There are many ways that you can improve your chances of making some good metal detecting finds. I have described several strategies that have helped me find more valuable targets when metal detecting.
1. Spend your time metal detecting sites that likely hold valuables. I know this sounds obvious, but how many times do we find ourselves metal detecting in a newer park because its location is convenient or because there is less trash? It is true that the park might have a lost ring worth some money, but what are your odds of finding a silver coin, a gold coin, or other piece of jewelry. Though the older parks might have more trash, they have also been around for a long enough time that multiple rings may have been lost along with other valuable coins.
The same goes for houses and any other place to search. The longer it has been around, the possibility of finding something valuable increases. So, why not go metal detecting in these older areas instead of more recent locations unless those recent locations are a hot spot like resorts where lots of jewelry can be lost?
Also, just because a location is old, doesn’t mean that every part of that location is a good place to metal detect. Some places may have layers of fill dirt that make it more difficult to locate the older targets. I cover these areas in my article entitled Metal Detecting Mistakes: Searching The Wrong Ground.
2. Turn down your discrimination. Many of the prime locations for finding old coins and jewelry have been searched with metal detectors. What this means is that the jewelry that has been missed often sounds and ids like a pull tab or foil. Coins, on the other hand, might be close enough to trash that they are blocked out by a nearby trash target.
Just remember that after a target is detected, there is a time delay, called recovery time, before the metal detector is ready to pick up another target. This time varies depending on the metal detector, but if you have discriminated out an item, the metal detector may not pick up an adjacent good target.
By turning down the discrimination, and slowing your sweep speed, you can better differentiate the two targets and find a good item even when close to trash.
3. Do your research. You know that park from the 1890s that you drive by all of the time? The one that everybody else knows is an old park? Well, it has probably been metal detected several times over the years, which means if you want to find something good, you will need to either purchase a metal detector that goes deeper than the competition or else you will need to pick the good targets out from the trash.
Why not spend a little time during a rainy day and research some lesser known places. Try looking at older year books to see where people hung out in the years gone by. There are many other resources available at local libraries.
4. Go metal detecting where you would not normally go. If you are metal detecting at an old park, school or wherever else you choose to search, try metal detecting the area that would be the last place that you would search.
Other detectorists probably feel the same way about the area and there is a good chance that they have not searched the area. Some great finds have shown up in these types of places. Though the finds may not be as numerous as in other places, the quality of finds can be exceptional.
5. Speak about your hobby with others, especially older residents. The cumulative knowledge of others will always exceed your own knowledge. Older residents can be a gold mine for information about areas used decades earlier.
They can often tell you where the old swim holes, parks, and other activities took place. Many will get excited as you talk to them about finding old coins. You might even be lucky enough to meet someone whose parent or grandparent had a small cache but died before giving away the exact location.
It happens. One of my grandparents apparently had a stash of silver dollars hidden somewhere on their property. Unfortunately, that property is not under the parking lot and is no longer accessible to metal detectors. Find a stash that isn’t under a parking lot and it would definitely make your day.
6. Learn your metal detector. Don’t just be dependent on the turn on and go settings. Learn what each does and at what situations it helps you. Being adaptable is key to being successful in a heavily worked area. Chances are that many of the good finds that could be picked up by turn on and go settings have been located in the more widely known parks and historic areas.
7. Don’t be stingy. You know that saying “what goes around comes around”? Well, it is true. There are two main varieties of metal detectorists out there: the tight lipped stingy ones and the ones that enjoy helping others. The stingy ones don’t like to share information about the location of their metal detecting finds. Often, they send people to the places that have already been hammered to death.
It doesn’t take long for you to learn who these stingy people are and the fact that they have closed themselves off to you probably makes you less likely to help them out. The metal detectorists that like to help fellow detectorists, on the other hand, like to see newbies and others succeed. They like to give tips on where to go and how to be successful because they want others to find the enjoyment that they have.
These are the type of metal detectorists that you naturally want to be friends with. These are the people that you would consider inviting to your hot spot so you can metal detect together.
So, what type of person do you want to be? I would rather be helpful to others and make friends on the way. I know that I am sharing my finds with someone else, but I am also sharing the excitement of finding something with them.
I also get to share the excitement that new detectorists have when they make their first good find. I end up with more friends and, hey, I even get invited to their secret places from time to time. Happy Hunting!