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Public Hunting Areas-Questions


Jakuzi

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I’ve read of 2 places here on FF where fossil hunting is allowed in KS.  Monument Rocks and Castle Rock.

 

 I made my way out to both these places over the last few days since work is slow.  At Monument Rocks there was a sign that specifically said fossil hunting wasn’t allowed.  Can anybody give me any clarification on this?  Also both places sort of had a main area but in the same general area there were many other exposures of the chalk that weren’t behind fences and easily accessible by foot.  Are these other exposures also allowed to be hunted?

 

From what I understand road cuts not on main Hwy’s are open game for fossil hunting as well.  Can anybody confirm this?

 

Are there any other sites open to the public in the state?

 

Also is there some type of Kansas Paleontological Society I can join?  I’m sure I can look this up but figured I would ask.

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Fossildude19

The last line in This post pretty much says it all.

 

 

 

 

More relevant search items: LINK

 

 

33 minutes ago, Jakuzi said:

Also is there some type of Kansas Paleontological Society I can join?  I’m sure I can look this up but figured I would ask.

LINK

 

 

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Fossildude19

More society choices: LINK

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20 minutes ago, Fossildude19 said:

The last line in This post pretty much says it all.

 

 

 

 

More relevant search items: LINK

 

 

LINK

 

 

Thanks for all the information. The post is 10 years old so I’m wondering if anything has changed.  From reading the post it sounds like the 500 lions and such is BS.

 

As far as Monument Rocks I’m still curious why so many seem to think it ok to hunt there but there is what looks like a very old sign saying you can’t.

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Both locations are on private ground.  However the landowners allow anyone to drive into the areas, and hike all over them.  Monument rocks recently changed owners.  If there is a sign that says no, then it means no.   At castle rock if you see a shark tooth laying on the ground I'm sure the owners wouldn't care if you picked it up. However if you start digging a mosasaur out of a cliff there's going to be trouble.  Castle rock is starting to get trashed, from people driving 4 wheelers, shooting, fires, trash, etc.  I wouldn't be suprised if it gets shut off to the public if people dont start being more respectful of the land.  I know of no chalk that is public.  Road cuts would probably be ok, but there aren't too many in the chalk. 

Bottom line is that you need landowner permission on pretty much all KS chalk.  

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59 minutes ago, Ramo said:

Both locations are on private ground.  However the landowners allow anyone to drive into the areas, and hike all over them.  Monument rocks recently changed owners.  If there is a sign that says no, then it means no.   At castle rock if you see a shark tooth laying on the ground I'm sure the owners wouldn't care if you picked it up. However if you start digging a mosasaur out of a cliff there's going to be trouble.  Castle rock is starting to get trashed, from people driving 4 wheelers, shooting, fires, trash, etc.  I wouldn't be suprised if it gets shut off to the public if people dont start being more respectful of the land.  I know of no chalk that is public.  Road cuts would probably be ok, but there aren't too many in the chalk. 

Bottom line is that you need landowner permission on pretty much all KS chalk.  

Castle Rock was definitely trashed.  There were tire tracks way to far up the main “Rock” and bullet shells everywhere. People suck.  The sign at Monument Rocks was an informational sign that appeared relatively old but I suppose it being exposed to the high winds out there it may only be a few years old.

 

Sounds like there aren’t a lot of options for the average amateur fossil hunter anywhere in the entire state.  Guess I’ll be scouring every road cut I can find. Maybe I can bake some cookies and entice a land owner to let me on their property.

 

Thank you for the info.

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I was at Monument Rocks about 12 years ago, I was a teenager at that time and I have collected few fossils from there (casual collecting). I do not recall any signs that said fossil collecting is prohibited, it might be different now. I was at the Castle Rocks last summer and I recalled seeing a sign that said no fossil collecting. Because of it, I did not take any fossils home and only took pictures of what I found on the surface. If you do not see any signs prohibiting the fossil collecting on the private grounds with public access, I highly suggest you to at least limit yourself to causal collecting only (picking up loose fossils and not digging around) or not collect at all. This way the landscape's beauty is preserved and the owner is not ticked off to the point of cutting off the public access.

