Note: The clock in the photo above is an actual product available online at Cafe Press.
I’m often busy with work and can’t get out and detect as much as I would like. Often, right before dark, I can’t stand it anymore. I’ll throw all caution to the wind and burst out of my house, jump in the truck, and go detect somewhere nearby for an hour or so.
In spite of the fact that usually I am hunting somewhere really lame, or re-hunting a site I’ve hunted many times before, and the fact that it is getting dark, I’ve found that very often these are good hunts – even spectacular hunts.
You could say this is blind luck, but I believe we can point to several reasons why a very short hunt can be more productive than spending many hours at a site:
I’d like to see some metrics, but surely we walk well over a mile during some 4-6 hour detecting sessions, swinging the detector steadily right above the ground. Bending, dropping to our knees, digging, and standing back up over and over again. Sometimes after a long detecting outing, the next day I feel like I’ve been playing rugby. It just makes sense that we are detecting better earlier in the session, before our body gets tired. Not to mention dehydration, insect bites, sunburn, or getting cold, as well as a variety of other possible side effects being out in the elements.
I think we focus on the physical fatigue of detecting a lot more than mental fatigue. When we begin a detecting session our minds are typically extremely focused, able to use all of our experience and techniques cleanly and to our best advantage. As a session drags on, our mind is worn down by the constant barrage of sound in the headphones, as well as the mental processing of the audio and visual signals and accompanying decision making. After a couple of hours or less, it stands to reason that we just aren’t as sharp as we were when we started.
We are usually at our highest level of motivation early in a hunt – excited to be detecting, especially if you have been looking forward to it. Excited about the possibilities of the site and the hunt, about a new technique, perhaps excited about just being outside. And darn it, I am going to find something. I am committed to doing everything right and hunt hard. But as the session runs into the second hour perhaps you haven’t found anything. Or perhaps you have found some things and everything now is just gravy. If you are like me, you have a hard time quitting. Sure you may find some great stuff later in the hunt, I’m just saying that possibly we are usually at our best early in the hunt.
Nothing motivates someone more than time running out. It is getting dark. My kitchen pass is running out. Whatever. I want to find something great and make the session worth it. I’d like to think otherwise, but perhaps I detect smarter and harder when I have only an hour or so to hunt.
FIRST FIND PHENOMENON
At the most recent meeting of the Middle Tennessee Metal Detecting Club, Whit Hill and I were discussing the improbability of how often your first find of the day is your best find of the day. Not every time of course, but this happens far too often to be explained with pure statistics. After thinking on this a couple of weeks, I believe the best rationalization is that we are at our absolute best early in the hunt. We are hunting the choicest part of the site. We are fresh. So statistically, our first find has a better probability of being our best find. Or not. Just a thought.
Don’t let a lack of time discourage you from detecting. “I’ve just got an hour til dark. Might as well not go.” That one hour hunt may be your best hunt of the year! Best of luck on your next hunt!!!
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Clock: Cafe Press
One Hour Hunt: D365