Back to Back Issues Page
The Digger :Your Metal Detecting Newsletter
February 27, 2022

To Carry or Not

This past summer, I received a phone call from a longtime customer I have sold metal detectors to. Jerry lives in another state, and we communicate often. His phone calls to me have always been a pleasure because Jerry is a friendly, funny guy who enjoys sharing exciting stories regarding his detecting and treasure hunting escapades. But his last phone call regarding a situation he encountered was different and upsetting to me. It was also a call that reminded me of similar predicaments that happened to me.

Jerry and his brother were metal detecting in a densely populated wooded area. About half an hour into their search, three men approached them from the thick forest. The three men were all carrying weapons. Two of them had rifles, and one was carrying a pistol. One of them asked Jerry and his brother what they were doing. Jerry told them they were metal detecting the area with permission from the property owner. Another man said that Jerry and his brother were upsetting the deer in the area. The men were scouting the deer for the upcoming deer season, and they could not get a good read of the deer if they were moving. Jerry, a deer hunter, thought this strange, but because the three men with weapons looked like trouble, Jerry asked them what they expected him to do. All three men told Jerry and his brother that it would be best to leave the area. Jerry told them no, they were not going unless the property owner told them to. He then asked the three men if they had permission to be on the property. That's when the situation became more tense.

"What did you say?" The man with the pistol said to Jerry as he stepped closer while placing his hand on his belt holster that carried his pistol.

Jerry's brother quickly stepped between the two and said, "we were just leaving."

As mad as Jerry and his brother were, they knew they needed to leave because they feared that a dangerous situation was about to happen.

Immediately after leaving the property, Jerry and his brother went to the property owner's home and told him the story of what had just happened. The property owner informed them that no one else had been given permission to hunt, or scout for deer and no one other than Jerry and his brother had been given permission to be on that property. The property owner was mad and upset and called the local sheriff's department. Jerry and his brother provided the sheriffs with a description of the three men.

Fortunately, the above circumstance ended without incident. But, unfortunately, that case was just one of many similar situations that happens often. I've been told stories from people metal detecting/treasure hunting in secluded areas that others from the seedy side of society have approached them with bad intentions. Some of those instances involved gunfire.

In Arizona, another friend, a seasoned professional, was in search of a treasure when two rifle shots rang out in his direction.

In Kentucky, I was told of a treasure hunter almost beaten to death by two men who said the treasure he was searching for belonged to them.

An Oklahoma treasure hunter was run off a property by four men wielding weapons.

And I have been involved in half a dozen situations, in densely populated forests, when I feared for my safety. So recently, I received my full carry pistol permit. It will now be part of my treasure hunting gear.

If you search in the same types of areas as I do, I am not advocating that you apply for a carry pistol permit. But I want you to be informed about what I am hearing more of in today's hobby. I see the problem of personal safety while metal detecting a microcosm of what is happening in today's society. Fifty years ago, we used to leave our home doors unlocked, even at night.

The choice is yours.

To carry or not to carry while metal detecting.

Bottle Digging, an Added Reward

It has been said that "one man's junk is another man's treasure." I for one believe in that axiom. For many years I have been treasure hunting using a metal detector, attending flea markets, garage sales, house auctions, as well as bottle digging in old outhouses and dumps. I have found treasures of all kinds in all of those places. However, bottle dump digging is by far one of the most exciting things I do to locate old stuff. Here are a few items you can find in old dump sites, near cellar holes, and in outhouses.

Old bottles, pottery, and household items are commonly found in these areas. If you're looking to earn some extra cash, things like old soda bottles, wine bottles, and perfume bottles are increasing in value. The old, colorful glassware in green, blue, and red are always in high demand and bring a healthy price when sold. Not only can you find the old bottles and pottery while bottle digging, but I have also found old jewelry and coins. The jewelry and coins were most likely inside clothing that was tossed into the dump or privy.

Old dumps are everywhere. Every town had one, and some towns shared their dumpsites. The best way to locate one is to ask where they are. It's that simple. You can ask the town historian. Or ask any old-timer in the area. If they don't know, ask the local town highway department. Once you locate the site, be sure it is not on private property. If it is, ask permission to dig there. If the town owns the property, ask them for permission to dig.

Old cellar holes are located in many rural areas. Although these places are often grown over with trees and scrub brush, finding them is not difficult. My entire website has articles and videos detailing how to locate old homesites.

