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Would you hunt it?

mdscntst

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
Messages
18
Location
Northern NJ
Curious as to everyone's thoughts or experience with similar areas.

All around where I live, there are dozens of square miles of woodland that are a designated watershed area for a large city a couple of counties over. This area is very well-posted with "no trespassing without permit/property patrolled" signs, but is not off limits per se, and recreational permits for fishing, boating and hiking are issued for a small fee. I buy the hiking permit every year as I enjoy the woods, lakes and trails. Of course since I got into the hobby the idea of detecting the area is always in the back of my mind - there were numerous old homesteads, logging roads and even entire towns that used to exist there. Rock walls everywhere, that type of thing.

In the fair state of NJ where I am, nothing is ever allowed, and especially not if you ask, so I know better than to just ask at the office or call up the owning city. However, while watershed land, it is not state or federal land which I know is generally off limits. I have read the official permit rules and there are vague statements about activities not consistent with the reason for permit issuance being grounds for prosecution (though not sure by which authority). Obviously, no mention of detecting anywhere.

Thoughts anyone?
 

Tahtsadatsago

Full Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
124
Location
NJ
I'd research the city laws (city that owns the property). Most likely they're online. I'd likewise do some research into county law.

Assuming there is no law against metal detecting, I'd hunt it.
 

MuddyMo

Forum Supporter
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Messages
2,142
Location
Florida
Yup. If they say anything I'd show then the hiking permit and say sorry, that's what I do while hiking. Just like taking pics or bird watching.
 

DougF

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
3,063
Location
Maryland
I had almost the exact same situation as you here in Maryland. The site in question had large signs listing prohibited activities, but otherwise functioned as a park (no permits needed). Since metal detecting was not listed on the sign, I went ahead and detected there, mostly at sites where there had been picnic tables years before.

I detected there for a couple years, probably 30-40 different times, and found quite a few silver coins (about 15 or so, including my first barber coin). Finally, an official with the agency responsible stopped one day and said I couldn't detect there without authorization. So I sent a letter requesting permission to look for old coins, promising to fill all holes, etc. Of course, as you might expect, the request was denied.
 

Tom_in_CA

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
18,532
Curious as to everyone's thoughts or experience with similar areas.

All around where I live, there are dozens of square miles of woodland that are a designated watershed area for a large city a couple of counties over. This area is very well-posted with "no trespassing without permit/property patrolled" signs, but is not off limits per se, and recreational permits for fishing, boating and hiking are issued for a small fee. I buy the hiking permit every year as I enjoy the woods, lakes and trails. Of course since I got into the hobby the idea of detecting the area is always in the back of my mind - there were numerous old homesteads, logging roads and even entire towns that used to exist there. Rock walls everywhere, that type of thing.

In the fair state of NJ where I am, nothing is ever allowed, and especially not if you ask, so I know better than to just ask at the office or call up the owning city. However, while watershed land, it is not state or federal land which I know is generally off limits. I have read the official permit rules and there are vague statements about activities not consistent with the reason for permit issuance being grounds for prosecution (though not sure by which authority). Obviously, no mention of detecting anywhere.

Thoughts anyone?

You've gotten good answers so far. My .02c is:

1) You start off by saying that the area is posted "no trespassing" blah blah.

2) But then you go on to say that the public is not disallowed from being there. Ie.: public land per se' . But perhaps via a pay system or whatever. So for purposes of this question then , the "no trespassing" part of your post is a NON ISSUE. The only issue is : Md'ing. Not "can I be there, in-the-first-place".

I just want to make that clear, lest, sure as sh#t, people will get caught up in that first part of the post of yours.

3) You have even looked at the list of prohibited activities. And md'ing is not listed as prohibited.

4) So a part of me wonders: "Why then are you wondering ?". :?:

If we start with the premise that md'ing is harmful, dangerous, evil, etc..., then sure: We might wonder. But since when is md'ing harmful, dangerous, or evil ? I happen to consider it benign, harmless, educational, wise, and nutritious. :roll:

And the mere fact that anyone would approach some pencil-jockey asking "Can I ?" there, simply implies that something is amiss, or harmful, etc... Lest why else would you be asking them ? No one asks to do benign inconsequential things.

