was owned by Dr. & Mrs. Chubb. Dr. Chubb was an avid pilot and still today you can see his hangar and the runway. This airstrip is perpendicular to an active runway near the entrance to Bear Claw Ranch.
After the untimely death of Dr. Clay, Linda and sons Murphy and Jason have continued to develop and make the ranch the success it is today.