|Rules and regulations concerning metal detectors, relic hunting, coinshooting, treasure hunting/diving. Version 1.0
The Newest version of this document can be gotten by searching Google for “Lasivian” and using the e-mails you find (since they are subject to change)
Thanks, and happy hunting.
This was mainly put together from the standpoint of what the rules were in Arizona, your laws might differ in other states, but most likely the BLM, National Parks Service, National Forest Service and other federal groups will have the same regulations everywhere
(Lengthy, however I give them a gold star since they were the only ones with well-written clear rules on all types of hunting)
Trove Hunting: The search for treasure trove, which is defined as money, unmounted gems, or precious metals in the form of coin, plate, or bullion that has been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovering it later, is an activity which is regulated by the Forest Service. Searching for treasure trove has the potential of causing considerable disturbance and damage to resources and thus requires a Special Use Permit from the Forest Service. Methods utilized in searching for treasure trove must be specified in the permits issued. Permits may not be granted in each and every case, but applications will be reviewed with attention being paid to the justification given and guarantees for the restoration of any damage that might occur to other resources. The use of metal detectors in searching for treasure trove is permissible when under this type of permit, but must be kept within the conditions of the permit. (Most likely I bet if you tell them you’ll be using a metal detector and shovel I bet they’ll grant it, just be true to your word)
Relic Hunting: The use of a metal detector to locate objects of historic or archaeological value is permissible. Such use requires a Special Use Permit; such permits are available for legitimate historical and prehistorical research activities by qualified individuals. Unauthorized use of metal detectors in the search for and collection of historic and archaeological artifacts is a violation of existing regulations and statutes. (IE. If you’re not an archeologist collecting for a museum, forget it)
Prospecting: The use of a metal detector to locate mineral deposits such as gold, and silver on National Forest System lands is considered prospecting and is subject to the provisions of the General Mining Law of 1872. (If you find gold, stake a claim on it and you can dig)
Coinshooting: Searching for coins of recent vintage (less than 50 years) and small objects having no historical value, as a recreational pursuit, using a hand-held metal detector, does not currently require a Special Use Permit as long as the use of the equipment is confined to areas which do no posses historic or prehistoric resources. (Talk about restrictive, if it’s a 1930’s dime it’s historic, be careful)
Rockhounding: (this includes minerals/precious stones/gold) is acceptable in "reasonable" amounts (if you find an area worthy of mining you can stake a mining claim).
Relic Hunting: Artifacts/Relics including old bottles or pieces of equipment and buildings is not allowed without a permit. (Permits are given to people who meet specific qualifications. A letter from a BLM approved repository is required saying the fossils or artifacts collected will be accepted. These items must be placed in the repository and cannot be kept by the collector.)
Suction Dredging: Dredging requires permission from the Army Corps of Engineers, if using an intake four inches or less it is recommended that you contact BLM. When using an intake larger than four inches you are required to contact BLM.
Coinshooting: I found no rules governing non-relic materials; hence I’m guessing it’s most likely not a big deal, altho leaving lots of small holes might get you in trouble, and people thinking you’re digging relics/artifacts could as well. Again, be careful.
Arizona State Land:
No archeological collecting is allowed without a permit. For definition “archeological specimen” means any item resulting from human life or activities, which is at least 100 years old. This includes jewelry, ornaments, textiles, pottery, armaments, tools, weapons, vehicles and human skeletal remains, it DOES NOT include coins, bottles and arrowheads.
Mining and prospected is covered by general mining rules, you’re allowed to look for gold, if it’s worth mining stake a claim.
(For info on other states I suggest searching the web, it’s not hard to find the laws appropriate for how other states handle such things.)
I found a lot of specific municipal codes on turning in things to lost and found, notify the local police, etc. etc.
Of course every cities laws differ, even around Phoenix/Mesa/Glendale/Etc. For the most part anywhere that is open for public use is open ground for metal detecting. (Public golf courses come to mind, Libraries,
(What kind of detecting can differ tho, while coinshooting is acceptable 99 times out of 100 it might not be if the coins have historical value, some cities (phoenix is one of them) actually have city-hired archeologists, and I think they would frown on me digging up relics out of a public park if I happened to find them)
From the shoreline to 3 miles offshore (9 miles in the gulf of Mexico) is covered by the 1989 Abandoned Shipwreck Act (which is quite restrictive), farther out to sea than that and you can do what you want.
Rules are subject to the discretion of the local military as these lands are “leased” from the federal government and subject to military law, if they say you can prospect/coinshoot/relic hunt I suggest you get it in writing, and make sure to mention you will be digging, even if it’s small holes, if it's a bombing/gunnery range (or used to be) where there might be undetonated munitions, forget it.
Self explanatory, unless it’s your land get permission from the landowner before doing anything. If you think there is a chance of finding anything truly valuable on the property I highly recommend some form of legal agreement, or at least a written agreement rather than a verbal one.
Indian reservations are generally considered their own countries, if you want to do any kind of hunting on their land I suggest you take it up with the tribe, and get it in writing. Remember, you are subject to their laws while on their land. (More than likely they will not grant you any permissions, you have a chance if you’re a tribal member I’m guessing)
National Parks/Historic Sites:
Are you nuts? Leave the detector at home, or if you must bring one through a park make sure it is completely packed with the batteries removed. Even then you might come under fire just for having it.
Well, what’s left? If you can think of something I haven’t covered let me know and I’ll add it.