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TIPS FOR THE BEGINNER:




last updated 6/21/99



I suggest that you hunt freshly plowed fields on the first or second ridge back from any creek or river. The best time is in March-June (depending on the region you live in) after a couple of hard rains. Remember, the indians almost always camped near water. If you hunt near a lake, make sure it is an old lake! I know a guy who hunted a lake shore for weeks before he was told that it was a man made lake, made in the 1950's! And he wondered why he couldn't find anything.

The best site I have found is where a creek empties into a major river. I have found many points here, and no one else hunts it, that I know of.


Finding a Site


If you think finding a site is impossible, it's not! I found 3 sites in one day once. All you have to do is talk to people. Neighbors, friends, relatives, or strangers. Farmers are a good source of information, however, they don't always know that there are arrowheads on their land. I have had several farmers tell me that it would be ok to hunt their field, but I would be waisting my time. They told me that they had farmed "that field" for 20 years and never seen an arrowhead. Those are some of my best spots! When you aren't looking for arrowheads, (as in the farmers case) you won't see them.

I have also had people tell me where a spot was that they used to hunt, years ago, but all of the arrowheads have been "picked up". No way! I have not seen a field yet in which "all" of the arrowheads have been picked up. As time goes by, and as the topsoil erodes or is farmed, more arrowheads make their way to the surface. Try hunting "hunted out" spots or any farm if you get permission. As long as there is a source of water (creek,river,lake) and a ridge or hill nearby (within a few hundred yards) you have a good chance of finding a site.


Field Hunting


Don't even bother to hunt a field until it has been disked up and a good rain has fell. I personally don't mess with no-till fields either. It's too hard to find a point. When you walk a field, stick to the sides of the ridge or hills. Look for any rock. Examine the rock, has it been worked? Many times you will find just pieces of arrowheads or tools. Examine each rock you find and try to determine if it was a tool. Remember, you can find other things besides points on an indian site. Example: Beads,dirlls,gorgets,banner stones,birdstones,pottery,axes,celts,hoes,spades,and other tools. Don't give up on a site, just because you didn't find anything. I will hunt a place several times before I decide it's not a site. Many times you just overlook things, especially on older sites. All of the Archaic/Paleo sites I know of are barren. You only find a point every 2 or 3 visits or so, and usually it is broken. The Mississippian/Woodland sites in this area are covered with stuff, mainly pottery. If you find pottery laying around, you know it's a site. Archaic/Paleo peoples didn't make pottery (none that lasted all of these years) so you won't find any on these sites. It is possible to find a site where you can find several different types of points. Some campsites were used over and over again through thousands of years. I know of a couple of sites like that.

If you find a site, don't rush out and tell just everyone! You will end up never finding an arrowhead again. Trust me, I made that mistake once. That site is hunted so much now, every inch of ground has footprints on it, every rock overturned. I only tell a few closest hunting companions. We share information with each other. If I find a new site, I tell my friends, they in turn tell me where they found a new site.


Getting Permission


Be sure to get permission before you step on anyones land. It's not hard to get permisson, just ask! I have never been turned down yet. Just explain what you would like to do, and why. Don't tell a farmer that you collect arrowheads because they are worth lots of money. No one likes a stranger making money off of them. Just tell the farmer that it's just a hobby. Always respect the landowner and their wishes. Some landowners/farmers don't want you on their land when crops are planted, but it is ok during layover time (winter) to hunt. Most farmers don't take kindly to some stranger stomping all over their freshly planted crops. It's always better to get permission and reassure the farmer that you won't "stomp his beans".


Creek Hunting


Creek hunting is an enjoyable way to hunt points. I like creek hunting during the summer, when the fields are un-huntable. Creeks with lots of rocks may seem impossible to hunt, but they are not. You just have to have a good eye. I only hunt creeks that I can walk down, I avoid creeks big enough you have to use a boat. It's just too much hassel, and too many places you have to look. I like the small brooks or "cricks" as we say down south. Hunt creeks near indian sites or hilly areas. Runoff from farms, or off hills, carries points into the creeks.


Riverbank Hunting


I love to hunt riverbanks of large rivers. I hunt the Tennessee River a lot. Indians camped all up and down the river, so points are pretty common. The Tennessee River was a small river at one time. The TVA built a series of dams, causing the river to grow quite large. Many former indian sites are under water, but many are ridges that are being washed or undercut. I like to hunt the banks near known indian sites that are being washed away. You have a better chance of finding large points, and whole points.


