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Beautiful Day on the Peace River


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Got out to the Peace River yesterday and a beautiful day it was!  The river continues to be very low and slow moving.  As I was heading east on the 1 hour drive I was listening to news reports of several Florida Mayors wanting the counties or state to issue stay at home orders.  This would certainly put a damper on visits to the river, I travel through 3 counties just to get there.  So I hit the river thinking this could be my last outing for a while.  With very few people on the river on any week day there really isn't a reason to stop folks from getting out and enjoying a day of exercise where they won't be in close contact with anyone else.  

 

As I was approaching within a few hundred yards of my most recent hunting spot I saw a tent on the river bank and a canoe alongside.  As I got closer I saw a man and what I took to be his son.  We exchanged greetings and the adult said he had spent the night on the river to get his son out of the house.  I continued on and shortly had to get out of the kayak due to the water level being too low to paddle.  I set up south of where I saw the campers and got busy digging.  Various shark teeth started turning up pretty quickly.  I was also rewarded with two small sections of dolphin jaw bones, mammoth and mastodon fragments and more.  Every time nice finds seemed to be dying out I would come up with another nice shark tooth or a piece of mastodon tooth that convinced me the big prize was only a shovel away.  Unfortunately, these turned out to be a bit of a tease.  I did have a good day with the number and variety of shark teeth, a piece of deer antler, puffer fish mouth plate, whale tooth, dolphin periotic, a nice turtle scute, some sting ray dermal scutes and a small gator tooth.

 

About 10 am I looked up and saw my friendly 4 foot gator lazily swimming by about 20 feet away.  He slid under a downed tree and left his tail sticking out.  He was there for about an hour and then disappeared.  We seem to have an understanding, I ignore him and he ignores me.  This was backed up by his return in the early afternoon to crawl up on his favorite sandy spot and watch me for the rest of the day.  He was still laying in the sun when I headed north back to the launch site.  On the way back a Bard owl graced me with his presence by suddenly flying in and landing on a tree limb directly over me in the river.  He patiently waited while I circled under him taking pictures. A short time later I saw a 10' to 12' alligator slide into the river a little ahead of me.  When I see that it does cause me to have second thoughts about my inflatable kayak!  Shot of the owl and picture of the best finds of the day are below.  I will be posting the whale tooth and one other questionable find in the ID section for help with an ID.  Right now the plan is to return to the river Friday.  Hope the politicians don't shoot that idea down with a stay at home order.

 

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FranzBernhard
56 minutes ago, PODIGGER said:

With very few people on the river on any week day there really isn't a reason to stop folks from getting out and enjoying a day of exercise where they won't be in close contact with anyone else.  

Its not the problem to become infected or infect someone else during such trips. Its the problem with accidents, that can happen during driving, kayaking etc. This will absorb lots of manpower to rescue you, including possible doctors and a bed in a hospital!

We have the same situation here: Its not forbidden to drive around and go hiking or skiing (except a few closed-off areas). But it is strictly not recommended! Several skiers had to be rescued by helicopter during the last days in Austria (as usual, of course!).

Stay safe!
Franz Bernhard

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If the parks close, try under the Rt 17 bridge in Zolfo. Follow the access the USGS uses.

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Thanks Sacha.  I am parking outside of any of the parks.  Using the bridge areas north of Wachula.  The "Stay at Home" order some municipalities are trying to implement are what is my concern.  It was interesting to hear today from the Pinellas County Sheriff as he explained to the County Commision that to try and enforce such an order at the county level would be unconstitutional.

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2 hours ago, PODIGGER said:

Thanks Sacha.  I am parking outside of any of the parks.  Using the bridge areas north of Wachula.  The "Stay at Home" order some municipalities are trying to implement are what is my concern.  It was interesting to hear today from the Pinellas County Sheriff as he explained to the County Commision that to try and enforce such an order at the county level would be unconstitutional.

 

I thought after I posted this that you were using our other access points. I don't think we've run into one another yet since I'm staying at Zolfo and Heard Bridge. I don't go north of there since checking those areas years ago. I guess I need to try them again. I'm going to Pioneer again Thursday the 26th to focus on inverts again, but need to change it up next week and start tracking down decent stuff.

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I started at Heard Bridge about a year and half ago with a guided tour with Fred Mazza.  I was hooked on the adventure of fossil hunting then.  Not wanting to infringe on areas Fred frequented I started looking for alternate sites.  I tried Gardner first and did not have much success.  That led me to head north.  I found a spot above Payne's Creek that produced mammoth, mastodon, gomph, and all kinds of other fantastic finds.  Since then I have moved farther north and have been steadily finding what I consider productive sites.  I am still chasing that perfect 3"+ meg and a full mammoth or mastodon tooth!  A few of this years finds below -20200106_133009_resized_1.jpg.a679ccbc6c5d32811fe5df6ff62d8e7f.jpg5de5bf8ca994f_thumbnail-6copy.thumb.jpeg.3c5aa8c32543d3336976e8664695b4b6.jpegthumbnail-4.thumb.jpeg.45edeffc129268fab0b1ee81af9dfe16.jpeg_88I0585.thumb.jpg.395d382093d9b0eeb04eca221cc732df.jpgIMG_1014.jpg.5f57391470618b6b5b3ecb04d3e55451.jpg_88I7177.jpeg.3ee989340837169b7f12fec223002dd0.jpegthumbnail.thumb.jpeg.b8c9577620ec6e1c8184f45aa78fb660.jpeg

 

The adventure continues and I plan on being back on the river Friday!

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Nice finds :yay-smiley-1:looks like you’ve found some productive areas for sure!

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Thanks jcbshark.  Now I am hoping the rainy season replenishes spots I worked really hard so I can return next season!

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I'm glad you made it out there again. That stretch of Payne's Creek is a really pretty stretch of river. I've hunted it a few times, but I haven't been back in a long time.

 

My trip to Gardner this past weekend might be my last trip out for a while. With the Covid-19 thing really starting to get serious now, I figured I'd be safe and stay closer to home until this blows over. The Peace is a two hour drive for me in my old truck, and if I broke down or an accident happened, I wouldn't want to put a strain on the medical/emergency infrastructure to save my stubborn butt. I'm gonna keep my powder dry for a couple of weeks and then re-assess the situation in regards to fossil-hunting. This was a really tough decision to make, especially with a mini-drought happening and the water being so low.

 

Stay safe out there!

 

 

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Thanks Bone Daddy.  I'll try to leave a few nice specimens for you!

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