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Old Farm Hunter

Tips About Metal Detecting

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Forget the obsessing over detector models and “depth”. The real game is to have a detector appropriate for the task, know it inside and out, put yourself on good locations, and put in LOTS of hours. Don’t look for reasons not to dig, look for reasons to dig. To be successful you need to be metal digging, not metal detecting. Most of all, enjoy what you are doing, or find something else to do! :smile:

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Steve pretty well nailed it!!!!!!!

1...LOTS of research

2...LOTS of time with your detector of choice

3....dig LOTS of targets 


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1.  In metal detecting, there are no absolutes because there are so many variables to account for and that are not under your control.  So take all advice with a grain of salt, including what is to follow.

2.  Location, Location, Location.  A good site, research, detective work, understanding how people lose things, and experience trump good equipment.  If the targets are not there, no machine can help you.

3.  Depth is not everything.

4.  Getting a detector that has the ability to impart target information via nuanced audio is more advantageous than super precise target ID numbers.  Learning the audio language of your detector can often tell you a lot more than a memorizing target ID numbers.  

5.  Coil control and coverage help give you control over the audio and ensure you get your coil over the maximum number of targets.  Overlap your swing and move forward slowly to minimize missed coverage.  Often coil coverage is more important than depth, so elliptical coils than can provide that coverage without the added weight of a circular coil of the same diameter as the length of a coil can be advantageous.

6.  No site is ever really played out.  Targets are masked by junk.  No one truly gets their coil over every square inch of ground, and natural and man-made forces such as frost heave, rain drops, plant growth, plowing, and erosion all keep targets constantly moving in the ground.

7.  Increasing sensitivity above default settings often just results in more noise, not more depth.

8.  If you have the luxury of taking your time with a site, then do so.  Visit it repeatedly.  Use different detectors, different settings, different coils, and different walking patterns and you be rewarded.  Also, see 5 and 6.

9.  Use your head when surveying a site.  Look for the iron nails you would normally throw in the scrap heap, because they are telltale signs of human presence.  Look for high point where people would choose to dwell.  Look for water sources.  Research the geology of the site if looking for natural precious metals.  Look for places where people would choose to rest or gather.  On the beach focus on entry points, the standard towel line, refreshment stands, life guard stands, umbrella and chair concessions, cuts that show erosion to old sand and hard pan, know the tides, and check the weather.

10.  Learn your detector inside and out.  Start with some standard settings.  Generally, stick with the defaults until you understand what the settings do and then incrementally adjust to experiment with them.  Avoid switching detectors, settings, and modes often unless you know them well otherwise you reset your learning curve.

11.  Take nothing for granted (see1) and remember that the best discriminator is your eyes, so when it doubt, dig it out.

12.  Try to leave any site the way you found it, if possible.  Replace your plugs and pack out both the recovered trash and keepers.

13.  Take time to stop and enjoy the scenery and solitude.  I detect mainly to get away from the stress of daily life, so the last thing I want to do is make detecting a source of stress by pushing myself or turning the outing into a contest with my hunting buddies, unless that is what we collectively want to do that day, for fun.

14.  Be safe.  Avoid detecting alone in remote places unless someone knows where you are and when you plan to be back.  Carry plenty of water and other necessities for outdoor adventuring.  Know your limits. Don't trespass, seek permission.  Don't poach someone else's permission.  Know the detecting laws wherever you hunt. 

15.  Join or support a local detecting club.  You can learn from the members, meet some great people, and get connections to some great sites.  Contribute your knowledge or participate in online forums, like this awesome site.

16..  Most important: Do have fun.





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Figure out what you want to focus on and then build your equipment and knowledge around it.   


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