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  #1  
Old 01-10-2019, 11:47 AM
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maxxkatt maxxkatt is offline
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Default Advice for total Newbies to Metal Detecting Hobby

Ok, here are a few items. Other members please add to this list since I probably left out a something and even some major items.

Always carefully cover your holes. Carry out all the trash finds.

Prepare a ďgo bagĒ for all your accessories. I use a medium sized back pack with a grab handle. Thus I need only grab three things and go. My detector, my shovel and my ďgo bagĒ. Few things in my bag are: Spare batteries for pinpointer, pinponter, gloves, insect spray, earphones, swing harness for 15Ē coil use, finds pouch, yellow survey vest (to keep people from bugging me with questions when curb hunting), folding knife, hand trowel, snack bars, bottle of water. I donít hunt with my back pack, it stays in the car.

Buy good gloves and use them to prevents cuts. I prefer the cloth with rubberized palm side texture.

Buy a high quality shovel suited for your type of digging. Watching videos can help you decide which is best for your type of hunting.

Spend time using research tools like Historic Aerials and Google Earth.
Talk to old timers in your area. They know where people used to gather that may not show up on any other research tools. Lodge members are a great source.

Understand that most metal detecting videos show only the good finds. What you wonít often see is long hunts, lots of trash. So donít compare your results with edited videos designed to entertain and inform. Do learn some to the VID numbers and tones from the videos well produced.

Do not criticize people on the Forums. Just read and learn. You will soon learn which posters really know what they are talking about and learn from them. The occasional jerk on the forums will be run off by other members.

Donít buy cheap pinpointers or other knockoff accessories or detectors from China. Will fail and no warranties.

If you have not purchased your detector yet, read the forums to find the one that will match your hunting preferences. Few detectors will hunt well all types of sites, eg gold nuggets, coins, beaches, under water. Ok, the Equinox 800 has maybe the best all around detector but there are others that are more specialized for relic, beach and gold nuggets and if you do most of your hunting in either relic, beach or gold go for the more specialized detector.

You have two learning curves. Learning metal detecting in general and learning your specific detector. If you buy a complex detector like some of the Minelabs be prepared to flounder in the field for several months if not longer as a dual newbie. A better choice would be to buy a mid-level priced detector like the excellent Garrett AT Pro or AT Max. They are easier to learn to use and master. After you master your mid-level detector you can sell it later and recover 70-80% of your detector cost and buy the more advanced detector you have had your eye on for months. Or keep the mid-level detector and buy your new detector.

In the beginning dig everything so you brain will learn to identify junk, good and iffy signals. A lot of very good detectorists always dig everything so that is another method that is quicker to learn and you rarely miss good targets. It takes more time to dig more. But the more you dig, the more proficient you become at digging and recovering targets.

Be safe. In the snake season, be aware of snakes and yellow jacket ground nests. There are two type of dances common to detectorists. The happy gold dance and I just stumbled into a yellow jacketís nest dance, not so happy.

Learn your metal detector and coil theory. Questions like why a lower frequency is better for finding high conductor silver coins. You donít need to know this, but it helps you set up your more complex detectors for different hunt types and sites.


Donít Give Up too early. Keep in mind detecting is healthy exercise and a fun treasure hunt. The price of your detector does not always determine your quality of finds. The most important factor of your quality of finds is your hunting site selection and the hours you put in swinging your coil.

Finding and hunting with an experience amiable hunt buddy is a big plus.
Learn to control your coil and the different methods of identifying junk targets from good targets. If you join the dig everything crowd, then just swing correctly and donít waste your time trying to puzzle out the good from the junk. But by digging everything you eventually will learn to separate the likely good from the likely bad targets before you dig.

If you have a more complex detector like the Equinox 800, learn to set it up properly for the best results depending on what and where you are hunting.

Learn to read the ground when relic hunting that will tell you are in areas where there was an old home site but with virtually no trace of it today above ground. Broken bits of pottery, charcoal or coke for fires, square nails and actual relics. Hunt those areas slow and even better in both directions.

