So you are looking for a new way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors. Have you ever considered metal detecting? This fascinating hobby has millions of avid followers around the world. Tricks and techniques abound. Here are a few to get you started.
When investing in a metal detector, you must first ask yourself what you might be searching for. Different items may require different capabilities and sensitivities from your equipment. Items that are smaller and or buried deeper will have an impact on the type of metal detector you acquire. Consider something with target identification, depth indication, ground mineral compensation, or adjustable discrimination features if you are looking for small and potentially valuable items. If you are looking for larger relics, a multipurpose device might be just what the hobbyist ordered.
Whatever you buy, if you wish to be successful you must know how to use it. Manuals, YouTube, and other hobbyists are great sources of technical information for new and experienced users going out with a new piece of equipment.
But what about accessories? Headphones that are comfortable are a great option if you are detecting in a high traffic area, or even if you just wish to keep to yourself. Make sure you invest in, at minimum, gloves, a trowel/small shovel, ground-cloth, knife, and some sort of probe. These will all come in handy when it comes time to remove your find from the earth to which it has been consigned.
First stop? Try your backyard; have a friend set up a mock field with various tresures. This serves as your training ground, and your buddy can even tell you when you missed one or found something that wasn’t planted for this exercise. Take your new metal detector to the local playground, kids lose many things from their pockets while playing on the jungle gym, slide, and swing set. Think of this as a progressive cultivation of your skills. Then, take it to a field. Search fence lines, tree lines, and anywhere a car might have parked at one time or another. There are always people on the move through fields: hunters, fishermen, farmers, hikers, children, etc. Any of them may have lost something small from their pocket at one time or another.
Before you approach private property, know that it is a good idea to get permission. Knock on doors, write letters, or stay away entirely. Nothing you might find is worth getting into trouble with the law.
So, you’ve finally found something. Sweep the area with your coil. Listen for the loudest ‘ping’ indicating a precise location and get ready to remove your find from the ground. Set out your ground cloth, dig a ‘plug’ straight down (never at an angle), clear the hole and sweep again the plug, the hole, and the dirt on your cloth. Once you have found what you are looking for refill the hole and replace and aerate the plug. Remember to leave no trace.
There you have it! You are all set to begin your adventures. Keep an open mind, listen to those with significant experience, and stay out of trouble. Above all, have fun. Good luck and happy hunting!
Ready… Set… Metal Detect!
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