Collecting Conifer Cones

I know this is not connected to cartridge collecting in any way, but I have a special project I need some help with. I know many of you out there have other interests beside cartridges and since this forum is the one place I can ask for help from many people that know me, I hope you will indulge me this discretion of a WAY off-topic appeal.

I am trying to assembly a collection of the cones of as many species of conifers of the United States as possible. If you have any knowledge of trees or are just willing to pick up 3-5 cones of as many different conifers in your area as possible, please send me an email.

Email sent.

Actually, it may be ammo related. I seem to recall reading (or hearing, or dreaming?) that small bore rifles were used to shoot “pinecones” off branches for some purpose. Or maybe it was mistletoe.

Both rifles and shotguns are used for collecting seed or foliage samples from trees. I assisted one forestry worker collect samples from eucalypt plantations. He was using a semi auto 12ga with buckshot. I know another plant health expert who also uses a 222rem to collect samples from the tops of trees.

The New Zealand Forestry Service even had it’s own .270 Winchester cartridges with their own headstamp that they used for collecting cones. I got that information from Lynn Harris many years ago. For those who do not remember Lynn, he was a well known cartridge collector from New Zealand and was the head of the New Zealand Forestry Service.

The NZFS may have used the NZFS headstamped cartridges for collecting cones however I am pretty sure the original purpose was for feral deer culling.

From the recent Barry Gracia CAC Centrefire Book:
They were made in 1968/69 by CAC in NZ. 100,000 130gr and 50,000 150gr PSP loads were made. A box is also shown and it has no mention of seed or pine cone collecting use.

Ron, I have three, Dade County Pine Trees on my property. They are a protected species. Not sure if you have any of their cones represented in your collection or not. If you do not, I would be happy to send you some. Their cones are not very large.



I have pines in my yard nothing fancy Im sure but I will grab some cones for ya! Heck I think you just gave me another reason to shoot up some ammo!


Ron, if there is anything of interest for you in New York, send me a e-mail and I’ll try to find it here.
Thank God you are not collecting poisonous octopi or giant snakes.

Everybody–Thanks for all the response. I appreciate any help on this project. Anyone going to SLICS and can collect any cones between now and then (I know it is short notice), you can give them to George Kass to bring back to me. Unfortunately I won’t be able to be there in person, but George only lives 5 miles from me. Be sure to put a note in with the cones with the type of tree, if known, and your name, email and where the cones were collected.

For those who don’t know, I have B.S. degrees in Botany and Entomology. The purpose of the collection is for use with Boy Scouts on tree identification using cones.

Alpinehunter–I’m sure you are correct about the NZFS .270 Win. cartridges were originally made for deer hunting, but it is a fact that they also used them for collecting cones for seed studies. Sure wish I could get cones from other countries, especially N.Z. and Australia, but plant parts are not allowed to be imported into the U.S.

I remember a time when I was in Jr high that the DNR of Minnesota had our school gun trainer shoot down a old eagles nest so they could examine it. This was back in the early '70s.

If you could work out a way I would be happy to put a few different Aussie ones in the mail for you. Try googling Bunya pine if you don’t know it. Now those are some pine cones!

Matt–Yes, that is quite a large cone. You definitely would want to wear a hardhat if you took a picnic under one of those trees!!!

But as big as it is, it is not the largest. That record goes to the Sugar Pine of the Western U.S. The cones can be as large as 12 inchs in diameter and up to 30-36 inches long. But, the Bunya is much heavier. Here is a link to a picture of a Bunya cone for those interested: … i_cone.jpg

I have sent an email to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Plant Control, to confirm wither or not dry, open cones with NO seeds can or can not be imported in small numbers (3-5) for research and study. I’ll report whatever the answer is when I get it. I don’t think they are allowed, but it sure would be nice if I’m wrong.

Email sent


Hello Ron !
It seems you stopped to collect ants !
And small stickers on fruit also !
Right ??

JeanPierre–No I have not stopped collecting ants. But, due to old age I have slowed down. The cones are just a fun thing to collect, as well as being educational. Plus, they are easier to catch!!

I never have collected the small fruit stickers, but maybe that will be next. Thanks for the idea.

I never have collected the small fruit stickers, but maybe that will be next. Thanks for the idea.[/quote]

Sorry, i thought you were the guy george Kass wanted to compete for fun when he decided to find as more fruit stickers as possible !!

here in the south of france we have different species of conifers
check if you need them
One of them is called “sun umbrella” pine(perhaps you don’t have this one in the us)

JP–No I have never heard of a “Sun Umbrella” Pine. I did a Google search for it and found that it is Pinus pinea and is widely planted in the southern half of the U.S. as a landscape tree with name “Stone Pine”.

I just started this collection last week and, of course, have nothing outside of the U.S. Once I hear wither or not I can import the cones, if they say I can, I will be calling on a lot of you people that live outside the U.S.

that must have been Vic Engel.
there is a great story about Vic and banana stickers. . . . .