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PODIGGER

Yesterday I made one last trip to the Peace River to end this hunting season.  When I checked the depth and flow gauges it showed both had increased as a result of recent rain but not enough to make a trip unsafe.  The one caveat was the prediction of rain and possible thunder storms in my target area by 2 pm.  It is really the threat of afternoon thunder storms almost everyday now that is the impetus to end the season.  So, I got an early start and was on the river by 7:40 am with the intention of calling it a day by 2 pm.  I headed back to the spot I have been digging in for the last four trips.  I have been widening my search area as the gravel continues to be plentiful under an initial layer of sand.  

 

On arrival the first sifter turned up what appeared to be a good sized, if somewhat deformed, molar that I guessed to be bison.  The next sifter also produced what I thought was a possible broken bison tooth (later I was able too see it was a broken horse tooth).  This got me excited to think I already had a couple of nice finds to end the season.  As I kept digging, pulling up small shark teeth of every variety in each load I became aware of the dark clouds that were continuously sliding by overhead.  I pulled up a partial dolphin bulla, turtle scute and complete turtle entoplastron along with a bone that looked to me to be some kind of scapula.  At one point a large black cloud rolled in and it rained for about 20 minutes.  I didn't worry it would last as I could see blue skies in all directions beyond the storm cloud overhead.  

 

Just before noon I threw a shovel full of sand and gravel into the sifter and as the sand fell away there sat a beautiful and complete dolphin tooth.  One of the largest I have found! I went to secure it in my kayak right away when I noticed that the dark clouds were no longer sliding by - they seemed to be filling the sky.  I decided at that point that if I came up with one more good find I would call it a day.  I didn't want to get caught in a thunderstorm on the river.  I kept digging for almost an hour and did not come up with that trip worthy find.  Looking at the sky I told myself one more load in the sifter and no matter what I did or didn't find I had better head for home.  As soon as I dumped the next shovel full of gravel into the sifter I started to laugh as sitting right on top was  a very nice astragalus!  Deer based on the size.  I scooped it up along with the misc shark teeth around it and loaded up the kayak for may paddle back to the car.  Just as I pushed off the shore the sky opened up and the rain started pouring down!  Thankfully there was no lightening!  

 

So the season came to an appropriate end with some nice finds as the rainy season begins.  I may try some creek hunting over the summer but the Peace River will have to wait forSeptember at least.

 

Here is a shot of the nicest specimens found yesterday:

 

 

thumbnail.jpeg.48e0573f08b3b9fc1d2b0b617b08b3d5.jpeg

 

The astragalus measures 37 mm long x 23 mm wide x 2 mm tall

The dolphin tooth measures 31 mm long x 12 mm wide

The crown of the suspected bison tooth is 12 mm x 20 mm and 10mm high.

 

I am going to post more photos of the possible bison tooth in the id section along with what I think is some type of scapula to hopefully get a positive id.

Good Luck to all those still hunting - I will admit the story of the guy attacked by the alligator in the Myakka River may have also influenced my decision to end the season -LOL!

 

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Shellseeker

Sounds like a very nice ending day of the season, if that comes to pass. One year, I think 2016, I hunted the Peace River thru July 16th.  The rains were just never consistent and long enough to wash me out.

Usually I have to endure the "complete failure" day when I go to the river , take a look, and even I would not risk the depth and the current.

My birthday was Wednesday and I was hunting Tuesday & Thursday, planning to go tomorrow.

On Tuesday , not much in the way of shark teeth,  but a mixture of Horse teeth and turtle fossils.  I was basically prospecting, walking the river bed with a probe in hand looking for tight packed gravel,  moving on as the fossils ran out.

 

Horse teeth upper right,  deer antler lower left,  a bunch of turtle lower center,  and most of my better finds are in a line moving left from the horse teeth; Armadillo scute,  a couple of those tiny Armadillo osteoderms, a very nice Hemiauchenia lower p4 (identified by Harry in another thread, and then an incisor missing the root.  I think it is llama also.  I pick up a lot of stuff most hunters do not, and then donate it to fossil clubs kids dig or just to the grammar schools.

Usually I dig 7 hours and only need 1 or 2 finds of the day... the rest is just enjoying the weather, nature, exercise.

 

I love all dolphin teeth, especially the bigger ones since they are so rare. I found a rare one Thursday and have an identification thread on it.

 

IMG_0325.thumb.JPEG.cf19c2f3c260dab358a9fcc6cbfcc25a.JPEG

 

I doing too well to stop now.  Jack

 

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PODIGGER

Jack,

Thanks for the response.  Looks like you had another good day!  I am curious on one of the finds in the picture as I came up with something similar.  In the lower left of your picture it looks to me like two antler pieces and then moving right there is a round object before you get to the turtle scutes.  From the top down angle I can't tell if it is a leg spur or something else.  I have one similar with mine looking completely round and about the size of a golf ball.  Is yours a spur or something else?  I'll try to follow up with a picture of mine.

Jim

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bthemoose

Nice dolphin tooth! 

 

On 6/5/2021 at 2:34 PM, PODIGGER said:

I told myself one more load in the sifter and no matter what I did or didn't find I had better head for home. 

 

Impressive that you stuck to it; though if you hadn't found that astragalus, I wonder if maybe just one more...? :ighappy:

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PODIGGER

Thanks bthemoose, and you may have a point on that astragalus. After all, I am trying to build my own mammoth.

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Super finds.  I hope shellseeker is right and the season last a few more weeks as in 2016.  I’d love another 4 trips out this year, with warm water.  
 

I love the wide variety he also had on display, a exceedingly day on the river. 
 

