Metal detecting is a unique experience full of excitement, history, adventure, fun, and physical activity. Researching sites and finds discovered along the way is a hands-on approach to history, geography, and geological learning. Items that can be found will vary by location, but what is found out of the ordinary can be surprising.
Roman coins are, for example, quite common discoveries in particular parts of Europe that once belonged to that empire, but when found outside of Europe, those coins could be part of a fascinating story.
Of course, there is metal detecting specific equipment that aids in the hunt for new-found treasure. Recently dropped objects may be visible on the surface, but finding lost, forgotten, or hidden items that have been covered with dirt, sand, grass, or water requires more than just good eyesight.
Metal detectors, pinpointers, and probes provide the basic requirements to locate metal-containing materials underground. Metal detecting is not difficult, but the hobby becomes easier with time and practice, and your skills will only get better.
There are general rules, regulations, and guidelines that must be followed to maintain a good reputation for the hobby and avoid potential legal issues. As a beginner to metal detecting, some rules may seem confusing, so it is always encouraged to seek help and guidance from seasoned detectorists who are willing to share their knowledge.
Good For Beginners
While metal detecting is not necessarily hard, it can take some time to learn how to use a detector, know what to look out for, and understand the basic rules of the trade. When beginning a new hobby or learning something new, it is easy to get frustrated should pieces not fall into place after the initial try or lesson.
Without proper guidance, help, or direction, learning and applying yet-learned techniques can be challenging. As with other hobbies, groups and clubs are an excellent way to talk with like-minded people who can help get you started and introduce you to experiences you may have otherwise overlooked.
Metal detecting clubs are valuable groups that get together at least once each month to talk about tips, tricks, rule changes, share discoveries and stories, and arrange group outings. Clubs and groups are resources readily available with information to share with everyone, including first-timers, on-the-fencers, and not-sure-what-to-doers.
Often, club meetings will include presentations from professionals and experts in the field of gems, minerals, metal detectors, map readers, historians, and more. Before each arranged group outing, notifications will be put out that include if city or county permits are required, time and place of the gathering, if there are any fees, and recommended gear to bring.
Any site-specific rules will be made clear, as well as a recap of the general metal detecting guidelines to keep new and seasoned metal detectorists accountable for their activities.
Taking advantage of club and group hunts is encouraged for beginners since they will be able to witness and gain first-hand experience in the act. Should they have questions about how to dig, how to use discrimination settings, how to sweep with a detecting coil, the best time to use a pinpointer, how to probe appropriately, and any other questions, this is the perfect time to ask.
Friendships are frequently established among group members, and special invites are common to receive for undisclosed locations known for rare finds. After joining a club, sharing ideas for future group hunts and future meeting topics is recommended to ensure various activities and answers to questions that might not have been thought of yet.
It is easier to develop and fine-tune skills when part of a group. You will also learn that some things work well for others but not for you. Either way, being part of a group that supports one another and wants to see everyone succeed on their journey is a rewarding experience.
How To Find a Metal Detecting Club
If you are unsure how to find a metal detecting club in your area, a quick Google search may be the best place to start. To save you some time in searching we have a full list of metal detecting clubs listed out by state as a complete reference for you.
Most clubs and groups will have a social media page, if not a website and group page. Utilizing the benefits of Google, typing in a town name, county, or state will usually provide results that will point you in the right direction.
Whether a small town or larger city, most clubs will get together at least once a month to discuss finds, locations, rules and welcome new members to the group. Scheduled events are typically listed on social media accounts under the club’s name or on a website calendar.
It is uncommon for public get-togethers to be limited to only members unless noted otherwise, so anyone interested in metal detecting or learning what a metal detecting club is will be more than welcome.
Beginner detectorists will easily locate targets with a metal detector, but identifying what each noise coming from the sensor means is another story. Metal detecting clubs will often host group outings and seeded hunts to help each other learn their detector and proper digging techniques. The skills that can be self-learned are excellent, but going further than basic understanding is even better and frequently done with group learning.
As a new detectorist, doubts and excitement may mix with every beep that goes off. Some objects might ping as gold or jewelry, but the target ends up only being a pop tab after digging. Experienced detectorists also started the same way but have since fine-tuned their detecting skills and knowledge to know when to dig and when to pass. Being able to take advantage of club hunts will offer valuable information.
Learn About Different Things
When you are exploring alone, the tools and equipment you take with you may be different from when you are out with multiple people. The amount of equipment that can be carried or used will usually be the necessities on solo trips unless there is a specific tool that you know you will need for the terrain you will be visiting.
The market is vast for metal detectors, tools, and additional equipment available to purchase for fans of the hobby. The size, weight, discrimination settings, and special features of metal detectors will vary from brand to brand. Some sensors are designed only to find gold. Pinpointers are used for surface finds or honing in on a signal after a dug plug or hole.
Round and oval coils are available in small, medium, or large. Underwater, waterproof, and water-resistant are terms to pay special attention to if you plan on being around waterways or commonly watered areas. When choosing a metal detector, it is wise to list everything wanted or needed and think of where most of the detecting will be done before buying the first metal detector you see.
Members of a metal detecting group may also have valuable information to share on different brands and models of metal detectors. A lot of the time, clubs will plan seeded hunts, and brand ambassadors will have metal detectors on site for members to test out.
Benefits to having brand ambassadors and reps as part of the club are asking questions, testing products, and sometimes getting discounts for qualifying purchases. There are even times when new products that have not been made available to the public yet can be seen and used. Metal detecting clubs are an excellent way to stay up-to-date with hobby trends.
With proper guidance, you can buy the best tools for detecting and digging to achieve maximal results every time. Club members can also help find affordable equipment, barter with other members for tools, or have a program to buy and sell within the group.
To provide services and extra perks, it is common for club membership dues to be expected. Dues may be paid monthly or yearly, depending on the rules of the club you are looking to join. The fees are not usually high and will come with added bonuses in most cases.
If membership dues are not listed on a social media page or website, someone at each meeting will handle the memberships and answer any questions you have before signing up.
Code of Ethics
There are different things problematic from the moral and legal aspects of metal detecting, so everyone must know and understand the code of ethics to avoid potential issues. Metal detecting clubs may not cover all the topics associated with the code of ethics for the hobby in one meeting. Still, clubs and club members consistently answer questions, research rules and regulations, and share the information with the members across all the scheduled meetings.
New members and those new to metal detecting will learn common mistakes and know what to look for when detecting in new areas. All members will be expected to follow the standards and code of ethics to keep the hobby available to the public and anyone interested.
The severity of the punishment for broken rules will vary depending on location, what rule was broken, and if charges are filed. Most commonly, fines and fees are issued, but in some cases, jail or prison time may be ordered by a judge or prosecuting entity.
It is crucial to follow each site’s rules, regulations, laws, and guidelines. Private property and government-owned land are not allowed for metal detecting without prior written approval. Historical sites, national parks, some state parks, mining claims, and privately-owned land are off-limits without written consent.
Following rules for digging is also critical. Some areas cannot use shovels, knives, or trowels, but probes are ok. When allowed, digging a plug is better than digging an open hole and will preserve the land around the small area and prevent any potential injuries to people or animals. Filling in any spot that has been dug into is mandatory. The ground should never look worse than it did before you arrived.
Some areas are unfortunately full of trash. It is recommended to dispose of waste properly to protect the environment, humans, and animals. A second bag or pack dedicated to trash collection is advisable to keep finds and trash separated and protect your hands from cuts or scrapes. Some areas are the natural habitat of endangered animals and plant species. Staying away from animal nests and avoiding plant life will ensure the safety of all species.