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  1. #16

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deep1 View Post
    ... Most towns post their code of laws on their town website.....
    Thanx for the concurrence deep-1. Yes: "laws & rules" are no secret. They are printed somewhere, for public viewing. Eg.: dogs on leash, no fireworks, etc..... Either @ the city's website, or in binder form at city-hall somewhere, etc.... And no, I do not necessarily construe grey-area catch-all things to automatically apply to us. Eg.: "alter", or "deface", for example. Since, of course, we will leave no trace. Or "harvest & remove" type verbiage. Since that was only/ever meant to keep people from commercially harvesting the sod, or taking home the park benches & BBQ pits, etc...

    Might someone disagree with those semantics ? SURE ! Ok, go at lower traffic times and avoid that singular individual. You're simply never going to please every-last-person on the planet.

    And as for the answer of "yes" or "no" that .... admittedly you could get by verbally asking: Some people interpret the mere fact of getting an answer, to be proof that it was a "good thing they asked". So for example if they are told "yes", they think: "See ? It was a good thing I asked. Because now I know that I can detect". If they get a "no", they think: " See ? It was a good thing I asked. Otherwise I wouldn't have known that I couldn't, and thus risked arrest, blah blah".

    I disagree with that logic. Because did you *really* think they might answer like this: "Gee, that's a silly question. Why are you asking me ? You don't need my authority or opinion, any-more-so than you'd need my approval to whistle dixie". No. Authority figures never work like that. Instead, they bestow on you their princely "yes" or "no". After all, you're standing there asking them. That simply implies that you need their approval . Lest why else would you be asking them ?
    Deep1 and DiamondDan like this.

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    I'm not understanding this quote. On the one hand, you say that the rules are silent on the subject of md'ing. Right ? Ie.: metal detecting, per-se, is not mentioned. Right ? But then on the other hand, you go on to say that "metal detecting isn't allowed".

    Ok, so which is it ?

    Or are you referring to the boiler-plate verbiage about "alter, deface, dig, cut", etc... ? If those catch-all things automatically mean: No md'ing, then I got news for you: That type language exists in EVERY SINGLE PARK (and beach, and forest, and desert, etc...) in the entire USA. But as you can see, there is no shortage of people md'ing in parks, beaches, forests, etc.... Right ? And (gasp) every single one of them "cuts" or "alters" in the act of retrieving targets. Right ?

    All such language applies to the END RESULT. So if you leave no trace, then presto: You have not alterED or defacED or cut anything, right ? And I doubt you can cite a single "arrest" for someone who was md'ing, via the "cutting" and "digging" language. If you can cite ANY "arrest" for md'ing, it will be for someone who was being obnoxious, couldn't take a warning, or was night-sneaking obvious historic sensitive monuments.

    As for those particular places that you cite that either A) have a "permit" or B) "don't allow" it, I'll bet I know exactly how those things originated. And no ..... it wasn't because of holes.
    I’m not sure how my comment could be confusing. I merely gave a brief synopsis (per my recollection) of the wording used (by the state of NJ) to convey the rules/regulations regarding actions conducted on WMA property.

    I did not state that the rules are “silent” regarding the use of metal detectors on state property (in this case WMA land). I did say, per my recollection, that the rules did not specifically mention metal detecting (turns out I was wrong in that regard — the rules specifically prohibit metal detecting on WMA properties).

    “The following are prohibited: camping, swimming, picnicking, dumping, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, alcoholic beverages, metal detecting, geocaching, paddleboards (except for fishing; no use allowed at Split Rock Reservoir) and fires.” https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmaregs.htm


    The rules do mention specific actions that are forbidden (on WMA properties) — cutting vegetation, damaging vegetation, digging, etc..

    (BTW — while digging is not listed in the provided list of prohibited activities, it is specifically listed on the various signs posted at the WMA properties in my vicinity — therefore I must assume that digging is specifically prohibited).

    Such prohibitions provide ample ammunition for a zealous prosecutor to make a successful case against someone caught metal detecting on WMA property; as the mere act of recovering a target typically requires digging (to some degree) as well as some cutting of vegetation.

    The rules are written with enough vagueness to allow for a broad interpretation. In this case the vegetation doesn’t have to be damaged; merely cutting vegetation is enough to be on the wrong side of the law.

    I’m not saying I like the fact that the stated rules/laws can be interpreted pretty much however a prosecutor decides. I’m just noting the reality of the situation — a detectorist would be hard pressed to convince a judge that the act of target recovery didn’t violate the stated prohibitions. And that’s assuming metal detecting wasn’t specifically prohibited — which it is (on WMA properties).

    The End Result isn’t a matter of whether the vegetation was damaged, or not. The End Result is that the person caught metal detecting (on WMA property) can be prosecuted — even if the rules didn’t specifically prohibit metal detecting. Just digging and/or cutting vegetation is a violation; damaging the vegetation is just one more charge that could be tacked on.

