Note: In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.
KEEPER: Complete M1859 Civil War Federal Cavalry Spur
SITE: Creek near Railroad Trestle
SITE EVALUATION: 9 of 10. This trestle was guarded during the entire Civil War. Lots of stuff here.
Mix it Up: Detecting can be an adventure, and it is a lot of fun to mix in several different types of detecting. Hit a construction site one session. The following week maybe yard hunt, and mix in creek hunting, park hunting, beach hunting, gold hunting, maybe CW artillery shell hunting, whatever.
Different Types of Detecting Require Different Skills and Equipment: All of the detecting types mention above are completely different animals. Take it from me if you haven’t tried it – creek hunting is WAY different than yard or beach hunting, or any other type of hunting for that matter. I tried creek hunting hard in 2014 and didn’t manage A SINGLE FIND. My 30 plus years of land detecting experience didn’t even matter. Special thanks to people like MTMDC President Aaron Lowe and member Mike Fuson for taking their time to share their advice, and for hunting buddy Jonathan James for helping me implement these techniques and “learn the ropes”. Also, a good pick and waterproof detector are almost mandatory to creek hunt effectively.
Use Your Instincts: I literally got in the knee deep water, waded all the way across the creek, and this was my first signal. Can’t explain it. Anyone who detects a lot knows what I’m talking about. You hit a yard, walk to a spot and find something great, think the site is going to be the bomb, and often that is the best (or only) find of the day. No explanation here.
Don’t Make Assumptions: It’s fun to feel you know what a target is going to be before you dig it. It hones your skills to work on this. But this ability is also a dangerous double-edged sword. This spur was under a big rock, and I just knew it was going to be a beer can. I worked to get it out of there anyway.
It is an incredible feeling to reach down and grab something metal under the water, and pull it out with a splash, water pouring off of it, glistening and clean, unlike dirty yard finds.
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