Fossil Hunting Tools
Useful tools to bring when you go fossil hunting include the following:
- Bucket - Five gallon to sit on and/or store big finds
- Cooler - With drinks, food and snacks
- Fossil I.D. Sheets - Secure in a gallon zip bag or purchase laminated at Canoe Safari
- Hat - Wide brimmed
- Mask and Snorkel - If you want to fan the bottom of the river
- Metal Rod - Approximately 4 - 5 feet long to probe the bottom
- Nail apron or fanny pack - For around your waist to hold treasures as you dig
- Old clothes
- Old shoes with socks - Or water shoes or dive booties
- Plastic storage containers - To store really special and fragile finds
- Shelling Scoop or Sand Flea Rake
- Shovel, trowel or scoop - A plastic beach shovel, ice scoop, etc.
- Sifter - Add pool noodles to the sides so it floats and cord to keep it from floating away
- Sunglasses - Preferably polarized
- Towels and dry clothes - Leave these in the car so you can have them when you return
- Trash bags - Bring all your trash back with you and help clean up the river as you fossil hunt
- Ziploc bags - For sorting your finds and for protecting cellular phones and other personal items
Make a Sifting Tool
These dimensions will allow the sift to be made from a single 6' stock 1x2 pine. For smaller children we suggest reducing the size. Use two 1 1/4 inch sheetrock or decking screws to secure each corner (predrill the holes to prevent splitting). Secure the 1/4 inch mesh screening with 1/2 or 3/8ths inch staples. Use caution when working with the screening, the edges are sharp. Hammer the staples and screening flat against the wood and check that no sharp edges are exposed. Adding angle irons to the outside corners will extend the life of the sift. Nail molding, or if you own a table saw, rip a thin strip of wood to cover where the screening is stapled to the frame. Do this on sifts built for children to completely cover the sharp edges of the mesh.
Another favorite method is to snorkel and/or dive and "fan" for fossils. A lot of fossils are below the sand closer to the limestone bottom. You use your hand or something similar (folded old car tag works good) to fan the sand away.
You also need a permit to keep anything other than shark teeth and invertebrate fossils. Go to UFL.edu for more info.