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16 minutes ago, Darbi said:

I was at Monument Rocks about 12 years ago, I was a teenager at that time and I have collected few fossils from there (casual collecting). I do not recall any signs that said fossil collecting is prohibited, it might be different now. I was at the Castle Rocks last summer and I recalled seeing a sign that said no fossil collecting. Because of it, I did not take any fossils home and only took pictures of what I found on the surface. If you do not see any signs prohibiting the fossil collecting on the private grounds with public access, I highly suggest you to at least limit yourself to causal collecting only (picking up loose fossils and not digging around) or not collect at all. This way the landscape's beauty is preserved and the owner is not ticked off to the point of cutting off the public access.

I couldn’t really tell how old the sign at Monument Rocks was though it appeared fairly old.  I didn’t see any signs at Castle Rock.

I’m just looking for a few places to surface hunt.   I wasn’t really expecting such a unique landscape and environment out in Kansas.  I wouldn’t ever dig out there.

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1 hour ago, Jakuzi said:

I’m just looking for a few places to surface hunt.   I wasn’t really expecting such a unique landscape and environment out in Kansas.  I wouldn’t ever dig out there.

If you're traveling along the interstate highways, you won't see much. When you take the back country roads, the landscapes are beautiful! Kansas is really underrated and overlooked state for the tourists in general! The mostly treeless plain gives me a sense of space and peace!

Anyway, if you're just surface collecting along the road cuts on the state roads and county roads, but not by the interstate highways, then I think you're fine.

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1 hour ago, Darbi said:

If you're traveling along the interstate highways, you won't see much. When you take the back country roads, the landscapes are beautiful! Kansas is really underrated and overlooked state for tourists in general! The mostly treeless plain gives me a sense of space and peace!

Anyway, if you're just surface collecting along the road cuts on the state roads and county roads, but not by the interstate highways, then I think you're fine. 

What are considered public lands in KS aside from road cuts? Rivers and creeks?  I know there can be some grey area when it comes to water ways depending on what  state you’re in.

 

Thanks for the info.

 

I have no plans to nor have ever sold any of my finds.  I do give many away to interested family and friends. 

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30 minutes ago, Jakuzi said:

What are considered public lands in KS aside from road cuts? Rivers and creeks?  I know there can be some grey area when it comes to water ways depending on what  state you’re in.

Any body of water, including lakes, ponds, and streams on the public lands are part of the public land. For navigable streams that are entirely public: only the Missouri river, Kansas river, and Arkansas river and their banks are considered navigable stream and is public on its entire stretch in Kansas. If the navigable stream running through the private land becomes dry, it becomes part of their private land until the water come back. The rest of streams in Kansas that are not navigable and is not on the public land is considered private and you would need permission from the owner to be there legally, even if the stream is deep enough for your boat or kayak. Collecting fossils on the state parks and federal managed lands are a big no-no, unless it's stated otherwise.

Basically the only public hunting grounds for fossils in Kansas are navigable streams when there's water; state and county road easements and road cuts; and reservoirs when the water is down. I know it's quite limited and that sucks...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Kansas resident and novice fossil hunter here! My husband and I live in the Flint Hills region. Today we went out and explored some road cuts near Eskridge and one near Manhattan. We looked only at road cuts on publicly accessible roads, and we came away with quite a haul (making sure to only take a few items from each site, leaving plenty for others). A road cut northwest of Eskridge was awash in crinoids -- very cool and fun to look at. And a road cut near Manhattan (near the intersection of I-70 and Hwy 177) had a ton of shells and hash plates -- also a lot of fun to see. Good luck!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/16/2020 at 10:39 PM, Squirrell said:

Kansas resident and novice fossil hunter here! My husband and I live in the Flint Hills region. Today we went out and explored some road cuts near Eskridge and one near Manhattan. We looked only at road cuts on publicly accessible roads, and we came away with quite a haul (making sure to only take a few items from each site, leaving plenty for others). A road cut northwest of Eskridge was awash in crinoids -- very cool and fun to look at. And a road cut near Manhattan (near the intersection of I-70 and Hwy 177) had a ton of shells and hash plates -- also a lot of fun to see. Good luck!