    I know of two individuals who were ticketed for metal detecting on local state property (not WMA property). Both were caught metal detecting on “preserved land” - land that the state purchased or took over, for the purpose of preservation (essentially land that is allowed to return to a natural state — or as I call it — a non-revenue generating mess of weeds and trash).

    I received the information by way of a NJ State Trooper (I know him personally) — he told me that two individuals had been ticketed (for metal detecting on preserve land). I do not know the individuals, nor do I know the sentence/fine received.

    I get the message you’re sending: calling attention (needlessly) to activities that a reasonable person would deem perfectly legal is detrimental to the activity (metal detecting). For the most part I happen to agree with you (hence the reason I suggested that the OP look up the actual laws himself/herself).

    I have no doubt that asking for permission (from some government employee) to metal detect will often lead to answers based on ignorance and bias.

    However…

    I likewise believe that blindly metal detecting wherever one wishes is far more harmful (to the sport) than asking some government employee for their blessing. Holes or not.

    It only takes one misguided government employee, with a bloated sense of empowerment, seeing someone engaging in an activity that they (the govt employee) don’t condone, to push for legislation that restricts (or prohibits) rights.

    NJ is somewhat infamous for that very thing.

    I don’t have to like it (and I don’t) — but I do have to recognize it and abide by the rules (whether I like them or not (and I often don’t like them). Not knowing the law — or how it can be used against me — won’t save me from being prosecuted if I violate said law.

  3. #18
    us
    Apr 2014
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    NJ State Parks

    https://www.nj.gov/dep/rules/rules/njac7_2.pdf

    7:2-2.16 Metal detectors

    A person shall not use metal detectors or similar devices without a permit issued by
    Superintendent or designee. The permit may limit the location, hours, and days of use.
    A permit will not be issued for use in areas of significant historical or other value,
    or where such use would be incompatible with protection of the resource and/or interfere
    with public use of the facility.

    I'm not agreeing with the law. I'm just posting it for others to see.

  4. #19

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    tahts-a-dats-ago:

    I have/did not, for sake of this post, try to differentiate "WMA" (wildlife management area) versus NJ state parks. But for purposes of post # 17, it seems that ... up to that point, you were not relying on any specific prohibition. So .... just to address #17, I see that you consider verbiage about "alter", "deface" and "cut" to apply to us. Right ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tahts-a-dats-ago View Post
    .... The rules do mention specific actions that are forbidden (on WMA properties) — cutting vegetation, damaging vegetation, digging, etc....
    And I'll be the first to agree that ... yes .... someone *could* come along and say that we are violating that. Heck, they could say our actions violate prohibitions of "annoyances". D/t they could say md'ing "annoys" them. They could say you violate "harvest and remove" language, since you "remove" those pennies. Eh ? It's never ending.

    But if we are to assume that "cutting" OF NECESSITY forbids us, then .... how do you make sense of the fact that the "finds" forum is FILLED with persons who "cut", in the process of retrieving, at public land spots all over the USA ? And I guarantee you, that there is similar language at every speck of public land. At all city, county, state, and federal land, of any level-or-entity. Aka : "Alter", "deface", "destroy", "damange", "cut", etc.... Are we to assume all of them are lawless miscreants ?

    Me thinks it's going to be a case of "No one cared or gave the matter a moment's thought, till someone asked" routine.

    As for NJ state parks (#18), I don't know whether that's separate from WMA. But ... sure ... if there's an express specific dis-allowance (that's not just "commentary"), then sure: By all means: Abide. And I can bet I know how that became an express specific dis-allowance in the past.
    Last edited by Tom_in_CA; Apr 14, 2019 at 08:43 PM.

  5. #20

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tahts-a-dats-ago View Post
    .... I know of two individuals who were ticketed for metal detecting on local state property (not WMA property). .... .
    Ok, and now I see you ... yourself, ... make a distinction between WMA and state-property. Right ? Ie.: not all state land is "WMA". Not all NJ state parks is WMA. Yes: There are varying types of state land, in all states (eg.: Road right of way, parks, eminent domain, etc....). Same for city, and county and federal: Varying levels within each entity.

    Ok, so with that cleared up: If there is not a specific dis-allowance, then no, I do not construe catch-all "cut" language to necessarily forbid md'ing. Since we leave no trace of our presence. Ie.: stomp and fluff up, etc.... And that is the purpose of such language, after all.

    As for "horror stories of someone who got roughed up " (for seemingly innocuous areas, thus we should all grovel from here- on- out), no, I do not see that as a moral-of-the-story take-a-away lesson. Because so too can I show you newspaper clippings and "dire-sounding articles" of someone who got hit by a mack-truck when crossing the street. Or someone who got a ticket , jailed, and arrested, for a tail-light out . Heck, I even have a clipping here of someone who got a ticket for eating a hamburger while driving (cop called it "distracted driving").

