Every detectorist runs into challenges with the hobby; it’s inevitable. The good news is that for every challenge, there is a solution. Maybe you have felt frustrated by the following challenges. If you have, or you do, here are some ways that you can overcome them.


Challenge: You Live in a Bad Area for Detecting

Do you feel like you live in an area that history avoided while other detectorists are finding valuable Civil War relics and rare coins? While it may be true that unless you live in Europe where there is thousands of years of history, or the east coast of the United States where there is several hundred, you may have a more difficult time finding actual treasure.


There are some things you can do even if you don’t live in Europe, the east coast, or in states where Civil War battles were waged. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Research – No matter what area you live in, there is some history to be found. Try looking for old maps for your area that show old homesteads and gathering places like churches and town halls. These can be great sources of finds. You can also hunt for things other than relics. Lost and valuable items can be found anywhere on the planet that there are people.
  • Check with other detectorists – There are metal detecting clubs in all 50 states. Checking with one in your area will provide you with information about finds and good sites to search. Consider joining one to make your detecting more fun and social, but at the very least, talk about your concerns with other detectorists. They will give you good advice.
  • Be open to travel – You may not be too far from sites with amazing potential. Consider taking day trips if you are a couple of hours from a site that you are interested in hunting. Traveling just takes a little bit of extra planning and a willingness to foot a few more expenses.

Challenge: You Can’t Afford an Expensive Detector

It’s true, the cost of metal detectors can get pricey. Like any hobby though, when you see the fruits of your labor – or the treasure that you collect – you will likely find ways to finance it. Until then, use the machine that you can afford. It may not be the top-of-the-line detector that you covet, but it will work and you will be able to see whether you love detecting enough to make more of an investment.


  • Use what you have – Detecting has a lot to do with the equipment you use, but it also has a lot to do with the skill you have. It isn’t unusual for someone who knows what they’re doing and knows their detector to be more successful with a $300 machine than someone who just dallies in detecting who has a $1000 detector. Also, keep in mind that there is always a good amount of luck involved in detecting.
  • Buy used equipment – You can usually find some great deals on Craigslist and with metal detecting groups on Facebook for used detectors and other equipment. You don’t have to have the newest generation detector to make awesome finds.

Challenge: You’re Afraid to Ask for Permission

It can be intimidating to go up to a total stranger and ask for permission to dig up their property. But if you want to hunt private property (and you do!), then it has to be done.


  • Do some networking – There are some ways to get permission without having to knock on doors. Share that you are a detectorist with friends and acquaintances and that you are always looking for new places to hunt. You will likely get suggestions and offers to search interesting areas.
  • Just do it – Sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet knowing that the worst thing that can happen is that someone tells you no. It’s like anything that is uncomfortable at first, it gets easier the more you do it.

Metal detecting is a hobby and it should be fun and enjoyable – and it can be as long as you don’t let the challenges get in your way. There is always a way to overcome the difficulties and maintain the thrill of the hunt. Happy hunting!