How To Find Arrowheads In The Woods: What You Need To Know
Since I started hunting arrowheads a few years ago, I’ve had a lot of people ask where the best places to hunt for arrowheads are. And if you’re an arrowhead hunter yourself, you know there’s no perfect answer to that question.
But since many of the friends that ask me this question enjoy spending a lot of time out in the woods, I thought I would focus on that. And explain to them how they can take part in the fun I was having in hunting for arrowheads, even in the woods!
So I created a list of tips for these folks to help answer their question…and share with you, fellow arrowhead hunters. So keep reading, and I hope you find some tips that are useful on your next arrowhead hunting trip.
Once you’ve begin finding arrowheads, the next fun part is identifying them! If you need help identifying Indian arrowheads, you might find my post, American Indian Arrowhead Identification: A Resource Guide helpful for that phase of arrowhead collecting.
How To Find Arrowheads In The Woods
Like I mentioned earlier, the answer isn’t necessarily all that straight forward. I promise that you’re not going to be successful at hunting arrowheads if all you do is randomly walk into the woods and start looking at the ground. You might get lucky, but chances are you won’t find one arrowhead point.
The key to hunting for arrowheads anywhere is knowing what to look for. Get to know where ancient people would have gathered. Get to know where these people lived, hunted and traveled.
The other thing to remember is that the landscape 500, 1000 or even 5000 years ago was significantly different than it is now. The pond, lake or creek you see today very well could have been a dry meadow or seasonal creek 1000 years ago. And areas that are now dry, could have easily been shallow ponds, marshes or even the bottom of a massive lake.
So as you walk out into the woods to look for arrowheads, keep these following tips and suggestions in mind:
Look For Evidence of Indian Camps
Whether you’re walking in the deepest part of the woods or simply following a well used trail, keep your eyes open for evidence of old Indian camps. How do you find Indian Camps? Think about areas that you would be useful to you if you were to set up a camp today. Things that would be important for a camp are natural shelter, like bluff overhangs, sources of water such as springs could be a great indications of a possible Indian camps being near by.
Many Indian camps will be located near a water source, such as a creek, river or spring. Just like modern civilizations, ancient peoples relied heavily upon water. They would have almost always camped very close to a source of fresh water. Their survival depended on it.
Indian camps would have been close to water, but they wouldn’t have necessarily been right on the water. Look for high areas that are away from the water a bit, but more importantly, are up out of the floodplain, such as a bluff or a knoll.
Hunting Arrowheads In Creeks, Rivers and Streams
When thinking about tips on how to hunt arrowheads in the woods, one of the best tips I can give you is to find a creek or river and start your search there.
Remember that not all streams, creeks and rivers were flowing the same way 1000 or more years ago. Always keep that in mind. But if you’re certain you’ve found a creek or river that was present in ancient times, it should prove to be an excellent place to begin your hunt for arrowheads.
Hunting For Arrowheads: What Time Of Year Is Best?
Time your arrowhead hunting trip during the part of year when water levels are at their lowest. This is typically during the summer months. Creeks and rivers with low water levels will expose much more of the gravel bars and creek beds, which is where the arrowheads can be found. Also look in the eroded sides of the creeks that would normally be covered with water.
Arrowheads are made out of stone, so they tend to move along the bottom of the river just like other rocks and gravel. Spend time looking for arrowheads in the gravel bars and other rocky areas. Look along the water line as well as just inside the water line. Moving water will wash away the silt and other debris making it easier to see the arrowheads.
Arrowheads tend to get caught between other rocks of the same size or larger as they are pushed along by the water, pinning it in place.
Hunting For Arrowheads Where Two or More Rivers or Creeks Join
If you’re just starting hunting for arrowheads in the woods, one of the best tips you could ever receive is to look for areas where 2 or more creeks, rivers or streams come together. These are my absolute favorite locations to hunt for arrowheads. Not only are these areas a hot spot for Indian camps, but they were popular locations for other ancient hunting activities. This is where you can find many other artifacts in addition to arrowheads.
If you’re able to locate where two or more larger sized rivers come together, then you’ll probably find evidence of Indian camps nearby. In ancient times, these areas were teaming with activity. People would not have only camped in these areas, but they would have lived in these locations for long periods of time. Because of this, these areas are not only excellent for hunting for arrowheads, but are also where to find ancient stone and pottery artifacts.
If you find where two or more smaller creeks or streams come together, you’ll probably also find a lot of evidence of high animal traffic. Today, these areas are excellent for finding deer and other wild game to hunt. The same would also hold true in ancient times.
Many arrows and spears were shot or thrown at deer and other game while they approached the water. Many of these arrows and spears missed their target, only to be lost in the creek or tall grass. Spend time looking for these lost arrowheads in the eroded sides of the creek as well as on the bottom creek bed and gravel bars.
Highly Recommended Arrowhead Hunting Book
If you are serious about learning about hunting for arrowheads, whether it be hunting for arrowheads in a creek or in the woods, you should really take a look at this book. It is written by an expert artifact hunter, William Bauer. Inside his book, he takes you into much more detail in teaching you how to locate ancient indian camps. He takes his years of expertise and practice and shares his knowledge with his readers. Don’t miss out on the best arrowhead hunting book available!
Tips On Hunting For Arrowheads In The Woods
Below are some tips you can use to be more successful at finding arrowheads on your next trip out.
How To Find Arrowheads in Creeks and Streams
Gravel bars can be great places to hunt for arrowheads. Here are a few things to keep in mind when hunting arrowheads on gravel bars in streams, creeks and rivers and what your levels of success might be. These are not concrete rules, but rules of thumb.
Sandy Bottom: very rare to find arrowheads. Artifacts you may find are pottery shards and possibly flint.
Pea Gravel: Higher rate for finding small arrowheads/ birdpoints.
Small gravel: Higher chance of finding small arrowheads/ birdpoints and other arrowheads that are about the same size as the gravel.
Medium to Large Gravel: Any size arrowhead can be found in this kind of creek or river bottom.
A tool that I’ve found very helpful while searching creeks and streams is the Sand Dipper. This extendable tool allows you to pick up items out of the creek and it sifts the sand and dirt for you. Learn more about the Sand Dipper in my post, 5 Reason To Use A Sand Dipper. You will not regret owning one!
How To Find Ancient Creeks
Use Google maps to your advantage. Google maps can play a very helpful role when researching good areas for looking for arrowheads in the woods.
Use the topographical option on Google maps to investigate where rivers and streams may have traveled through in the past. You may find that two streams converged in a much different location than where they currently join.
Do your research before you head out and you will find arrowheads and other artifacts!
Now that you know how to find arrowheads in the woods, get out there and start looking! Leave a comment below and share any other tips you might have.
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If you’ve taken the information in this post and are still unable to find the elusive arrowhead. I’ve located a few places online that sell authentic Indian arrowheads. You can find these items on my post, Where To Find Indian Arrowheads For Sale.
For more general information about arrowheads, and an in depth look at their history, read my Informational Guide to Native American Indian Arrowheads.
And if you do plan on spending any time out in the woods this year with your family, take a look at my article, The Best 6 Person Tent For 2017: Camp Comfortably This Summer where I break down the best 6 person tents based on your needs.
Happy Rock Seeking!