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Thinking about hunting the Peace river


Lee Taylor

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Lee Taylor

Would like all the details I can get.

I will use a guide and would like to know your favorites and why.

I have a jet ski and motorized canoe. If I choose not to use a guide (not likely) are these devices allowed?

Is scuba allowed?

What parts of the river are best?

Are there rules, laws, restrictions?

What are the river conditions now and is there an online water temp/water level gauge?

What levels are best?

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Joshuajbelanger can probably help answer your questions.

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joshuajbelanger

Hey, yeah. I don't see a motor on a canoe being a problem, as for the jet ski, I don't see it as a viable mode of transportation for fossil hunting, especially on the peace. I've just got a motor to put on my canoe, beats the heck outta always paddling upstream. You can scuba if you want, I always snorkel, though. Nothing beats snorkeling especially with the water level the way it is now.

Well as far as what parts are best. Anywhere from bowling green through Arcadia, for your more popular spots. You can either sift gravel bars(bigger rock=bigger fossils), go deep and don't stop digging until you hit clay. Or, and what it sounds like you are interested in, is finding holes in the river to dive and looking for fossils that have been trapped. This is my favorite type of searching, and always yields great fossils. Just look on google earth for hard bends in the river, go there and dive, it's simple really. Let your eyes be your guide, but also know that literally any river in Florida yields fossils when searching this way.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=02295637

This site will give you the flow rate and level of the peace at zolfo. 7.5 ft is about the max you want to go for diving(snorkeling anyway). The river gets pretty swift, and it's hard to keep your bearings under water. Also, at this level, a dive light is a must. Once the level drops to 6 feet and lower, it gets a lot better throughout the peace. North and south. Under 5 feet and the river is snarge near perfect and no dive light is needed on a sunny day.

I always wear a wet suit, it can be a little chilly, but that's just a personal preference.

Anyone else can feel free to chip in.

-J

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joshuajbelanger

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/designated_paddle/peace_guide.pdf

This will show you all the access points with directions, if you choose not to use a guide. Honestly, you look like a pretty experienced fossil hunter, and can probably do fine just on your own. I think the guided tours mostly sift, and it's getting later in the season, so good spots only yield a finite amount of fossils, especially good ones. To each is own, though, and I'm not hating on the touring guys. I hear ken follmann with fossil recovery explorations and fossil funatics guys are pretty good. But, I'll show you around for free lol

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Lee Taylor

thanks for the fossil permit Mike. It is required here in SC also.

Thanks for all the info Josh. We have a river here that is almost exactly like the Peace. It is call the Edisto. The more I hear the more similarities i see. In fact, from what you have told me it is almost exactly the same deal. We don't dive unless the water level is under 6' etc etc etc... VERY similar. I can find fossils by myself. I have a method of finding beds. I like going with others. Its more fun that way. I actually can go without a guide but I do find them very helpful. They know the critter situation. Someone not knowing the Edisto could un-knowingly get themselves into major alligator territory.

The snorkel, mask, wet-suit, and weight belt work fine for me. The scuba is a bit of a pain BUT you can stay on the bottom for an hour or so

I use the ski for fun and for finding gravel beds and gps marking them

tks for the info.... very helpful!

Edited by Lee Taylor
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joshuajbelanger

No problem, let me know when you come down. I'm born and bred Cajun, the gators are scared of me!

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Lee Taylor

okay cool will do. I had a coon a** room mate. He cooked GREAT curry chicken, red beans and rice

Edited by Lee Taylor
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Just wanted to let you know also that any boat with a motor needs to be registered here to use, even an electric motor on a canoe. Good luck on your trip :)

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Shellseeker

Would like all the details I can get.

I will use a guide and would like to know your favorites and why.

Fred Mazza PaleoAdventures takes on trips far from access points. If you do not know a spot to start, you will after hiring him.

I have a jet ski and motorized canoe. If I choose not to use a guide (not likely) are these devices allowed?

Yes. SC registration OK, It is 25-30 miles between Zolfo and Gardner. That Jet Ski can do it -- forget the motarized canoe.

Is scuba allowed?

Yes, I went don for months with a Hookah rig hose and regulator

What parts of the river are best?

Arcadia to Ft Meade

Are there rules, laws, restrictions?

Hunting with boundaries of Paynes .Creek State Park is verboten

What are the river conditions now and is there an online water temp/water level gauge?

River is rising fast after heavy rain -- may not be digable this weekend, but you are coming in low water times -- you will be OK

What levels are best?

Below 6 feet at Zolfo USGS guage

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joshuajbelanger

okay cool will do. I had a coon a** room mate. He cooked GREAT curry chicken, red beans and rice

It's funny, everyone I know in Florida thinks coon a** is some form of racial slur, I have to tell them all that it's a term of endearment! Ha

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Bone Daddy

Every river in Florida is major gator country, you just get used to them and learn to work around them. 99 out of 100 times, they are not interested in people. Now, the snakes are another question - I've had to kill three water moccasins this year for being too close for comfort in our hunting spots.

Edited by Amberphile
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It's funny that I hear of so many people having close encounters with snakes while fossil hunting while I've only encountered one little garter snake while in a mine. I caught and relocated that one away from the group as there were a number of people that were frightened of snakes and I didn't want it to get hurt. It's the same case for my hunting partner. Maybe that's because both of us would be thrilled to see snakes in the wild! Between the two of us we can identify most Florida snakes and if it's non-venomous we are likely to try and catch it. Maybe they can sense that and steer clear of us!

Kara

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Bone Daddy

I love animals and I abhor killing them. I am one of those people who looks at hunters with disgust (animal killers, not fossil hunters). But, I make an exception for venomous snakes in my immediate vicinity. If we are just paddling by or walking by on the banks and have no plans to linger in the spot where the snake is, I will leave it alone gladly. But, if we are engaged in active searching in a spot and I find a moccasin under a rock I just turned over, I reach for the machete. I do feel guilty afterwards and have this little ritual in my head where I apologize to the animal and ask for forgiveness from Mother Nature.

Maybe it's the spot we have been hunting that is particularly infested with water moccasins. On the more popular stretches of the Peace, we barely see any water moccasins. But, on the stretch that runs through the private property we have permission to use, I have seen four of them and had to kill three of them. We did see one on the Wauchula stretch, but left him alone as we were just passing through.

I prefer gators - they are easier to see and predict. Snakes are a wildcard and can hide under a small rock.

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joshuajbelanger

Moccasins are pretty aggressive too. They will actually seek you out to deliver the venom, unlike a gator whom flees at the first sign of something bigger than itself.

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joshuajbelanger

Might I add, I have reach a state of total equilibrium with nature, and have never killed a single living creature.

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Bone Daddy

When the red-breasted Hoo Haw creeps on you, it will be kill or be killed. ;)

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