So the moment we ask them, it simply casts aspersions on this. As if something is inherently wrong. And then presto: You will become the latest victim of "No one cared UNTIL you asked" routine :roll:

You are not going to find express allowances for this hobby. Just avoid obvious historic sensitive monuments. And go look for the ring your wife lost there last week. :roll:
 

Tom_in_CA

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
18,532
Doug, interesting post . You say :


.... Since metal detecting was not listed on the sign, I went ahead and detected there, ....

....Finally, an official with the agency responsible stopped one day and said I couldn't detect there without authorization. ....

Some people might interpret that "scram" as proof that we need to grovel wherever we come to. But that's not a correct conclusion. Because here's the deal :

Authority figures (cops, rangers, etc....) do indeed have the liberty and latitude to interpret ancillary language (disturb, alter, remove, blah blah) to apply to our hobby. In other words, there DOES NOT NEED TO BE a specific forbiddance.

I studied this in depth with a lawyer friend of mine, and pushed back by saying : "Isn't that capricious and whimsical ?" And "Doesn't there need to be a *specific* dis-allowance ?" To which he explained that laws and rules are sometimes written broadly and vague. So as to apply to a myriad of situations that *might* arise in the field. It's simply impossible for an agency to write laws/rules for EVERY CONCEIVABLE thing that might arise in the field.

So LEO types are given latitude to interpret. Otherwise everyone would forever be arguing semantics in the field, and LEO's could never get their jobs done. Oh sure, you can defy them and ask for a ticket. And then let the judge sort it out. But ..... seriously now....none of us wants that bologna.

So to go further with your situation:

....So I sent a letter requesting permission to look for old coins, promising to fill all holes, etc. Of course, as you might expect, the request was denied. ....

Presto: You were the latest victim of "no one cared till you asked" routine :mad:

But notice this curious statement from you :


....I detected there for a couple years, probably 30-40 different times, and found quite a few silver coins ....

Ok, do you see what's going on here ?? You detect for YEARS and no one cares less. But you get a single stink-eye or scram, and you think that this means that you should now go running to "seek clarification". And thus, presto, another law or rule or "no" is born.

Instead, I think this is a good thread that addresses this rogue fluke anomaly situations like that :

metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=278842
 

DougF

Elite Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2006
Messages
3,063
Location
Maryland
Doug, interesting post . You say :


Presto: You were the latest victim of "no one cared till you asked" routine :mad:

But notice this curious statement from you :




Ok, do you see what's going on here ?? You detect for YEARS and no one cares less. But you get a single stink-eye or scram, and you think that this means that you should now go running to "seek clarification". And thus, presto, another law or rule or "no" is born.

Tom, I left a few details out - the agency rep said I should write a letter requesting authorization to detect, but if I was caught detecting again without authorization, they would confiscate my detector. I doubt if that would happen (legally), but the finds were diminishing, so I've never, ever went back there. :grin:
 

Tom_in_CA

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
18,532
Tom, I left a few details out - the agency rep said I should write a letter requesting authorization to detect, but if I was caught detecting again without authorization, they would confiscate my detector. ....

Oh sure, OF COURSE they are going to say something obligatory like that. But that assumes that "authorization" is needed IN THE FIRST PLACE . Ok, says who ? Him ?

Again, I don't doubt that he has the latitude to say such things (ie.: "scram"). But I'll bet you that the next passing ranger might CARE LESS. As evidenced by the fact that you went for all those years and no one cared less.

Did you read the link I gave ?

metaldetectingforum.com/showthread.php?t=278842

And as far as "confiscating detectors" I'm sure that if you were obnoxious, and went out of your way to parade yourself in front of him the very next day (ie.: defy the scram), then sure. But otherwise, it's possible find "dire sounding consequences" for taking the tag off your mattress, or spitting on sidewalks, etc..... There is simply no way in heck that he's going to "confiscate your detector" for something in which there was no prohibition about.

Oh sure, he can SAY that. But this is just the "teeth" that LEO's put into things they say. Let me give you an example: One time my buddy and I got scrammed from a park. The lady cop took down our names and DL #'s, etc... (as if she was going to "keep them on record" for "in case we returned" blah blah). Ie.: to make sure that it was "real scary". I talked to an LEO friend of mine who just chuckled and said : "Trust me, they just threw that slip of paper away. That's just to intimidate you to think you're 'being watched now' ". blah blah. :roll:

Not saying to throw caution to the wind, and show up the next day. Read the link I gave you, and this very psychology and issue were discussed in depth.
 

