Jump to content
Uncle Siphuncle

Site Prospecting 102 - Closing The Deal

Recommended Posts

2gould

As usual, great post Dan!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Cris

Dan, I love these posts.... I'm sure they'll wind up helping a ton of people find new sites and get permission to collect them. I'm gonna sticky both these threads so they don't get burried by newer posts, if you don't mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ashcraft

Another suggestion, when you go ask (private property owners, not businesses) take a young child. It makes it ahrder to say no.

Brent Ashcraft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xiphactinus
Another suggestion, when you go ask (private property owners, not businesses) take a young child. It makes it ahrder to say no.

Brent Ashcraft

My 3 boys have been the key to getting into many a property!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uncle Siphuncle

That's an interesting angle. I suppose its most helpful if there aren't treacherous cliffs or other hazards on the property. Presence of kids could certainly facilitate the deal if it is a safe venue. My son is much more handsome than I so perhaps I should employ this tactic. As an aside, I'd imagine that folks would be less likely to call the Fuzz down on you if they see a 6 year old kid with you in some creek, although I don't advocate use of our progeny as "fossil bait".

Cris, do with this thread as you see fit.

I was granted easy access on the phone yesterday to an active echinoid bearing pit I've never visited before. A buddy and I will go there Sunday. This was a particularly easy going quarry operator. There was no mention of safety other than staying away from moving equipment. It could be quite productive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Gatorman

Well I hope you find a ton Dan, and keep it up with the amazingly helpful posts. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uncle Siphuncle

"Show a man a fossil site and you have and you have fed him for a day. Teach a man to find sites and you have fed him for life."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flyguy784

I found an upper Devonian site I want to prospect. Looking at the trailer that's perched on the property, I plan to take a couple six packs along for the guy. I'll bet he'll look forward to my return trips.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ashcraft

Bring a six pack to my house, I'll like you too. I prefer Miller.

Brent Ashcraft

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mango

I am a newbie to fossiling, but I have been walking the thin gray legal line in some of my other hobbies. One of my other hobbies is fishing. Sometimes I have ventured into private canals and boat basins in my boat, and private property ponds on land. The one thing that I always do is to pick up trash. I have found that some property owners don't want people trespassing on their land due to experiences with trespassers doing damage to their property, or leaving a mess. Carrying garbage out of their land will help show that you were not causing any trouble. Definately helps earn a return visit. Bringing the kids has helped me, especially with carrying tools, and of course, the trash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Shamalama

I like these threads and am in similar situations here in Pennsylvania. There is a really great borrow pit that used to be accessible as it was a township property. Once it went private it was declared off limits. I visited it not too long ago on the day after Thanksgiving with my two nephews figuring no one would be around. It's not roped or chained off, no fence and it's literally right off the road. No major high walls, very stable landscape and barely active (it looks nearly the same as when I visted 15 years ago). Yes, major gray area/line walking. We were fine for about an hour when someone finally saw us and asked us to leave. I apologized and told them that I used to collect there many years ago and just wanted to introduce my nephews to a favorite spot. I think the person understood but did ask me to leave saying "our insurance doesn't cover it". They weren't visibly angry or upset, a little perturbed mostly. They walked off as we cleaned up and drove out.

Now, I'd like to try and get back in there again and I think the big problem is the insurance thing. What could I offer to convince them that I have my own health insurance and would not hold them responsible for any accidents or injuries that may happen to me? This would be helpful also for other private borrow pits/quarries that I come across and they often are the best way to access a formation.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lawooten

Great information to know. Would love to see a copy of your weaver of liability letter that you present to quarries just as an example.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Inyo
Let’s assume you’ve done your research and have found a quarry or piece of private land in a high percentage formation that you feel exposes a certain horizon of fossils you wish to correct. -Even if you plan to sell off a few surplus specimens to cover trip expenses, DO NOT state so. The last thing you need is for landowners to feel that you are mining their land for personal profit, prompting them to start charging access fees or worse yet, lease the collecting rights.

Yeah, the last thing you'd want to do is behave in an ethical manner, apparently. Does danwoehr really want to stand by this "rule"?

