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Old 06-25-2017, 09:01 PM
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Default West Virginia public areas to hunt???

Like I've said several times. I am brand new to this hobby...Still waiting on my first detector...I have spent a lot of time researching detectors, pin pointers, tools, etc...but I have neglected to research locations near me to detect. I did find that a county park close by does allow metal detecting as of 2013, but that's about all I've seen. Obviously my yard and my neighbor's yards/ lots are in play. Once I get somewhat of the basics down I will be looking for permissions, but I'd like to find areas that I can hit without issue. From what I have read it is unlawful to remove, disturb, deface, or unearth anything from state or federal parks and forests. Unfortunately, at least in WV, a lot of Civil War era sites are located in these parks and forests. My question is, does anyone know of places to hunt, without issue, in West Virginia? I live in Kanawha County and I'm not above driving to neighboring counties if it's beneficial. Hate to write such a long post. Thanks for taking the time to read and for any advice.
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Old 06-26-2017, 02:11 AM
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Originally Posted by wvdave107 View post
..... From what I have read it is unlawful to remove, disturb, deface, or unearth anything from state or federal parks and forests. ......

Dave, I will leave out the "federal" part of your question, and address just the state part of your question. It seems you might be getting this stance from something like this, eh ? :

http://www.fmdac.org/west-virginia-state-regulat.html

Nowhere does it say "no metal detecting". Instead, as it and your post admits: It's possible ancillary language that *might* apply. Ie.: archaeological resources, bones, burial grounds, etc... Or remove/harvest. Or alter/deface, etc....

And then humorously that link suggests "talking to park rangers". Oh gee, what, so you can get the "no one cared TILL you asked safe-answer routine" ?

Be aware that EVERY city, county, state, or federal park ALWAYS has variations on those things. So that, of course, no one can cut down trees for firewood. Or "harvest" the sand or rock . Etc... So too does CA state parks have similar wording, and ... so long as you're not at a historic sensitive monuments, you are un-bothered.

I would not construe those things to mean no md'ing. If they do, then every park across the USA is off-limits. If someone wishes to appraise me otherwise, they're welcome to come do so.

As for "alter / deface", etc...: Fine then: cover your spots, leave no trace, and presto, you haven't alterED or defacED anything, right ? Just don't be waltzing over beach blankets, or crashing archie conventions, etc....
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Old 06-26-2017, 06:51 PM
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Tom. That's exactly what I'm referring to. Checked several other sites that say very similar things. I'm so new to this I'm not even sure where to get started, or who to ask, I should say. I have a friend that detects, but hasn't been active for sometime. Plan on checking with him for some local input. I was just hoping to get input from a few more people close by. Thanks for the post
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Old 06-26-2017, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wvdave107 View post
.... who to ask, ...
Here's who you ask: You ask a printed page . Of the rules-of-use, of whatever entity administers the site you are interested in.

Eg.: if it's for state parks, you "ask" (aka "read") their rules. And as you can see, that link I gave you already gave the only things someone else (who researched this before you) that could even come close to applying to the question.

And as you can see, it does not say: "no md'ing". Hence, presto, you have now "asked".

As for ancillary stuff that *might* apply: If you start down that path, then you might as well give it up now. At every single park, forest, beach, etc... in the entire USA. Because I guarantee you that you will find something that *could* be construed to apply. Just keep asking bored archies and desk-jockey's long enough, and you will most assuredly be told no by someone. Be sure to use words like "dig", "take", "remove", "holes" and "indian bone", lest you be "mincing words" and "less than forthcoming" (ie.: getting permission under false pretenses). You get the picture.

Thus unless it specifically says "no md'ing", don't over-think it. Just use discretion (timing, avoid obvious monuments and archie conventions, etc...). Because we are admittedly in an odd-hobby that has connotations.