CarsonChris

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
1,791
Location
Carson City, NV
I would hunt it with the hiking permit. Carry a bag to place all the trash in it. If anyone says anything show them the garbage because you are doing service for the community by cleaning up the watershed!
 

Rock Jock

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
447
Location
Homeless in USA - Frequently in Charleston, SC
Curious as to everyone's thoughts or experience with similar areas.

All around where I live, there are dozens of square miles of woodland that are a designated watershed area for a large city a couple of counties over. This area is very well-posted with "no trespassing without permit/property patrolled" signs, but is not off limits per se, and recreational permits for fishing, boating and hiking are issued for a small fee. I buy the hiking permit every year as I enjoy the woods, lakes and trails. Of course since I got into the hobby the idea of detecting the area is always in the back of my mind - there were numerous old homesteads, logging roads and even entire towns that used to exist there. Rock walls everywhere, that type of thing.

In the fair state of NJ where I am, nothing is ever allowed, and especially not if you ask, so I know better than to just ask at the office or call up the owning city. However, while watershed land, it is not state or federal land which I know is generally off limits. I have read the official permit rules and there are vague statements about activities not consistent with the reason for permit issuance being grounds for prosecution (though not sure by which authority). Obviously, no mention of detecting anywhere.

Thoughts anyone?

Some good suggestions above. This sounds like some wide open spaces. Chances are that, unless there is hunting (game - improbable in NJ), very few people will venture far from designated (mapped?) hiking trails and roads. If there are as many former cultural sites/features as you suggest, then I would be checking them out with LIDAR and visiting them with GPS, or some such, if they are more than a hundred feet off the trail, if it has a decent foliage canopy. You will need to run silent. Unless you fear ferocious ticks from rampant Virginia Whitetail deer populations, you are unlikely to be otherwise disturbed by anybody in pursuit of your dastardly behavior. That would be my approach. You can also put your metal detector into a sack in transport to keep it from view. Does the de facto multiple public use include swimming in watershed water bodies or water courses? If so, you might be able to add underwater metal detecting to your fun. A Nokta Makro PulseDive can be pretty low profile if you want it to be and heaven knows what old timers may have thrown in there. Orienteering can be fun!:cool3:
 
Last edited:

Tom_in_CA

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
18,532
... very few people will venture far from designated (mapped?) hiking trails and roads. ...


Good post Rock Jock. We have some scenic nature preserve hiking trail park things here in CA. And it's exactly as you say : 99.99% of the tourist/hikers stay on the trails. No nuts are going "off-trail" , like a geeky md'r would.

Thus yes, the odds are, once you are off the trails, the reality is: There's no one around to care-less, in-the-first place. :roll:
 

mdscntst

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
Messages
18
Location
Northern NJ
Some good suggestions above. This sounds like some wide open spaces. Chances are that, unless there is hunting (game - improbable in NJ), very few people will venture far from designated (mapped?) hiking trails and roads. If there are as many former cultural sites/features as you suggest, then I would be checking them out with LIDAR and visiting them with GPS, or some such, if they are more than a hundred feet off the trail, if it has a decent foliage canopy. You will need to run silent. Unless you fear ferocious ticks from rampant Virginia Whitetail deer populations, you are unlikely to be otherwise disturbed by anybody in pursuit of your dastardly behavior. That would be my approach. You can also put your metal detector into a sack in transport to keep it from view. Does the de facto multiple public use include swimming in watershed water bodies or water courses? If so, you might be able to add underwater metal detecting to your fun. A Nokta Makro PulseDive can be pretty low profile if you want it to be and heaven knows what old timers may have thrown in there. Orienteering can be fun!:cool3:

Some good advice all around in this thread - thanks all! There actually is game hunting that goes on in the area (believe it or not, there are still some open spaces in NJ!) and it is one of the activities that permits are issued for, I just forgot to mention it before. I have found several deer stands further out in the woods while exploring, so to your point, I may need to wait out the season and hope the ground isn't frozen solid.

There is no swimming or beaches on any of the bodies of water, which is a bummer because eventual underwater detecting has crossed my mind, as at least one of the reservoirs occupies the site of a former mining town. I'm still very much a beginner though, and feel like I need to get my dry detecting up to snuff first!
 

