So you have a big detecting outing this weekend. . Here are some tips to getting properly prepared instead of just showing up swinging:
1) GATHER INTEL AND PUT TOGETHER A PLAN
I’ll discuss the upcoming hunt with my hunting partner and we’ll put together a soft plan including target areas. If we are hunting a new area, we will talk to veteran detectorists that will help us understand what to expect, and what has been found in there in the past. Any information on the property owners we can get is useful for planning an approach.
2) PREPARE PROPERTY OWNER NAMES AND BOUNDARIES
I research public records online and print out satellite photos clearly showing property lines and property owners names for each of my target properties. I avoid driving around and psyching myself out of permission by having clear target properties I can point the GPS in my truck to and commit in advance to ask. I can address the property owner (Mrs. Smith?) by name when he/she answers the door. And I have the property lines so I don’t stray onto other property. Often the property is bigger than you think as well, so it helps take full advantage of the permission.
3) PACK LIKE NASA
Three of us went detecting last Saturday. We took 8 detectors between us. We each carry three different digging tools – a Predator heavy battleaxe-like shovel for fields and woods, a Lesche Sampson Shovel or equivalent (primary digging tool), and a hand digger in the event we end up with permission in a nice yard where a shovel might get us tossed. We carried first aid kits, food, iced down coolers, handouts and giveaways for permission, research, kneepads, backup clothes, extra coils, towels, rain gear, extra batteries, tools, duct tape, backup pinpointers, and rikers to protect rare finds. One of my buddies even carries around snake chaps. My truck is packed when we pull out. Laugh, but if you detect enough, you know the one thing you don’t have will be the thing you need.
4) ONE HOUR IN TEST GARDEN
Here is the thing no one does that makes the biggest difference in the world. I spend an hour in my test garden, where I have buried difficult targets (ie deep and in proximity to trash and iron). This maintains my confidence that my equipment is working properly, and keep my target selection skills sharp. The one thing you can’t do out in the field is detect known targets. In the test garden, I know that is a silver dime at 14 inches near a nail, so I learn what to listen for. Failing to take advantage of a test garden regularly is like playing a basketball game and never practicing shooting or free throws.
5) GET SOME REST
Plenty of rest and a clear mind is essential to a good detecting outing. If you are worried about something at work or with a family member, it will affect your hunt, so find a way to put it behind you. All my best hunts have come when I am well rested and ready to rock and roll.