    You can ALWAYS find flukes in life, by over-zealous cops. And ... sure .... don't throw caution to the wind and tromp on obvious sensitive spots at high noon in front of bored archies. Sure. But to go from that , to thinking we need to grovel, and interpret all grey-area verbiage as necessarily forbidding us: No, I disagree there.

  6. #21
    us
    Apr 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    tahts-a-dats-ago:

    I have/did not, for sake of this post, try to differentiate "WMA" (wildlife management area) versus NJ state parks. But for purposes of post # 17, it seems that ... up to that point, you were not relying on any specific prohibition. So .... just to address #17, I see that you consider verbiage about "alter", "deface" and "cut" to apply to us. Right ?



    And I'll be the first to agree that ... yes .... someone *could* come along and say that we are violating that. Heck, they could say our actions violate prohibitions of "annoyances". D/t they could say md'ing "annoys" them. They could say you violate "harvest and remove" language, since you "remove" those pennies. Eh ? It's never ending.

    But if we are to assume that "cutting" OF NECESSITY forbids us, then .... how do you make sense of the fact that the "finds" forum is FILLED with persons who "cut", in the process of retrieving, at public land spots all over the USA ? And I guarantee you, that there is similar language at every speck of public land. At all city, county, state, and federal land, of any level-or-entity. Aka : "Alter", "deface", "destroy", "damange", "cut", etc.... Are we to assume all of them are lawless miscreants ?

    Me thinks it's going to be a case of "No one cared or gave the matter a moment's thought, till someone asked" routine.

    As for NJ state parks (#18), I don't know whether that's separate from WMA. But ... sure ... if there's an express specific dis-allowance (that's not just "commentary"), then sure: By all means: Abide. And I can bet I know how that became an express specific dis-allowance in the past.
    Actually I don’t believe the prohibitions (no cutting, digging, etc..) should apply to us (metal detectorists). My point is that a zealous prosecutor can make them apply — therefore we metal detectorists must be aware of that possibility.

    I think that is the point where your warnings come into play — needlessly calling attention to ourselves (by way of begging for permission to hunt public property) could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

    I am not disagreeing with that (or you).

    I am merely extending the warning a bit further — and noting the fact that it is possible that some over zealous prosecutor could easily twist the words (used in a prohibitive actions clause) so as to make them applicable to actions common to the activity of metal detecting.

    My comments are really directed to NJ, although they could be applied elsewhere too. NJ is very much a nanny-state — with a population that, in general, seems to be convinced that freedom is derived from the good will of power-hungry politicians and life-long government employees.

    Here it is not uncommon for some self-important government employee to overstep their legal authority — sometimes by a considerable amount.

    I don’t like it and I do recognize it for the abuse [of power] that it is. But it is something that exists, and I would be foolish if I pretended things were otherwise.

    As to all those finds [public lands] with statutes containing language that is similar to the language used in NJ…

    I do not consider the finders to be miscreants. Unfortunately it isn’t up to me — and there are people (in a position of some power) who would label those finders as miscreants.

    As you’ve noted — in some circumstances it is best to engage in lawful activity without calling undue attention to oneself.

  7. #22

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    It sounds like we are on the same page.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tahts-a-dats-ago View Post
    ..... the prohibitions (no cutting, digging, etc..) should apply to us (metal detectorists). My point is that a zealous prosecutor can make them apply — therefore we metal detectorists must be aware of that possibility....
    Yes. As I said before: This verbiage, and others *could* be said to apply to our activities. No doubt. We are in an odd-ball hobby that has connotations. Sure.

    And this is exactly why I choose low-traffic times, and avoid such lookie-lous. For nicely manicured turf, for instance, there was some parks here in CA that I only do at night. So peaceful. So serene.

    Think of it like nose-picking: Not necessarily "illegal", but .... don't we all sort of use "discreet timing", so as not to offend the squeemish ? Same with md'ing. Some people might consider this "sneaking around". Ok, fine: Then sneak around. We are not going to please every last person on earth Nor is it my job to "convert" any particular gripers who might gripe (lest their gripe become "gospel law", unless I convert them).

    None of this has anything to do with A) true existing specific rules (ok, fine, follow them). It's only dealing with catch-all grey-area verbiage. B) Obvious historic sensitive monuments that .... ok, common sense tells you/us not to go begging for attention.

  8. #23
    us
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    It sounds like we are on the same page.
    Yes, we are on the same page.

    To give an idea of just how close-minded the state officials often are…

    Some years back I contacted the state (NJ) regarding a possible program for youth.

    My concept was to start a program that got kids involved in metal detecting and history. My local area has a good amount of state lands (various classifications) with history dating back to the mid 1600’s. I wanted to get kids involved (on a first hand basis) with the history of their state.

