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.
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 improve.
General rules, regulations, and guidelines 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 willing to share their knowledge.
Joining a metal-detecting club can be a great way to learn more about the hobby, meet other enthusiasts, and find new metal-detecting locations. Here are a few steps you can take to join a metal-detecting club:
- Research local metal detecting clubs: Start by researching to find metal detecting clubs in your area. You can try searching online, asking at local hobby stores, or checking with local parks departments or historical societies to see if they have information on metal detecting clubs in the area.
- Contact the club: Once you have found a metal detecting club that you are interested in joining, contact the club to learn more about their membership requirements and procedures. Many clubs have websites or social media pages that you can use to contact them or try calling or emailing them to get more information.
- Attend a meeting or event: Many metal detecting clubs hold regular meetings or events that are open to the public. Consider attending one of these events to learn more about the club and meet other members.
- Submit an application: If you want to join the club, follow the club’s application instructions. This may involve filling out an application form and paying a membership fee.
- Participate in club activities: Once you are a member of the metal detecting club, be sure to participate in club activities and events. This is a great way to meet other members, learn about the hobby, and find new metal-detecting locations.
Overall, joining a metal-detecting club can be a great way to connect with other enthusiasts, learn more about the hobby, and find new metal-detecting locations. By researching, contacting the club, attending meetings or events, and submitting an application, you can join a metal detecting club and start participating in club activities.
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.
Learning and applying yet-learned techniques can be challenging without proper guidance, help, or direction. 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 gather at least once each month to talk about tips, tricks, and rule changes, share discoveries and stories, and arrange group outings. Clubs and groups are 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 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, the 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.
For beginners, taking advantage of club and group hunts is encouraged since they can 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 commonly received 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 time searching, we have a full list of metal detecting clubs listed out by the state as a complete reference.
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 point you in the right direction.
Whether a small town or a larger city, most clubs will get together at least once a month to discuss finds, locations, and 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 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 beyond basic understanding is even better and is 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 is only 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 exploring alone, the tools and equipment you take with you may differ from when you are out with multiple people. The amount of equipment that can be carried or used will usually be necessary on solo trips unless there is a specific tool you know you will need for the terrain you will be visiting.
The vast market for metal detectors, tools, and additional equipment is available for hobby fans. 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 consider where most of the detecting will be 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. Most of the time, clubs will plan seeded hunts, and brand ambassadors will have metal detectors for members to test.
The benefits of having brand ambassadors and reps as part of the club are asking questions, testing products, and sometimes getting discounts for qualifying purchases. There are times when new products that have not been made available to the public 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 usually come with bonuses.
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 detection, 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 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.
Following each site’s rules, regulations, laws, and guidelines are crucial. Private property and government-owned land are not allowed for metal detecting without 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. Disposing waste properly is recommended 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.