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phd_angel

Question: Detecting In The Neighborhood And Sharing Valuables

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Hi. I'm new to metal detecting, and have a couple of questions on sharing valuables found in your own neighborhood, I'd appreciate your thoughts on:

1- How do you go about metal detecting in the streets nearby your home, such as, curbside lawn in front of houses, public schools, churches, or local parks?  Any advice?

2- Do you offer or agree on sharing any valuable findings with the property owner beforehand?  Is there a typical percentage?...

Apologies for any inappropriate questions. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Tony

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Curbside areas I believe are town property unless it is a private road. What you find there should be free and clear.

Private properties you should always get permission from the landowner. Churches I would get permission as well. You can talk to the property owners on the finds. Personally on a permission hunt I give what I find to the owner and am there for the hunt rather than the reward. Of course if I found a cache of pine tree shillings I might be swayed to re-think that :)

Public schools and parks are usually fair game but there may be restrictions. Checking with local PD or town hall may not hurt.

In all groomed grass I personally use a hand digger only and make small flaps or plugs and replace them. A good hand digger and digging mat is a must so you can put the dirt back without leaving a trace. Also if I dig it I take it, this includes all trash including cans etc. Biggest problem we have is there is a few that go out and literally trash the areas with their shovels which puts a black mark on the rest of us and ultimately limits where we can go.

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Good questions but none of them has precise answers.  Curb strip ownership/responsibility varies from place-to-place AFAIK.  If it's in front of a residence my default view is that you should get the home owner's permission.  In front of a business, likely still the same but we're starting to move down the slope, particularly because a business is less likely to be possessive (obviously lots of exceptions).  If it's in front of an empty lot or (non-municipal) parking lot then my approach has been to be discreet but otherwise forge ahead ("ask for forgiveness, not permission").  If it's municipal property then I treat it as I would other municipal properties, with respect but otherwise, "I pay my taxes..."  Exception is that if your municipality prohibits metal detecting or digging.  You should be able to find that on websites.  Mine doesn't, fortunately.

When it comes to private property, I'm even less experienced than with curb strips in general.  Best is to just ask permission and then see if they request sharing, damage/injury waiver, etc., go from there.  You can find canned forms online or in books.  Agreements (particularly sharing) is negotiable.  My standard approach is to point out that what I'm interested in are old coins.  Any artifacts/relics I find on someone's property gives them first dibs and I'll carry off what they don't want.  An exception (no matter where it's found) is if you find a valuable item for which you can identify the owner -- such as a class ring.  Not everyone treats this the same way, but a lot of us feel that returning it is best if the owner can be found.  Other jewelry, though, like wedding bands without owner name or initials inscribed -- unless someone has asked you to search for it then it's "finders keepers".

Private property permissions are in general the best hunting grounds in 2020 given that most public land (not counting BLM or National Forest in USA) has been detected pretty hard in the last 30 years.  But in my experience permissions are still hit-or-miss, just like the parks and schools.  My advice -- do both!

 

 

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I could add, do some research and look at property lines. Some can be found online, others from town halls.

When you said curbside, I would assume you mean the edge of land that is on private property. In my city the first 3ft of my property line is shared by the city but I would obviously ask the owner first regardless in that case.

Majority of people are pretty cool about detecting as long as you don't look like your packing heavy mining equipment. I pack lite, detector in one hand, digger and digging mat in the other. Open farm fields, woods I may carry a shovel or foot digger.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, phd_angel said:

Hi. I'm new to metal detecting, and have a couple of questions on sharing valuables found in your own neighborhood, I'd appreciate your thoughts on:

1- How do you go about metal detecting in the streets nearby your home, such as, curbside lawn in front of houses, public schools, churches, or local parks?  Any advice?

2- Do you offer or agree on sharing any valuable findings with the property owner beforehand?  Is there a typical percentage?...

Apologies for any inappropriate questions. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Tony

For the vast majority of my years detecting, I've knocked on doors and hunted parking strips around old neighborhoods.  Here's MY view on this. 