Several large oak trees around a house sized empty space is a good clue for a once old home site. Daffodils or other perennial flowers that are not native to the woods are another good indicator of maybe a home site. Same goes for cedar trees or palmetto or palmetto like plants. Rock walls, depressions (maybe a cellar hole), stacked stones in a rectangle were often pillars for wooden homes. Fallen chimney stones or bricks or a pile of stones or bricks. And donít overlook still standing or collapsed abandoned homes or out buildings in the woods.

Always get permissions on private property before you hunt.

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  #2  
Old 01-10-2019, 11:59 AM
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Very good information, maxxkatt! I would also like to add, to get more familiar with your detector and equipment practice using them in your yard. Not only will it help you to learn what the detector is telling you, but it is also good practice for making nice, small plugs. So you don't look like this:

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  #3  
Old 01-10-2019, 01:20 PM
MuddyMo MuddyMo is online now
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Good post! sticky? Like the vest idea for curb hunting and other places too.

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  #4  
Old 01-11-2019, 10:15 AM
Knottyoak Knottyoak is offline
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Great advice. I really like the vest idea, Iíll get one before I try curb strip hunting. Iíve only been doing this since Oct. last, but Iíve learned to take some tp along when going to the boonies, for those times when nature calls and wonít take no for an answer.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:28 AM
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Wonderful advice maxxkatt , especially the snake and yellow jacket part. I have came out of the woods half naked before because those little yellow buggers got up my pant legs!!!!! On a serious note I have taken advice from the forums in the past and it has always rang true and been very helpful.

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Old 01-11-2019, 10:41 AM
CarsonChris CarsonChris is offline
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As a noob Iíve found a probe and pinpointer to be invaluable. I also recommend looking at sites that donít have a lot of iron in the beginning. Itís hard to disseminate the sounds of good and bad targets in the beginning.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:52 AM
Kraemer Kraemer is offline
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I always try to remember my pepper spray. Never used it but better to have it than need it and not have it.
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  #8  
Old 01-11-2019, 01:43 PM
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Good post! I will add to not give up right away, due to pains in your knees, back, shoulders, etc.
Moderation is key. Repetition in moderation will strengthen you so it doesn't hurt.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:33 PM
oldkoot oldkoot is offline
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The one thing I would add to this is for a new person just starting out do not go out with a detector you have just purchased and really have no clue about it to think you know what the machine is telling you and everything about it,don't give up simply because you are not finding things it takes time and effort to really learn what a detector is telling you

It kills me when I read post from someone that is new they have purchased a new detector and went out one time and just because they did not find something good or anything at all they assume the detector they chose can not find things and are looking to up grade when they have not even given it enough time to learned the machine they initially chose, its just foolish thinking and wasted money spent it takes hours upon hours to actually learn what a detector is telling you and in some cases can take a year or so for the light bulb to turn on in your head and fully understand what your machine is saying

Vary good post maxxkatt
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:45 PM
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maxxkatt maxxkatt is offline
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Originally Posted by oldkoot View post
The one thing I would add to this is for a new person just starting out do not go out with a detector you have just purchased and really have no clue about it to think you know what the machine is telling you and everything about it,don't give up simply because you are not finding things it takes time and effort to really learn what a detector is telling you

It kills me when I read post from someone that is new they have purchased a new detector and went out one time and just because they did not find something good or anything at all they assume the detector they chose can not find things and are looking to up grade when they have not even given it enough time to learned the machine they initially chose, its just foolish thinking and wasted money spent it takes hours upon hours to actually learn what a detector is telling you and in some cases can take a year or so for the light bulb to turn on in your head and fully understand what your machine is saying

Vary good post maxxkatt
thanks. for me longer than a year. Been metal detecting off and on since 1988 with various detectors. Fisher gold bug, Fisher ID Edge, Garrett ADS II, and previous three years with AT Pro and my Nox 800 since March 2018.

Honestly I learned more about metal detecting in general while learning the 800 than all the previous years. With the 800 if you really want to learn it, you really have to use it and study about it and learn from others who have real good metal detecting experience and experience with the minelab detectors. All my ah moments came within the last 3 months. There is a huge difference between learning and understanding.

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Old 01-11-2019, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by maxxkatt View post
thanks. for me longer than a year. Been metal detecting off and on since 1988 with various detectors. Fisher gold bug, Fisher ID Edge, Garrett ADS II, and previous three years with AT Pro and my Nox 800 since March 2018.

