Surface hunting for arrowheads on private land is lawful in all 50 states. Every arrowhead hunter strives to hunt lawfully, responsibly, and with reverence for ancient cultures. Surface hunting for relics on private property with the consent of the landowner is your best hope. Without permission, you would be breaking the law.
Surface hunting for arrowheads on public land is allowed in some states but not others. The legality of surface hunting for arrowheads on federal lands is determined by federal law; therefore, it is illegal in all states. The same is true for state lands. Even though most states allow surface hunting for relics, it's still unlawful to do so on these locations without written permission from the owner.
Arrowhead collecting is a popular activity among hobbyists, archeologists, and museum visitors. Although finding intact examples in the wild is difficult because they are made from hard materials that break under pressure, collectors search fields and gravel pits for evidence of past human activity. Fragments of ancient arrows have been found scattered across America dating back more than 11,000 years. Scientists think people were using them until about 7500 years ago, when they began to make more modern ones.
People have been making arrows since early civilizations learned how to grow trees large enough to make sharp sticks. Before then, they used bones or stone points.
Don't go artifact hunting on public property. For example, while it is permissible to hunt on public waterways in Missouri, it is unlawful to pick up arrowheads on the river in Florida. Every state is unique. Before you travel to an unfamiliar place make sure you know what's legal and what's not.
Is it unlawful to own Native American artifacts such as arrowheads, pottery, or fragments of pottery? Most rural youngsters who grew up in the west have an arrowhead they discovered. Possession of such items is not prohibited as long as they are obtained legitimately. It is typically lawful if discovered on private property. If found on federal land, however, then possession could be illegal if the owner has not given permission to collect the item.
It is recommended that you obtain permission from the property owner before collecting any ancient cultural resources. Property owners may have different opinions about what constitutes ancient cultural resources, so it's best to check with them first. In some cases, all they want is money; otherwise, they may require that you do certain things with the object (for example, display it in a museum).
The legality of taking part of an artifact that is already owned by someone else is determined by local laws. For example, if you find something that is lying on the ground in another person's backyard then you should ask their permission first before picking it up. If they don't mind, then there is nothing wrong with taking it home. However, if you take something off the market without permission then this would be theft.
Arrowheads are useful tools for hunters to identify their prey. They also play an important role in treating sick people with medicine found in ancient cultures.