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FossilPioneer93

Fossil Collecting/Hunting laws

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FossilPioneer93

I was wondering, especially being new to hunting and collecting fossils. Can you legally collect fossils, such as shark teeth on state and public land? My Geology profession told me that it is legal to go and collect fossils from state and public property without a permit. I just want to make absolute certain that what he said is true, before I go out and start collecting. There are a few rivers and creeks that I have passed that have really nice sedimentary layers, which scream fossils. I do live in Bedford, Texas, so I am not aware of the laws about legally collecting. 

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Mediospirifer

It depends on the state. I can't speak for Texas laws, but here in New York it's not legal to collect on state-owned or managed land. Local parks have their own rules. 

 

I know that on Federal land (managed by the BLM) you need a permit to collect vertebrate fossils, but inverts of any type are fair game. 

 

Someone from Texas will probably be along soon with more information. Welcome to the Forum! :D

 

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FossilPioneer93

Thank you very much ma’am. 

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FossilNerd

I live in Kentucky so not sure of the laws in Texas, but I found some info that may help.

 

Here is a link to a paleontology club in Austin. They give examples of where it is legal to hunt in Texas. If you don't want to take their word for it, you may try contacting them if you want something official. They may be able to tell you where they got their info (i.e. What specific law in Texas governs the collecting of fossils) 

https://austinpaleo.org/faq.html#Where

 

This is a link to a pdf library here on TFF. It's sorted by state, but there is documentation there for Texas regarding hunting relics. Admittedly, I did't read the full document. It may only pertain to artifacts and not fossils... 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/18378-fruitbats-pdf-library-fossil-and-artifact-collecting-management-laws-and-regulations/

 

This last link is to the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas. The link goes to their school museum of earth history page for non vertebrate fossils. It looks to have basic information, but also has contact info for a couple of important sounding people. You may be able to contact them and get clarification.

http://www.jsg.utexas.edu/npl/outreach/about-paleontology/

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FossilPioneer93

Oh wow, thank you very much sir. This is really helpful. 

 

My main interest is finding and collecting marine fossils, such as shark teeth. 

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FossilDAWG

I'll try to bring a few Texas collectors in on the discussion:

@erose @Uncle Siphuncle @JohnJ

 

People hunt Texas rivers and post their finds here all the time, so I assume the laws are pretty relaxed in Texas.  Please note that this is not the case in every state.  

 

Don

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JohnJ

Well known public sites are your best option to start.  Use the Forum search box with the type of fossil and area you want to hunt.  A trip to Post Oak creek in Sherman, TX could be in your future.

 

Otherwise, don't depend on 2nd hand info you read online as your legal defense.  Research specific areas of interest with property owners or the appropriate governmental agency.

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Uncle Siphuncle

A google search of "Texas statutory navigable waterways" is a good start regarding stream access.  This should help you to ascertain which streams you can legally enter, and what portions are state vs. private regarding the "gradient boundary".  Don't wander around the private areas, esp if carrying a firearm.  

 

I also ask permission frequently at construction sites, ranches, corporate and residential property.  In fact, I last secured permission to private property last weekend.  

 

I'd suggest being careful with whom you share site specifics for a number of reasons.  Minimizing head count shows respect for the landowner while giving you maximum residual if you and family are the only ones who access a site.  It is human nature to not fully respect what one hasn't earned oneself, so I'm mindful of that with site info.  Even when you are completely legal on public property, more people = more problems, one being decreased ability allow the site to weather sufficiently for good collecting each trip.

 

As a general rule, any site that I can access solo, that's how I tend to approach that site.  Sometimes logistics suggest that a tag team effort makes more sense, and it is smart to stay open to those venues as well.  

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erose

If you are hankering for shark teeth then Post OaK Creek is the ticket. From there you need to seek out exposures of the Eagle Ford or the basal Atco Formations. The Grayson/Del Rio formation can be pretty good too. Teeth show up in pretty much all the Cretaceous formations but are not as common as the ones mentioned above.

 

Another site that produces teeth is Whiskey Bridge. Known for it's Eocene invertebrate but still plenty of teeth to be had.  You can search both the Forum and the internet for info.

 

PS: I am surprised your professor suggested collecting on state land. Maybe he just means road cuts and stream beds. Personally I don't know of any other "state" land such as parks or preserves where any collecting is allowed.  

 

Also, Join the Dallas Paleontological Society. Great organization and much closer to you than the Paleontological Society of Austin, which is great club as well....wink wink.

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UtahFossilHunter
5 hours ago, erose said:

Join the Dallas Paleontological Society. Great organization and much closer to you than the Paleontological Society of Austin, which is great club as well....wink wink.

I second this suggestion. Even just calling them and asking where they recommend collecting is a good way to start since they are most likely very familiar with the laws in Texas.

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FossilNerd
On 7/2/2019 at 9:33 AM, FossilPioneer93 said:

Oh wow, thank you very much sir. This is really helpful. 

 

My main interest is finding and collecting marine fossils, such as shark teeth. 

You are welcome! Not sure how much actual help I was. The other folks that posted, who actually live in Texas, probably gave better advice. ;) 

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FossilPioneer93

Do any Texans on here, know if it is legal to collect along the Brazos River? I know the Whiskey Bridge is on the southern part of the river, but I was curious about the northern part of it. My family and I are going to be canoeing down it on Friday, and was wanting to if possible, do a little bit of collecting. 

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