Things Nobody Told Me About Metal Detecting

We have all been there.  At some point in life, we have all wished we could go back in time to fix something stupid.  Perhaps is was something we did, perhaps something “that guy” did, or perhaps just wasted time we want back.  Either way, most people would probably like to have a do-over every now and then.


Why couldn't somebody have just told us not to do that?

Unfortunately, wisdom does not work that way.  We must learn from our own mistakes to gain wisdom.  No do-overs. No mulligans. Some things you just have to learn for yourself.  Metal detecting is no different.


Instead of standing on the sidelines and laughing at you, I am here to help.  Here at some things I wish I knew when I first started metal detecting.



I like to be prepared for most situations that come my way.  That being said, I just might take that a little too seriously on some occasions.  On my first trip out to metal detect, I absolutely overdid it. Duffle bag full of supplies - enough water for a village - enough food to feed an army - bug spray - sunscreen - multi-tool - extra coil bolts - rags - gloves - enough batteries to power the International Space Station.   


Should I go buy an emergency flare?  Maybe one of those hand crank flashlights and radios?  The local city park is a whole ½ mile away from home, and I might be there for a good 2-3 hours.  A lot can happen to a guy in that amount of time...that far out into the wild badlands of the public park system.


In hindsight, I obviously didn’t need quite as much as I took that first day out.  If I was camping, or going for an extended metal detecting trip to the mountains/forest/desert etc...of course.  However, it was a quick trip to the local park to check out my new detector. I would have got by with a hip pouch - pin-pointer - hand digger.  I didn’t even need the water or snack.


Note to self (and others).  You do not need to look or act like a Special Forces soldier to go out and metal detect.


 (Photo Credit: Sgt. Christopher McCullough) Creative Commons 2.0



Now forget everything I just said in the last section above.  If you are a hardcore relic hunter - gold prospector - backwoods detectorist...prepare for BATTLE!!   Never be unprepared out in the wild. Take that extra water - the extra food - the sunscreen - the bug spray.  Have a way to communicate and let people know the area you will be in, and how long you expect to be there. If you are in bear or big cat areas - take some spray or a firearm.


Take those spare batteries if camping or staying for days.  A hand digger is great for parks and such - but in the areas where bugs, spiders, and snakes are the boss - take a larger shovel of some type.  It will cut down on target retrieval and leave you less exposed than going down on your knees with a hand digger. Ever knelt down in ants by accident?  I have - don’t do it - take a shovel.



When most people set aside a budget for metal detecting, they have the detector, the hand digger, pin-pointer, and a pouch.  The basics. All the other crazy stuff I mentioned above was extra fluff I didn’t really need for a trip to my local park, school, or lake.  I knew that in the back of my head, but my OCD like desire for being prepared usually wins out over rational thought.


What I was NOT prepared for was the desire to have more detectors, more coils, more diggers.  It was like a crazy addiction fell over me suddenly. That can get really expensive, really quickly.   I have seen plenty of guys say they are working extra shifts to buy this or that. Even seen guys say they are hiding it from their wife - and they were not joking, sadly.  Like most hobbies - you can spend as much or as little as you want. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or your spouse may have a new hobby in mind.


Don't be like TheHunterGT...have some self-control.



Nope, and the chances of becoming so from metal detecting are extremely slim.  I must admit I never thought I would be wealthy from metal detecting - but I did have dreams of gold rings, gold nuggets, and silver coins coming out of the ground at a much higher rate than they do!  


It was really an eye opener that I was not having massive amounts of success that the “edited” videos on YouTube were showing.   It is a hobby that demands you pay attention and learn your machine, and even then you may only come back with a small handful of clad.  


I almost feel bad for the people that hit it big their first time out.  Duplicating that day in and day out is next to impossible. There WILL be days where you come home frustrated, and with way less than you had planned.   Want to get rich from your hobby? Find a different one.





History was absolutely one of my least favorite subjects in school.  I have no idea why - as I am quite interested in it as an adult. I have metal detecting to thank for that.  Any old relic or coin pops up, and I am immediately on Google trying to know more about it. When was it minted?  Who was the engraver? Who is the man or woman on it? When were they important? Why were they important? What was this “thing” used for?  How was it made?


I have caught myself opening links and new tabs for hours.  I start off with a coin found in California - and end up in a Roman battle 1000 years earlier.  It’s hard to stop reading and learning about it all.  


So there we have it folks.  Just a small handful of things that I wish I knew before I started this great hobby of metal detecting.  We just might revisit this one for a part 2 someday soon, as there is plenty more I could add to this list.  

Hope you enjoyed this blog!  TheHunterGT signing off - I will see you on the next blog!