Folks, PLEASE do not listen to danwoehr on this specific matter. Always inform owners of private lands exactly what you intend to do on their property--and if that involves selling specimens collected there, by all means tell them. Withholding information from individuals who have been kind enough to allow access to fossilferous exposures is never advised. It is completely unethical.

In my occasional dealings with property owners, I always work up a written contract, explaining in full what I intend to do on their lands and, additionally, the limits of my investigations. For example, in one particular instance--at a locality that yields innumeral well preserved Eocene fossil leaves--I promised not to wander off the main trail into the surrouding courtryside (where they had live stock)--that I would confine my explorations to the roadcuts, and that I would not open up any significant excavations without first clearing the idea with them. After I received permission to investigate the roadcuts, I was able to amass a truly significant collection of beautiful fossil leaves from a horizon essentially new to paleobotany. I later donated all of the Eocene specimens to a paleontology musuem at a noted university.

http://inyo2.110mb.com/dc/fallon10.html

Images of some fossil plants from the Middle Miocene Chloropagus Formation, Nevada

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lawooten

I guess everyone has their own approach and as Inyo states I have found that complete honesty have opened areas for us that would not have been had we not been completely honest. I know an older gentleman that closed his land to fossil collecting b/c he was given limited information by others and is very bitter about the experience and it took a lot of time to get him to trust anyone on his land. We ended up going to a neighboring land to get there permission from them then because they were friends he ended up telling the neighbor it would be ok for us to come on his land if we checked in with him and brought no one else with us. He ended up interested in fossils but too old to collect so we show him all we collect on his land and share with him our finds. I look at it this way, we would not have had any of the fossils at all from his land if we had not shown respect to his neighbors and it got back to him. Almost all the time he just looks at them and says go ahead and take them. I think he just like the company when we come his way. He just likes to be involved with what is taken off his land after all he pays the tax on it not us. I know if I owned land I would be very protective of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uncle Siphuncle

Any passion driven hobby involving removal of natural resources is sure to draw opinions from all sides. Allow me to expound on my personal observations. I have friends that for years have collected the Niobrara Chalk in KS for shark and mosasaur material and the Badlands of Nebraska for Oligocene terrestrial material. They used to get land access for the asking; now their options are limited. Why? Collecting rights are being leased. A similar situation has evolved here in Texas with deer hunting over the last 20-30 years. What was once every man's sport is now an aristocratic pursuit reserved for more well heeled folk. I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather not pay to play in the great outdoors and don't think you should have to either. Whether I plan to keep my finds, give some to the landowner, give some to my friends, give some to kids, donate a few, or sell a few, I think I'd be shooting all of us in the foot to make a landowner think he's sitting atop some sort of gold mine. The good thing is that most of my collecting takes place on public land or in quarries or construction sites where the question of economic value never comes up as those in charge are more concerned with avoiding injuries, littering, and vandalism. Now if you'll excuse me I have fossils to prep.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilForKids

Dan

I for one appreciate you insight and willingness to help others succeed in this awesome passion of ours known as fossil collecting. Some people tend to get a little self righteous. The person that questioned your ethics while you were just trying to help people be successful is the same person that wrote to me after I got out of the hospital...not I hope you're doing well.....but more of a I know more than your doctor post. I'm sure both times his heart was in the right place but and he meant well but by the time the message got to the ketboard it somehow got distorted.

So Dan, as the cool guy in the Dos XX comercial says...."Stay Thirsty My Friend"!

John

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Uncle Siphuncle

No worries - some of my more awkward exchanges on this forum have resulted in good friendships.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lawooten

