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afreakofnature

Park Detecting And The Equinox

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So I am mainly a prospector and on vacations or when staying with my folks in FL a beach detectorist.   I have gone out a few times to my local parks but I really get nervous digging plugs all over the place when most of the time it is pull tab garbage.  The last couple times instead of using a Lesche shovel, I used a hand Lesche which made it a little less conspicuous but still pulling plugs.  I thought that maybe I would reduce sensitivity and go after surface finds, or maybe pinpoint as best as possible and just try to cut a slit and probe.  I am just apprehensive about digging in parks or soccer/football/baseball fields and would like to know techniques or strategies that folks use to make the least impact but go for the best finds.  Then maybe I can get out more after work instead of waiting for the weekends or vacations to go in the woods or on the beach where I can dig to my hearts content.  I just don't like people coming around harassing me especially if I am pulling a plug in there precious park or manicured sports field.  If you have techniques that work with the Equinox specifically, I would be interested in that too (or references or videos), which is why I posted this in the Nox forum.  

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The sports fields that I have permission to detect I just use a dulled/rounded off flathead screwdriver to pop shallow targets, as the grounds keepers dont allow “digging”.  I use a Tesoro Mojave with a cleansweep coil for that task, but with any machine just play with the sensitivity setting so you can zero in on the shallow targets and avoid having to dig plugs.  Targets up to 4” deep are easy to zero in on with a pinpointer  and pop out with the tip of the screwdriver.  

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Freak, I agree with you on your technique for schools, parks, etc.  I never use my Leshe shovel and only use the Lesch digging trowel.  I can usually narrow the target to a 3” to 4” diameter area by swinging at 90 degree angles and using the Nox pinpointer at 90 degree angles.  If there's any question about target location on deeper targets I shove the digging tool into the ground at an angle to make a cut  and then insert my Garrett carrot in the cut and “lever” it left and right to narrow in on the target.  I can usually dig a plug about the diameter of a baseball or big enough for my hand to extract the target.  I use a small towel for piling extracted dirt which makes refilling the hole a quick job.  The extraction site looks clean and untouched when I walk away.  This is SOP for most park hunters.

I avoid actively used sports fields, as can be determined by freshly limed field lines, and wait until that sports season has ended.  I usually speak with parks and recreation people to get their blessing for detecting and explain the extraction method and usually get the green light to detect.  I've never been harassed by anyone passing by, but if that happened I'd try to show them how I extract and clean up if they'll listen.  Avoiding detecting parks on weekends when there are a lot of people visiting should minimize harassment from passers by.  Schools are, obviously, best detected on weekends.

I live in a rural state.  Detecting in urban areas is probably more of a challenge.

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Like most any kind of detecting, it depends upon conditions.  The best times to hunt are when the ground is moist.  Then the plugs you dig come out in one nice piece and return to the ground the same way, with no sign the ground was ever disturbed.  If the ground isn't rocky (and doesn't contain tree roots) the Predator Raptor:

https://www.predatortools.com/collections/handtools/products/model-31-c-raptor

is the way to go under those conditions.  But, again, that requires the perfect conditions.  Most of the time it's either too dry (leading the plug to break into a mess of pieces) or the ground is too rocky.  The small (standard) Lesche does well in rocky soil.  In that case you can cut a plug to the depth of the rocks and go from there.  Although a lot of people like to use the serated edge of the tools to cut the roots, IMO that's a bad idea on park and school property, ever.  I've filed off the teeth on my Lesche and I also carry a 1" wide garden spade for working between roots.

The real problem comes when the ground is dry (like it's been for me the past couple months).  If you happen to be in a park where the sod isn't very good (lots of bare ground between the grassy splotches and/or lots of weeds) then you don't hurt anything by just digging and replacing the dirt.  But if you're in decent sod you must either resort to the screwdriver method or just wait for rain.

If you read the park rules (online or posted on site) and follow them you should be fine.  If detecting and digging aren't mentioned then you should be in the clear.  (That's my attitude and it works for me.)  You hear and read horror stories about getting hassled but I'm going on 1000 hours hunting public parks and schools and have never had a problem.  One time a citizen approached with concern but when I explained my technique and showed the trash I remove he came over to my side.  Another time a concerned school teacher came running, afraid I wasn't filling my holes but when she saw I did she retreated.  I've seen dozens of park and school employees and a few policemen and none has ever expressed a single objection.  Maybe I just live in a friendly, tolerant town.

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I will never use a shovel in a park, legal or not. In my opinion the optics are all wrong. I have never had an issue detecting in a park yet as I always follow three simple rules:

1. Never excavate when people are watching.

2. Hunt early mornings or in the rain, whenever people are not around.

3. If people show up, move away or go somewhere else completely.

There is always another day or another park. Discretion rules, and I am as close to being an invisible detectorist as you will ever find. Know the local rules - baseball infields for example, are strictly off limits in Reno.

Jewelry detecting I am a “pop shallow targets with screwdriver” type. If my pinpointer can’t find it I move to the next target. For old deep coins however you have to plug. Always use a drop cloth so all dirt goes back in the hole. If bone dry don’t plug, wait for wetter conditions. I take great pride in the fact that unless you see exactly where I make a plug it will be almost impossible for you to find where I made one.

IMG_0038.PNG

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14 hours ago, afreakofnature said:

If you have techniques that work with the Equinox

The thing that I have been doing since it has been so dry at our parks is to shallow hunt on a sense of 15.

Once I get a target I will use my carrot to pinpoint the target and then make a small slice across the top of the target.

Then I use my knife to get under it and pop it out. Then step hard on the opening of the ground and go to the next target.

The park ranger actually thanked me for doing it that way because it has never killed any grass as of yet.

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It is no secret I have a huge dislike for most people in general.  The more nosey they are, the bigger my dislike of them.  I figure I mind my business, and they should mind theirs.  But that is often the opposite of what most do.  One day I had a crazy idea and the even crazier part is, that it works, and works extremely well.  I have an old park close to my house that I like to detect, but it is popular with snobby people that walk/job the walkways around the park.  They will give you the stink eye big time.  The crazy idea was...I had noticed the local city workers usually wear a hi vis safety vest when they are working, and nobody even seemed to pay them any mind or attention.  So I bought one and gave it a try while detecting.  It works so well I will never go hunt a public area without it.  I guess people just assume you are doing cleanup work or some kind of maintenance and leave you alone.  

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I do the same. I have a bright orange mesh vest that I wear in high visibility areas (Harbor Freight $6). People think you are a worker and belong there. Other than this, I won't hunt at nicely manicured parks anymore. Too much damage to the grass and does not justify for what I am digging. I stick to lot sites and sections of the parks that are not maintained and looks like a cow pasture. 

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Thank you for the advice and tips guys!  I always learn something new when I ask questions! ☺️

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