The Deadwood Incident…

BY MichaelD


Every August for the last four years my job has taken me to Deadwood Reservoir to spawn Kokanee Salmon for the over six million eggs requested by various Biologists all over the state. Five people spawn every day for three weeks straight (not including weekends) from 8 AM to 2PM…reserving the last two hours to package the eggs and drive them to a remote landing strip carved out of the timbered mountainside. The plane can carry six coolers, each one with nearly 100,000 eggs inside. Keep in mind that the average length of these fish is under ten inches, and female fecundities are about 250 eggs. This means we must handle at least twenty-four hundred ripe females and eight hundred ripe males per day to fill a flight. Typically, one in four female fish are ripe, which means we must handle well over eleven thousand fish per spawn day to fill a plane. That means all five people must handle seven fish per minute for six hours. By five or six in the evening, we are off work, and free to enjoy the wonder of one of the most beautiful places in Idaho.

My co-worker wanted to go to the fishing hole I had told him about, but my buddy had told me of a spot frequented by prehistoric Native Americans that was uncovered in low water years. 2013 was the lowest water year since 1995.So I gave my co-workers good directions, and I programmed my GPS for the coordinates my friend had given me, and set off for the Northwestern corner of the Reservoir. I spent at least an hour of my precious daylight staring at the screen of my GPS unit as I homed in on the mother lode of projectile points that awaited me. When I arrived I immediately found several large chips of jet black obsidian. I searched until it was too dark, finding a handful of chips, but no points. I followed my GPS back to the truck and drove back to camp, very disappointed.

When I arrived in camp, everyone was gathered around the table, heads all bowed, as if in prayer. When I approached the table, I realized they were all looking at an object that was lying on the table. The co-worker I had given directions to had gone fishing. He had caught a beautiful 22 inch cutthroat trout! As I admired his catch, he began to tell me the story he had obviously already shared with everyone else. It was your typical big fish story until he bent down to remove the hook from the fish. There, lying in the mud only inches from the tip of his left boot, was a perfectly formed prehistoric knife! It was made of the same jet black obsidian I had found chips of over two miles away. I was a beautiful thing. I think I was the only one of the group that realized what I was looking at. The guy that found it had little appreciation for what he had found. I offered to trade him my shotgun for it on the spot, and after hesitating enough to give me hope, he declined.


I sent photos to Forrest asking his opinion about the obsidian point. Was it a spear point or a knife? What was it made of? How old do you think it is? Forrest shared his knowledge with me, confirming my less experienced opinion that it was an obsidian knife, perhaps up to 5000 years old! I coveted that thing, and still do, to no avail! And because I HAD to blame someone or something besides myself, I chose my stupid GPS! I vowed to never use that fowl machine again! After all, people have been finding their way for eons without GPS!

So if I had taken my friend fishing instead of telling him where to go, perhaps I would be the one holding that precious piece of stone. And that is why I refuse to use the GPS, and how this came to be known as the Deadwood Incident.



23 thoughts on “The Deadwood Incident…

  1. Wow,
    I hope you realize how lucky you all are out west. Here in Mi all I see is towns and cities scattered across the land. Sure I could head up north to the pine forests and search.
    Such a search would be like a needle in a haystack though, unless I do months of research just to find a general area. Please keep sharing these stories, they give me hope that someday I just might find something interesting.

  2. Once the crops start coming up in the fields we shift from hunting arrowheads there to streams creeks lake beds etc.

    Most people stop hunting in the fields, limiting themselves to a few months out of the year.

    Would look more at the chip site for a possible camp then between the chips and where that artifact was found.


    • Hate to be a stick in the mud:)

      Ohio has hundreds of acres of private land. The advise I was giving out was for that type of location.

      The recovery of that artifact took place on a National Park.

      One needs to check out the local state and federal laws of that area.


      • Rick I have a question you may know the answer. What would you guess the largest indian projectile to measure. I’m thinking 15″ but can you find a point that large? I don’t want to waste money on a fake. Thanks in advance..

  3. Thar ain’t nut’in like the American West…and ain’t nut’in like a good fish story.
    Now that Fenn’s Treasure is still out thar …I’m switch’in mules…I’m go’in quit search’in fer Everett Ruess.

  4. I wouldn’t worry where you find something like that. Finders keepers unless it’s private land then you already have to deal with the owner. The NEW WORLD ORDER has this country by the neck and they are bleeding us out. They are the biggest crooks imaginable. The living standard has nose dived and if you wonder where we are headed look at the new 100 dollar bills (play money). Long live f.

    • The government how pathetic they are

      Look that word up

      We all complain about it but nothing gets done and us Americans don’t even know where to start .

      There needs to be a clean up 🙂

  5. It’s the same old story… the only thing black and pointy I ever find is feathers. I know, not worth much. Great story and great find MD. F is a great resource for such items. I have yet to find an arrowhead in the field. I once saw a guy making arrowheads at a flea market in Albuquerque though. He used deer antler to chip them out.

  6. MichaelD have you figured out what you’re going to say when the Jackboots are at your door?

  7. Let me make it perfectly clear that this item was not recovered by me. Also, it was found at the bottom of a reservoir in a location that is under water during most years. The gentleman I speak of no longer works for me. I am not sure of his last name anymore either….lol. I’m sure he took it back to where he found it and placed it in the mud in the exact same position he recovered it from.

    • Imo….
      It would also be okay if he were to keep that item thinking it was from 50 years ago: that would make it not an artifact. Obsidian isn’t a precious metal, so no beef with the NP law there. It’s a knife, not a natural Rock, so he’s not taking any natural resources nor stone nor flora/fauna/item that belongs to the land itself: it’s clearly a human tool — a very good recent replica of a human tool. Probably recently lost, and maybe there’s even a Craigslist lost&found ad up for it. Oh look. There in the Boise lost&found…! Just print it out for proof, I’d say

  8. I don’t go arrow hunting much these days. When I did, I would go looking in old stagecoach and wagon ruts. There is this place I found and revisited near Alamogordo last year. I tracked the trail across the white sands from the three crosses and I started to go down a ravine. There I found a spear tip about 3 inches in length. Then as I started to look around the whole area I kept finding things. There seems to have been a scuffle with the Calvary and the Apaches. I also found a 1855 nickel just laying there near by. I want to go back but the winged solders kept an eye on me the last time.

  9. You are a great chaser….you should of read all my earlier post on this site. I welcome your thoughts more to put us in the right direction. Its like having a good conversation. Anyway, sometimes I have more than my share of solves. I spoke once of cleaning my slate. I have done so very cautiously. But the element of suprise finds those who have been with the Chase. It has been fun, perhaps has many synonyms itself enjoys. So I give my thoughts away to to my new love now. And if I do solve for the title someday, Forrest, I would like to meet at San Lazaro, you bring the six pack of ice cold to the touch Coors beer and I will give you title to the bracelet that fits you so well. Peace and happiness to all.

  10. Beautiful point, great story…thank you for sharing the Deadwood Incident!

  11. Nice writing Good short story. Submit it for publication and thanks for sharing with FFFs.

  12. I am new to Idaho and am going to Deadwood forthe first time any suggestions on fishing holes on the reservoir?

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