This past Saturday I hunted a huge field where I had previously found Civil War items. This field has been hunted a lot over the years, so I was using my big, ugly white fifteen inch coil on the Fisher F75 to get at the deep stuff and get clearer readings on smaller items. The field is split in half diagonally by those giant long distance power lines.
The F75 is extremely sensitive and “chattery” in the first place, and even more so with the big coil. Over time I had worked out dealing with the interference by changing the frequency and/or dialing down the sensitivity on the detector.
But for some reason on Saturday, Fisher’s flagship detector just wouldn’t cooperate. I was stuck on the problem being the power lines, and finally left to hunt another site, a power-line free site. Problem is, when I get to the there, the SAME THING is happening. Now I am really upset. Is my detector broken?
So I started troubleshooting the connection – reset, cable, stuck button? – to no avail. I was just about to switch to my other detector when the problem struck me in the face. Once I absorbed the big clue that my detector was sounding off specifically on each swing to my left, I finally beheld the absolute horror that…
IT WAS MY FREAKING SHOES.
Seriously. I had gotten my regular shoes so muddy on a previous hunt they were like concrete so I grabbed an old pair of lace up boots, the kind the with METAL loops and hooks for the shoestrings. And the 15″ coil was picking my size eleven boots up like I’d taped a dime to the bottom of the coil. And the boots weren’t even steel-toed.
So I changed shoes – end of problem.
But this got me to thinking. Sure the monster coil picked the boots up, but what about my stock coil? What if the interference was minimal, unnoticeable, but still there? Costing me time investigating a false signal when my coil strayed to close to my footwear? Costing me to miss a deep signal due to just barely sensing my feet? After all, in this case, it ruined an entire hunt.
I believe in doing every single thing you can to increase your probability of recovering finds, and there is always something new to learn. Always another edge, even if it is a slight one. So after 30 years of detecting, I decided from now on I’m going to find and wear short rubber slip on or some other type of boots with ZERO metal in them every time I detect. In fact, I’m going to try and keep as little metal on my person as possible while detecting. And I’m wiling to bet I’m not over-reacting.
Finding Non-Metallic Footwear
Fortunately finding metal-free shoes suitable for detecting is easy. Many tactical boots are metal free, and almost all major manufacturers of work boots and other footwear suitable for detecting make metal-free versions of their products. Why? Airports. Just look for the terms “non-metallic”, and “airport friendly” when shopping for footwear.
I recommend avoiding steel toe boots as well as footwear with any metal in them. It is also adviseable to leave you cellphone off, or in your vehicle if possible. You want to be 100% sure that your detector is getting as deep as possible – that you aren’t dialing down your sensitivity unnecessarily because of your shoes or your phone. We want our detectors to pick up nothing except items under the ground.
Detect to win! Best of luck on your next hunt.
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Converse, Danner and Doc Martens from respective websites.