The hobby of metal detecting has gotten some bad wraps throughout the years. Mostly the thumping has come from archaeologists who believe they are the “supreme diggers of dirt”, a right that was bestowed upon them by God.
Others who have bashed the hobby are individuals who thought they were going to immediately find rare coins worth thousands of dollars, or buried treasures they could sell…and then live a lifetime of luxury. But what happens, as those of us who have been in the hobby long enough know, is that these eager, and excited treasure seekers, with their new, trusty, metal detectors, head out to the nearest park, and end up digging pull-tabs, bottle caps, tinfoil, and an occasional clad coin. Now, the vision of a mass fortune they held in their minds turns into a considerable heap of trash destined for the garbage bin. And the metal detector goes into the closet where it begins its lonely life as a dust collector.
Now some of these plucky individuals may go detecting one or two more times. “After-all”, they may be thinking. “The man who sold me this detector said it would find all kinds of nice things. I‘ll just give it another go.”
But what happens is the junk keeps showing up, and the good finds again eludes them. So, like the others, into the closet, or down to the deep recesses of the basement, goes the detector, never again to see the light of day. And then the criticism begins.
“Metal detecting sucks.” There’s nothing in the ground but rusty nails, pull tabs, tinfoil, and junk.” “I’d rather have a root canal.” “The hobby’s a waste of time.”
I’ve heard all of the reasons why people give up the hobby. Unfortunately, these rash individuals were wrong to give up the metal detecting hobby so soon, because they were most likely mislead about the hobby of metal detecting in the first place.
Too often I hear stories of metal detector dealers spinning tales of “fortunes to be found” to the unsuspecting newbie to the hobby. “Buy this detector, and you will find old coins, gold rings, and even buried treasures.” Although it’s true that the above items can, and are located, what the dealers fail to mention is that it takes practice, patience, and persistence to become good enough to locate these items. It’s rare that a first time metal detector user locates a gold coin, or gold ring. It’s even rarer that a newbie will find a buried treasure worth millions, or even thousands. Unfortunately, some dealers want the sales so bad they will tell the unsuspecting anything.
Sometimes the newbie jumps on the bashing band-wagon at some forum or blog they’ve read. Negativity spreads easy. But it shouldn’t have to be that way. Metal detecting is the best hobby. If it wasn’t, thousands of detectors would not be sold each year.
For those of you interested in getting into the hobby of metal detecting, my advice is, and this comes from more than forty years of experience, is this. To become good in the hobby, you must first learn your detector. And that means at least fifty hours of digging every signal you hear. Yes, most of it will be junk. However, buy digging lots of junk; you are learning to crawl, before you walk. It’s true that the modern metal detectors today are now called, “turn on and go” detectors, that means it doesn’t take much configuration to get started each time you begin detecting. But you must learn how the detector operates once it’s turned on and begins sounding off to the different metals beneath the ground.
Once you become proficient at understanding how your detector works, then the good finds will begin to appear, and that’s when the hobby becomes infectious. Signs that the hobby of metal detecting is growing on you will begin to appear. Like sleeping less at night because you’ll be thinking about your next metal detecting outing. Or your boss will be asking you why you’re missing more and more work. And another sign is if you’re married, your spouse will become agitated because you’re spending less time with them. That’s when you realize that the hobby of metal detecting has overwhelmed your very existence. And you will never be the same again.
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