Metal Detecting In The Woods

Metal Detecting In The Woods

Finding metal objects in the woods is not something many people routinely do. That means there could be many valuable items lying around just waiting for someone to find them. Metal detectors are portable devices that locate buried metals like coins, jewelry, gold, silver, and copper.

They work by sending electromagnetic waves into the ground through the detector wand and listening for metallic sounds.

  1. Choose a metal detector suitable for detecting in the woods: Hint – Any will work.
  2. Adjust the settings on your metal detector: This may include adjusting the sensitivity, ground balance, and discrimination settings.
  3. Use a search coil suitable for detecting in the woods: Again, any will work, but a larger coil might be more helpful.
  4. Scan slowly and methodically: Sweep the search coil back and forth in a sweeping motion, and cover the entire area you are searching.
  5. Look for areas with a high likelihood of containing metal objects: In the woods, you may want to focus your search on areas such as old homesteads, campsites, or areas near historical landmarks.
  6. Use a map to plan your search: Before you start searching in the woods, it can be helpful to use a map to plan your search. Look for areas with a high likelihood of containing metal objects, and consider any historical or cultural context relevant to your search.
  7. Keep an eye out for other metal objects.
  8. Respect private property: Always be sure to get permission before metal detecting on private property, and be respectful of the rules and regulations of the area you are searching.
  9. Use proper digging tools: When you locate a metal object with your metal detector, it’s important to use the right digging tools to carefully and respectfully remove it from the ground. A small trowel or digging tool is typically sufficient for this purpose.
  10. Keep a record of your finds: This can help you track your progress and identify any particularly valuable or interesting items you may come across.

Are There Places Where You Can Metal Detect?

When you explore new places, you represent everyone who loves to hunt for treasure. So before heading off into the unknown, it is vital to research to ensure you are not trespassing or breaking any state or federal laws in restricted areas.

Landowners often grant access to areas they own. However, there are times when you cannot gain access to private property due to circumstances beyond your control. For example, if a current landowner is on vacation, hospitalized, or deceased and there is no record of a second contact or estate inheritance, obtaining permission to metal detect on the property will be incredibly challenging. Without proper consent, you run the risk of getting into trouble legally.

Are You Legally Protected?

National forests offer many recreation opportunities, including hiking, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, boating, wildlife viewing, mountain biking, off-road vehicle riding, picnicking, swimming, bird watching, geocaching, and cross-country skiing. These lands are managed primarily through partnerships with private landowners. Please check with the Forest Service before heading into any national forest areas.

For example, there are no roads within the boundaries of the Olympic Peninsula National Recreation Area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains several trails along waterways throughout the park. Many of these trails provide access to public land owned by state agencies like Washington State Parks and Wildlife Department, Washington State Ferries, and Washington State University.

Contact the agency directly to learn more about trail closures during special events, construction projects, weather emergencies, and if metal detecting is legally allowed or only permitted in specific areas.


Foundations have a reputation for being home to a lot of trash, but using a small coil will give you a better chance of finding a valuable target. Large coils may pick up a lot of junk, but if you have a detector that discriminates against iron, you will have an easier time detecting old foundations as you’ll avoid nails and the like.

If you’re looking at an older house, knowing its history could pay off. For example, if there was once a bar nearby, you’ll likely see lots of coins around. And if it’s been a campground before, the odds are pretty high that someone has buried or lost something at some point before becoming a homesite.

Historic Sites

Old maps can reveal exciting details about past locations. For example, many cities had large parks at the time they were founded, and these parks often still exist today. Parks are usually located near rivers, lakes, or streams, providing residents with fresh air and exercise.

Many historic sites contain remnants of structures built during earlier times, including homes, churches, schools, factories, warehouses, and government offices. These ruins offer historians clues about the lives of those who lived before us.

An ancient spring indicates the presence of past inhabitants but no longer provides water. Therefore, it is likely to find something of value or has a unique story related to the past times.

If you’re looking for old roads, search for depressions on the forest floor; they often mark former fields. Look for signs of human activity like stone walls, fence posts, and foundations. And don’t forget to check around any buildings you see too. Sometimes these clues lead directly to a house site.


You can find many interesting things along the trail. Metal detecting adds another dimension to any hiking experience. Combine the hobby with hiking, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of each activity.

You’ll probably find a lot of trash, but your metal detector should still pick up exciting items like gold nuggets, silver pieces, and old coins.

Logging roads are great for two reasons: They can be a source of lost treasures and lead you to old campsites.

In the past, travelers carried little cash with them. They used tools like pocket knives and watches instead. These items were often left behind at campsites along the trail.


Jewelry hunters should look at places like beaches, rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans. These locations tend to attract tourists during warmer weather seasons. Jewelry tends to wash down streams and into water bodies, so patience is required.

When looking for artifacts, rivers are often places to look since they were once used as transportation routes. Rivers tend to flood during heavy rainfall, creating areas potentially holding valuable items.

Be careful near rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans – they’re full of dangerous currents and unpredictable waves. Always wear a personal flotation device before entering these areas.