Originally Posted by wvdave107 View post
... I was just hoping to get input from a few more people close by...
Sure. But be aware that the range on this runs from "very skittish" to "help yourself till told otherwise". There are people who, upon being asked this question, will tell you that you should get written permission to hunt a sandbox . Hey, "can't be too safe after all", eh ? "Doesn't hurt to ask after all", eh ?
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Old 06-26-2017, 11:43 PM
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In WV, all Wildlife Management (WMA) areas are out. Federal lands are out except a few areas like beaches at lakes, developed areas like camp grounds. And I would check there too before you dig just to be safe. Most city ordinances I've read say no removing any objects. You can detect, just can't dig it up! Actually had a guy tell me that once! Your best bet is probably door knocking or checking with friends, or friends of friends. Sometimes getting in on one spot can lead to more places.
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Old 06-27-2017, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by RockCore View post
In WV, all Wildlife Management (WMA) areas are out.....
Really ? Where did you get that information ? I've looked over their list of rules right now, and am not seeing anything that forbids metal detectors :

http://www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/RulesRegs.shtm

Originally Posted by RockCore View post
.... Federal lands are out except a few areas like beaches at lakes, developed areas like camp grounds. And I would check there too before you dig just to be safe. ....
There are multiple levels of federal land. NPS, BLM, NFS, etc... Not all are off-limits. As for "asking to be safe", can't someone "ask" the written rules of the place in question ?

Originally Posted by RockCore View post
... Most city ordinances I've read say no removing any objects. You can detect, just can't dig it up! ....
I got news for you: If verbiage of "remove" "take" or "harvest", mean no md'ing, then we're all in big trouble in ... not "most", but ALL cities. And if variations of "dig" (eg.: deface, alter, molest, etc...) mean "no detecting", then there's also not a single city in the entire USA where you can hunt parks.

Yet ... oddly ...... a quick look at the today's finds forums of any md'ing website show scores of items "found in parks". How can this be ??
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Old 06-27-2017, 04:16 PM
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Did some digging and this is what it says about state parks and land....

State Park Metal Detecting Rule and Regulation Detail:


Metal detecting is not allowed in West Virginia State Parks and Forests. It is not illegal in and of itself but our regulations prohibit the disturbance or removal of any item found.

Park Regulations:

2.1.
No person shall cut, deface, destroy, or drive any object into any tree, shrub, rock, sign, building or other structure or object in a state park, state forest, or state wildlife management area. This subsection does not apply to the erection of temporary blinds or tree stands in state wildlife management areas.

2.2.
No person shall remove any man-made or natural object, material, substance, plant, animal or historical or archeological relic or artifact from a state park, state forest, or state wildlife management area, except those legally acquired through hunting and fishing in accordance with W. Va. Code 20-2-1 et seq. or upon proper authorization in writing by the Chief of Parks and Recreation, Division of Natural Resources.
nd.
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Old 06-27-2017, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wvdave107 View post
Did some digging and this is what it says about state parks and land....

State Park Metal Detecting Rule and Regulation Detail:


Metal detecting is not allowed in West Virginia State Parks and Forests. It is not illegal in and of itself but our regulations prohibit the disturbance or removal of any item found.

Park Regulations:

2.1.
No person shall cut, deface, destroy, or drive any object into any tree, shrub, rock, sign, building or other structure or object in a state park, state forest, or state wildlife management area. This subsection does not apply to the erection of temporary blinds or tree stands in state wildlife management areas.

2.2.
No person shall remove any man-made or natural object, material, substance, plant, animal or historical or archeological relic or artifact from a state park, state forest, or state wildlife management area, except those legally acquired through hunting and fishing in accordance with W. Va. Code 20-2-1 et seq. or upon proper authorization in writing by the Chief of Parks and Recreation, Division of Natural Resources.
nd.
WV-Dave, look closer at what you just cited. Notice that the opening statements. Notice that it is "commentary". Not law. The actual law is what that person goes on to cite thereafter. RIGHT ? Apparently those opening comments (preceding the actual law) are some pencil-jockey's answer to an md'rs inquiry in the past.

Or put it like this: In my city, the parks are not a problem (so long as you're not being a nuisance of some sort). However, if I were to walk into my city hall right now and ask, I could probably find someone to say "no" like your quote. And ... sure, perhaps even put the "no" in a nice letter like that. And ... sure, reference something they feel applies from actual muni. code.

Ok then, you tell me: Does that commentary constitute "law" now ?

This has been the major problem of the FMDAC's state-by-state list. Of the dire sounding states (much like yours that you list above) sound like. To understand the evolution, you have to understand how the list CAME ABOUT :

Way back when, starting with a book in the mid 1980s called "Treasure laws of the United States" (by R.W. Doc Grim). He wanted to compile an alphabetic list of state-by-state laws, regarding their state parks. So, in genius fashion, he sent a xeroxed letter to all 50 states, head-of-parks in State capitols. Asking something to the effect of "What are the laws regarding the use of Metal Detectors in your state parks ?" And perhaps saying the answer was going into a book he was writing, etc...