The best tools to use for bottle digging are a small trowel and shovel. You need to be careful while probing the ground. You don't want to break any of the old bottles or pottery beneath the ground. Start by carefully scraping away the top portion of the dirt. You will eventually uncover items as you move around scraping away the soil. You may start to see broken bottles or pottery. That's a good sign; it means you're working in a good area. Just keep scraping the dirt away, and eventually you will locate bottles, pottery, or other items. Begin to dig away the dirt slowly and carefully. Again, you do not want to break any bottles or pottery. Remember this important point. The older items are always the deepest. Dumps or privy's that have been used for years have newer discarded items on the top, just below the surface. So it's important that you eventually dig deeper for the older, more valuable items.

As mentioned before, bottle dump digging can lead to extra cash. A good place to sell your found items is on eBay. Thousands of old bottles sell every month at that website. Flea markets, garage sales, and antique shops are other places to sell your items. You may not get rich, but digging for bottles in areas where your metal detecting is a fun way to add some extra cash to your pocket.

Asking For Permission to Metal Detect

I've posted this article regarding how to ask for permission to metal detect private property in past "Digger" newsletters. But I am reposting it for a couple of reasons.

First, "The Digger" has new subscribers that have not read this piece. Second, I am constantly asked how I ask for permission of private property owners to search their properties. So I thought it would be a good time to revisit that article.

Asking for metal detecting permission to search a private property works best when the property owner is made to feel special. It would help if you were generally honest and caring when you approached the property owner. The person will most likely pick up any sign of a pretense, and your chance of getting a "yes" will vanish like a popped bubble. And just like any good salesman knows, if you can get the prospect to believe they are the one making the decision, without feeling pressured, the better the sale. My pitch to property owners goes something like this. While smiling, I say.

"Hi. My name is Frank Pandozzi. I'm sorry to bother you. But I was driving by, and I noticed your beautiful, older home."

If the property owner acknowledges my name and honest opinion about their home, I continue.

"What year was the house built? I wait for the answer. And then I ask.

"How long have you lived here?"

The idea of asking questions regarding the property is to show interest and respect. You'll never get a yes to search if the owner does not feel that you're genuinely interested in their property. So be sincere, be honest, and show excitement about the property.

Once I get the property owner to speak freely, I move on to my interest in history. This is another key to getting metal detecting permission. So I'll say.

"I love the history of this area." Again I'm being honest.

"I enjoy finding old relics from the past with my metal detector. I bet quite a few old relics are lying beneath the surface of this property. Have you ever thought about what kind of history is beneath your property?"

That last question is essential. I want to know if the property owner hints of interest in what items may be hiding below the ground. What they tell me is a lead to the direction of my next question.

If they say something like this. "Well, I never thought about that. But I'm sure that would be interesting to know." That's a great answer. It's one I'm looking for. A statement like that now allows me to say the following.

"I think it would be exciting to see what's in this ground. I'd love to find some relics. Would you permit me to metal detect your property? When I'm finished, you'll never know I was here. I fill in all holes, which are no larger than a few inches in diameter. And of course, because it's your property, you get the first choice on what I find."

When using this approach to get metal detecting permission, I often get a yes. That's because the property owner admitted to me they were interested in what items could be there. This gets back to what I said earlier. The property owner felt good about me, and they decided to say yes without feeling pressured. In sales, it's called a soft close.

Of course, there will be times when you're going to get no when asking for permission. But, the more you practice by asking, the easier you get to a yes. And, if you treat the property owner and his property with respect, you'll end up with referrals of other properties to search.

Also, some property owners will let you keep everything you dig. Of course, that's great! However, others may want the items you find. If that's the case, and they want everything, which is rare, be respectful and give them the finds. After all, it is their property. Most often, though, when I ask them if I can keep a few items that I find, they are willing to allow me to pick what I want.

There are so many areas on private property to search. Just go out and ask for metal detecting permission. And don't be afraid of getting a no for an answer. Remember, just like a good salesperson understands, with every no you receive, you're one step closer to getting a yes

A Piece From The Past

World Championship Treasure Hunt

Okemah, Oklahoma

Memorial Day weekend, 1972, saw several hundred spectators, contestants, curiosity seekers and state highway patrolmen (attempting to control traffic) gather at Loyd Parson’s Old Territory Town near Okemah, Oklahoma, to take part in the fifth running of Tom William’s World Championship Treasure Hunt. A total of 162 entrants signed up to take a shot at the $5,200 in coins and prizes, including 500 Ike dollars, a ’63-model Chevrolet auto, 16 metal detectors, three engraved pistols, and 38 pounds of miscellaneous coins.

