Metal Detectors

Metal Detecting Tips

Metal Detecting Tips

Tips to Use Your Metal Detector Correctly

It doesn’t matter how much you paid for your metal detector, how complicated or how simple it seems to operate, your first step always need to be to read the instruction manual. It’s not something that you can just turn on and start finding buried treasure. There are different settings, alert sounds, and care for the equipment that you need to understand first. We have put together a list of 10 tips that can help you use your metal detector correctly.

1. Get Help for Your First Hunting Trip

It’s always a good idea to take someone who is familiar with metal detecting on your first trip out hunting. If you don’t know anyone who has detecting experience, you can check for metal detecting clubs in your area online. Most veteran detectorists are happy to help rookies get started.

2. Practice

Take your detector for a test spin in your own backyard – more than once or twice. You can place metal items on the ground, like coins, jewelry, and other metal objects, and then swing your detector over them so you get a feel for the machine. You can also bury items at different depths so you can get used to the depth settings and what the alert sounds like the farther the item is underground.

3. Learn Your Alerts

It’s important that you learn to differentiate the alerts your detector makes. Try putting a penny and a gold ring on the ground and swinging your detector over them so you can learn what the alerts for different metals sound like.

4. Search Purposefully

When you are hunting a site, be sure to do so in a pattern so you make the most of your hunting time. Most detectorists use a grid pattern when searching, but you can use whatever pattern you choose – so long as it helps you to cover all the ground you want to.

5. Pinpoint Targets

When you are digging a target, you want to do so making as small a hole as possible. That means that you have to narrow down the exact location of the item. While you can start doing this by moving your detector from side to side, and then front to back, it’s helpful to have a pinpointer to narrow it even further and not have to fill in a large hole.

6. Take Out the Trash

When you’re detecting and you dig up something that you don’t care for, like a piece of a foil gum wrapper, or a pull tab from a soda can, don’t just throw it back down. You may want to hunt that area again, and you don’t want to keep digging up the same penny over and over.

7. Don’t Clean Until You Verify

It’s tempting to want to clean the things you find while hunting, but for many old and rare coins, Civil War relics, and other valuable items you might find, it may diminish their value. Just make it a rule that you identify the item and do a little research about its value before you break out the soap.

8. Use the All Metal Setting

As you are starting out, you should utilize the all-metal setting on your detector. Not only will it give you more of an opportunity to dig for targets, it will also help you find more valuable items. For example, gold has a low conductivity, so if a gold ring is buried near a piece of foil or nails, but you have those tuned out, you may miss the gold ring also.

9. Understand Salt Interference

Salt can interfere with a detector’s signals. This can be an issue if you are hunting on ocean beaches. You may have to turn the sensitivity adjustments down so the signals stabilize. Unfortunately, this may cause you to lose some depth, but it will help you avoid the interference.

10. Wear Headphones

Wearing headphones will enhance your hunting experience. They will block out wind, traffic, conversations, and other noise as you hunt while preventing the chances that your detector’s alerts will annoy those around you.

Digging Etiquette – Tips for Metal Detecting

Metal detecting is like camping – you have to leave the areas you spend time in the same way that you found them. That means that when you dig for items that your detector finds, you need to do so carefully so that when you are done, you can fill in holes, replace sod, and otherwise make it look like you were never there. Leaving the area in which you have searched looking like it has an overwhelming gopher infestation is a good way to make landowners or caretakers angry, and even to get metal detecting banned in some areas.

There are some simple rules of etiquette that you can apply to digging while you’re out swinging your detector that will help you leave your search area without a trace.

  • Use the right tools. Don’t take all of your yard-working tools with you. Big or full-size digging tools are not only cumbersome, but they will draw unwanted attention to you. You’re not going to be digging trenches, so stick with small, easy-to-carry hand digging tools that will cause the least amount of damage to whatever type of ground surface you will be searching. Also, it is a good idea to use a pinpointer, as that will allow you to dig smaller holes and still find your target.
  • Cover all holes. Even when you are hunting on beaches, you still need to cover any holes you dig. Whether it’s sand, dirt, or grass, you have to return the area to how it looked before you began digging. This lessens the chances of you being asked to not come back.
  • Go straight down. If you are digging in through sod, or other plant life, be sure to dig straight down, not angled like cutting the top off of a pumpkin. This causes the least amount of damage to roots under the surface.
  • Make a “U” cut in sod. Cutting into the grass in a “U” shape allows you to simply fold the flap over, leaving the cut part still attached. Once you have found what you are digging for, it’s easy to fill in the dirt and fold the flap back over in its original spot.
  • Neatness is key. One of the things that you can do to be neat and thorough in replacing dirt and sand is taking a piece of cardboard or cloth with you to put dug-out dirt on. Once you have removed your target, the dirt or sand can simply be dumped back into the hole from the cardboard or cloth. That way there are no dirt leftovers on the ground that look messy.
  • Be quick if you can. This is especially important when you are digging in areas with grass or plants. The faster you work, the quicker the sod or plants go back to their places in the ground, returning exposed roots to where they belong.
  • Rehydrate the grass. Take some water with you to give the grass a quick drink when you’re finished digging. This helps, especially if you’re digging during the hot summer months.

You’re going to want to dig everything, especially when you are just starting out with your metal detecting hobby. So using these rules from the get-go is a good way to make sure that you are in the habit of being a conscientious hunter.

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