When the 50 replies came back in, he merely put them in alphabetic through is book, RIGHT there on their own letterhead. So that , if hassled, you could just whip open the book and show a busy-body, eh ? Or conversely, save yourself time and embarrassment of a scram (or worse) if it wasn't allowed. Genius idea, right ?

This was in the pre-internet era, of course. Then travelers & RV'rs could just carry the handy reference book.

Yes some of the states were able to answer back with a chapter and verse "no" to point to (specifically saying "no metal detecting"). And others perhaps would say "no rules, have a ball". But in a bunch of others, an odd thing happened when the book made the rounds: States that had NEVER been a problem before, got odd-ball answers. With ... "no's" (or something dire-sounding like what you quote here). But if you read closely, it was usually something like your quote: Where they would refer you "deface" or "alter". Or "harvest / remove". Or cultural heritage. Or lost & found laws. Blah blah blah. Or sometimes even just "no", with no reference to any such actual rule. So you had old-timers scratching their heads saying "since when ??"

Do you see what happened ? It became a giant game of "no one cared TILL you asked" routine. Because, go figure: In any given state, there will *admittedly* be some of their state parks with a sensitive historic theme . Yet others where it was just never given a moment's thought. Well gee, put yourself in the shoes of the person trying to answer this ? And sure as heck, he must "pass this pressing issue" on to the desk of a state archie for approval eh ?

And oddly, despite some of those odd-ball answers (relying on ancillary verbiage) the old-timers never let it affect them, and ... still not a problem. (So long as you are not an utter nuisance , waltzing over blankets at an archie convention).

Hence I would separate "commentary" (someone answer at a desk, or in a letter) with actual law. As for the stuff that letter writer referred to in his answer/commentary (alter, remove, etc...), SO TOO is such language in EVERY single park, at EVERY governmental level. So that no numbskull goes to start removing picnic benches, harvesting sod and sand, "destroying" things, etc... All such verbiage that pre-dates detectors mind you. But given the pressing question , someone will look long and hard (images of geeks with shovels) and give the "safe answer".

You are certainly entitled to find some place else to hunt. That's fine. But watch close when you look up rules for somewhere else (a place with no "commentary"), and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that some form of the same language is present. If it necessarily means "no detecting", then .... either you're going to have to stick to private property, or choose a different hobby.

And any place you MIGHT find to tell you "yes", it will simply mean you didn't ask with the right combination of words, to give them the right mental picture. Use words like "remove", "take", "holes", "dig" and "indian bone", and you can find "no's" at every speck of public land in the entire USA.
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Old 06-27-2017, 05:08 PM
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Tom, read #8 under "General" about WMA's. It's a catch all phrase, as with many city ordinances, about removing objects. I don't like it any more than anyone else, but it's under state code for the WMA's. I've looked it up and the DNR uses wordage from code in their regs. You want to argue it with a DNR LEO have at it. But I bet you won't win.
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Old 06-27-2017, 05:39 PM
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I've been looking around the WWW and almost everywhere uses somewhat of the same verbiage. Like I've said I'm brand new to this hobby. I have a very strong interest in WV and American history. Understandably, most of the items I will find will have nothing to with any kind of history, but I'm sure, like everyone else that detects, it's all about that next impressive find. I just want to do what's right by fellow hobbyist and the law. If I'm ever asked to leave a location I will do so without question. I DO NOT, under any circumstances, want to do anything to hinder anyone from detecting locations or give the hobby a bad perception. I just wanted to get an idea of the local regs. and laws before I get started. From what I've read and seen on the forum and the web I, like everyone else, just needs to use COMMON SENSE and curtesy when detecting.
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Old 06-27-2017, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RockCore View post
.... But I bet you won't win.
How is it then, that parks, forests, beaches, etc.... across the entire USA, are getting routinely detected then ? A quick look at the "finds" forums of any md'ing forum, show people are hunting public land of various sorts.

And since they too will have some sort of similar wording to #8, ..... how then are people detecting anywhere then ?

If you show me ANY place where you *think* it's ok to detect on public land, I can find some verbiage, like #8 there, that forbids it. And I don't disagree that someone could "scram" you. But so too could you get a "scram" at any park or forest or beach or park anywhere, in similar fashion. And you're right: You won't win the debate of semantics (to point out that you're "leaving no trace" , or that objects to remove did not include coins, etc....) .

