Yesterday, my wife Jessica and I participated in our first club hunt, the annual Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club picnic and hunt. This was our first such hunt. I have to admit, as I detect primarily to enjoy history, the prospect of a seeded hunt (one in which the finds are planted) didn’t really appeal to me. I pictured an Easter Egg hunt for adults. We went to hang out with the other local detecting enthusiasts anyway, and I’m glad we did. I really enjoyed not only interacting with other like-minded persons, but I dug a lot of coins and found that many aspects of the hunts translated directly to detecting out in the field and benefitted me directly.
Time is everything in a club hunt. Our club had a series of hunts. We’re talking over 50 people hunting a 50 square yard area that is seeded with hundreds of coins all buried at a depth of 1 to 6 inches. After about 10 minutes, its pretty much all over then the number of people on their knees recovering targets declines sharply until all of the remaining targets are recovered. So it really comes down to how fast your can identify and recover a target, and move on to the next one.
Here are some tips for being successful in a seeded hunt:
After the whistle blows is not the time to find out your detector is not setup properly, the batteries are not good in your detector or pinpointer, or your digging tool is missing.
This is a mistake I made on the first hunt. With over 50 detectors going, there was all kinds of interference. I hit the Noise Cancel button on my detector, which cost me about a minute while it selected the best channel. After that, it was mostly quiet as a church mouse except for:
Steer Clear of Interference
My detector and another e-Trac interfered with each other every time we neared each other. I quickly identified the interference which sounded like good signals on the ground, and I would just move away from him.
Turn Down Sensitivity
Since everything is extremely shallow, you can dial down your detector’s sensitivity to minimize interference from trash or iron lying underneath the coins.
Minimal or No Discrimination
There was little or no trash in the areas prepared for our hunts, so discrimination was pointless. I dug an 1865 three cent piece that was missed by others. It read 12-05 (foil) on the e-Trac, about a third of a nickel reading. If I had been using discrimination, I would have missed it as well.
Know How to Pinpoint Precisely With Your Detector
Knowing literally exactly where the coin rests under your coil is paramount to recovering it in seconds and moving on to the next one.
Use a Good Pinpointer
If you know where the coin is, you can kneel, make a small cut in the ground and hit the coin with your pinpointer and remove it instantly without losing time fumbling around for it.
I saw several people digging way to much soil out of the ground to recover targets that were practically on the surface. This costs precious time.
Recover Like Lightning
Hit Target->Pinpoint with Coil->Dig small U around Target->Find Coin with Pinpointer->Put Coin in Pouch->Cover your Hole->Move On
Worry About Identifying Finds Later
Since every second counts during a club hunt, so don’t clean or worry about what each target is. Just put in your pouch and move on.
Rescan Your Holes
I dug two coins in a hole multiple times during the four scheduled hunts. I would have missed the second coin each time had I not rescanned the hole. After the initial 10 minute fray, once the targets died down, over half of my remaining targets were dug where holes had obviously already been dug. The club volunteers burying targets use a special tool that doesn’t leave marks, and several of them are seeding each hunt, so it is not uncommon to bury coins practically on top of each other.
Though the area is pounded by over 50 detectorists, inevitably some targets will be left. For example, dimes lying on edge are hard to detect as are targets that in proximity to any iron that happens to be on the site. Jessica was the last one off the field, and recovered two silver dimes after everyone else declared the site empty.
It’s not all about how many coins you can pull out of the ground. I took time to comment to others, help someone struggling with a target in the ground, laugh and enjoy the beautiful weather.
After it was over, I realized that a seeded hunt is similar to a hunt out in a field in a lot of ways. Many of the principles that might not be readily obvious out in the field were apparent immediately. Being organized and disciplined, able to pinpoint and recover quickly, and rescanning holes are all elements that can effect our success in the field. It’s the same principle: The more targets you dig during your session, the more of those targets are going to be keepers, so the faster we can detect a target, pinpoint, recover, cover your hole and move on, the more successful we are.
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