The best part! We find a ton of fossils, not just shark teeth. Florida changed landscape so many times over the last 20 million years that we have the potential to find older Miocene marine life, such as whale, dolphin or shark fossils, to newer Pleistocene land life such as horses, mastodons or even larger predators such as lions and bears. On occasion, we may even find Indian artifacts, but by Florida law those must not be kept and must be reported to your guide.
If you're on Instagram, we are providing a visual fossil guide under the name @fossilrecoveryeducation sometime very soon, so stay tuned✨️
We hunt using sifting screens and shovels/scoops. FRE has exclusive heavy duty stainless steel scoops which absolutely maximize each shovel full to, in essence, find the most fossils in a single scoop . See the video at the bottom of this page which shows the advantage over your standard shovel.
In short-of course...but we hardly ever see any!! Just like most animals, they are fearful of human encounters and do not frequent the areas we dig. Clear waters most of the dry season allow us to see very well into the water. Most gators are uninterested in anything bigger than a housecat anyways. The only truly dangerous gators are those that are fed by humans, and surely none of that happens near us at all; likewise during gator mating season ( when they becone territorial) we are in the off-season.
As for snakes, spiders and other scary animals, the same applies. They are almost always gone before you would have even noticed they were there in the first place.
The good thing is that FRE provides all the necessary fossil hunting equipment, but you are always welcome to bring your favorite shovel or screen . We suggest you bring with you a backpack with some food, waters ( it gets hot!), bug spray and/or sunscreen.
As for footwear, we suggest dive boots, however water shoes or old sneakers work fine as well. Waders work too, but they can be cumbersome when traversing between spots or in certain areas.
Wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dirty and wet in, and don't forget that towel at the car (or even a change of clothing). It can get cold in the winter water, so we also suggest divewear or skins ( these can be rented from many places prior to you're coming out).
It's always good to bring a ziploc bag or two to bring your finds home in. And a folding chair can't hurt either, as long as it's packable and easy to transport with the rest of your belongings. Protective gear or a dry box for your personal belongings/phone/camera/keys are also suggested-after all- we will be in the water 😉!
The good thing is that our adventures cebtralize in and around Arcadia, FL . From Tampa it's a little more than an hour, Sarasota it's 45 minutes, Fort Myers it's less than an hour and Orlando it's only 1.5 hours. Basically a short trip from any Gulf Coast beach and you're here!
Shockingly, it can get a little cold in the mornings at times. It's always good to check the weather prior, and dress accordingly. If the mornings are less than 60 degrees, it may be worth wearing a diveskin, hoodie or long johns...and we offer rentals if you don't have one! But, for the most part, it's sunny, warm Florida, and short sleeves and shorts work just fine 🌞!
...then you'd be the first! If you dig, you will find!
Well, it depends on the experience. Right now, the weekend swamp buggy experience seats up to five hunters per trip, but, early to mid week private excursions can be tailored to fit just your party. Same for the airboat trips...when the airboat trips are running, they can seat up to 9 per trip, but we often book multiple boats so up to 18 may be possible. Check with us prior for more details.
The hunting areas are expansive, so you will certainly not feel encroached upon and have a good dig spot all to yourself once underway.
Generally speaking, the swamp buggy will run for four hours from 9 to 12, the airboat will run for five hours from 10 to 3, and creek walking will run for 6 hours from 9 to 3pm. These may waiver some but generally these are our hours/times for the digs.
Believe it or not, every day isn't always sunny here. There are times where a storm may delay the beginning of our trip, so kind of like baseball games, we just simply wait for the lightning to pass. If its just rain, well, we are digging through it. Now, if a storm comes during the excursion, we will make sure that you are compensated and/or credited if the boat/buggy or walk is cut short and we lose more than the last hour of the trip.
If you're just after shark teeth, the answer is NO! Florida only requires a permit to be held if customers choose to keep any VERTEBRATE fossils OTHER than shark teeth. If you wish to keep VERTEBRATE FOSSILS OTHER THAN SHARK TEETH, we have you covered with our multi user permit prior to your tours in 2023. Starting in 2024, we do request you obtain one prior to your tour, as this will be a new state requirement. Don't worry! They're cheap and easy to carry. See more through the link at the base of our Tours tab.
FRE is excited to announce a new perk for our airboat and swamp buggy customers- only available as an upgrade before...this is NOW INCLUDED FOR USE IN THE PRICE ...the FRE SCOOP!
This heavy duty stainless steel scoop will increase twofold your chances to find more fossils! These scoops are personally customized to our specifications and are guaranteed to help you increase the amount of fossils found during our trips.
If interested in an FRE Scoop, hit up our partners at Reilly's Treasured Gold!