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An Inquire and response


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Hi All

I got this pm and replied. I deleted the name to protect the innocent.

Hi John,

You may not know me Sir but I am fairly new to the forum and wishing to come to Arizona from Canada for a week or so to hunt meteorites. But yesterday I stumbled upon the notes you had posted in Arizona Prospecting and Nuggetshooter dd. 9 March 2010 and 14 June 2010 respectively.

Should I take those very seriously or with a grain of salt. Do you a document showing that it is illegal to hunt meteorites in Arizona? I am kindly asking as I would be a fool if I come and all the stuff gets confiscated or worse get arrested for it. I actually wanted to come to make friends as well, so to speak, shoot two birds with one stone!

It is extremely sad to shatter a dream, because meteorite hunting and actually finding one has been on my mind since I was a child. I lived near desert areas in the past but never thought they could be found there until the internet. I discovered that they could be found thanks to the internet but having moved to Canada (a very vegetation-laden country does not help my hobby). I moved to this country 6 years ago and since I have this itch to find meteorites, you can well understand, I have been planning to come for a week to Arizona.

Sorry for the lengthy sob story but please, I am kindly asking, shed some light into my question.

Thanks.

Hi

Although I cannot find any law written other than all Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service web pages stating that all meteorites on public domain lands belong to the Smithsonian Institute. This is the new policy and apparently the pertinent land manager can issue citations for hunting , collecting or disturbing meteorites on all public domain lands. The old policy for meteorite hunting and collecting is the current rock hounding policy which now excludes meteorites. I have warned many hunters on various forums of this policy change and of one person who was cited. Yet many continue to do it and most labs still except finds for study and return the balances to the finder. Knowing those finds are from Public lands. Although certainly something significant will be found and then we will see what happens on determining ownership. The sad part is our government has all the financial resources to bankrupt the average citizen defending himself whom violates their wishes irregardless of if it's law or not or just policy. Other than that I don't know what else to tell you. May I take your question and post it to this forum and my answer without using your name ??

Regards

John B.

Happy Huntin John B.

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American Antiquities Act of 1906

16 USC 431-433

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court.

Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States.

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.

Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Approved, June 8, 1906

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........or scientific interest.........

Now that could be anything, it's too vague and the Antiquities Act of 1906 does not mention the word "meteorite" specifically. So based on the vague wording and the lack of the word "meteorite" I believe the law is not so hard on meteorite hunters and we meteorite hunters can have some relief if not total relief from prosecution. But it is no guarantee that one should feel totally free in hunting. I perceive the law as being effective and judgment should be applied here, say one finds a 50 kilogram (110 lbs) meteorite or more in weight, I would turn that in to the University of Arizona or the Smithsonian, as that would constitute "scientific interest". It is significant finds I believe the authorities are after and not 10 gram, 20 gram or any other minute weight meteorite. Those are in abundance and they already have samples of them from say Franconia or Gold Basin. It's my interpretation at least.......But again who am I to judge? We all have our interpretations.

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The Antiquities Act only regards MAN-MADE ITEMS - pottery, arrowheads, carved items, ruins, graves, etc. This means items of cultural significance to MAN. And don't get caught up in some pinko, historical-revisionist lies about native americans placing religious stock in meteorites simply because one was found in aboriginal burial goods. That only makes ONE meteorite special, the other 634,287,000 are not. Otherwise, I can sue the BLM every time they maintain or drive on existing roads on public lands for desecration and degredation of cultural and scientific resources. If meteorites are antiquities, so is the gravel on the road! It is of scientific interest to somebody, and there was probably some in a hell of a lot of indian graves! By the way, if any BLM or Forest ranger tries to give you a ticket for collecting meteorites, confiscates your finds, or tries to arrest you, you can sue him (personally) into the poorhouse. You see, according to the Government's OWN standards, those rocks of yours are not meteorites until they have been (NO, not merely analized) CLASSIFIED by an existing, reputable meteorite lab at a university meteoritics department. That means EACH specimen must be classified, or it's just a throwing rock! Would someone please tell me where the accredited meteorite labs are for EACH BLM REGION? Oops............Oh and, the ranger would have to have a GRADUATE DEGREE in meteoritics, NOT a B.S. in geology to even QUALIFY, to SUSPECT that what you have, may be a meteorite. OTHERWISE he does not have probable cause and is violating your civil rights AND several Constitutional rights. ("Please tell the court on what grounds did YOU determine that this rock is a meteorite") ("Well I....umm.....") Oops.....After the ACLU and your lawyers bend him over and have their way, he'll be lucky to get a job as a Walmart greeter. In fact, you may be able to get him some jail time. Please walk in to your area BLM office, write, or call, and ask to speak to the meteoritics lab officer...............How much of their annual budget did they allot for meteorite classification?....Oops.............................just as I thought.

