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Gardner, Peace River - Slow and Low

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Bone Daddy
16 hours ago, digit said:

Ah, of course! So obvious in hindsight. ;)

 

Cetacean tympanic bullae are reasonably common in the section of the Peace I hunt (one site turned up over two dozen one day). The trick is finding one that is not all worn down which is difficult because the thin portion is fragile and wears away quickly.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

I've found a few broken ones, but never an intact example. It's one of the those oddball things that eludes me. I have literally turned over 1000's of sifters worth of gravel over the years, and walked miles of riverbed doing the Sanibel Stoop, and I haven't found one yet. Other hunters have found plenty - maybe they got the ones I was supposed to get. LOL.

 

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Bone Daddy
12 hours ago, joshuajbelanger said:

I do miss a low and slow peace....that's ok, my new river is 40 million years old and BONE dry.


It isn't the same without you out there. It feels weird, like I am missing a limb or something. I'll find a piece and want another experienced opinion on it, I look around and realize that I am the experienced one now. You're not there to say "Nah, that's just a rock", so I am bringing home all kinds of junk. LOL.


You would have loved Gardner the other day. Do you remember how high it was the times we went back in 2016-ish? I seem to recall that it was a good bit higher, but not dramatically so.

In fact, I was digging along one of the exact same stretches where we sifted gravel previously (I seem to recall Alaina being with us on that trip), and it seemed about two feet lower. Back in 2016, the water was up close to my navel (pretty high), and this time that same water was less than knee deep. There were a couple of spots that would have looked unrecognizable to you probably, because I don't think it was ever that low when you went (at least not the times we went together).

 

 

 

 

 

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joshuajbelanger
56 minutes ago, Bone Daddy said:


It isn't the same without you out there. It feels weird, like I am missing a limb or something. I'll find a piece and want another experienced opinion on it, I look around and realize that I am the experienced one now. You're not there to say "Nah, that's just a rock", so I am bringing home all kinds of junk. LOL.


You would have loved Gardner the other day. Do you remember how high it was the times we went back in 2016-ish? I seem to recall that it was a good bit higher, but not dramatically so.

In fact, I was digging along one of the exact same stretches where we sifted gravel previously (I seem to recall Alaina being with us on that trip), and it seemed about two feet lower. Back in 2016, the water was up close to my navel (pretty high), and this time that same water was less than knee deep. There were a couple of spots that would have looked unrecognizable to you probably, because I don't think it was ever that low when you went (at least not the times we went together).

 

 

 

 

 

I know what you mean.  This is a whole new way of hunting, and I have no one experienced to help me out.  I keep bringing either alaina or geologists I know, but they know squat about fossils.  I’m coming to the stark realization that there is no Gilmer out here for me.  I’ll be hunting alone, and that’s ok, but I also miss the conversations. You really bond on the water, and when there is an incredible find, there is also someone to share the excitement.  I miss it.  But it is beautiful out here...and I can’t complain about that.  I’ve traded gators and cottonmouths for tumble weeds and rattlesnakes.

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Bone Daddy
4 hours ago, joshuajbelanger said:

I know what you mean.  This is a whole new way of hunting, and I have no one experienced to help me out.  I keep bringing either alaina or geologists I know, but they know squat about fossils.  I’m coming to the stark realization that there is no Gilmer out here for me.  I’ll be hunting alone, and that’s ok, but I also miss the conversations. You really bond on the water, and when there is an incredible find, there is also someone to share the excitement.  I miss it.  But it is beautiful out here...and I can’t complain about that.  I’ve traded gators and cottonmouths for tumble weeds and rattlesnakes.

 

My long lost half-brother Emmitt Gilmer is running around in the remote Rockies somewhere. If you see him, avoid contact - he's the crazy one in the family.  ;)

At some point in the future, we will make the trip out to CO. It likely won't be anytime in the immediate future, but I eventually want to see some different terrain than the flat swampy landscape down here in the south. And at some point, yall need to make the trek down here and we'll hunt the Peace again. I'll find some good new spots for us to exploit. In fact, I am going to email you in a moment about an area you scouted...

Be careful with those rattlesnakes - they don't always sound a warning like they do in the movies. Don't think that bugger isn't around just because you don't hear the rattle! 

 

 

 

 

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Bone Daddy
On 3/13/2020 at 12:50 PM, Sacha said:

 

Zolfo is the first spot I was exposed to about 9 years ago when I went on my introductory hunt with Fred Mazza. Back then we were still parking under the Rt 17 bridge and walking in. No kayaks or canoes. I guess that's why it's still my favorite spot along the river, even though it's allot harder to find something really worth while.

 

I'd say the current was pretty mild, but we got out and walked up the riffles in 4 spots before we got to our initial spot upstream. Still paddled past the campground so it's not that shallow yet. Could drift all the way back downstream and only bumped the bottom twice. Water is getting decently clear and all the big gators are gone. Only saw a couple 3 footers on the way back.

 

I'm going back Sunday to see what we left behind..

