I read a discouraging post recently from a relatively new detectorist complaining about a detectorist in his town “blocking” permission. The detectorist in question, or one like him, responded with claims that he always asks property owners for sole permission and feels that he/she deserves exclusive rights because he clears out trash, etc etc. I felt his defense was greedy, misleading, and at a very minimum, discouraging to other detectorists in his/her area.
I’ve knocked on over 1000 doors over the last 4 years to get permission and would NEVER ask for exclusive permission for several reasons:
1) Rarely do I hunt a site more than once. I may return to good sites as fallbacks when I am having a bad day, rainy day, or a tough time getting someone to come to a door.
2) If a site is incredibly good, I’m not going to call attention to it. I’ll go a few times and be gone before someone else has a chance to ask, and I don’t mind if I leave relics for them to dig.
3) I don’t plan to dig it all. There are plenty of places to hunt. If someone else wants to man up and knock on the door, they are welcome to their share of any relics that are there. What is important is that the relics are rescued, not that they are in my personal collection.
4) Most of all, I wouldn’t dare offend a friendly landowner by asking for sole permission. Who the heck do I think I am?
Without exception, I have only run into “exclusive permission” in the following instances:
Someone or ones in the family detect, and the property owner doesn’t allow anyone else to hunt.
Landowner is a Detectorist
This one is funny to me, because if someone knocked on my door I’d be happy to let them detect, and be happy if they dug a gold coin. I know and respect how difficult it is to knock on a door and a good detectorist should appreciate that enough to grant a “Yes”.
Law Enforcement or Land Worker
This is when someone that works on the land or law enforcement asks for permission to hunt. The property owner usually wouldn’t let anyone detect, but allow these people to do so because they are the law, or that they know them and are comfortable with them being there working, and maybe its a perk.
In each of these instances, permission was not really exclusive so much as the permission for your average detectorist was a “No” and the person in question was an exception – landowner/family/5-0/worker.
If you are discouraged by someone claiming sole permission, go talk to the property owner and try to reason with them. More often than not, you’ll find that the detectorist doesn’t have sole permission at all. If one of the above three things is true, just treat it as a “No” and move on, because it wouldn’t have been a “Yes” anyway. You want to hunt places with friendly property owners that appreciate your interest in history and want you to be on their property. There are always plenty of other places to hunt. Do some more research and just move along.
If you just can’t let the particular site go, you have a couple options. Befriend the person with permission and if they are cool, ask him to take you with him and offer something in return, like getting permission next door. Else you can hope the property changes hands at some point and hunt it then.
If you haven’t learned this already, the greedy detectorists out there will tell you anything to discourage you. They will tell you every site is hunted out, no-one will give you permission, they have exclusive permission, your equipment sucks, the place is haunted, and you should take up golf. Don’t listen. Win anyway.
If all else fails, maybe bring the property owner a nice rose bush start. It’s a great way to show that you are not asking for something for nothing, and that you recognize that they care about their yard and you will too!
Image Credits: Wikipedia