Rock Jock

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2020
Messages
447
Location
Homeless in USA - Frequently in Charleston, SC
Some good advice all around in this thread - thanks all! There actually is game hunting that goes on in the area (believe it or not, there are still some open spaces in NJ!) and it is one of the activities that permits are issued for, I just forgot to mention it before. I have found several deer stands further out in the woods while exploring, so to your point, I may need to wait out the season and hope the ground isn't frozen solid.

There is no swimming or beaches on any of the bodies of water, which is a bummer because eventual underwater detecting has crossed my mind, as at least one of the reservoirs occupies the site of a former mining town. I'm still very much a beginner though, and feel like I need to get my dry detecting up to snuff first!

I'd also check for bow hunting, upland game birds and any primitive (black powder? Unlikely but who knows?) hunt options available. Wouldn't want to crowd anyone's season. Might even be mushroom hunters out there sometimes.

As regards swimming & MDing, there are a goodly number of lakes that might provide swimming + metal detecting opportunities, although it is probably too cold right now. Break a leg!
 

atomicbrh

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
651
Location
Central MS
A Defense for Digging

Curious as to everyone's thoughts or experience with similar areas.

All around where I live, there are dozens of square miles of woodland that are a designated watershed area for a large city a couple of counties over. This area is very well-posted with "no trespassing without permit/property patrolled" signs, but is not off limits per se, and recreational permits for fishing, boating and hiking are issued for a small fee. I buy the hiking permit every year as I enjoy the woods, lakes and trails. Of course since I got into the hobby the idea of detecting the area is always in the back of my mind - there were numerous old homesteads, logging roads and even entire towns that used to exist there. Rock walls everywhere, that type of thing.

In the fair state of NJ where I am, nothing is ever allowed, and especially not if you ask, so I know better than to just ask at the office or call up the owning city. However, while watershed land, it is not state or federal land which I know is generally off limits. I have read the official permit rules and there are vague statements about activities not consistent with the reason for permit issuance being grounds for prosecution (though not sure by which authority). Obviously, no mention of detecting anywhere.

Thoughts anyone?

I thought about another argument for digging in this area and filling your holes. It is a requirement by government officials for all the yuppie hikers("think Appalachian trail" for one) to carry a plastic "potty" trowel with them.
If confronted, I would ask what is the difference between digging a hole and covering up #2 so no one can see you that were ever there and digging a hole to get out a tiny metal object that is most likely garbage and covering that same size hole so that no one can see that you were ever there?
Link to one of many hiker's potty trowels:
www.amazon.com/TheTentLab-Improved-...4?keywords=hiker+shovel&qid=1637266172&sr=8-4

Here is the argument from the first product question:
Whats the point of using this product vs dropping a deuce in a bush?
Answer:I'm going to assume you're not trolling everyone and answer this straight: There are two basic reasons why we bury our poop: health and disgust. Human poop is uniquely hazardous to humans. It's different from animal poop this way. If something is in human poop, be it parasites or worms or even just different e.coli fro… see more
By TheTentLab SELLER on October 13, 2020
It’s all about Leave No Trace. Leave your hiking and camping area as you found it. No one wants to come across your “deuce” man.
By Trevor H on October 13, 2020
It is illegal in places and ecologically irresponsible in all places and gross in some places. Digging a whole is the right thing to do and this tool is super light and easy to use for that purpose.
By Avery Smith on October 13, 2020
Better if you can bury it. Better decomposition and likely less smell.
By Richard Pontius on October 13, 2020
 

Tom_in_CA

Elite Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2013
Messages
18,532
... to carry a plastic "potty" trowel with them....


Interesting that you bring up this comparison. A few things I would say about this :

1) When the person goes poop in the woods, he is theoretically "being discreet" and is not seen by anyone. Eh ? He or she has chosen to go off the trail, and is invisible.

Ok, then to expand the analogy, I too will be discreet and invisible when I metal detect. Presto, problem solved.

2) The entire point of the verbiage that forbids "alter", "deface" and "dig" (whenever someone tries to apply it to md'ing to say "no" or "scram") fails to realize an important matter: If you leave no trace of your presence (ie.: You cover, stomp, and fluff your spots), THEN PRESTO : You have not alterED, defacED or dUg anything. Now have you ?

