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FAQ:  Where are the best places to metal detect?

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FAQ:  Where are the best places to metal detect?

People often ask where to go to find treasure.  The answer is - anywhere people have ever been in history.  Find the locations where more people have been for longer, and you will most likely find some treasure. "How do you know an area is not hunted out," you ask?  Well because it is really hard to completely hunt out a large area.  It may take years to cover a small park thoroughly enough to feel confident you found most of the good stuff.  However, it is quite possible, and frequently happens, that you will re-cover your steps (or your detecting partner's steps) from a different direction and find treasure that was previously skipped. 

Although it is true that it is difficult to hunt out a property, your odds increase if you go somewhere that is not over-hunted like as local parks. 

If you are going to hunt local parks, be ready to find a LOT of clad coins.  These are later model coins (i.e. mid 1960's and newer).  Very likely you will only find a small amount of silver.  Coins are alwas being dropped - old and new.  Unfortunately they are easy to detect However, if you find a park that does yield some silver, it is a good idea to completely cover the park because it tells you that there may be more and that it may not be over-hunted.

VERY IMPORTANT:  Check the local ordinances for metal detecting.  In the K.C. area, where we are, there are dozens of tiny suburbs and each one has a different regulation.  Some have restricted tools, areas, or depths at which an item may be recovered.  Also, fill in your holes and replace divots.  I like to carry a shaker with some grass seed to re-seed anything that did not go back how it was when I found it.  Remember, it only takes a couple irresponsible detectorists to ruin it for the group!

Older Private Properties are Honey Holes.  Pre-Vietnam War era (i.e. Post WWII Baby Boomers) homes are a dime a dozen in almost every city. These small homes in densely developed neighborhoods were thrown up by the thousands after the war. Odds are you have a friend or family member that lives in one.  These developments Pretty much anything build pre-1950ish is a good place to start.  Old farm homes are excellent places too (although a lot of scrap is often encountered).  If you live on one of these properties (or can gain frequent access) you should very thoroughly hunt it in a grid pattern.  You may be surprised with what you find.  I know people who have quickly paid for their metal detector investment from valuables found in their own back yard.

Get Permission.  Obtaining access to private properties may be easier than you think.  Simply telling someone about your hobby and suggesting there may be old silver coins in their yard is enough to get permission.  If you are respectful to the property, most people don't mind you using a hand trowel or small spade in their yard.  Most often a handshake and verbal agreement is enough for me.  Especially if I know them.  This can bite you in the butt if you find a valuable item...people get greedy quick.  So, if you don't absolutely know and trust the property owner, a simple one-page agreement can line things out. 

Don't be discourage by trash.  Although trash can often lead to a sore back and a lot of wasted time digging, it also means the area is or was frequently inhabited by people.  Here is some valuable advice when it comes to trash.  Know your metal detecting trash.  It is trash from an old Civil War campsite or new trash from a recent high school keg party?  Even knowing the difference between old and new beer pull tabs and can tops can help you determine if you want to keep digging or move along to fresher ground.  Personal experience and the advice of more experienced detectorists is very valuable.  If you have time to hunt a particular property DIG EVERYTHING. Since a gold ring may sound-off like a pull tab you never know what you may be passing up.  I like sweeping the property and pulling out all of the easy stuff (i.e. cans, coins, large iron, brass, etc.) then taking a little more time the second time around.  If you use the advice "Pick it up and pack it out," you will eventually get all the trash and shallower objects out of the way and leave the deeper, more valuable, items to recover later. 

Finally, believe it or not, trash can be valuable.  Since you are already going to pick it up and pack it out, you might as well get some value out of it.  We like to keep everything and "classify" it into large containers for brass, iron, aluminum, copper, etc.  Once we accumulate enough we take that scrap (often along with a few bags of aluminum beer-cans we killed or other scrap material we have accumulated) to a local recycle plant.  You can pay off a $200 metal detector quickly by making $25 or $50 a pop recycling this stuff!  Very quickly you can turn your hobby into an investment!

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  • Josh Turpin