Honestly I learned more about metal detecting in general while learning the 800 than all the previous years. With the 800 if you really want to learn it, you really have to use it and study about it and learn from others who have real good metal detecting experience and experience with the minelab detectors. All my ah moments came within the last 3 months. There is a huge difference between learning and understanding.
That is true in every part of life
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:10 PM
oldkoot oldkoot is offline
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Originally Posted by maxxkatt View post
thanks. for me longer than a year. Been metal detecting off and on since 1988 with various detectors. Fisher gold bug, Fisher ID Edge, Garrett ADS II, and previous three years with AT Pro and my Nox 800 since March 2018.

Honestly I learned more about metal detecting in general while learning the 800 than all the previous years. With the 800 if you really want to learn it, you really have to use it and study about it and learn from others who have real good metal detecting experience and experience with the minelab detectors. All my ah moments came within the last 3 months. There is a huge difference between learning and understanding.
I know what you mean I started in 2009 wish I had started sooner it took me almost two years to fully understand what the detector I chose was saying and for the light bulb to turn on that was a X TERRA 705 I'm not a fast learner LOL
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:43 PM
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Coil theory, as you called it, can't be over emphasized. Sure, you can "dig everything" but in many sites that's not possible due to the junk, or a time limited permission hunt. Alternatively, you can take the time earlier on to experiment and understand how your particular detector and coil sees the ground.

For example, the popular DD coils do not see a cone shape, and if that's what you are imagining you will not correctly examine iffy targets and won't use the shape of the detection area to your advantage.

With the DD coil I imagine a 2 inch thick pane of glass running from the rear of the coil to the front of the coil that extends down to about 6 or 8 inches. (Depth depends on many factors of course.) You're essentially "sweeping" the ground from side to side with this pane of glass that has good sensitivity until it quickly drops off when it gets too deep for it. It's a vertical slice of the ground..not a cone. Looking down at the detector, there's virtually no depth on the left and right edges of the coil, but the front and back have nearly as much practical depth at the front and back as in the middle.

When you visualize it correctly and get some experience, you'll be able to take advantage of the shape of this detection area to investigate iffy targets not only from different angles but also by using just the heel or toe of the detector.

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Last edited by ToySoldier; 01-12-2019 at 01:49 PM.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2019, 04:59 PM
FalconBob FalconBob is offline
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excellent advice. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

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Old 01-12-2019, 12:00 PM
MTtrashdigger MTtrashdigger is offline
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old coins and relics are found in old parts of town. Old parks are often frequented by the dregs of society. (and I don't mean you, Mud Puppy). If you hunt these places alone like I do, being situationally aware cannot be stressed enough. Pepper Spray or a firearm if you are comfortable and practiced is recommended.

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Old 01-12-2019, 01:05 PM
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As you get older, your knees tend to give out. A comfortable set of knee pads will help a lot. I usually find cheap ones at thrift stores. Also if you have one, bring along an extra detector. I don't know how many times I have arrived at a site only to discover that my detector which was working fine the last time that I used if has decided not to work. Recently my friend's detector quit and instead of making a long trip for nothing, I had my extra detector to loan him. A backup detector doesn't have to be expensive. Anything is better than nothing.

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Old 01-12-2019, 01:25 PM
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Some good advice above and a great post.

If I could name one thing that might be helpful advice to newcomers, it would be persistence. I see a lot of people buy a cheap metal detector, spend minimal time learning how to use it, zero location research, and then they're ready to sell the detector and give up because they didn't find anything good after spending a couple of hours in their own yard or at the local park. Metal detecting is all about odds. You can improve your odds in many ways such as choosing the right detector, taking the time to learn how to use it, researching good areas to hunt, and being persistent. You can't get discouraged if you don't find anything within the first few hunts. Keep at it. As you spend more time with the machine and try new areas, the nice finds will come. Just a matter of time.

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Old 01-12-2019, 01:47 PM
Stiffwrists Stiffwrists is offline
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Great information. I second avoiding the cheap pinpointer. The yellow vest is a trick I employ on curbstrip hunts too.

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