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Thread: Tva

  1. #1
    Graduate Arrowheadologist
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Anybody ever delt with TVA? I know this is technically federal land etc but I have never heard of anyone having any kind of problems with arrowhands outside of the lakes.

    It's really killing me this dilema I have. There is a nice spot I want to dig literally in the river...this is not a lake but a sandy stretch of the river where points and pottery are caught up. It's not on the bank, its not an erosional problem. What sand I removed would be filled in tommorrow naturally. I have decided against digging until I can get some clarity on the subject. If the rivers are forbidden then that would take out the entire state of tn creek looking...I used to hunt Cherokee Lake before they started postings signs advising against it. I still know plenty of people that hunt Cherokee and say its no problem but it's not worth the drive/risk. I don't think there's any enforcement on Boone/South Holston lake.

    I generally respect the laws of the land with the exception of some of the stupid ones which are plentiful. If that makes me a bad person in some eyes then so be it, the most important things in my life are God/Family/Friend/Community/State and way down the line the federal goverment and it's rules and laws. just being honest

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  3. #2
    Relic Hunter
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    SE TN
    Here is a link to a TVA site. Doesn't appear to be legal.

    TVA: Cultural Resources: FAQ

  4. #3
    Relic Hunter
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    SE TN
    Here is another link:

    TVA: Cultural Resources: Laws

  5. #4
    Tribal Council Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Keystone State
    It doesn't matter if you agree or not concerning "plentiful stupid laws" especially Federal. I would be 100% certain before you scratch that itch... Possible jail time, fines, and ALL artifacts in your possession confiscated... "I didn't know" won't matter to them. Just sayin'.

  6. #5
    Yeah - Federal Laws are not wise to ignore. Even if enforcement is random and sporadic, you don't want to be that guy - they will tear you a new one if you happen to be their chosen example!

  7. #6
    Junior Relic Hunter
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    I think TVA uses the ARPA 1979 as their policy on artifact collecting / protection. this is copied from TVA's website
    "ARPA imposes criminal or civil penalties for unauthorized digging or collecting. It also provides rewards of up to $500 for information leading to conviction or civil fine. If you observe the looting or destruction of an archaeological site on TVA land, please report the incident to the TVA Police. TVA and other federal land managing departments have established uniform regulations regarding ARPA."

    With that being said, I have always used Section 7. A. 3. from the ARPA as my excuse for surface hunting TVA lands, which states:

    "(3) No penalty shall be assessed under this section for
    the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of the

    From my interpretation of this (which means absolutely nothing and may be completely wrong) I think you would be in violation of TVA policy as well as ARPA if you dig anywhere on TVA property but you can surface hunt. I also hunt on the rivers and streams in Tennessee and have never had the TVA police or TWRA ever say a word about surface hunting. I was looking on a national wildlife refuge one time when I was much younger and dumber and a TWRA officer stopped me and asked what I was looking for and I said "deer tracks" to which he replied "just make sure no deer tracks end up in your pocket". Like I said, I may be completely off base on the surface hunting on TVA lands and I'm positive that my opinion doesn't matter to the Federal Gov.
    One more thing to think about, some parts of the Tennessee River system actually covered by water are private property. I think anything above a certain gauge height. With a little research you could possibly find some private property which you could dig on if you obtained permission.

  8. #7
    Senior Arrowheadologist
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    As a former employee of TVA for 18 year and stationed in Knoxville, the company likes to act like it has all power and authority....kinda a play on words. It is not against the law to walk and surface hunt around their man made lakes, its public land except around their power sites. Of course their power sites have all been put on top of major productive Indian sites!

    They do not own any "natural" river sections above the boundaries of one of their lakes. In actuality on Douglas lake and Cherokee lake they only own the water rights and not the property. In World War 2 when power was needed quickly they had no time nor money to buy land from the people and only own water rights. So when those lakes go down one is still walking on private property, generally speaking. All their other lakes they own the submerged land up to a certain elevation from normal river elevation. Late in the eighties they decided to take a step up on their security forces (primarily for their nuclear sites in the beginning) then for that new branch of inner government they decided to grow bigger and get involved in all aspects concerning TVA business. They do have some boats but primarily only drive around their lakes and mostly in individual scenarios. They do have the same power as any police officer and as such are like any other law enforcement officer.....there are ones that are nice and have some common sense and others that since the uniform is on they feel like God....lol Just for a rabbit trail, I have saved a copy of the very first color brochure TVA security came out with in the early eighties trying to curb collecting. Instead of showing what the normal collector finds that would have made the normal beginner collector think twice of wasting time doing this they showed all the exotic items that are seldom found....lol Talk about giving a dog a bone!

    I am pretty sure Tenn is like Florida where I live now, the state owns all water ways from a certain elevation down. On natural rivers your going to meet regular police and Game & Fish officers before one meets a TVA officer. That said, the digging will get you in trouble from any of them in these days, most likely. On TVA lakes there are many protected archaelogical sites with signs stating the facts.Even then it is not against the law to walk these places and their shore lines but here is where one is likely to meet a TVA officer and they can arrest and seize if they are feeling giddy and have observed one hunting.

    We use to carry tater hoes with us everywhere we went on every lake , just for scratching, not digging, but those days are way over. That gets their attention quickly these days. One has to be prepared to listen to a sermon of all they crap they can do to you if they find you walking about. A tongue lashing never hurt anyone. Just smile and listen and go somewhere else.

    The main Tenn river lakes and wildlife management areas are their main concerns and the richest areas. if your stretch of river your interested in is not in full view of private home owners and is off the beaten path in all likelihood you will have no problems but if its a written quarantine of no trouble your looking for, it is not going to be found, I'm afraid. There are risks to every thing one badly wants to do.

    My hats off to you for driving to Cherokee lake to hunt. It is a tough lake to hunt, just not many sites because it seldom goes down to where the nicer ones live at until one is in the upper end around the Boy Scout camp property. It was that way before the newer high water policies in place now. S. Holston is also a tough one to hunt in my opinion. We were there when they pretty much pulled the plug on it for dam repairs in the early eighties. It was pretty much wasted trips except seeing the town that's underwater a few miles upstream from dam. Folks at the time were killing it though on bottles and that type of White man trash, in the town its self. The town looked like a nuclear explosion had went off, Just empty buildings, sidewalks and full grown dead trees still standing. We just never got into that type of collecting.

    Technically in Florida its against the law to dig, blow or move anything underwater and I feel its probably the same in Tenn now versus when I lived and worked there. One reason so many musssel gathering permits given out are owned by arrowhead collectors.



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