    My time would’ve been volunteered and I was prepared to provide a few machines for the kids. I was fairly certain that the various manufacturers would donate entry level machines for the kids use and I had spoken to the local metal detector dealer (he was onboard). The cost — to kids — would’ve been zero.

    My proposal was that the kids would metal detect known sites (state land) and that all finds be donated to a local museum — with a note included that had the finder’s name for display of the found items. I made it clear that state archaeologists (or archaeology students) would be welcomed to participate (and help identify finds) so the history of the site would be officially recorded.

    I was (and am) certain that the kids would love finding old artifacts and having their name attached to the items on display in a local museum.

    Naturally the state shot the idea down. They had zero interest in getting kids involved with history, and zero interest in saving history for future generations to see.

    I haven’t reached a conclusion as to why the state had zero interest in the idea. Maybe it was because there wasn’t a huge cost to the taxpayers? Maybe it was because there wasn’t any money to be made by the politicians/government employees? Maybe the thought of kids actually doing something worthwhile frightened them?
    cudamark likes this.

  9. #24
    us
    "Call me ArfieBoy"

    Aug 2011
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    Welcome to the forum SunnyRo! Great questions. I really appreciate the excellent information from all the other contributors to this thread, especially Tom and Deep1... also all you others, too! If you do decide to "swat the hornets nest" and ask a government official, ask to see the rules in writing to make sure the individual knows what they are talking about. Like the other guys say, the person might not know the rules!

  10. #25
    Charter Member
    us
    DEPLORABLE

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    SunnyRo,, welcome to the forum from Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Always approach the hobby of Metal Detecting on a legal manner. Ask for permission. Also, try not to take advice from Tom_in _Ca. The man is a little off.
    SOMETIMES I WISH I DIDN'T KNOW NOW ,,, WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW THEN,, Bob Seger

  11. #26
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
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    “The following are prohibited: camping, swimming, picnicking, dumping, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, alcoholic beverages, metal detecting, geocaching, paddleboards (except for fishing; no use allowed at Split Rock Reservoir) and fires.” https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmaregs.htm


    Makes me wonder what you can actually do on this property. No humans allowed? Just walking on vegetation will damage it. Do they ticket the wildlife for eating plants? Glad I don't have to detect there. I'd probably end up in jail.
    XLV and Tom_in_CA like this.
    "jus cuz it's wrote down, don't make it so"

  12. #27
    us
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    Riddle me this SunnyRo....If a man goes metal detecting in the woods, and no one is there to see him, does his Fisher F-22 still make a sound ( when the coil passes over beautiful old silver coins)? Good luck and welcome to T- Net.

  13. #28

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tahts-a-dats-ago View Post
    .... I haven’t reached a conclusion as to why the state had zero interest in the idea. ....
    Here's why: Because the moment any topic touches on "history" and "metal detectors", it must go past the desk of a govt.-payroll archie, for their consideration/approval. And .... the moment any purist archie sees the word "metal detector", they recoil in disgust. You might as well have been asking them : "Can I sleep with your wife? "


    Quote Originally Posted by against the wind View Post
    .... Always approach the hobby of Metal Detecting on a legal manner. Ask for permission....
    What is not "legal" about looking things up for oneself ? That seems to me to be about as LEGAL as a person can get ! If there's nothing that says "no md'ing" in the laws/rules, then there's nothing to "get permission" for, .... in-the-first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by against the wind View Post
    .... try not to take advice from Tom_in _Ca....
    and as you can tell: Against-the-wind and I have been round-&-round on this before.

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudamark View Post
    “The following are prohibited: camping, swimming, picnicking, dumping, cutting or damaging vegetation, removing timber or firewood, alcoholic beverages, metal detecting, geocaching, paddleboards (except for fishing; no use allowed at Split Rock Reservoir) and fires.” https://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/wmaregs.htm


    Makes me wonder what you can actually do on this property. No humans allowed? Just walking on vegetation will damage it. Do they ticket the wildlife for eating plants? Glad I don't have to detect there. I'd probably end up in jail.
    You're not even allowed to pump your own gas in NJ.

  15. #30
    us
    Mar 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by against the wind View Post
    SunnyRo,, welcome to the forum from Port Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Always approach the hobby of Metal Detecting on a legal manner. Ask for permission. Also, try not to take advice from Tom_in _Ca. The man is a little off.
    Who are you going to ask for permission? A lawyer? Surely you wouldn't take legal advice from a bureaucrat, would you? I've found that most government employees like to take the easy route in just about everything they do. No is much easier, and less threatening to their cushy job. Most of the ones you'd ask at a counter or booth don't know the fine points of the law anyway. I strongly recommend looking up the rules yourself.
    "jus cuz it's wrote down, don't make it so"

 

 
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