Watching Facebook and Forums, often I see newbies ask to tag along with more experienced detectorists. Detecting is a tough hobby to master, and many people struggle with the research, permission and technique combination required to make significant finds. I appreciate this, and try to carry newbies along when I can, but more often than not, these requests fall on deaf ears. I have a lot of people new to the hobby tell me that no one will invite them to hunt, and they are struggling with learning the ropes.
Having the company of a very good, experienced detectorist is definitely the best way to overcome the learning curve and get on track to finding great stuff in the least amount of time, but getting a good detectorist to let you tag along may not be easy.
I’m appreciative of those master detectorists that have taken their time over the years to help me learn the ropes, understand what it takes, and to coach me to help me improve my skills. Here are some tips to improve the likelihood of getting the help you need:
Make Sure Your Request Benefits another Detectorist
Typical requests just don’t do anything for the other detectorists. I would love to take you along, for example, but my detecting time is limited, and detecting requires incredible focus, and maybe I don’t know you, so it is difficult to invite a wildcard along. So do some research. Talk to some locals. If you have some good permission but aren’t finding anything, invite me to one of your sites so you can watch me and I can help you. If you don’t have a good site with permission but know of a great area other detectorists might love to hunt, just be honest. “I know where a camp is here in Jonesville where I live, but need some help getting permission. Would someone please come along and help me.” Mention specific dates to drive responses.
Offer to drive or offer to buy gas, or lunch. Think outside the box. Friend good detectorists on Facebook and watch their posts as to clues about their interests and how you might be able to help them.
Invite. Don’t Ask for an Invite
In discussion with some pretty hardcore expert detectorists, the real turnoff is what they perceive as laziness. They feel that someone brought a metal detector, is not willing to do the research and get the permission and they just want to tag along without doing any of the work. The reality is that most newbies don’t even realize how critical research and permission is to metal detecting. Once many people realize this, they are not willing to do it, and the detector ends up in the closet and on Craigslist or at a garage sale next summer.
What really appeals to me from a new detectorist is a request in the form of an invitation. Don’t ask for me to invite you. Invite me.
Maximize Your Objective
Realize you are not just getting a place to hunt when someone invites you along. A good detectorist can share volumes of information about where to hunt, how to hunt, and where things have been found. They can point out and help you fix problems with your technique and swing. They can critique and coach you on getting permission so be willing to knock on a door or two even if you are terrified to. Your sole objective shouldn’t be to get to detect. It should be to learn everything you can as quickly as possible so that you can be successful in all aspects of detecting. Ask a lot of questions in the vehicle or before and after the hunt.
Understand What it Takes
One thing that comes as a shock to a lot of newbies the first time they hunt with a really good detectorist is the amount of hardcore dedication they have to succeed. Most of them want to go early and stay late. They pack a lunch so they don’t have to leave the site. They are hardcore about permission, hardcore about research, and hardcore about detecting. So be ready for anything and let them lead. Stay as long as they want and be thankful.
Try to Establish Relationships
Be someone the expert detectorists want to hunt with. Try to find good detectorists that have non-detecting things in common with you. Have fun. Work hard to show improvement. Good partners have mutually beneficial relationships.
Take Responsibility for Your Detecting Success
If you are having a hard time finding good stuff detecting, it is not someone else’s fault. Work on mastering your detector in a test garden in your yard. Do research. Accept that you are going to have to work on getting permission. Identify your weaknesses and consider creating a team with other detectorist/s that will address those weaknesses.
Metal Detecting is an extremely tough hobby. If you are a newbie, it is a huge shortcut to learn from very experienced detectorists. If a great detectorist hasn’t taken you under your wing or got you into the hobby in the first place, it can be tough to hook up with them and hunt. So make them an offer they can’t refuse – find a great place to hunt and invite them, and be honest about your motivation.
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