If you can agree with the semantics of deface & alter, then notice that it's merely present tense versus past tense of the same words. Thus so too is "dug" merely the past tense of "dig". It's just that we don't say "diggED" Otherwise the grammar is identical.

Now will every last passerby busy-body agree with those semantics ? OF COURSE NOT . So I will go at lower traffic times, and avoid those singular lookie-lous. Some people might call that "sneaking around". Ok, fine then: SNEAK AROUND. You're simply not going to convert every last person on earth.
 

atomicbrh

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
651
Location
Central MS
Interesting that you bring up this comparison. A few things I would say about this :

1) When the person goes poop in the woods, he is theoretically "being discreet" and is not seen by anyone. Eh ? He or she has chosen to go off the trail, and is invisible.

Ok, then to expand the analogy, I too will be discreet and invisible when I metal detect. Presto, problem solved.

2) The entire point of the verbiage that forbids "alter", "deface" and "dig" (whenever someone tries to apply it to md'ing to say "no" or "scram") fails to realize an important matter: If you leave no trace of your presence (ie.: You cover, stomp, and fluff your spots), THEN PRESTO : You have not alterED, defacED or dUg anything. Now have you ?

If you can agree with the semantics of deface & alter, then notice that it's merely present tense versus past tense of the same words. Thus so too is "dug" merely the past tense of "dig". It's just that we don't say "diggED" Otherwise the grammar is identical.

Now will every last passerby busy-body agree with those semantics ? OF COURSE NOT . So I will go at lower traffic times, and avoid those singular lookie-lous. Some people might call that "sneaking around". Ok, fine then: SNEAK AROUND. You're simply not going to convert every last person on earth.

The only real difference in appearance between the potty trowel totin hipster hiker and the detectorist is that big honkin metal detector. They both have equipment belts, packs, water containers etc. attached to them. Discreet in my area is becoming more and more difficult. There are hordes of senior citizens out walking for exercise at 2, 3, 4 A.M. in pitch black darkness.
We like to get the timing right for undisturbed hunting in the parks and athletic fields but it is almost impossible now.
 

mdscntst

New Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2021
Messages
18
Location
Northern NJ
The only real difference in appearance between the potty trowel totin hipster hiker and the detectorist is that big honkin metal detector. They both have equipment belts, packs, water containers etc. attached to them. Discreet in my area is becoming more and more difficult. There are hordes of senior citizens out walking for exercise at 2, 3, 4 A.M. in pitch black darkness.
We like to get the timing right for undisturbed hunting in the parks and athletic fields but it is almost impossible now.

This was also one of the reasons I was attracted to the idea of detecting this area. Everywhere else seems to always have people in my area as well, at all hours of the day, just like you said, so I figured why not explore this "last frontier" in the semi-forbidden land, heh.

That said, my first foray onto the territory on an early Sunday morning yielded nothing but beer cans, a few shotgun headstamps and assorted rusty detritus :roll:
 

atomicbrh

Elite Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2016
Messages
651
Location
Central MS
This was also one of the reasons I was attracted to the idea of detecting this area. Everywhere else seems to always have people in my area as well, at all hours of the day, just like you said, so I figured why not explore this "last frontier" in the semi-forbidden land, heh.

That said, my first foray onto the territory on an early Sunday morning yielded nothing but beer cans, a few shotgun headstamps and assorted rusty detritus :roll:
I would look for 1800's and early 1900's maps and perhaps 1900's aerial photos of the area before it became a official watershed. They might reveal old structures on the property that would have more desirable targets. Then you could make a B line to those sites of activity. Even former plowed fields would be worth detecting. The positives are nobody bothered you and you removed trash from a wildlife area.
 

maxxkatt

Forum Supporter
Joined
Sep 20, 2015
Messages
3,367
Location
North Atlanta, GA
I would look for 1800's and early 1900's maps and perhaps 1900's aerial photos of the area before it became a official watershed. They might reveal old structures on the property that would have more desirable targets. Then you could make a B line to those sites of activity. Even former plowed fields would be worth detecting. The positives are nobody bothered you and you removed trash from a wildlife area.

he is correct about the research.

google earth
historic aerials
and this one:

https://ngmdb.usgs.gov/topoview/viewer/#4/40.01/-100.06
 
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