Creekbanks also offer clues into the past, as it can be an often occurrence to retrieve items along shorelines and water banks. Items lost from previous years, campsite cleaning spots, panning areas that were suddenly dismantled or rummaged through, and many other reasons can be unfortunate for those who lost something but very fortunate for those who find what went missing.


Precious metals often turn up at the bottoms of abandoned mines. However, they should only be considered after careful exploration and testing. They could contain dangerous chemicals. Make sure someone knows where you’re going and what you’ll be doing at any time during your mine exploration. That way, they can contact emergency services if something goes wrong.

Which Kind of Detector is Most Effective When Working Outdoors?

Pulse Induction (PI) machines detect buried objects like gold nuggets. These devices work well at finding metal deposits but do not detect non-metallic items like bottles or cans. PI detectors are generally used for prospecting purposes only.

Some people prefer using a hand-held metal detector with sweeping motions to scan and mark an area quickly.

VHF radios work well in urban areas but aren’t ideal for finding treasure in forests due to poor reception in dense foliage. However, UHF radios do offer better performance in these situations. They are inexpensive detectors but only work at a specific frequency. They aren’t suitable for detecting minerals underground.

Multifunctional tools offer versatility and flexibility. They are equipped with functions including geophysical detection, a magnetometer, a hydrophone, and a GPS receiver. Most multifunctional detectors operate over a wide frequency band ranging from 0 Hz to 40 kHz and help find buried objects like coins and jewelry.

Metal detectors are tools used to find buried treasure. They consist of a coil of wire wrapped around a magnet, usually iron. Metal objects like coins or jewelry change the coil’s magnetic field, causing a current to flow. That current creates a signal that can be picked up by another device called a receiver. Detectors vary widely in price, but they’re generally sold at sporting, hardware, and department stores.

Exploring old sites, you’ll find many metal objects buried deep underground. These include rusty nails, bolts, screws, and tin cans. Metal detectors cannot distinguish these items from valuable finds like coins and jewelry. Many devices offer specific settings for finding various types of artifacts. For example, turn off those options if you hear only 60Hz sounds. Also, don’t forget to check your manual before heading into the field.

Consider only detectors with depth capability, as you’ll be moving over uneven terrain and areas with piles of leaves.

Multi-frequency targets allow beginners and advanced players to enjoy the game at its fullest potential. Target IDs will tell you exactly where to look and dig.

It Is Essential To Research The Area First

Before heading into private property, check with the owner. You must follow the rules set forth by landowners. They own these properties and expect everyone else to abide by those rules. Don’t trespass unless given express permission, and do not break anything; there could be legal consequences.

If you plan to search for treasure on public lands, you should understand the activity’s laws and regulations regarding searching for buried treasures on government property. These include but aren’t limited to: no digging within 200 feet of any water source, no using explosives, and no disturbing artifacts or cultural resources.

If you plan to hunt for treasure using metal detectors, research before going into the woods. National Forests offer free access to many areas, but there are still rules regarding hunting and collecting artifacts. Always ask permission before entering any national forest.

Tools For Finding Lost Objects In The Forest

You can start with a smaller tool like a hand shovel, but once you find yourself digging holes bigger than 4 inches deep, you’ll likely want something more significant such as a full-size shovel or pick. You should bring a shovel, gloves, safety glasses, and any necessary tools to remove discovered artifacts.

Pinpointers are valuable tools for finding items quickly and easily. They’re light enough to carry around but still offer excellent visibility. And since there aren’t any moving parts, they won’t break down over time as metal detectors might.

If you’re hunting in the wild, knee pads are essential. They’ll save you from cuts and scrapes caused by sharp objects and rough terrain. Hunting at beaches requires different equipment since there aren’t many obstacles to avoid. However, knee pads still play a significant role here too.

Bug sprays work well against mosquitoes, but they don’t kill ticks. To prevent being bitten by these bloodthirsty creatures, apply insect repellent containing DEET before heading into the woods. Tick repellents contain permethrin, another chemical commonly used to treat clothing.

These chemicals aren’t harmful to humans but irritate sensitive areas like the eyes and ears. Wear long sleeves and pants when outside during peak activity hours, and check yourself often after hiking through tall grasses.

Water is essential for survival – it quenches thirst, prevents dehydration, provides energy, flushes waste, cools off hot days, and much more. You should take water along whenever you travel. Don’t let yourself become dehydrated during any trip – drinking enough water is just as important as eating well.

If you’re hiking alone, whistles can be useful tools. They can alert someone else of your presence and work well at scaring animals away. Whistles aren’t necessary unless you’re going into remote areas. However, if you hike with another hiker, you’ll likely share a signal device like a walkie-talkie or cell phone.

It would be best to pack everything you’ll need for at least two days into your backpack or travel container. That includes water, sunscreen, bug repellent, emergency items like matches and fire starters, maps, a compass, flashlight, batteries, binoculars, fishing equipment, cooking utensils, toiletries, clothes, sleeping bags, and anything else you think you might need.

Ensure you’ve got enough fuel for your stove and campfire; you don’t want to run low on gas during your trip. Two days’ worth of supplies should be sufficient for unexpected overnights during a typical day trip.

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