 

I've paddled by that 17 bridge and often wondered why I never see anyone fossil-hunting there. Yes, it's been tapped out, but it seems like an easy access spot, although the water gets pretty deep on the other side of the bridge, so no wading there. But it does get pretty shallow just before it. I've seen a few people fishing there, but never seen a single fossil hunter that I can recall.

 

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digit
On 3/13/2020 at 9:53 AM, digit said:

I tried to stop back to this same spot when we visited with friends right before the end of last year. The water was about 2.5 feet higher than it is presently and when I walked out on the sandbar I quickly got to neck deep and quickly concluded that the site was not in range at the time. Hoping to visit that spot tomorrow under more favorable conditions. I think the site is now about 2 feet deeper than it had been for years when the sand had built up forming a very shallow sandbar. The site is now more expansive but also deeper and so requires lower water conditions to be huntable. :fingerscrossed:

 

We did make it out yesterday and we had a great time. The river was significantly lower between Brownville and Arcadia but I've seen it historically much lower (we didn't have to get out and drag the canoes at all but we did glide of a few spots where the sand was barely inched below the canoe. Wrote up a trip report here:

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/103294-pie-day-on-the-peace/

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Bone Daddy

Went to Gardner again yesterday. Spent a long and fun eight hours on the river. One silver lining to the covid-19 cloud is reduced traffic. We got to spend an extra hour on the river because the rush hour traffic (both ways) was noticeably lighter than normal. With everyone working from home and school being out, my stepdaughter and grandson came with us this time. It was my grandson's first time in a kayak, out on a river, or fossil-hunting. He loved it and had a ball (he's 10).

Very brief with more details and photos later : no highlight finds (megs or mammoth teeth), but tons of small teeth, lots of dugong ribs, lots of chunkasaurus, and a bunch of what I typically describe as "oddballs".

 

PS - I saw a guy with an inflatable Sea Eagle kayak out there and it made me think of @PODIGGER, but I don't think it was him because this person was driving a car and not a Jeep.

 

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Ruger9a

I'm sure it's an adventure they will always remember.

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Bone Daddy

Here are some photos from monday's trip. I plan on getting as much river time as possible before any possible widespread covid-19 lockdowns can go into effect here in south-central Florida. If they keep me from going to the river (especially during fossil-season), I will lose my mind. Maybe I just need to go out one last time and pull a "Grizzly Adams" and just never come back.....hmmm.....  LOL.

 

My grandson had a blast. He found a bunch of fossils and got really excited about it. I think we have a future fossil-hunter in the making. He's already wanting to go again, but my old body needs time to recuperate. My neck, shoulders, and back are still saying "Nope!" - but hopefully sometime later this week or on the weekend perhaps - depending on what happens with this coronavirus thing.

 

We went about a mile upstream and hit a popular spot that sees a lot of hunting pressure. Still though, we had a great time. The weather was beautiful and mostly sunny. We saw a lot of birds, but no deer or gators. I really wanted my grandson to see a big gator, but none were willing to cooperate.

Off we go from the ramp...

gardner-316-5.jpg.d71bf8ba37e6a04cd4e913961edcdafc.jpg

 

You know you are in Gardner when you see those tall banks - it almost passes for a "bluff" in flat Florida.

gardner-316-4.jpg.40a1dacd126f7e47d57a2cf69da9fd9a.jpg

 

A scenic paddle through old wild Florida.

 

gardner-316-3.jpg.2e48f941697ce3a2f8b8ac821c3760c5.jpg

 

At last, we arrive at the hunting spot. Time to get busy searching... chunks of dugong rib and broken bones are laying around in the shallows - a good sign.

 

gardner-316.jpg.2102152b4732800a49938b2dc26d85eb.jpg

 

The water is low and slow. Clear and easy to see the gravel and goodies laying on the bottom. The big low-hanging fruit has been cleaned out long before we arrived. Spoil piles are in evidence, but there are a ton of fossils here, so good finds are still possible with persistence and a little luck.

 

gardner-316-6.jpg.3304ef0ed6afa40a4b9ce90384309d41.jpg

 

My grandson was enjoying the trees and everything around us. I had to warn him a couple of times to watch out for snakes - he's a brave kid and is prone to go tromping around.

gardner-316-2.jpg.06d14d872256bfb661fbbdb98ebe6b65.jpg
 

Our combined haul of goodies. Lots of misc stuff, but no major highlight finds. Once this stuff dries, I will clean it up and give the oddballs a closer look. I still have a few from the last trip I need to ID and now this haul will likely have a few as well.

gardner-316-swag.JPG.683a4a2fa665d8f1e08653e6520fa4b2.JPG

 

Lots of small shark teeth, but no megalodons this time...

 

gardner-316-teeth.JPG.3a341e7d34e505ecc254549455960585.JPG

 

Hopefully we can get out there again soon. This is prime hunting time!  :)

 

 

 

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PODIGGER

Looks like you had a great day yesterday! I made it there today - was not me in the Sea Eagle yesterday. It is a great time to get out and hunt with the water so low and slow.  I think the low water is adding to the back ache due to being bent over all day looking thru the sifter!  But after a day or two to recover I'll be heading right back.