Ben

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The Antiquities Act only regards MAN-MADE ITEMS - pottery, arrowheads, carved items, ruins, graves, etc. This means items of cultural significance to MAN. And don't get caught up in some pinko, historical-revisionist lies about native americans placing religious stock in meteorites simply because one was found in aboriginal burial goods. That only makes ONE meteorite special, the other 634,287,000 are not. Otherwise, I can sue the BLM every time they maintain or drive on existing roads on public lands for desecration and degredation of cultural and scientific resources. If meteorites are antiquities, so is the gravel on the road! It is of scientific interest to somebody, and there was probably some in a hell of a lot of indian graves! By the way, if any BLM or Forest ranger tries to give you a ticket for collecting meteorites, confiscates your finds, or tries to arrest you, you can sue him (personally) into the poorhouse. You see, according to the Government's OWN standards, those rocks of yours are not meteorites until they have been (NO, not merely analized) CLASSIFIED by an existing, reputable meteorite lab at a university meteoritics department. That means EACH specimen must be classified, or it's just a throwing rock! Would someone please tell me where the accredited meteorite labs are for EACH BLM REGION? Oops............Oh and, the ranger would have to have a GRADUATE DEGREE in meteoritics, NOT a B.S. in geology to even QUALIFY, to SUSPECT that what you have, may be a meteorite. OTHERWISE he does not have probable cause and is violating your civil rights AND several Constitutional rights. ("Please tell the court on what grounds did YOU determine that this rock is a meteorite") ("Well I....umm.....") Oops.....After the ACLU and your lawyers bend him over and have their way, he'll be lucky to get a job as a Walmart greeter. In fact, you may be able to get him some jail time. Please walk in to your area BLM office, write, or call, and ask to speak to the meteoritics lab officer...............How much of their annual budget did they allot for meteorite classification?....Oops.............................just as I thought.

Ben

Note: about 400 Tons of Meteorites fall to earth every year.

From the book "Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites"

begin

A recent Austrian court case involving a German meteorite hunter who found a 2.84-kg

meteorite in Austria elicited this statement from the judge, who ruled in favor of the hunter.

He said, “there is no earthly right to heavenly property,” and further concluded that “extraterrestrial

material…could not be viewed as an asset of the Austrian council (who wanted to

retain the meteorite)…” We can only hope that in the future more governments will realize

that allowing collecting, ownership and export will result in more meteorites being found and

distributed worldwide.

end

As a Hunter, I am firmly imbedded in the belief that my actions of recovery enhance mankind's quest for knowledge. A meteorite sitting on the land or in the land does mankind no good and the amount collected by all hunters is trivial to this earth. The fact is they decay and morph into earthly components. Recovery is the first step in the preservation and the science of meteorites. Without recovery all is lossed and nothing is gained by mankind. Any law or court case to date is based on pure GREED and money, period.

Nothing material to this universe is owned or controlled by man.

Recover - Preserve - Science

I refuse to fear or be intimated by my government or by "what-if's that just do not exist".

Jim

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Note: about 400 Tons of Meteorites fall to earth every year.

