Six Killer Unconventional Detecting Tips

Six Killer Unconventional Detecting Tips

To win consistently in 2016 and beyond, sometimes we have to do anything we can think of to get some type of small advantage.   The best way to do this is by trying things that few detectorists, if any, ever do.   Here are six really good ones:

This one is golden for large properties and good neighborhoods.   I use Google Earth, and just mark spots I hunt with different icons – one for keepers found, one for monster/s found, and one for little or nothing found.   This allows me to see patterns that are not readily apparent, like the exact locations of home sites, battle lines, or the original roads that are no longer there.  It also points out “Dead Zones”, where for whatever reason little or nothing is there to dig.  This helps me to focus on properties that have an elevated likelihood for production.  If you aren’t tech-savvy, you can also just as easily use a satellite print out and mark the spots by hand.

When I find a deep pocket spill (10-12″), or deep 12″+ bullet spill, or other small spot with crazy deep relics, it stands to reason that something might still be there.  Deep and on its side, or outside of my detectors range.  I will carefully dig out the area to about 18-24 inches and probe with my pinpointer.  This technique has netted me extra finds such as bullets, silver, and a gold ring that I otherwise wouldn’t have saved.

If you look at the weather, it is a losing proposition.  It is too hot, too cold, going to rain, or the weather is so nice you really should do something else.  The one that drives me craziest is the percent chance of rain.  Nothing like not going detecting because of an 80% chance of rain, then it doesn’t rain all day.  So we hunt in the rain if it rains, or just drive out of the weather and hunt, no matter how far that is.

Some of my greatest finds have come at the expense of looking like I lost a mud-wrestling contest at Hooters.   When I have permission to hunt a good construction site with Civil War relics, the best days seems to be when it rains, because many people are hunting it, but very few will get muddy.  One of my hunting partners dug a Texas Belt Plate a couple of years ago in the mud while everyone else sat in their cars waiting on the rain to stop.  Remember to protect any non-water resistant detecting equipment.

My favorite tip.  Make yourself dig 3 extra holes once you have decided to leave a site.  On a site with many targets, you will focus hard automatically to try and make them count, and one a site with very few targets you will dig anything to get the heck outta there.   If you dig something good one one of the holes, start over and make yourself dig 3 more.   I can’t tell you how many monsters this silly technique has produced, and one of them is the George Washington inaugural button I saved.

This is one that few people are stubborn enough to do.  If a site has enough potential, but the property owners will not let you hunt, ask them again every few months.  “Hey It’s me again.  I would die for an opportunity to hunt your property.  It is a goal of mine.  Any chance you would just let me hunt it today?”  “I’ll mow your yard/eat a pile of dirt/wash your car/trim your hedges.” It is amazing how many will finally give in.   There is a property I want to hunt right now where I’ve been told “No” twice.  I sent the lady a Christmas card, and wave violently at her like Forrest Gump every time I see her.   I’ll either hunt the property eventually, or receive a restraining order.  Another great idea is to tell them about how stupid you were for asking and apologize again every time you see them.   “I don’t know what the hail I was thinking.” Often they are like “Maybe I was a little harsh on the poor fella.”

A veteran detectorist shared this with me.    Go to the address you are researching, and select “Birds Eye” view from the dropdown then zoom in.


It is way more hi-res than Google maps and provides a slight orthogonal view with more detail than Google Earth.   I still use Google Earth as it is an application and I can mark and save my research, but Bing birds-eye allows me to see much more detail, like rock walls, depressions in the earth, and specific vegetation, just to name a couple.


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