By all means everyone has their own way to approach a landowner about collecting although no one person can have the right approach for everyone. It is good to have other ideas because as we all know everyone we meet will not be the same. Land owners in the area I mentioned are farmers and have not the time to spend even to consider fossils anything other than old bones. But the land is theirs and some places that have closed to collecting are b/c of the abuse done to them by collectors. More and more restrictions are being set into place as we all know. You have to know your area and the people in your area when you approach them and how to approach it may be different in any given area. But as I said there is more than one approach and all should be there for people to choose which would be right for them. My way works for me and I can sure you I am making no judgments on any one or way I myself am giving information from my own years of experience in collecting artifacts, fossils, gems, and minerals that has worked for me as Dan has. I like to cover all my options. Newbie’s need to know different approaches and even ethical isn't a bad way or word. But giving advice one needs to take in considerations the negative effects also to collectors. None of us wants to hurt collecting yet it is not like it was in the past and places are closing to us because of some of the bad practices that have been happening as all of us know. The times are changing and with more and more people collecting things have to change to keep sites open. That’s my opinion and I am sticking to it. What is right for one person may not be right for another but in the end that is what will matter as even government is changing the way we once collected to how we collect today. I want my grandchildren to enjoy the freedom of collecting and ethical seems to me the right way for me. I have found that bringing children in this area for example to get permission is not good because then that landowner sees liability issues if a child gets hurt. But in this area collecting is done by digging and there is a very real safety issue to it. The perseveration of all future fossil collecting for everyone to me should be foremost the most important aspect to consider. I know from experience that landowners can be soured by bad experienced with fossil collectors. The fossils aren't an issue with the landowners I have talked to for the most part they don't care about them. In the areas like I said here for the most part have more concerns dealing with their crops are what matter. I feel we need to put ourselves in the position of a land owner who is paying the tax and mortgage on that land. Like I said I am not judging I am giving my advice as Dan, John or any other member. That is why we have this forum and unless it is the law our opinions are just those opinions. Cheers to all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Xiphactinus
Any passion driven hobby involving removal of natural resources is sure to draw opinions from all sides. Allow me to expound on my personal observations. I have friends that for years have collected the Niobrara Chalk in KS for shark and mosasaur material and the Badlands of Nebraska for Oligocene terrestrial material. They used to get land access for the asking; now their options are limited. Why? Collecting rights are being leased. A similar situation has evolved here in Texas with deer hunting over the last 20-30 years. What was once every man's sport is now an aristocratic pursuit reserved for more well heeled folk. I don't know about you guys, but I'd rather not pay to play in the great outdoors and don't think you should have to either. Whether I plan to keep my finds, give some to the landowner, give some to my friends, give some to kids, donate a few, or sell a few, I think I'd be shooting all of us in the foot to make a landowner think he's sitting atop some sort of gold mine. The good thing is that most of my collecting takes place on public land or in quarries or construction sites where the question of economic value never comes up as those in charge are more concerned with avoiding injuries, littering, and vandalism. Now if you'll excuse me I have fossils to prep.....

Dan - Boy can I sympathize with your friends. We are no longer allowed to collect on one of our favorite ranches in Kansas because the fossil rights were leased to deep pockets. Grrrrrr. Problem is, Deep Pockets has leased more land than they can hunt, and fossils are eroding into dust every time it rains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilForKids
By all means everyone has their own way to approach a landowner about collecting although no one person can have the right approach for everyone. It is good to have other ideas because as we all know everyone we meet will not be the same. Land owners in the area I mentioned are farmers and have not the time to spend even to consider fossils anything other than old bones. But the land is theirs and some places that have closed to collecting are b/c of the abuse done to them by collectors. More and more restrictions are being set into place as we all know. You have to know your area and the people in your area when you approach them and how to approach it may be different in any given area. But as I said there is more than one approach and all should be there for people to choose which would be right for them. My way works for me and I can sure you I am making no judgments on any one or way I myself am giving information from my own years of experience in collecting artifacts, fossils, gems, and minerals that has worked for me as Dan has. I like to cover all my options. Newbie’s need to know different approaches and even ethical isn't a bad way or word. But giving advice one needs to take in considerations the negative effects also to collectors. None of us wants to hurt collecting yet it is not like it was in the past and places are closing to us because of some of the bad practices that have been happening as all of us know. The times are changing and with more and more people collecting things have to change to keep sites open. That’s my opinion and I am sticking to it. What is right for one person may not be right for another but in the end that is what will matter as even government is changing the way we once collected to how we collect today. I want my grandchildren to enjoy the freedom of collecting and ethical seems to me the right way for me. I have found that bringing children in this area for example to get permission is not good because then that landowner sees liability issues if a child gets hurt. But in this area collecting is done by digging and there is a very real safety issue to it. The perseveration of all future fossil collecting for everyone to me should be foremost the most important aspect to consider. I know from experience that landowners can be soured by bad experienced with fossil collectors. The fossils aren't an issue with the landowners I have talked to for the most part they don't care about them. In the areas like I said here for the most part have more concerns dealing with their crops are what matter. I feel we need to put ourselves in the position of a land owner who is paying the tax and mortgage on that land. Like I said I am not judging I am giving my advice as Dan, John or any other member. That is why we have this forum and unless it is the law our opinions are just those opinions. Cheers to all.

