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Beringseadoc

Hello everyone and just wanted to say that I love the website.  I have only primarly hunted shark teeth from the beach, Saint Augustine and Venice beach. 

I am looking at taking my boys 8 and 15 and girlfriend to the peace river for some fossil and shark tooth hunting.  We have kayaks and sifters, shovels and our permit already.  

We are camping at Brownville park and will be hunting mid May.   

I am looking for any advice on locations and any other information that might be helpful. 

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Fossildude19

Welcome to the Forum. :) 

Others should be along shortly to give some tips.  

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Shellseeker
14 hours ago, Beringseadoc said:

I am looking for any advice on locations and any other information that might be helpful. 

Welcome to TFF.  Excellent choice on your part joining this forum before  going to the Peace River.  I will focus on the other information that might be helpful.

 

1) Brownsville is an outstanding base camp.  Lots of facilities, easy access. Do not hunt in the huge area of gravel at the bottom of the boat ramp. This is the Peace River , any place can produce fossils, but your payoff (effort per good fossil) will not be worth it anywhere where you can walk to the gravel.  You have kayaks.  Use them

2) May is normally extremely low water depth.  The earliest that Summer rainstorms come was 2010 on Memorial day weekend,  washed out all my hunting for 3 months. That is good and bad. It exposes areas of the river that are not accessible any other time of the year. The deep holes are not quite as deep, and if you find gravel, it is not as likely to have been dug by other hunters.  The bad part is that you may be porting those kayaks over sand bars.  More time porting == less time hunting.

3) Every road that crosses the Peace River is an access point. Legal to park a vehicle anywhere within 25 feet of the bridge.

4) In general, the water depth above Zolfo Springs is greater than below Zolfo Springs.

5) Once I find gravel, I keep digging until I hit bedrock or clay/mud.

6) You have some time. Go to the TFF Home page,  hit the Search button in upper right.  Search for "Peace". Many members including me, post summaries & finds on Peace River Hunting trips. You could know a LOT about the Peace River before you get here.

 

I went to the Peace a week ago and did well (photo below).  I went yesterday and found less than 20 teeth like these and no Megs. All depends on where you choose to dig. IMG_8058.thumb.JPEG.29d59063cdde7b2dfda3a88d6b2fcded.JPEG

 

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Beringseadoc

So once I launch at the boat launch is it better to head up stream or down?   

How far should I go before I start looking?  

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Shellseeker
53 minutes ago, Beringseadoc said:

So once I launch at the boat launch is it better to head up stream or down?   

How far should I go before I start looking?  

I have not hunted the area between Arcadia and Gardner near the Brownsville boat launch during the last 7 years,  so I have no knowledge of current conditions or likely fossil containing locations.

There may be other TFF members who do.  It is likely a while ago, but @digit used to hunt that general area.

 

In general, I always launch going upstream as my energy is higher in the morning for paddling against the current and I prefer a leisurely paddle downstream after a day of digging gravel.  Only , if I have a specific location that is more easily accessible downstream do I start that way in the morning.

I generally paddle 40 minutes at a minimum against the current,  which is about a mile. I am trying to get away from that area around the access point that is easily accessible for those without kayaks.  Lots of times I'll paddle further, because I have already hunted/prospected the area.

Once I have some distance from the access points, I just want to find some likely gravel. At this time of year, the River is low, I jump out of the kayak and walk probing my way forward.  The shaft of a golf club with the head cut off works. I have a surveyors pole I use. Also when you are walking, you can feel the gravel under your feet.

In shallow water, it is possible to see surface gravel on the river bed.

 

When I find gravel, I prospect 2 sieves looking for fossils (usually small shark teeth).  If I find few/none, I assume this is discard from previous hunters and move on. Because there is lots of discard piles out there, I force myself to move at least 30 feet.

 

 

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16 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

There may be other TFF members who do.  It is likely a while ago, but @digit used to hunt that general area.

The big (well-known) gravel bed just a few minutes paddle downstream from the Brownville Park boat ramp has seemingly been hit hard recently. I've heard from Richard Hulbert that new fossil permit applications have been running over twice the normal rate (folks just fed-up with being sequestered at home). There have been a bunch of new fossil guides (from what I've heard) using the Brownville Park boat ramp as a starting point that they've created a specific parking area (well away from the ramp) for these guides to park. Apparently, they've been crowding the boat ramp and they've made arrangements to keep it clear.