I found this on my 5th trip out this year, yesterday.  

4AA8886D-FAE6-49A7-833F-8C61C8FB2792.jpeg

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Nice Meg - Family Fun!  I am seeing the water levels drop a bit again, but that isn't the only thing I considered in wrapping up the season.  I have been caught on the river in thunder storms in the past and have no desire to experience that again.  I have also been chased out of the water by aggressive gators protecting their territory this time of year.  So, put it all together and I will be taking a break and letting the fossils gods replenish the gravel beds for a couple of months. 

Good Luck!

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Paddling up river I’ve only seen a two footer got and four foot gator, but clearly they have parents somewhere along the river.  I do worry the storms, but hoping to make it out one more time this week, my 6th trip. 
 

This river is so amazing, the views, the fossils and the experience is just amazing.  
 

I keep looking for Shellseeker to paddle past Fred, but I haven’t spotted him yet.   If you happen by Fred’s tour, just look for the old guy and ask if you’re Rick.

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On 6/6/2021 at 12:24 PM, PODIGGER said:

Jack,

Thanks for the response.  Looks like you had another good day!  I am curious on one of the finds in the picture as I came up with something similar.  In the lower left of your picture it looks to me like two antler pieces and then moving right there is a round object before you get to the turtle scutes.  From the top down angle I can't tell if it is a leg spur or something else.  I have one similar with mine looking completely round and about the size of a golf ball.  Is yours a spur or something else?  I'll try to follow up with a picture of mine.

Jim

 

It is a turtle spur, Jim

TurtleSpur.JPG.78390e380d86e048c791ee66af4dd50c.JPG

 

9 hours ago, Family Fun said:

 

I keep looking for Shellseeker to paddle past Fred, but I haven’t spotted him yet.   If you happen by Fred’s tour, just look for the old guy and ask if you’re Rick.

 

I used to hunt those sections that Fred Mazza frequents almost every time out, but now I have sought out places that are very isolated.  I enjoy the interactions with nature almost as much as finding the fossils and I need the exercise. 

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You folks are making me want to hit the river one more time.

 

Tampa got a ton of rain over the last several days, but the Peace dodged the worst of it. The levels are huntable and dropping again. The forecast for the rest of this week looks reasonably dry. Our last trip out was supposed to be the last for this season, but I am seriously tempted to go again.

 

I'm not worried so much about getting caught on the river in a rain storm. I just don't like driving in it and would hate to drive for two hours in the rain on the way back. The front end of my truck gets a little squirrelly at highway speeds and it's nerve-wracking on wet roads with people zipping past me.

 

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2 hours ago, Bone Daddy said:

I'm not worried so much about getting caught on the river in a rain storm. I just don't like driving in it and would hate to drive for two hours in the rain on the way back. The front end of my truck gets a little squirrelly at highway speeds and it's nerve-wracking on wet roads with people zipping past me.

 

Now THIS is what concerns me most.  Not the lightening.... not the big gators.  Rolling down 17 or across 31,  driving rain, tractor trailers... trying not to be late for dinner after  hunting too long... I just look at the number of fatalities over the years to understand what is dangerous

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I’m going again Saturday, my drive from Orlando isn’t bad except on the way home.  Drivers doing 85 plus on I-4 until you hit exit 55, 27, traffic completely stops.  It takes an extra 40 minutes to get home.  

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Jack, thanks for the response to my question on your photo.  I was actually asking about the piece immediately above the spur in your photo.  The item that looks a ball or knob?

 

 It  has been interesting to learn of the wild rides home you guys have experienced between the weather and the speed demons!  My biggest traffic problem on the ride home on SR 64 is getting stuck behind a school bus still dropping off kids after 5 pm.  I feel bad for the kids getting home so late - but I wish the kids would hop off the bus and cross the street a little quicker.  The good part is I have not seen anybody passing the stopped school bus no matter how long it takes.

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I try to avoid I-4 at all costs. FamilyFun is coming from Orlando, so there's no way to get around I-4 in that case. It's a necessary evil. I've never liked I-4 and it still a nightmare after the improvements they've done over the years.

 

My drive is from Tampa and goes like this :

 

I take I-75 south to the Riverview/Gibsonton exit and jump on Hwy 301 south.

I then take 301 south to the CR-672 in Balm.

Take CR-672 all the way out to CR-39 south.

Take CR-39 south to FL-62 east.

 

672 and 39 take you right through the heart of phosphate mine and gypsum stack country. Lots of tempting spoil piles that are out of reach and one active drag-line pit that probably has a king's fortune in fossils. Keep driving. LOL.

 

Long straight shot down FL-62 to Hwy 17 and then Hwy 17 north or south (depending on where I am hunting).

 

It's a long drive, but I really don't like the 301 and I-75 portion. Traffic is the worst on those stretches.

 

All told, it usually takes me right about 2 hours to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am lucky my drive is mostly country roads. The majority SR 64 and Rte 17.

 

 Y'all are making me feel I called the season too early!  Maybe I can sneak out there Saturday - if my wife is busy............

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I was throwing around the idea of going one more time, but have since called it a season. The weather is getting pretty darn hot (heat indexes flirting with triple digits) and I don't like that risk of rain on the drive home. I envy you folks who get out there more often. Last season I made it out there a total of eight times, which is about average. This year we only made five trips. The wet winter we had shortened the season somewhat.

 

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I’m going to give it one more go again tomorrow, my 6th time to the Peace in two months.  At 62, the hardest part me is the trip up the river.  Once in the water, I don’t feel the heat.  Sure wish I would have found this river much earlier in life, just glad I found it now. 

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