I'm a southern Arizona guy. I first started metal detecting with my children in an effort to get them interested in the outdoors...6 hours on the boat didn't work. I had recently got my 1st detector and I thought we would try an area near Mamouth Arizona. History said it had one on the largest and best-producing gold mines of the late 1800's with a cable trolly pulling water from more than 3 miles from the San Pedro river up and down the hill.
There is a road to the west called Willow Springs road. Anyway, the detectors is new the kids are loving the new adventures, we drive in on the road and I notice a few white quartz stringers of disseminating white quartz on the surface a few 100 yards off the dirt roadway. So we park the truck off to the side of the road and hike the short distance with the detector in hand. Back then I always carried a 5-gallon bucket. We messed around there and detected the surface quartz exposure a bit. We were there less than a 1/2 hour. There was a bit of traffic on the dirt road. I have never been to Willow Springs but it is a destination for the off-roaders.
The kids at my side (7-year-old girl and the 9-year-old boy) detecting looking at rocks, I look up at the truck and there is Fish and Game truck and a Forest Service truck. The officers are out of their vehicles looking at my truck and me and the kids about 100 yards away. I feel the pressure of their presence and start to walk up to the truck. As I get close to the truck I hit the button to unlock the truck and let the kids get in. The officers yell for us to stop ( freeze ) freaking my kids and myself out.
The officers ask yelling do you realize you are on state trust land? I can arrest you! Metal detecting is against the law, illegal! He then moves up close and takes my detector from my hands. I didn't know what to say. My kids were so scared. I told them to get in the truck. I was a bit confused.
They asked to search me and my vehicle. They told me they were looking for antiquities that I may have dug up. I consented knowing that we had done no wrong and they continued to terrorize my children for about another 20 minutes at which time they gave me back my new detector and a pamphlet about Arizona State trust land where it clearly states you can not use a metal detector.