Next time you're in Manhattan area, visit the Tuttle Creek spillway area. There's plenty of fossils!

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On 4/18/2020 at 6:07 PM, Darbi said:

If you do not see any signs prohibiting the fossil collecting on the private grounds with public access, I highly suggest you to at least limit yourself to causal collecting only (picking up loose fossils and not digging around) or not collect at all. 

No No No and No.  If it is private ground you MUST get permission to even enter.  If you surface collect without permission, that is called stealing.  

 

It is not good to be telling people on this public forum that it is OK to just traipse around on private land.  This is the kind of behavior that gets us all kicked off for good.  

 

Forgive me if I seem a bit terse, but yes, I am.  I work hard to build good relations with many private landowners and I don't want rumors like this to spread and jeopardize my access, or any one else's.  

 

How do you know if it private land?  For this you need to go to land owership records at the county clerk's office...

 

If there are no signs, this does not give you permission to enter.  Same with fences.  If there are no fences, the land still belongs to someone.  That is the way it is in the US.  

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25 minutes ago, jpc said:

No No No and No.  If it is private ground you MUST get permission to even enter.  If you surface collect without permission, that is called stealing.  

 

It is not good to be telling people on this public forum that it is OK to just traipse around on private land.  This is the kind of behavior that gets us all kicked off for good.  

 

Forgive me if I seem a bit terse, but yes, I am.  I work hard to build good relations with many private landowners and I don't want rumors like this to spread and jeopardize my access, or any one else's.  

 

How do you know if it private land?  For this you need to go to land owership records at the county clerk's office...

 

If there are no signs, this does not give you permission to enter.  Same with fences.  If there are no fences, the land still belongs to someone.  That is the way it is in the US.  


I think you misunderstood my previous post. It is true in most cases but few private land owners allow public access, such as Monument Rocks and Castle Rock here in KS. As in public access, I mean when the public can enter without asking for permission and it can be closed if a land owner wishes. Yes, there are signs telling it's open to the public at Monument Rocks and Castle Rock. I am not talking about any lands without fence and without signs, those lands should be assumed off-limit unless you have the permission.

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Fossildude19
6 hours ago, Darbi said:


I think you misunderstood my previous post. It is true in most cases but few private land owners allow public access, such as Monument Rocks and Castle Rock here in KS. As in public access, I mean when the public can enter without asking for permission and it can be closed if a land owner wishes. Yes, there are signs telling it's open to the public at Monument Rocks and Castle Rock. I am not talking about any lands without fence and without signs, those lands should be assumed off-limit unless you have the permission.

It is imperative to speak/communicate clearly, accurately, and precisely when discussing this topic.  :unsure: 

Otherwise, it leads to confusion or misunderstanding (see above), which can lead to problems.  :( 

 

As far as I know, there are very few places around the US. that have the kind of "open until closed" policy on private land that you enjoy.  

In most cases, making sure you have permission to hunt private land is the ONLY way to go.  ;) 

 

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12 hours ago, Darbi said:


I think you misunderstood my previous post. It is true in most cases but few private land owners allow public access, such as Monument Rocks and Castle Rock here in KS. As in public access, I mean when the public can enter without asking for permission and it can be closed if a land owner wishes. Yes, there are signs telling it's open to the public at Monument Rocks and Castle Rock. I am not talking about any lands without fence and without signs, those lands should be assumed off-limit unless you have the permission.

Yes, maybe I misunderstood, but the fact that I misunderstood means others might too.  Herein lies the problem.  See fossildude19's reply for the continuation on this topic.

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  • 8 months later...

Hello! I'm new to Kansas north eastern side (Lawrence and KC area). I've only done surface collecting, no digging (yet). If anyone is fossil hunting and wants to team up, I'm interested in getting to know the area and getting to know the laws. 

 

On the subject of navigating laws and collection sites! Seems we're only limited to those two sites publicly. And yet also sounds like they arent accessible anymore? Roadway cutaways are free access? I'm curious about how to access those. You just park along side the road and that's fine? I'm not fully understanding the water ways laws? So only on the main rivers? What about smaller creeks and streams? That just depends on the property they go on? Thanks for your patience.

