Coming Back Stronger: Preparing for a Winning Year

Coming Back Stronger: Preparing for a Winning Year

Many of us in the frozen U.S. are still waiting out the winter for the ground to thaw, perhaps risking contracting the flu by detecting a bit as the weather allows.   In the meantime, here are some tips to spend your time waiting preparing for your best year ever.

Cleaning and Repair
I was in my garage this past weekend and noted that my equipment and detecting bag are in complete disarray.  My e-Trac is caked with dried mud, probably from my encounter with some cows late last season.  My detecting bag is in complete disarray.   The pad on the empty side of my Rattler single headphone is missing and the bar digs into my skull and hurts.    The golf towels I use for neat recovery of items from nice lawns are filthy.    Everything else is just jammed into the pack: gloves, sunblock ,insect repellent, a block of paper mache that once was a roll of toilet paper.  At the bottom of the pack is a bunch of dirt and some relics – the kinds of things I couldn’t identify or couldn’t bring myself to throw away.

I’ll start with getting my detectors cleaned up and make sure the are working properly, inspect the search coil cables and the battery packs on the e-Trac.  I removed the batteries at the end of last season from my Fisher F75.   I recommend that you remove batteries from any detector that may not be used for a while.

I’m going to repair my Rattler headphones by making my own substitute pad.  I need to send a couple of Garrett pinpointers that no longer work in to repair.

Then I’ll go through the pack and throw away trash and dirt, and throw any relics into my relic box.   I’ll replace my almost-empty repellents and sunblock with fresh bottles, get the wife to wash my golf towels, and replenish all of the things I need.     For more ideas on backpack provisions, check out this great article.

Upgrade or Replace Machines?
My e-Trac is extremely well-made, but I’m extremely rough on detectors.   It is quickly approaching becoming completely worn-out.  My F75 is in good shape, however, so I’m going to try to stretch the e-Trac out for one more season.

What about you?     If you need or want to upgrade, now is the time.    You still have time to learn the detector and spend time out in the test garden so you will not be handicapped with a machine you don’t know once you are hitting sites for real.

Last Season Review
I had a phenomenal year last year.  I did a good job continuing to improve my mastery of my detectors – constantly trying new things and adapting to different conditions.  I did a great job with research and permission – and hunted a lot of incredible sites.  I had a 12 silver day!    I found a lot of Civil War relics in some of the oddest places.

But looking back I see a few things I can improve on.   In too many instances, I settled on re-hunting a site I had “hunted out” instead of spending the time to find a new place – usually out of laziness or convenience.   I also get hung up on sites that are not productive too easily.   This one really old yard in particular I didn’t find a single silver coin in drives me crazy.  I insist on continuing to hunt it even though I need to just let it go.    Another thing I did poorly was manage my detecting sessions.    I have a tendency to stay out too long without taking proper breaks and staying hydrated.  One day that is going to catch up with me if I don’t do better.

What about your year?   What can you improve?    These are the keys to making this year even better than last year, without regard for how great or poor you feel your detecting year went.

Set Goals
What are you going to find this year?   What are your goals?   Here is an article with more on goal setting, metrics and things you can easily track.

One of my goals this year is to hunt the house my grandparents and mother grew up in.     Maybe your goal is to find $500 in clad.  Or break your silver record.  Or break your number of silvers per day.  Find your first gold coin or item.   

Maybe you can make the world a better place, also.  Think about taking a kid detecting this year.

Learn Something New.
We like to think we know everything, but no matter how successful and experienced at detecting you are, that is never the truth.    Read.   The forums.  The manufacturer’s websites.  D365.   What new technology can you take advantage of?   Are there any new settings recommended for your detector by manufacturers or other successful users?  What else can you do differently this year that can have an impact?

Trust me – regular research and locating new, high-find-probability sites to hunt is the #1 key to successful detecting – not the detector we use, or our detecting expertise.    I spent this last weekend superimposing some old maps on top of new maps and have identified several new sites to hunt this year.   I have about ten great sites to hunt this year and I need to do some more research.   I would love to have more sites than I can possibly hunt lined up, but I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get there.

Researching a friends land shows me 2 houses were on it in 1901.   Oh yeah, baby!

Researching a friends land revealed that two houses were on it in 1901. Oh yeah, baby!

Another great way to line up sites to hunt is making sure everyone you run into is aware of your hobby.   What’s great is you get the site and the permission at the same time, usually without having to ask.     And never discount any offer to hunt.  “I don’t think you’ll find anything but you are welcome to hunt my pasture.”   Most of my greatest hunts have come on places where I wouldn’t have believed I would have found a thing.

Final Thoughts
Spring is the best time of the year for detecting here in Tennessee.   The insects are still manageable, the temperature is wonderful, and the best sites are not overgrown yet as they will be in Summer.     What about your area?   In the meantime, I’m preparing myself to have my best detecting year ever.   Some incredible things are out there for me to find.   I am going to be well-prepared, because this is the year I find them!

Join the Discussion
Any other ideas for preparation for a great detecting year?  Please comment below! We want to hear from you. If you like this article, please reward us by liking D365 or this article on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo Credits
Frozen detector: Attribution Some rights reserved by Dunleavy Family
2014 vs 1901 map overlay: D365

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