 

Tammy and I were out a few weeks back trying to gather additional specimens from the well-known gravel bed downstream as I donated some mammal teeth for the Peace River Paleo Project (PRiPP):

 

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/amateur-collector/pripp/

 

Richard asked me to collect more material from this site so they have a better idea of the faunal diversity at this point in the river. We dug for several hours and weren't even finding tiny shark teeth. It was like the whole gravel bed had been cleaned-out. I can usually prospect around a bit and click-into a good spot where interesting finds are turning up but we struggled to find any fossiliferous gravel. We had very few finds from this spot (just a few complete smaller shark teeth) and the only notable find was a Equus proximal phalanx (aka "long pastern" in horsey parlance).

 

P3308232.jpg     P3308234.jpg

 

If I had watercraft (kayaks or canoes) I'd ignore the Brownville to Arcadia stretch (heavily traveled by Canoe Outpost renters) and focus on areas further upstream. Follow the course of the Peace River from the satellite view on Google Maps and look for spots where roads cross over the river. As Jack mentioned most of these areas have areas where you can park and launch watercraft from. I'd go upstream so the end of the day is flowing back with the current. Get out anywhere the water is reasonably shallow and probe for gravel.

 

I've made a really useful probe out of a fiberglass driveway marker. I call this version the Probulator-3000  (patent pending :P) and it's been great for "feeling around" listening for the crunch of gravel hidden under a layer of sand. I've added a handle made out of a condensate V-trap and it's been working well for several years.

 

orange-everbilt-reflective-driveway-markers-31474-c3_600.jpg  93caede6-4b12-4d08-b78c-cfdc0b342c85_1.ab7b31aa3fa4320efb70068a4df61dfc.jpeg

 

Here's what the probe looks like fully constructed:

 

post-7713-0-91518100-1388446040.jpg

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/42992-end-of-year-peace-river-trip/&do=findComment&comment=467550

 

Don't forget to pick up the really inexpensive tool apron while you are at the home improvement store as they are fabulous for tucking away your finds while standing in the river. No fumbling with plastic bags or stuffing fossils into pants pockets. Do an internet search for "tool apron" and you'll find lots of sources for these. Home improvement centers usually have these for less than 2 bucks each.

 

beige-the-home-depot-tool-belts-hd324655-th-64_1000.jpg

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Shellseeker
3 hours ago, digit said:

The big (well-known) gravel bed just a few minutes paddle downstream from the Brownville Park boat ramp has seemingly been hit hard recently. I've heard from Richard Hulbert that new fossil permit applications have been running over twice the normal rate (folks just fed-up with being sequestered at home). There have been a bunch of new fossil guides (from what I've heard) using the Brownville Park boat ramp as a starting point that they've created a specific parking area (well away from the ramp) for these guides to park. Apparently, they've been crowding the boat ramp and they've made arrangements to keep it clear.

 

Tammy and I were out a few weeks back trying to gather additional specimens from the well-known gravel bed downstream as I donated some mammal teeth for the Peace River Paleo Project (PRiPP):

 

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/vertpaleo/amateur-collector/pripp/

 

Richard asked me to collect more material from this site so they have a better idea of the faunal diversity at this point in the river. We dug for several hours and weren't even finding tiny shark teeth. It was like the whole gravel bed had been cleaned-out. I can usually prospect around a bit and click-into a good spot where interesting finds are turning up but we struggled to find any fossiliferous gravel. We had very few finds from this spot (just a few complete smaller shark teeth) and the only notable find was a Equus proximal phalanx (aka "long pastern" in horsey parlance).

 

Ken,

Thanks for the information. I was also seeing a significant up_tik in both the number of tours and the number of clients in guided Fossil Hunting tours further upstream also.  I had seen Fred Mazza out and he must have had 30 clients in a single tour. I guess that the isolation caused by the pandemic has increased the number of people interested in outdoor activities.

As you have indicated in your hunting areas,  more and more of the hunting grounds that I cover seem to have had intensive hunting activity. Usually,  I try to dig a "probe"  hole down to the bedrock/clay to determine if there are fossils down on the base layers. 

 

Just as I accepted the fact that, unlike the 1980s,  there were no Mammoth teeth laying on the sand bars after the summer rains, there seems to be sufficient hunting going on to remove most /all fossils from gravel beds closest to easy human access. I continue to believe that given the size of Florida and the size of the Peace River, the vast majority of Florida fossils are safely buried away beyond my reach.

 

I would endorse your guidance, adding 'Dig deep'.

3 hours ago, digit said:

If I had watercraft (kayaks or canoes) I'd ignore the Brownville to Arcadia stretch (heavily traveled by Canoe Outpost renters) and focus on areas further upstream. Follow the course of the Peace River from the satellite view on Google Maps and look for spots where roads cross over the river. As Jack mentioned most of these areas have areas where you can park and launch watercraft from. I'd go upstream so the end of the day is flowing back with the current. Get out anywhere the water is reasonably shallow and probe for gravel.

 

 

 

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