How do I hunt around my own neighborhood?  Obviously,  to hunt somebody else's yard, I ask permission.   My hope is to find old coins,  trade tokens, silver or gold jewelry and other similar items to add to MY collection.  Many home owners or those who rent out their homes are ok with this.  Others want something out of it for themselves.  If the home is a family home they've been in for a long time, I think it is fair of me to offer to return jewelry items to the family.  And this has happened a lot of times. I've returned class rings and all sorts of various jewelry.   Again, I'm hoping to find old coins, tokens and similar, so I'm ok with this. 

I don't generally hunt a place If they want everything I find.  

Parking Strips.  The parking strips in many towns and cities I've hunted are public property to be cared for by the property owners the parking strips face.  Consequently, since they are being cared for, or supposedly cared for, by the facing property owner, I will seek permission to hunt the parking  strip.  If it is facing an old house, I will usually seek permission to hunt the yard around the old home first and if that fails, ask if it would be ok to hunt the public parking strip out front, recognizing they care for it.

I'll often ask homeowners what year their home was built and any other history they may be aware of.  Did the house have other uses over the years. (You'd be amazed at the homes that were used as a business during difficult times, or a speakeasy during prohibition).  I've often found coins from the build dates, or the move in dates of early family members in the yard and have left coins with the family for their generosity in letting me hunt.

To me, this isn't a big deal to leave a few keepsakes with them. I'm a guest at these private properties and consider myself so. I try to be friendly, respectful and as tidy as possible.  You may feel different.  That's ok.

Some homeowners that you've established good relations with may refer you to other properties they own or to friends and neighbors.  Be friendly and an entire neighborhood may open its' doors to you. 

 

Rich - 

 

Edited by UtahRich
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On 6/16/2020 at 1:54 PM, kac said:

Public schools and parks are usually fair game but there may be restrictions. Checking with local PD or town hall may not hurt.

 

I would digress from this view.  It may in fact "hurt" to go asking-when-not-necessary.  If it were true , that there is "restrictions" (eg.: a law or rule that said "no md'ing"), then you would be able to look that up for yourself, if you are skittish.    Ie.: park rules and muni-codes are no secret in this digital age that we live in.   If you see nothing that says : "No md'ing", then presto:   It's not prohibited.

The problem with going and asking desk-jockeys is:  You run the risk of bumping into the "No one cared UNTIL you asked" psychology .  Eg.:  Someone envisions geeks with shovels, so they just give you the "safe" answer.  I've seen this happen countless times at places that, quite frankly,  had never been a problem prior to that.

And to be honest with you, it's actually very rare , on the city and county levels, to ever have a true "no md'ing" rule.  Instead what you might get the stink-eye for is that md'ing has ... uh .... "connotations".  That you might be about to alter or deface the turf.  Fine : Go at lower traffic times and avoid such kill-joy lookie-lous.   We're simply not going to please every last person on earth, and we don't need princely sanctions red-carpets rolled out for us.

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Good point Tom.

Does go back to research. One the nearby towns detecting is prohibited completely. A passerby would never know it unless they look it up in the town bylaws. Probably a rare situation.

I never asked on public property and just detected but not the case for private property.

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There are different laws in every state, which state are you in and also check with the city you live in also.

Even cities can have their own laws and rules on metal detecting.

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On 6/16/2020 at 9:42 PM, 2Valen said:

There are different laws in every state, which state are you in and also check with the city you live in also.

Even cities can have their own laws and rules on metal detecting.

Do not confuse state-level laws, with anything to do with county or city level laws.  State rules would only apply to state parks. Not other entity level's parks.

And it is extremely rare for any cities to  have ever dreamed up a  "no md'ing " law.    Personally,  when I'm traveling around,  and pull into a new city,  I do not hesitate to hit any park I come to.    As long as it's not an obvious historic monument,  or unless there is a sign saying "no md'ing ".

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24 minutes ago, Tom_in_CA said:

And it is extremely rare for any cities to  have ever dreamed up a  "no md'ing " law. 

You have not been to ILLINOIS, and yes several cities will not allow MD at parks or on city property.

I have already encountered that problem at a nearby city.

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