Every detectorist has metal detecting hunts that have no finds (or very few) that are worth anything. It can be discouraging and lessen your excitement for the hobby. The good news is, there are a lot of ways that you can improve your metal detecting outings by using strategies that increase your chances of finding more valuable targets. We’ve put together some tips to help you be more productive on your next detecting trip.

Strategies for Making Better Metal Detecting Finds

1. Hunt sites that likely have valuables. This may seem like an obvious tip, but it seems like there is always a newer place to search that will have less trash, that is more convenient to get to, or for which it is easier to obtain permission for detecting. While it’s true that there could be a few lost items or coins in a newer area, but the odds of that – or of finding them – is pretty slim.

Though older sites likely have more trash because they have had a lot more human traffic, they are also more likely to have lost jewelry or coins for the same reason. So, unless a newer site is a prime area for lost items (like a new resort, for example), then it’s most productive to stick to older sites that have had more traffic.

2. Don’t neglect your research. It’s downright tempting to search areas where you have simply seen as you commute to work every day. You may even know a little bit about the history of the area. However, the place that you are looking at may very well have been searched over and over by other detectorists for the same reason.

If you take the time to do some research to find some lesser-known areas where people used to hang out, you may find a detecting goldmine that few people know about or have hunted. Your odds of finding better, more valuable finds increase greatly when you find those types of sites.

3. Work sites backwards. Wherever you are hunting, a school, or park, or other sites, try starting with the last area you would normally search. There’s a good chance that other detectorists feel similarly to you, so the “last area” may not have been searched as much as other areas of the site.

4. Reduce discrimination on your metal detector. Many of the best sites for finding lost jewelry or coins have been hunted by detectorists. These spots are typically areas with high-traffic that detectorists look for. While it sounds like that might be a negative thing for future detectorists who hunt the same site, that isn’t always the case. What it means is that old coins and jewelry that may have been lost may also have been missed by previous hunters. That’s because sites that have a lot of traffic tend to also have a lot of trash. Other detectorists likely missed some targets because jewelry alerts are often mistaken for foil or pull-tab alerts, and coins may be close enough to trash that their alerts are blocked by those of the trash.

The way to ensure that you don’t fall into the same category as previous detectorists is to turn down the discrimination on your detector and swing much slower. This will allow you to differentiate between targets that are close to one another – even those coins buried close to trash.

5. Talk about your metal detecting hobby. You probably have many opportunities to talk about your hobby with others, and that can lead to some great new sites to hunt. This is especially true when you share the information with older residents who have lived in the area for a long period of time.

They may be a gold mine of information about areas near you that were used for different purposes (decades ago) than they are today. Perhaps they know about old swim holes that have long dried up, old parks or schoolyards that are not there anymore, or old churches or homesteads that now have newer buildings on the land. If you’re lucky, you may find someone whose grandparents lived near and has an old home and property they will allow you to search.

Happy Hunting

Give some of the above strategies a try – or come up with some strategies of your own. Finding interesting or valuable targets may sometimes seem like it’s too good to be true. But when you get creative, do some research, use the right detector settings, and talk about your hobby, you may just find that those elusive targets aren’t as hard to find as you thought.

Source: Just me