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RandyB

Looking to pick the brains of those familiar with Florida fossil hunting

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RandyB

Between work and home life 2018 wasn't much of a year to get out hunting for me.  Outside of two short trips down to the Ramanessin I didn't really get out this year.  Hoping to change that in 2019.  To start I am working on a family vacation to Florida around March.  The last time I was down there at that time of year I was able to do a day of creek hunting around Wauchula that netted a ton of small shark teeth including multiple mini megs as well as a slew of ice age mammal items.  My favorite was a small glyptodon scute which was one of my personal bucket list items .

 

I am looking for suggestions on areas I can start researching that would be in range of a day trip based out of the Orlando area.  Call it a 2 hour radius of Orlando so I have time to hunt.  Not looking for anyone's special hunting grounds, just general suggestions.  Haven't looked to see who might still be offering guided trips these days as its been a few years since my last visit, but I am willing to entertain that option.  I still have the books I gathered for my last trip so I will start with a refresher from those, but any advice would be appreciated

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Darktooth

Good to see you back on the forum!

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jcbshark

Pm sent:) 

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goatinformationist

First thing, a Florida Fossil permit at: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/amateur-collector/fossil-permit/.  At $5 bucks per go ahead and buy one for each.

 

I would have you start down the Suwannee river at White Springs (I-75), just behind the old springhouse on the river.  If the water is low (http://www.mysuwanneeriver.org/realtime/river-levels.php) hit the banks for literally tons of agatized corals, and Quaternary fossils. I fill up buckets and return for the larger coral heads, and have never had a problem. From the springhouse go down hwy 41 a couple of miles to the boat ramp: upriver are banks of agatized ostrea, and downriver more diverse glassy shells and bones with an occasional mastodon inclusion.  At this location please be alert for El Legarto.  Do not swim in the pool below the shoals.  Leave the small dogs somewhere else.  Please also note all of the phosphate fossil pits in the central Florida region (http://www.fipr.state.fl.us/about-us/phosphate-primer/fossils-what-they-tell-us-about-floridas-natural-history/) on your way down I-75 to Fort Drum on hwy 441 between YeeHaw junction and lake Okeechobee (15 miles?). Find Rucks Pit and pay an exorbitant fee, $65, to dig for the "mercinaria permagna dog tooth spar calcite marine geodes".  Honestly, you cannot find these anywhere else.  Google picture: "calcite clams". Now head for the gulf coast and visit Venice beach for big Megs and every other type of Florida fossil available in one place. Hit every Florida river you come across...  St. Marks, Icheetucknee, Peace, and every beach...  It's all good.  This doesn't scratch the surface but it is what I grew up with.

 

 Best of luck.

 

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Bone Daddy

Pioneer Park in Zolfo Springs is a good place for safe and easy hunt. The park is relatively safe to leave your vehicle unattended (compared to Gardner or Wauchula) and there is no fee to use the ramp (assuming you have a boat). The entire area around Zolfo is rich in fossils. Pretty much anywhere you look, you are guaranteed to find things. 

 

If you don't have a boat, then Zolfo is probably not the best spot. Goat gave some great info above.

 

Also, check the Florida forum here - I recently posted a guide about the Peace River. It has some good basic info in it about what to look for when searching for fossil spots on the Peace.

 

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Sacha

PM me when you're coming and if Jeff can't keep you busy, I'll take you to the Peace. 

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RandyB
On 11/27/2018 at 8:28 PM, goatinformationist said:

First thing, a Florida Fossil permit at: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/amateur-collector/fossil-permit/.  At $5 bucks per go ahead and buy one for each.

 

I would have you start down the Suwannee river at White Springs (I-75), just behind the old springhouse on the river.  If the water is low (http://www.mysuwanneeriver.org/realtime/river-levels.php) hit the banks for literally tons of agatized corals, and Quaternary fossils. I fill up buckets and return for the larger coral heads, and have never had a problem. From the springhouse go down hwy 41 a couple of miles to the boat ramp: upriver are banks of agatized ostrea, and downriver more diverse glassy shells and bones with an occasional mastodon inclusion.  At this location please be alert for El Legarto.  Do not swim in the pool below the shoals.  Leave the small dogs somewhere else.  Please also note all of the phosphate fossil pits in the central Florida region (http://www.fipr.state.fl.us/about-us/phosphate-primer/fossils-what-they-tell-us-about-floridas-natural-history/) on your way down I-75 to Fort Drum on hwy 441 between YeeHaw junction and lake Okeechobee (15 miles?). Find Rucks Pit and pay an exorbitant fee, $65, to dig for the "mercinaria permagna dog tooth spar calcite marine geodes".  Honestly, you cannot find these anywhere else.  Google picture: "calcite clams". Now head for the gulf coast and visit Venice beach for big Megs and every other type of Florida fossil available in one place. Hit every Florida river you come across...  St. Marks, Icheetucknee, Peace, and every beach...  It's all good.  This doesn't scratch the surface but it is what I grew up with.

 

 Best of luck.

 

Thanks for the crash course.  I knew about the permit from my last trip, but not all the locations you have spelled out.  Much appreciated

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RandyB
On 11/28/2018 at 1:47 PM, Sacha said:

PM me when you're coming and if Jeff can't keep you busy, I'll take you to the Peace. 

Thanks Sacha, the offer is greatly appreciated

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