Sandbar/Gravelbar Hunting


Something I have never done, but all of my friends do, is sandbar hunt. They hunt the Mississippi River/Tennessee River sandbars. I have seen some nice points from sandbars. If you know where one is, check it out some time.


TIPS FROM OTHER PEOPLE

Here is a tip from Wayne Graham in Oklahoma:


Stay away from sand. Spend your time on gravel bars. The rocks hang up the points. Once in a while I will find a point in the sand but I find a whole lot more in rocks. It seems the bigger the rocks , the bigger the points. I hunt in the winter alot with hip waders. people keep the river banks stomped flat, but the best finds are out in the water. The river that I look in is farely clear because I look below a lake , so the water is still clear there. If you surface hunt on camps , most of the points are newer points because you are looking at the top layers. I still hunt camps because you find things there that you don't find in the river. But by far the finest points in this area come from the rivers.

Thanks Wayne!




Here is a tip from Chuck Patton from Oklahoma:

About hunting cattle feed grounds. We have found that several of the area's with automatic feeders, like creep feeders for calves, are placed on high flat areas to avoid causing extremely muddy situations. Also, round bayles of hay, and the newer liquid feeders are placed in these same types of areas. If these are near water, it seems like the cattle beat the topsoil off and we find pieces, and even full points in these areas. We have about 4 sites like this that we visit every once in a while. Another way that cattle have helped us out is my making creek crossings, or trails down small hills. Both of these situations occur all the time, and produce some points. Just as a note, we don't normally find the amount of artifacts that you do. It normally ranges from 5 to 40 pieces each time we go out, and most of that comes from creek banks and fields, very little comes from the feeding grounds. But it is another place to look after a good rain. One problem with the cattle eroded places is that I have found 2 different instances where I found a perfect point that had been broke into 2 pieces. One of those points was about a 3 1/2 inch long knife. I do have both pieces which fit together to make a perfect point, I guess it was stepped on and broke by a cow. I don't know if you guys have much in the way of natural disasters. But we have a place where a tornado went through and pulled a couple of trees out of a creek bank. This place has produced multiple points in the last few years. Also, with increased erosion at this site, we have found a fire about 10-12 feet deep in the side of the same bank where the points are coming from. We haven't found any points that are for sure coming from this level, but as time goes on, I think the lower levels will produce some points. Maybe even some paleo. Another site I hunt regularly is a natural spring. My cousin had hunted the area for a long time and got most of the easy finds, but as the area erodes I have been able to find a few points there this spring.

Thanks Chuck!








Here is a tip from Brandon Henderson:




I live near the Grand River.There is many springs and draws around this area.Also many sand dunes.My tip to hunters is if you live near a fresh spring check it out! I have found most of my points and other tools in a spring near my house.Also if you know of a sand dune someware it may be wise of you to hunt it very good many times.I know of a sand dune near a streem that is filled with many tools and jewlry. If you are determinded to find beads this might be a good idea to hunt it well. I have found 56 white and other collored beads in sand dunes in this area.The biggest tip I can give you is to go slow over the area you are looking. Don't over look the place you are hunting.GOOD LUCK ON YOUR ARTIFACT HUNTING JOURNEY!
Brandon Henderson


Thanks Brandon!





Here is a tip from Paul Lee from Mountain View,Arkansas:

Besides looking in fields,I enjoy walking down dirt roads by creeks. Every rain I go back to my honey-holes and usually find new arrowheads. I like to look along the road banks and where the road grators have pushed up the gravel. Alot of times they will be broke but every now and then you will find a dandy of a point. I also like to look down logging roads in the woods if a creek is nearby.
Paul Lee


Thanks Paul!





Here is a tip from Barry in Central Missouri:

I have been hunting for a short time. I have been lucky enough to find something almost every time I have been in the creek. My best advise is not to give up on an area were something has been found in the past. I have been to the same spot over 7 times and have found several tools, broken points, scrapers, a perfect small reddish point from the Mississippi time period, and my best find was a nebo hill point in perfect condition. All of these finds were within a 500 yard area. I was told don't even waste your time there is nothing in that creek. Go with your gut feeling. Just Do It!!! Barry in Central Missouri

Thanks Barry!





Since I am still learning all of the time, I will periodicaly update this page when I learn something else. If you have a tip or an unusual way of hunting indian relics and would like to share this information, please email me. and I will post it here ASAP!


Good Luck!!!


If anyone has any questions, comments, or tips for me, please email me.
If you just want to swap stories or if you want to tell me where any paleo sites are, I will welcome the e-mail whole heartedly!








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