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river hunting in tennessee

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  • river hunting in tennessee

    I have a question about hunting for artifacts along rivers. I have been told that it is not considered trespassing to walk along the tennessee river and hunt the banks and shores by several people that have been doing it around here for a long time. last weekend i was walking the river when a young man on a jetski pulled up and told me that the land belonged to his uncle and that he would be really upset that i was there. i immediatly apologized and told him that i had looked for no-trespassing signs and seen none,then headed back to my vehicle. the guy bent down and started picking up peices almost immediatly. the site is what i would call a trash site because there is a mound that is now under water and the banks are covered with beautiful peices of broken pottery and some really nice artifacts. i am new to collecting,been doing it seriuosly for a couple years. this year is my first year around here and have found some really nice peices. i cant wait to be able to go out again. i geuss my qeustion is does anyone actually own the river banks? I live in savannah tennessee and there is a long native american history here. any help would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Tim don't know about Tenn. but in kansas we have only 3 rivers where its legal to hunt and thats because the state considers them Navigable by boat rivers. Everything else is private and you need permission from the land owner to even do a float trip, but that doesn't happen alot. Hope you can find out what your law is, Happy Hunting

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    • #3
      Hi Tim, the TVA controls Tennessee Rivers and "since 1979 it has been against federal law to remove anything more than 100 years old from federal land."
      "That includes 11,000 miles of public shoreline controlled by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and it includes 20 miles of Tennessee River shoreline in the Wheeler refuge.
      This isn't a story about dad and the kids spotting a "worked" piece of flint on the ground while hiking in the refuge. They're not supposed to take it, but it's a matter of debate what happens if they do and get caught. The 1979 federal law specifically exempted arrowheads found on the surface from fines, but federal land managers including Wheeler's say subsequent regulations have essentially banned all artifact collecting on federal land - arrowheads included.
      Argue the point if you want, but get caught with a point and it's a $275 first offense fine if you lose that argument"
      Just be careful because the TVA can be especially nasty about artifact hunting.

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      • #4
        well for someone whe just moved to TN and does not have at the time a place to hunt on private land  the rivers had looked pretty good. its a shame some would rather see these artifacts lost or left until broken and gone forever.  will it come down to just taking a picture and place that in your case for all to see . not quite the same feeling as holding something in your hand to cherish, share and some day to pass on to your kids or others to enjoy, some of my arrowheads came from my dad and my sons have walked plowed fields with me and I will pass my heads down to them. I guess they have good reasons for the laws, can anyone tell what it is........

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        • #5
          Buy a ghillie suit and hydration backpack.  Happy hunting.

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          • #6
            Don't worry, it's still OK to hunt private fields with landowner's permission. However, TVA controlled areas aren't worth the risk of losing a vehicle, a very large fine, and perhaps most of your collection.
            Collecting on the Tennessee River has drawn the attention from the TVA because of the buying and selling of Indian Artifacts and the rise of the professional collectors.
            It is better to seek permission to fieldwalk from landowners and farmers along the river.

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            • #7
              Ha ha, careful there Zmaj, stay clear of the Tennessee River or the TVA will get you, ghillie suit, and hydration backpack.

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              • #8
                I am looking for some people in the middle tn area close to Humphreys co. To share sites with fellowship and talk arrowheads. Thanks

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                • #9
                  Don't look on Federal Land....Most of Tenn river on one side is this but all the other is private owned. No hunting in LBL but on the public side of the lakes is legal. Most rivers are legal up to the high water line. But if the river crosses in private land  if the owner owns both sides the land is private the waterway is public( don't step out on the land). As far as I know all land owned by TVA is private and better not get caught there because they do prosecute.
                  I Have Never Met A Rock I Didn\'t Like

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                  • #10
                    In Kentucky if you are standing on ground, whether on the bank or in the water, you are trespassing. If you are in a boat, you are ok. So if the river or stream is down the landowner owns it! If it floods to his doorstep and you are in a boat duck hunting in his front yard lets say, you are legal.

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                    • #11
                      I also live in Savannah, TN. I started artifact hunting last year. I fish and/or hunt the river daily. I have met several people who have been artifact hunting in the river for 20+ years. They have never been bothered by TVA, never. I have spent 300 of the last 365 days on the river, never been bothered. You regularly see people with piles of Flint in their John boat, obviously artifact hunting. As long as you are not digging or spraying the bank, I think you are good. The people who own houses in the river have been gracious enough to let us hunt in their banks. They do ask that we stay close to the edge and not climb up to poke arrowheads that are sticking out of the dirt walls. That being said, I do believe it is still technically illegal to hunt TVA land, so....
                      I have found my top 5 favorite points right at Pickwick Dam while fishing. Does anyone really actually walk past a point and not pick it up because someone decided it was illegal? If I didn't pick them up, the next person would. The guy at the Pickwick Dam campground saw me looking one day. He actually said "you know that's a burial mound over there? If you find any nice Indian arrowheads let me know, I'll buy em from ya. I bought a few really nice ones yesterday." I would rather have them in my collection than have them picked up by the next person and sold to the guy at the campground do who knows what with...
                      Good luck hunting and if you're still in Savannah shoot me a msg👍

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                      • #12
                        I see this original post was from 2011 I doubt if you will get a response pickwick. On the river hunting I guess it depends on the day cause I have heard of people being carried off in handcuffs after being watched from a distance. Just be careful
                        NW Georgia

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                        • #13
                          I saw that after I posted that. Thanks for advice. Will be careful. I think it would be outrageous for someone to be handcuffed for picking up an artifact on a beach. Especially with the amount of people I see doing on a daily basis. Digging or spraying is a totally different story. Ive heard a lot of rumors over the years. But the only person I personally know that has been arrested was digging up graves on 5 mile island. He found and sold 3 giant Clovis points, along with several other artifacts. His house was raided. He lost his entire collection, fined $30k and spent a year in prison, as he should have. I think he got off easy, personally. But, I think he might have something else coming...

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                          • #14
                            I only know of one person getting arrested . here in Georgia but he was on corps property. I stay away from all of those I heard there is a sign right at the entrance that says in bold print no artifact hunting and if caught it’s 5k per artifact and I would guess trespassing fees and court costs. But I’m not going to find out there is still a few places I’m allowed even one that has security on it. The last one I mentioned I actually talked to the head of security and he gave me his name and said if you have any problems give my name. So it’s possible just have to ask.
                            NW Georgia

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                            • #15
                              Pickwick got a response from me. I recently moved to his neck of the woods.

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