This article might not inspire you to get out metal detecting and there are no pictures to make you drool over, but in my opinion, it’s the most important article in this issue, if you only read one I hope it’s this one.
The truth is, the metal detecting hobby has been under attack since it started. We lose more public land yearly due to people not being responsible while metal detecting. It seems like every few months a story is passed on to me about another site shutting down, a farmer who has allowed metal detecting for years having enough and saying no, and new parks on the “metal detecting banned” list.
One of the biggest things to shut down metal detecting at a park is not filling in holes or at least not properly. It’s so important to be an expert at filling in your holes. Once the hole is filled back in there should be no evidence you were ever there.
It is also important that when you’re in public spaces metal detecting, to understand you are representing the hobby. Treat people with respect, be polite, and stay away from others. Don’t hunt close to the soccer fields while a game is going on and stay away from schools during school hours for example.
Removing trash is another important part. It sounds simple enough, but anyone who has hunted long enough at public places has come across holes dug with trash laying on top of the ground. If you want to ruin the hobby for yourself and everyone else, this is a good way to ensure it.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve run across social media or forum posts from detectorists complaining about seeing someone at a park metal detecting and practicing one or more of these bad habits. It’s always frustrating to me they take to social media to complain but only on a few rare occasions have I ever seen a post where they took the time to educate them. I feel it is our duty to educate at every chance we can. It can and should be done without a conflict.
When you can, help people in your local community. Finding lost rings, property markers, and other lost items will go a long way with community perception. Although I’ve never charged money for locating lost items, it has led to some awesome places to metal detect and even a few free meals. Its always paid off one way or another.
While we are at it, lets talk about how you should be treating your fellow detectorists and go over some do’s and don’ts. Especially if you are new to the hobby, teach you to spot people that you want to stay away from.
One of the biggest red flags for me is when someone tries to invite themselves to go metal detecting with me. If you want to hunt with someone you should either invite them on a hunt with you or try to meet somewhere mutual.
If someone does take you to a place they have to metal detect: you don’t go there without them, PERIOD! Personally, I will not even go to a public park I wasn’t aware of without that person or at least their permission, it’s just bad taste.
Whether it is your own site or you go with someone else to private land make sure permission has been obtained. Although it has never happened to me, I have talked to several people over the years who have gone to a site to metal detect where the person they went with told them they had permission when in fact they did not. Not only is it important to have permission, make sure it is from the right person who can grant permission.
It’s also important to stay out of the way of others. Don’t cut them off and it there is a clearly a better section to metal detect don’t rush to that area and try to cherry pick. Its rude and a sure way to not get invited back.
If you’re new to the hobby you want to start off on the right foot, the last thing you want to do is get a bad reputation within your community and with other detectorists.
Dirt Digest Magazine is reader-supported. When you buy through the links below we earn an affiliate commission.