Hunting with a Detecting Partner

Hunting with a Detecting Partner

If you haven’t detected with a partner, then you are missing out on one of best things about the hobby.   You’ll have more fun, hunt more sites, and find more stuff.

Benefits of Detecting with Others

Social:
The best thing about a hobby is fraternizing with others with the same interest.    I bore my family and everyone else to death with detecting stories.  Sure your finds are interesting to them, but just about everything else from your detector settings to your digging method and other minutiae are lost on them.   It is awesome to have people to talk to and interact with that are actually excited about what you are, and are not just online pals.

Safety:
Many of the best older sites are in the most dangerous parts of town.    Even in rural areas, there are all kinds of bad things that can happen.  Detecting with a buddy makes a lot of sense.

Hunt More Sites:
The main reason I find more stuff by hunting with partners is simply that I hunt more sites and also better quality sites.    Each detectorist has their own unique set of business, networking, friends and family contacts.  This opens up opportunities that you would never have had by yourself.    You’ll find yourself hunting more sites instead of wearing the same old sites out time and time again.

Encouragement:
How many times could you have used some words of encouragement during a bad hunt?  Or a good laugh?   Sometimes, when I really couldn’t get up the motivation to get out, I’ve had some great hunts because I went out just to not let a partner down.   “I can’t believe I almost didn’t come with you.”

Challenge:
Frankly, you are more likely to go knock on a door and ask for permission with a partner – if only to avoid looking like a “chicken”.   Good partners motivate each other to go out and find great sites to hunt.

Learning:
Regardless of whether you are more or less skilled at detecting than your partner, you can always learn from them.    You can’t watch yourself from a distance, but you can watch your partner.   I recognize and point out positive things all the time from other detectorists just by watching them.   I add these things to my own arsenal.  If you are hunting with someone more skilled than you, take the opportunity to learn directly from that person to your own benefit.

Mentoring:
If you are more experience than a given detecting partner, help him learn the ropes.   By showing him how to easily get permission, and detect better, you both will get more finds, and more enjoyment out of your sessions together.

Competition:
My favorite types of hunting buddies are those with similar skill level and motivation as me.   We compete and even make friendly bets as to who will have the best find.  We gloat when one of us provides an incredible site and jeer and lambast each other when one of us provides a lousy one.  As a result we hunt hard and we hunt often.   We find much more than what we would find hunting separately.

Stories:
Life is grand, and the best stories are those that can be verified by someone who was there with you.   I’ve had some things happen while detecting that are so unbelievable I don’t bother to talk about.  What might have just been a horrible experience if you had been alone can be a rollicking laugh or a great story if someone had been there.  “You should have seen the look on your face when you stepped in that pile of…..”    “That old man was crazy. I thought he was going to shoot us.”  “I’ve never seen a cow do that.”  “Well if that place wasn’t haunted then there is no such thing.”  Those things bond detectorists together, and you will remember and tell those stories for years to come.

Dealing with Other Detectorists

Crowding
Sometimes you have permission to hunt where for whatever reason it is inappropriate to invite a hunting buddy.    If you have some good finds there, you’re buddy is likely to hear about it.   Just be straight forward about the situation and hunt that site on your own time while finding somewhere else good for you and your buddy to hunt.

Not Having a Good Enough Site
This one is funny to me.   I’ll get permission to hunt somewhere that I plan to hunt, but will be apprehensive that I will invite my buddy and we will not find anything.  Perhaps the place is rumored hunted out, or maybe there is no real reason to believe anything good would be there.

First of all, if I’ve proved one thing in 30 years of detecting, it is that treasure is where you find it, not necessarily where you think it is going to be.  Many of my best finds have come at sites that were on the bottom of my site list and I saw them with little potential.

I think it is important to be extremely positive about each site and put forth your best effort.   Don’t get started on the wrong foot by saying “We’re not likely to find anything.”  If you don’t find anything, than so it is, but don’t set expectations poorly.

Proper Competition
Friendly competition is great, but if one party is spanking the other one regularly that can get kind of old.   Sometimes it is just your day, or just your partners day.  When I am invited on a hunt and have the best finds, I feel it incumbent on me to pay back in spades with a good site next time.  When I invite someone and they kick my rear end, then I cheerfully challenge them to provide a good site next time.

If you are regularly getting spanked by your partner, however, you need to realize that is an opportunity to get better.  Work to find out specifically why he is getting better results than you, and tweak your own techniques to match.   You are now a better detectorist.  Conversely, if you are killing it regularly and your partner is potentially discouraged, stop detecting and work with him/her to see if you can help get them on the right track.

Mis-matched Detectors
I catch a lot of flack because I don’t buy into the $300 detector vs $1500 detector hype – at least not on a good virgin site.  I think it is important to buy the best machine you can afford, but I think it is a folly to buy a complex detector to learn how to detect in the first place.  What is most important IMO, is how well you know your machine inside and out, and how well you wield it.

And I say that even though I hunt with two high-end machines.  Sure on a trashy or hunted out site my e-Trac and F75 have their advantages.   However, I’ve had my rear end kicked enough times by an entry-level detector to understand and modify my approach.      Why is that?   It’s one of those thing you don’t know until you know.  But when it happens it’s for one of two reasons:

1)  At a good target-rich site, while I am tinkering along analyzing deep targets and fooling around in trash, my partner is basically “cherry picking”.   He’s running along and grabbing all of the easy, shallow targets, and even snagging a few difficult ones.     The simplicity and depth of his detector is actually an advantage over mine.

2) He or she is a damn-good detectorist that is flat-out capable of smoking me with their low-end machine.  They know how to use it and maximize its capabilities.  They are 30% machine and 90% technique.  Don’t believe otherwise.

With that said, I always offer for my partner to use either of my machines if they want.  Especially if I am getting some good targets and they are frustrated.   Sometimes it is cool to swap detectors on a hunt just to have the opportunity to try something different or new.

Be a Courteous Asset
Make sure your partner sees inviting you to hunt as a benefit.  Always pay back in spades.   Pay back with good sites of your own.  Pay back with knowledge.  Pay back with beverages.   Whatever it takes.

When a partner invites you to hunt, they are your host, and vice versa.   Be as courteous and graceful in victory as you are in defeat.

Final Thoughts
Detecting is always better with a partner.

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Photo Credits
Flickr  Some rights reserved by Scott Clark



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