Tips for Metal Detecting
1. Find a metal detecting club (like ours - East Fork Treasure Hunters Association)
When you join a club, you will learn a lot more, a lot quicker, from other club members. You will find new friends and maybe some detecting partners.
2. Recognize that despite what you might have seen on TV, you will find lots, and LOTS, of trash. From pull-tabs, to aluminum can slaw, to some other unrecognizable metal bits - you will be digging it. On any particular detecting day, your finds will be between 60% - 80% trash. The good news is that there is treasure to be found. That's what makes our hobby exciting. You never know when that old silver coin or gold ring might be unearthed.
3. The metal detector makes the difference - or does it? You can spend a lot of money buying a very expensive metal detector and you may be able to find lost treasures that other detectors might miss. In reality, many of the treasures that dectorists find are within mere inches of the surface of the ground (between 2 to 4 inches).
4. Dig everything! When detecting, it is best to dig all repeatable signals that your detector hits on. Once you have experience with your detector, you might even be able to discern a great target despite what your detector tells you with its indicators.
5. There is no such thing as a "hunted out" area. Even areas that have been heavily detected in the past will give up new treasures after a good soaking rain or a hard winter.
6. Always (read that as ALWAYS!!!) cover the holes you dig and never (read that as NEVER!!!) leave the trash you dig out of a hole on the ground. When people don't cover up their holes and leave their detected trash, it gives all of us in the hobby a bad name and reputation. Many places that once were hot spots to metal detect have been placed off limits to detectorists because of these two things.
7. You will find often get a great sounding coin signal that is supposed to be at 2". If you get that coin signal and you've already dug 4 or more inches, you've probably found a deep aluminum can. Those aluminum cans can fool the sharpest of detectorists.
8. Do your research. Don't make a habit of asking other people where they found their awesome treasure that they post on the web. Most detectorists aren't going to share their hot spots. Spend some time getting to know your area find those awesome areas just waiting for you to detect.
Tips on Competition Hunting (Seeded Hunts)
Success in a competition hunt depends on 2 things - speed and luck.
First and foremost, you must completely embrace the concept that EVERY SECOND COUNTS! When the whistle blows, everyone has an equal chance, but it's the fastest competitors who will walk off the field with the most coins and tokens. Do NOT spend time inspecting your targets. Just dump them in your waist basket (you DO have a waist basket, don't you?), and move on. If it takes more than 3 scoops, it's too deep and probably isn't a seeded target.
Also, don't try and analyze every target because some clubs will hide a coin or token inside a bottle cap or tape it to a pull-tab. At the beginning of the hunt, targets will be plentiful, so you may have to play a little "Twister." If you get into an area with multiple signals, while you're digging the first one, plant your feet on the others. In other words, try to spread yourself out to protect your nest of signals so the guy next to you doesn't come along and clean out your arc in short order.
Field position...try to avoid the corners because you will converge with other participants in a matter of seconds. Some people like to race to the center of the field immediately, and some will remain along the sidelines. If the field has been seeded properly, there should be no single area holding more targets. This is where the luck factor comes in. I've seen experienced hunters walk off the field with hundreds of coins and no tokens, and I've seen novice hunters find only a handful of coins and several tokens.