From the book "Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites"

I read someplace where they stated "each day 100 tons of meteoric material enter the earths atmosphere although most of it burns up..." I guess this statement could fit in with the first statement which means roughly 1% of all meteoric material reaches the earths surface... Another statement said about 100 tons of meteoric material reaches the earths surface every week.. I don't think anyone knows for sure. :hmmmmm: :twocents:

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The BLM in Santa Fe says that meteorites are fair game on any federal land. No problem hunting them at all and they are the property of the finder as far as BLM/NFS is concerned. That is straight from the BLM District Manager. I know that on certain websites that other districts have posted some flaky info, but I am not at all convinced that any laws have changed on hunting meteorites. I beleive this is all about a certain few in certain districts who created a web site and not the official position of BLM. At least that is the opinions of the people at BLM that I have talked to.

The LEO's in the field will certainly JUMP when they see you with a detector though! But it is not gold or meteorites that is their problem, it is artifacts. I have had only one conflict with them in this part of the state and when I told them I was "prospecting" the officer told me that he "Better not catch me digging any artifacts or going near that 'site' over there...". So, in his book I took that to mean he was only interested in "antiquities" and not "prospectables". Meteorites were never metioned though.

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The Antiquities Act applies to man made archaeological stuff, not to mineral prospecting. There are other laws relating to hobby gold prospecting, and other mineral collecting activities. Since meteorites are, by definition, minerals, those laws would apply.

We sometimes shoot ourselves in the foot by refusing to classify ourselves as "prospectors", preferring some more grandiose title, like amateur scientist or something, but in reality that's what we are when looking for meteorites. We're just prospecting for minerals from space.

Be very careful not to mix up the statutes passed by Congress with the regulations and policies imposed by regulatory agencies. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that whenever there is a conflict between statute and policy or regulation, the statute is controlling. When I was working, I wrote some decisions that resulted in the regulations being changed to conform to statute.

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Hi All

Bedrock Bob I had a nice chat with the western regional forest service headquarters in Albuquerque :unsure: . I don't recall his name but he a big kahuna in fact confirmed the position the Coronado National Forest was telling me :whaaaa: . He also implied that it was applicable to all public domain lands and that all web pages will be corrected to reflect that rule :angry: . Although he could not give me anything in writing or a location to where it was written in laws or rules other than the updated web pages :shrug: . I'm by no means in favor of this law, ruling or decree :nono: . I posted this and other threads on this topic only as a warning of what you might encounter :bang: . Since the forest service and BLM are being so stupid these days on rules and regs requiring plan of operations for prospecting and restrictions from now on it don't matter where I'm at or what I'm hunting I'm looking for Jewelry :inocent: !! Happy Huntin John B.

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"Ya don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with.." - The Federal Gooberment! Seriously guys, my right, our rights, scientific benefit to mankind, BLM, Obama, Constitution - it's ALL Bull$#!+! Just listen to what John B. is telling you - read between the lines, slowly.

Now go forth and hunt for jewelry! LMAO - Terry

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"Ya don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't spit into the wind. You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger, and you don't mess around with.." - The Federal Gooberment! Seriously guys, my right, our rights, scientific benefit to mankind, BLM, Obama, Constitution - it's ALL Bull$#!+! Just listen to what John B. is telling you - read between the lines, slowly.

Now go forth and hunt for jewelry! LMAO - Terry

The other evening, at the public BLM meeting in Havasu, the BLM got beat up bad by a State Senator (Gould). Sorry Terry., we ARE the government.

They were accused of violating many regulations/ laws. I did not make the meeting but heard they got it pretty bad with the Senator in the room. BLM is out of control...period!

I spaced out on that one.. never heard there was a meeting. Shame on me!

Hey Terry, if you read the laws, the ones you think we may be violating ( I have no clue...can't find them) most of them are limited in maximum fines and Jail time. The ones I can find are maxed out under $1000.00

Jim

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..Hey Terry, if you read the laws, the ones you think we may be violating ( I have no clue...can't find them) most of them are limited in maximum fines and Jail time. The ones I can find are maxed out under $1000.00

Jim

Whoa! Slow your roll Jim, I don't "think," anybody is doing anything - and I ain't taking sides. I'm saying shut up and play. Just do your thing. Have it your way. Use the force. Buy me a hamburger! That Senator you didn't actually see is just pandering - that's what they do, they're Senators - LOL! I'm going to take a hit of Acid now, and watch old episodes of M.A.S.H. all night. Hope you guys change the world by the time I come down. - Peace Out!

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