That is very well stated! For the record my "self-righteous" statement was aimed at Inyo for his abraisive comeback to Dan.....but definitely not at you. I really think the decision is based on each situation you encounter.

Some states say you can't collect at roadcuts but many people do anyway. Then they go on top of the road cut and that land is usually privately owned. Some people cross private land to get to waterways. As I said it isn't as black and white as it seems. It can be grey at times and that's when you have to decide as an individual what is right and wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rfossils

Kudos to Dan. Having a copy of liability insurance (esp. a million dollars), covering specifics such as quarries has been useful to me. However, no one ever said no to the blue-eyed, blonde haired woman with the east Texas "twaing". And maybe her 7 year old son helped as well. I know by following the landowners rules will almost insure a return visit, sometimes even the keys to the gates, or a long term friendship.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bear

Each situation differs from the rest so each must be handled on the fly.

In the Eastern US a few years ago, we went looking for recent shells and such using Geological Survey data (usually outdated, of course) While staying at a (tick infested) state campground we were harshly informed that any fossils around were protected from collecting as they were a valuable natural resource. The ranger kind - of went on and on about that...sort - of a personal issue for him I suppose.

We got our specimens anyways, as that same park was grinding said fossils up and using them to pave the park roads. Some of the chunks were large and clean enough to procure. When I asked another ranger if it was OK to take a few pieces of the road bed for my sons fossil collection, he laughed loud and long before giving us the go - ahead to take home a few small pieces of "road gravel".

As for "honesty".....there is only one correct answer to give when your wife asks if that new dress makes her butt look too big, and it may not have anything at all to do with the truth. ;)

I give minimal, reassuring information to the property owner. I do not go out looking for fossils to sell. I do not know what I am going to find that collecting day - if anything at all - or how fine a specimen it may or may not be. I am in the moment and open - that is part of the adventure for me. It would be a tad premature for me to detail what the ultimate fate of any finds I may procure will be before I even find them. Thus, I am looking in an educated and experienced manner for what I believe may be found at a particular site. I stress that I am very careful and am a responsible adult. I always go with my wife, son and dog. If there is any hitch at all, I am gone to the next spot on my list - no problem. :)

I love road cuts! I have had numerous roadside conversations with various police officers due to this practice, all of them positive. This also must be done correctly with an eye towards safety and not making a mess. It is one thing to pick up a couple of decent specimens and quite another thing to open up a large scale impromptu roadside mining operation.

There are pros and cons to commercial exploitation of a site as well. When my family and I went mineral collecting in the Bancroft, Ontario area, we hit a place in the deep woods called the Bear Creek Digs. Calcite intrusions loaded with tourmaline, sheet mica and apatite are there, and 'glory holers' had been there exploiting the veins for commercial specimens. They took the arm - sized crystals of tourmaline and apatite, leaving the finger sized crystals in their waste piles. Since they worked the veins - which averaged maybe 6 feet wide at the surface - down to a depth of maybe 10 feet, there was a lot of rotted calcite containing neat stuff that they tossed on the scrap heaps. A great collecting day for us, lots of fine specimens - including some facet grade apatite - to take home, and only one black bear came through that day. :) If it hadn't been for the commercial collectors hard work we wouldn't have found much at all that day.

Edited by Bear

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BobC

Dan--I usually just storm up to the quarry owner and bellow "Let me in or I'M BURNING THIS DUMP DOWN!!"

This approach has been shockingly unsuccessful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
lawooten

BobC

And you are still here to tell about it? Now that is good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×