Scouting and Preparing a Detecting Site

Scouting and Preparing a Detecting Site

Detecting someone’s yard is pretty much “jump in and go”, but many detecting sites such as fields, construction sites, and old homesites can benefit from a certain amount of preparation and planning.   We can make a site more productive by preparing the site to hunt instead of just coming out of our vehicle swinging.   Taking time to prepare a site and determine a detecting strategy is always worth the time.   Here are Detecting365’s recommendations for preparing a site to detect:


Many sites have surface trash, fallen limbs, and other easily removed obstacles.    Cleaning things up will allow you to cover more ground quickly, and as we all know from Murphy’s Law, some of the best finds on a site have a way of hiding under obstacles.


You can collect a wealth of information with just 5 or 10 minutes of swinging without digging.    How much trash or iron is in the ground?   Do you hear a lot of good sounding signals, or does it seem like the site has been hit pretty hard in the past?

Go ahead and Ground Balance your machine and/or select appropriate frequency to minimize any interference.

Set your detector up to handle the trash and iron levels that you have observed, as well as the relative abundance or scarcity of targets that you feel are there based on your quick scan.


Use your experience and think.  Which areas of the site are most likely to produce finds?  If the site is large, cut it into sections to make detecting manageable so you detect carefully and not to quickly.  This will reduce the chance of missing an easy key find because you are attempting to cover too much ground.

If the site is very large, you should admit that in order to properly detect it, multiple sessions may be required.   If you try to hit it all at once, you are likely not going to be as effective.

If the site feels “virgin” and not hunted a lot in the past, you may decide to cherry pick the easy stuff and then come back and go for the deeper targets and those in trash on subsequent passes.


If a site is producing killer finds, spending time clearing the undetectable parts of the site may be warranted.  I’ve gone and spent an entire day with an axe and machete clearing parts of a site that has been good to me, creating new ground to detect that produced even more finds.

Very often a landowner will be happy to bush-hog sections of a site that is grown up before you come back next time.

Back in the day, a buddy and I drove around with the mower in the back of the truck looking for yards that looked neglected.  We received a lot of permission in return for 30 minutes of mowing a yard for an elderly person or someone else that just badly needed the yard mowed.


Carefully walking a site can save you some pain during the hunt, literally.    Identifying red ant beds, mosquitos, areas that may have snakes, wasp nests, and poisonous plants are much easier to see when you are looking for them vs while you are swinging a detector with headphones on.

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Photo Credits
Rande Archer

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