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Thomas.Dodson
On 2/7/2021 at 12:38 AM, AshNBone said:

I'm not fully understanding the water ways laws? So only on the main rivers? What about smaller creeks and streams? That just depends on the property they go on? Thanks for your patience.

This varies a lot by state. Typically at issue is what constitutes navigable waterways but some places also designate the river bottom the property of the adjacent landowner even if the water is public. In Kansas this is clear. The only public rivers are the Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri between the ordinary high water mark. Everything else is owned by the landowner.

 

On 2/7/2021 at 12:38 AM, AshNBone said:

 Roadway cutaways are free access? I'm curious about how to access those. You just park along side the road and that's fine?

Another issue that varies by state. I might check the actual regulations in Kansas if I get time later but in general regulations involve the following.

 

Access to these cuts is dependent on right-of-way designations. This is measured at a set distance (varies by both state and road type) from the center of the road. Within this it is still public. Outside of this it is private land. Parking is often allowed on the right-of-way as long as you're off the shoulder (sometimes on the shoulder). This varies by road. It is never allowed on Interstates and often not allowed on highways managed at a state level. Other times you can find parking access elsewhere and walk to the cut. Permission to walk along the road also varies. Use smart parking and use traffic cones or a high-visibility vest if you're close to the road.

 

Again, this is a general overview of relevant regulations and not the actual Kansas regulations. Knowing this stuff makes it easier to find the actual laws as they apply to Kansas. I have some experience digging through laws and regulations and sometimes the information you need can be quite buried.

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On 2/6/2021 at 11:38 PM, AshNBone said:

Hello! I'm new to Kansas north eastern side (Lawrence and KC area). I've only done surface collecting, no digging (yet). If anyone is fossil hunting and wants to team up, I'm interested in getting to know the area and getting to know the laws. 

 

On the subject of navigating laws and collection sites! Seems we're only limited to those two sites publicly. And yet also sounds like they arent accessible anymore? Roadway cutaways are free access? I'm curious about how to access those. You just park along side the road and that's fine? I'm not fully understanding the water ways laws? So only on the main rivers? What about smaller creeks and streams? That just depends on the property they go on? Thanks for your patience.

I made several trips out to KS since this post.  Laws are pretty clear.  I did walk the Smokey Hill River which is pushing the limits a little but I parked at bridges where there was obvious usage by locals and didn’t have issues. *proceed at your own risk as this isn’t considered a public waterway but is a fully navigable river for much of it’s length.

 

Also there are road cuts throughout the Smokey Hill chalk and not as many in the Niobrara chalk but they are there. These really are your best bets and if I lived closer I would scour them regularly.   Major Highways should not be hunted but smaller highways are ok.  I actually had a police officer stop to see if I needed help and he said hunting fossils was ok in the cut I was in.
 

Monument Rocks and Castle Rocks both hold fossils.  I was lucky to come home with several fish and mosasaur fossils from each.  
 

It’s tough hunting in KS without help or access to private land.

 

Had the pleasure of meeting Ramo out there who has an excellent collection of local fossils.

 

Good luck!

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 2/8/2021 at 10:39 PM, Jakuzi said:

I made several trips out to KS since this post.  Laws are pretty clear.  I did walk the Smokey Hill River which is pushing the limits a little but I parked at bridges where there was obvious usage by locals and didn’t have issues. *proceed at your own risk as this isn’t considered a public waterway but is a fully navigable river for much of it’s length.

 

Also there are road cuts throughout the Smokey Hill chalk and not as many in the Niobrara chalk but they are there. These really are your best bets and if I lived closer I would scour them regularly.   Major Highways should not be hunted but smaller highways are ok.  I actually had a police officer stop to see if I needed help and he said hunting fossils was ok in the cut I was in.
 

Monument Rocks and Castle Rocks both hold fossils.  I was lucky to come home with several fish and mosasaur fossils from each.  
 

It’s tough hunting in KS without help or access to private land.

 

Had the pleasure of meeting Ramo out there who has an excellent collection of local fossils.

 

Good luck!

Thanks for all the tips!

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