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Bone Daddy
10 hours ago, PODIGGER said:

Looks like you had a great day yesterday! I made it there today - was not me in the Sea Eagle yesterday. It is a great time to get out and hunt with the water so low and slow.  I think the low water is adding to the back ache due to being bent over all day looking thru the sifter!  But after a day or two to recover I'll be heading right back.

 

I know that feeling. My back is still sore and it's two days later. I did a lot of shoveling and sifting trying to find one decent meg or highlight find. Ground sloth claw core, mammoth tooth, mastodon tooth, sabre cat, dire wolf - something. Anything other than the usual turtle scutes, dugong ribs, small shark teeth, and chunkasaurus. I seem to have a magnet for junk. LOL.

 

I did find some shards and small broken pieces of mastodon tooth, but nothing sizeable like the one you found.

 

 

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digit
10 minutes ago, Bone Daddy said:

My back is still sore and it's two days later.

That's how you know you had fun--that and the barrel of finds you rescued from the river. ;)

 

I prefer a steady diet of ibuprofen post trip to keep the aching to a minimum. Not surprisingly, I find that going to the gym (when that was still a think before the Zombie Apocalypse :P) tends to keep a bunch of muscle groups exercised between trips so they are not in shock with all that paddling, shoveling, and sifting.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Bone Daddy
10 minutes ago, digit said:

That's how you know you had fun--that and the barrel of finds you rescued from the river. ;)

 

I prefer a steady diet of ibuprofen post trip to keep the aching to a minimum. Not surprisingly, I find that going to the gym (when that was still a think before the Zombie Apocalypse :P) tends to keep a bunch of muscle groups exercised between trips so they are not in shock with all that paddling, shoveling, and sifting.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken


Tylenol and Aleve are a fossil-hunter's best friends. LOL

 

A good stiff drink, in moderation, also helps.

 

 

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digit
14 minutes ago, Bone Daddy said:

Tylenol and Aleve are a fossil-hunter's best friends.

Along with Tammy, they are my fossil hunting partners. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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PODIGGER

Thankfully I have  800 mg Ibuprofen on hand!

 

 After seeing the full mammoth find by one of our Peace River hunters last week I had high hopes for yesterday.  I was not as lucky.  I did come up with one 1.25" meg and half of one that would have been about 2.5" long with a handful of hemis and other misc small shark teeth.  Haul was rounded out with a piece of mammoth tooth 3.1" long by 1.5" wide, several smaller pieces, three horse teeth and a nicely shaped turtle scute at 1.25".

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digit
2 minutes ago, PODIGGER said:

After seeing the full mammoth find by one of our Peace River hunters last week I had high hopes for yesterday.

:eyeroll:

 

I've pulled out half a dozen nearly complete mammoths from that spot over the years (4 in one trip). I've also pulled out a gold wedding band and a tie tack from this site so I have my reasons for visiting it while I can. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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PODIGGER

It certainly is inspiring to know that there are more out there!  The spot I returned to yesterday is the one where I got the nice sized partial mammoth, gomphotherium, and two mastodon partials. I think this spot will yield the big one eventually!  

 

The gomph was sitting just under the wateline on the riverbank as I stepped out of the kayak back in October.  I think it will take another rainy season to replenish this area for future finds.

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Bone Daddy
14 minutes ago, PODIGGER said:

Thankfully I have  800 mg Ibuprofen on hand!

 

 After seeing the full mammoth find by one of our Peace River hunters last week I had high hopes for yesterday.  I was not as lucky.  I did come up with one 1.25" meg and half of one that would have been about 2.5" long with a handful of hemis and other misc small shark teeth.  Haul was rounded out with a piece of mammoth tooth 3.1" long by 1.5" wide, several smaller pieces, three horse teeth and a nicely shaped turtle scute at 1.25".

 

Sounds like you did better than me. You have quality over quantity - which I would take any day. I'd gladly trade a 5-gal bucket of chunkasaurus and dugong ribs to bring home one decent meg. I am on a dry streak with megs. They are avoiding me for some reason. I think I need to hit some more remote spots - too much hunting pressure on the areas I am visiting lately. I did find a remote spot on Google Earth that I want to investigate, but it's about 3 miles UPSTREAM from the nearest ramp - without a motor, I just don't know if I can do that any more (without doing an overnighter to give myself enough time to actually hunt the spot after reaching it). The old grey mare, she aint what she used to be. LOL.

 

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Bone Daddy
12 minutes ago, digit said:

:eyeroll:

 

I've pulled out half a dozen nearly complete mammoths from that spot over the years (4 in one trip). I've also pulled out a gold wedding band and a tie tack from this site so I have my reasons for visiting it while I can. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

I must have missed that thread. Anyone got a link to it?

 

 

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digit

I likely posted it here--let me see if I can dig it up.

 

EDIT: Here's a couple of the chunks from this same spot. I seem to remember more on one day but my mind may be lumping successive trips together into one. ;)

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/64534-peace-river-huntfinally-april-2016/

 

Doesn't look like I posted trip reports for the other times I found just a single chunk (I must get jaded easily). :)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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