And often time, the person giving you the "scram" was often made aware of "some supposed evil" on the part of md'rs, via the FAQ they keep fielding from well-intentioned md'rs. Eg.: someone looks it up, decides, no. Then, gee, guess what happens the NEXT time he sees another md'r ? He recalls the earlier conversation and thinks "aha ! there's one of *them* " And scrams-are-born.

It's as if we can be our own worst enemy.

I'm not saying that some places (perhaps WV parks or WV WMA) doesn't indeed enforce it and interpret it that way (via whatever evolution caused it). But just saying that UNLESS I see actual "no detecting", then I'm detecting. If that means keeping a ... uh ... lower profile, so be it.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:06 PM
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Let me give y'all an example: The state of CA park's dept. has similar cultural heritage wording. And similar prohibitions of "harvest" "take" "remove", etc... Yet you can hunt state of CA beaches here (and most land parks, so long as not historically themed sensitive) till you're blue in the face. Yup, right in front of rangers, etc...

However, *technically speaking* a "artifact" or "historic resource" is defined as objects 50 yr. or more old. Hmmm, ok, what happens if I find a 1962 silver dime on the beach ? Is someone there, armed with a calculator, to do the math on the age of each coin I find ??

I have no doubt, that I went "seeking clarification" from Sacramento, (making sure to point out that I *might* find old coins), that I could get a policy, much like WV @ the OP of this, for our state. Yet, oddly , you can hunt state of CA beaches till you're blue in the face ! Why is that ? It's the exact same parks dept. that administers the beaches here (which is most all of our coastline) as administers the land parks. So technically the same rules apply to both.

In fact, I know of 2 occasions where someone did indeed get a "scram" at a state beach here. One time from a state archie who just *happened* to be at that beach. To give a lecture at their museum. Doh! Ok, does that constitute gospel law ? What would have happened if that md'r had gone to "fight that scram" ? Or "Seek clarification" ? See ?

As it was, the guy just gave lip service, when it became clear that this dude would no doubt go back to his ivory castle at whatever inland university he'd come from. BUT I CAN JUST SEE this person-on state payroll, answering an inquiry. Which subsequently gets linked on md'ing forums. And pretty soon everyone is taking it as fact that state beaches here are off-limits.

Meanwhile, as you can see NO ONE is morphing those ancillary things to apply. Unless you sent them the "pressing question" that needs their "pressing attention" to be shuffled desk to desk till you get the "safe" answer. And sure, they'll no doubt point to something silly they feel justifies the "no".
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:47 PM
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Tom, your right that a lot of times is these places no one would say a word to you. I doubt some even know how it's stated in the regs. And I agree that md'ers are sometimes our own worst enemy by asking questions. Or sometimes by detecting in places where they aren't supposed to. I was just trying to help answer the OP'ers question, and probably just confused him.

WV dave107, just be careful where you go. Yo don't want to get in trouble or shed a bad light on detecting over something benign that someone makes into a crusade to vilify you. Do some door knocking and ask around. You might be surprised. And the park that does indeed allow detecting is a nice place to kill some time and look for clad. But it gets pounded. But you never know, a ring or other goody may just be hiding there. Good luck.
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Old 07-01-2017, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wvdave107 View post
Did some digging and this is what it says about state parks and land....

State Park Metal Detecting Rule and Regulation Detail:


Metal detecting is not allowed in West Virginia State Parks and Forests. It is not illegal in and of itself but our regulations prohibit the disturbance or removal of any item found.

Park Regulations:


2.2.
No person shall remove any man-made or natural object, material, substance, plant, animal or historical or archeological relic or artifact from a state park, state forest, or state wildlife management area, except those legally acquired through hunting and fishing in accordance with W. Va. Code 20-2-1 et seq. or upon proper authorization in writing by the Chief of Parks and Recreation, Division of Natural Resources.
nd.
I really like the part that says No person shall remove any man-made or natural object
Are you telling me that no person shall pick up trash

IN BEFORE THE LOCK...

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Old 07-01-2017, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by matmit View post
I really like the part that says No person shall remove any man-made or natural object
Are you telling me that no person shall pick up trash

IN BEFORE THE LOCK...
With that said, I don't think you can get into trouble for littering either...

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