“I’ve paid my dues, time after time. I’ve done my sentence, but committed no crime. And bad mistakes – I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face, but I’ve come through.” – QUEEN
We should all be aware of basic detecting etiquette: obey the law, fill in your holes, dispose of trash, courtesy to others, etc. But what about courtesy between fellow detectorists?
Detecting is a tough hobby, and it can be easy to buy into the mindset that a limited number of relics remain to be dug, and that we must fight to “get our fair share”. It is certainly good to be smart – keeping quiet about hard-earned research, for example. But as hardcore as some of us are about detecting, at the end of the day this is a hobby, not a war.
In no particular order, here are seven unsportsmanlike and/or ungentlemanly behaviors that I have observed repeatedly over the last couple of years:
NOT LETTING ANOTHER DETECTORIST HUNT OUR PROPERTY
I occasionally knock on a door and the person says “No” because they detect, or they don’t detect but own a metal detector. Now I completely understand if your yard is a honey hole, or you purchased a sizable property specifically to detect. But knowing how difficult it is to knock on a door, if someone asked me to hunt my yard, I would tell he/she to have fun, would not say anything discouraging, and I would hope they find something good. Just stay away from my test garden LOL.
SABOTAGING DETECTING SITES
This is when an unscrupulous full-grown human being spends valuable detecting time burying undesirable targets in the ground of a site after they hunt it. Are they marking their territory, attempting to discourage others from saving relics or what?
RUNNING DOWN OTHER DETECTORISTS
Now we all are easy to make fun of. I sure know I am. But take it easy! Don’t cross the thin line between joking and attacking. If you don’t like someone, you can be civil and not interact with them. If you have a legitimate issue with another detectorist, take it up with them or just let it go. But don’t run them down behind their back. People know better and can easily see through a whiner that continually complains about other detectorists and makes themselves out to be some kind of serial victim.
BURYING FINDS FOR HUNTING PARTNER TO DIG
I guess this is none of my business, but with the possible exception of small children, I feel that “letting someone win” by planting finds for them to dig without their knowledge isn’t in their best interest. Doesn’t make them better detectorists, and they end up with relics with false provenance. The reason this is unsportsmanlike is simple: just think how upset the partner would be if they were told the truth.
CLAIMING TERRITORY OR TURF
Some detectorists will claim certain areas, often not even where they live or have permission, and patrol and harass anyone they see hunting there. Or someone takes you detecting, and then you feel that you can’t go back. Not back to that property – TO THE ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD, AREA or CITY. Now I understand quid pro quo, and doing the right thing. It would be crude to hunt the property next door without them, but to block yourself out of entire geographic locations by accepting invitations? This happened to a popular YouTube detectorist a few months back. Pitchforks and torches. “He came back to our city and hunted it out from under us.” Before giving or accepting an invitation, be clear on any terms.
RUNNING OTHER DETECTORISTS OFF OF PROPERTY
I hunt with permission, but occasionally am challenged by someone that doesn’t believe my permission, claims they have sole permission, and/or otherwise acts belligerently. I always leave and take it back up with the property owner if I decide to go back. In the last two years, I’ve learned that if someone runs you off of a property, they are almost always not a property owner or property owners representative, and they detect.
CALLING BS ON FINDS
I’ve seen some finds posted on Facebook and the forums that I admittedly have a hard time believing are real. But what do I know, and what does it really matter? I’m sure a lot of people look at some of my finds and think the same thing. Including me: “Three plates in one yard in one day? Yeah right. Give me a break.” Truth is always stranger than fiction.
Detecting is a tough hobby. Unfortunately, there will always be those who make it tougher on others. But together we have the power to make our hobby about saving history, not greed or competition, and to encourage one another at every opportunity. Thanks for reading! Check out detecting365.com for more videos, tips and advice.