Sorry to say, I have had one of the "experiences" with our government. Back during the 80's and 90's I hunted fossils for a living. My father had been a uranium mine owner, and had told me how they would cap the trucks with dinosaur bones to be pulverized for uranium ore during the 60's uranium boom. "Well", thinks me, "If they are just going to crush them up, I might as well make a buck."
To make a long story even longer, I made a good living from "single' bones for many years, and, even though I found many complete skeletons, I never took any material from their sites. Then came the early 1990's, and along the "road" we had made to access the formations in which we hunted bones, a new dig appeared. We found out, (by stopping and asking), that it was a dig being done by a university with the government overseeing them. For weeks, we would drive by this dig, watching them "work". Most of the time, they worked at playing hacky sack, forming rocks into pathways, and in general nothing. Over the period of a couple of years, they came to the harder material surrounding the remains of the dinosaur they were attempting to collect. I guess they thought it would be a good idea to build a dam below the site, let water back up into it, and let the rock decay for easier digging. This was not a good idea....the head parts of the dino, (jaws, teeth, orbitals, axis, maxilla, etc.), started to decay before the matrix that held the critter. When it was finally collected, it had but a few teeth left in a lower jaw. After seeing this, we decided to dig a couple up for ourselves......(you can guess the rest).
Upon my being "caught" by the BLM, FBI, and assorted other agencies, I decided that the truth would set me free. Let me tell you, that was a giant MISTAKE! I basically prosecuted myself! Time goes by....I decide to show the powers that be a couple of sites that I had not disturbed, but knew what they contained. This was met with much hurrah from said powers. When we arrived at one of the sites, I was astounded to hear these words from one of big shots......"It's just another Allosaurus, we have a lot of those, we are not interested". Well, after hearing that, I couldn't resist asking the question, " If you guys aren't going to dig it, why can't I?" The only reply I ever received was, "I wouldn't if I were you, you'll go to prison". These dinosaurs have since rotted, wind, rain, snow, and freezing temperatures have give them back to the ground they were formed in. Of no good to anyone.
In one of the newspapers that penned the story, "Stolen Dinosaur returned to Utah", ( the S.L. Tribune I believe), they printed that many fossil collectors took their ill gotten gains to Moab and sold them for 10 cents a pound to supply their meth habits! I believe this was done to make public sentiment grow against the commercial collectors. (being the article had been written about me, most good minded folks would automatically think I was the local meth head). You know, guilt by association, even though I had no idea what the drug even looked like.
You are better off just taking photos, and letting the next guy take the chance. If you decide to go ahead and collect whatever you have found, do the research and see where you stand legally. I guess what I am trying to get across here....The feds pack a heckuva wallop, and when they swing that mighty bat that they call "justice", you don't want to be in the way!
(( On a second note, and for reference, it took my partner and I 11 days to fully collect an Allosaurus Fragilis, over 80% complete, that the government deemed one of the finest ever collected! (Again, this was only deemed one of the finest ever collected to gain public sentiment, actually trying the case in the press) Why in the world did it take the "professionals" over 2 1/2 years, and countless man hours to retrieve 20% of one? ))
Sorry for rambling......
So many mysteries on earth...so little time here...