Winners were: Men’s Division 1st PLACE Ken Daughtry, Jones Oklahoma, used a Heathkit detector. 2nd PLACE John Kuba, Ennis, Texas. Used a Garrett detector. 3rd PLACE Jim Miller 4th PLACE Ken Frey, Sands Springs, Oklahoma. Used a Treasure Pro.

Womens Division 1st PLACE Rose Ralston, Indianapolis, Ind. Used a Metrotech. 2nd PLACE Bonnie Selig, Indianapolis, Ind. Used a Metrotech.

Junior Division 1st PLACE Jim McClanahan, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Treasure Hunter’s Yearbook, A.T. Evans, 1972-73

Man Rescued Stranger's Engagement Ring From Snowdrift Using Metal Detector

“A woman was reunited with her engagement ring after it was lost in a snowdrift in Breckenridge, Colorado, thanks to the help of a stranger and a metal detector.

CBS4 reported that an engaged couple—Paulina Morales and Deven Maraj—were on vacation when the ring went missing in the snow. After spending several days searching for the ring, they came up empty-handed and had to return home to Texas.” Man Rescued Stranger's Engagement Ring From Snowdrift Using Metal Detector

Father discovered a medieval English Gold Coin Worth a Record $875,000

on the First Day With Metal Detector

“When his children were born, Michael Leigh-Mallory gave up his passion for metal detecting. Now, 10 and 13, they encouraged him to take up the hobby again. On the first day he used his new metal detector, he found the oldest gold coin in England, dating back to the 13th century.” Father discovered a medieval English gold coin

Utah Metal Detectorist Finds Lost Engagement Ring Hours After Proposal

“BLUFFDALE — A local metal detectorist has utilized his love of history and sharp seeking skills to locate and return lost rings to worried Utahns around the Salt Lake Valley and beyond.

Michael Van Tassell said he dabbled in metal detecting as a kid, but his passion was solidified in 2010 when he was freshly graduated from college and looking for a new hobby. For the last 12 years, he has collected coins, rings and historical items as he's detected around parks and other public places.” Utah metal detectorist finds lost engagement ring hours after proposal

Metal Detectorist Unearths Rare Gold Anglo-Saxon Coin Worth £10,000

“A detectorist is celebrating after discovering a rare gold Anglo-Saxon coin worth £10,000.

Drainage engineer Mark Pallett, 55, found the gold shilling or thrymsa, dating from 650-700AD, in a stubble field at Haslingfield, South Cambs, on January 3.” Metal detectorist unearths rare gold Anglo-Saxon coin worth £10,000

The Best Treasure Hunting Destinations in America

X Marks the Spot.

There is, perhaps, a little part of all of us that longs to channel our inner pirate and set out in search of buried treasure. Good news: You don’t need to endure months on the high seas to do so. Across the United States, there are operating mines and state parks where gold, sapphires, rubies, and other gems are available for public mining, whether you’re a burgeoning rockhound or a seasoned sluicer. Here are some of the best destinations for treasure hunting in America — just be sure to check their websites for opening dates, as many locations are operated seasonally.

The Best Treasure Hunting Destinations in America

We Want Your Stories and Pictures

One of the excitements we get from metal detecting is seeing what kind of “stuff” others are finding. Not only do we enjoy seeing the items found, but many of us like to hear the stories about how those finds were located. So, let’s see your “stuff.”

Many have posted pictures and brief stories of their finds at my website. It’s easy to do. You basically create your own webpage with a picture or pictures, and a brief story of how you found the items. Once your page is posted, others will be able to view your page, and make comments. You will also have your own url link to the webpage you built. Use that link to post to Facebook, Twitter, or Pintrest and share with others.

So show your “stuff.” We want to see the goodies! Stories About Your Finds

Back Issues

If you’re new to “The Digger” and you’d like to see back issues, or if you know anyone that may be interested in “The Digger” you can direct them to the “Back Issues” page for their review. The Digger back issues

Thank You


Contact Me

Contact Me
Back to Back Issues Page