How To Dig A Plug – Detecting Tips

How To Dig A Plug – Detecting Tips

It’s common knowledge that the fastest way to get our hobby banned is to leave unfilled holes all over the place. No matter where you live, or what type of metal detector you swing, the first thing that you need to know about metal detecting is how to dig a proper plug.

One of the first places that new metal detectorists learn how to dig a plug is in their own yard. It is important to learn how to dig and fill a hole before venturing out to public places. The goal is to learn how to retrieve a target without leaving holes all over the place in an effort to leave the area in the same shape as it was when you got there.

One technique that can help keep the grass alive is to cut your plug straight up and down and not at an angle like cutting a pumpkin top. The idea is to cut far enough through the root layer so the least amount of damage is done to the root system. Likewise, by cutting your plug straight up and down, only the outside edge of the root ball will be disturbed allowing the root system to remain mostly intact and spread easily when replaced.

Another technique I like to use is cutting a wide plug. Cutting a wider plug can be beneficial in two ways. First, by cutting a wider plug you leave enough distance from the target and edge of the plug which helps avoid scratching a valuable target with your digger. Secondly, a wider plug will keep the grass from being ripped out by a lawn mower and there will be more chance that the grass will live.


There are a few ways that you can make a plug. Some detectorists cut an O shaped plug, and remove the plug entirely. Others like to make a U or V shaped plug, leaving the back side of the plug to act as a hinge so that the plug can be replaced easily. I prefer the latter U shaped technique because it helps keep the plug in place. If I am woods hunting, any style plug will do, as long as the dirt is replaced back in the hole, I’ve done my job.

Also see this article for additional information on How to Retrieve Detected Targets.

Final Thoughts

Remember: If the area is good enough to metal detect, then it’s good enough to warrant filling your holes.

Basketball Hall of Famer John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

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