What's the best method?

FliesOnly

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Middle of Michigan
So, thus far in my metal detecting career, I have yet to actually walk up to a complete strangers door and ask permission to hunt on their property. All my permissions have either been given by a friend (owner of the property I want to search), or one of my friends has mentioned me to one of their friends, who I have then contacted after the fact (they were actually waiting for me to talk to them after being told of my hobby). Now, however, I know of a piece of property that at one time had an old hotel setting on it (mid to late 1800s) and I'd love to give it a go. I should mention that this hotel was located along an old railway bed and I already have permission from the property owners on either side of this additional location. I have had some good luck on those properties, but the hotel sits right in the middle of them and I only recently found out who owns it.

So my question is this...what's the best way to approach them? Should I be dresed like I would if I were detecting? Should I mention that I have permission from the land owners on either side? What do "you" all do when approaching a stranger about wanting to search their property?
 
I agree with Craig. I usually approach someone if they are outside. However I have knocked on a few doors and if that's the avenue you have to go be dressed properly with clean neat clothes. Don't go if you look tattered and soiled. When you knock and you detect someone is coming to the door back away from the door so they don't feel the in-your-face closeness. Smile and be friendly, let them know you admire the property and are interested in history of the area. Ask questions about the property and also ask if they, or any of their family or friends may have lost something there and you would be willing to look for their lost item. You will get the feel of things rather quickly. The more doors you knock on the more comfortable you'll become.
 
If I’m going to knock on a door. I will wear my nice digging clothes. I’ve had no’s. Most are sure. I had one strange one. The first time I knocked on his door he gave me permission and closed the door before I could say thank you. The second time I showed him a old copper. You would have thought I handed him a zinc penny. Than as he handed it back to me. In the same breath he said no. Than I don’t care and closed the door before I could say thank you again.

I have a harder time asking permission for places I really want to hunt. Maybe try asking a couple other places first. Than when you get a feel for it go for the one you really want?
Good luck!
 
So, thus far in my metal detecting career, I have yet to actually walk up to a complete strangers door and ask permission to hunt on their property. All my permissions have either been given by a friend (owner of the property I want to search), or one of my friends has mentioned me to one of their friends, who I have then contacted after the fact (they were actually waiting for me to talk to them after being told of my hobby). Now, however, I know of a piece of property that at one time had an old hotel setting on it (mid to late 1800s) and I'd love to give it a go. I should mention that this hotel was located along an old railway bed and I already have permission from the property owners on either side of this additional location. I have had some good luck on those properties, but the hotel sits right in the middle of them and I only recently found out who owns it.

So my question is this...what's the best way to approach them? Should I be dresed like I would if I were detecting? Should I mention that I have permission from the land owners on either side? What do "you" all do when approaching a stranger about wanting to search their property?
On a cold door knock if you don't wear a beard be clean shaven. If you wear a ballcap don't have it low over your brow, cocked to one side or on backwards Be traditional . Don't have you hands in your pockets. And like Hoser said, after the knock back up and try not to crowd the person when they come to the door. I'll wave my hand in a friendly gesture and say hello, I'll say with a smile, I'm not selling any thing or looking for donations, my name is Mark, I'm a local guy and I'm a history hunter. I do metal detecting, I hunt for old coins, tokens and buttons. Little bits of history that have been lost over the years. This is all within the first 30 seconds or so and at this point you will see if you have their interest or they see you as a PIA. I'll compliment their house and land and ask about its history. I'll ask would it be alright if I detected their property. Then quickly add I'm very neat and respectful and don't make a mess. If they are receptive I then proceed to show them pictures from my phone. When they see my passion its usually a yes. I avoid showing shiny, I'll show pics of the cool relics I've found. Never mention gold. In some people it can trigger greed and all of a sudden they think they could be sitting on the Lost Dutchmans mine or something. And then they'll get squirelly on you. I lightheartedly say if I strike it rich we'll split it ok ? And at that point I'll ask are you ok with me keeping what I find. Now its up to you if you want to make some kind of deal with the owner. For me most say sure, I'm just curious, I'd like to see what you find. And thats the answer I'm looking for. I'll tell them if I find multiples I don't mind sharing but my trash to treasure ratio is not all that great and I work hard for what I find. Ya I know but a little B.S. never hurt.
I could go on. But I hope what I've said helps a little. It does get easier with each try. And definitely catching the owner outside is better than having to disturb them in their home but sometimes thats the only option. And remember a no is always a no unless you ask. Good luck. Mark
 
Be prepared for as many no's as yes's. Even though we know how to dig a neat plug without making a mess many of the people you ask are going to assume they will be able to see every place you've dug . My buddy and I have had some great streaks of yes's, but we get about as many no's to go along with them. The time to ask is when the owners are outside in the yard.
 
I was on a door-knocking spree a few years back, probably 30-40 properties. Sometimes a buddy would go also. I normally don’t dress in tatters, but in a normal, presentable way. I have a routine, short 30-second speech in which I introduce my self, and then give my intentions. “Would you mind if i poked around in the yard a bit?” I don’t mention digging or sharing finds unless it’s an item related to the property. I get a YES 4 out of 5 times. The most memorable door-knock was a middle-aged woman in her nightgown at around 9:00 in the morning. She cracked the door just enough to show her face, and seemed a bit unsure of what I was asking, but quickly granted permission. THAT was a great yard, we pulled old silvers, Indians and a mid-1800’s large cent within an hour.
 
One of my best permissions came about from stopping in the farm yard and asking if this was Hill farm, but instead it was Hall farm, and what did I want? Now the guy was hunched over his tractor engine, red-faced as things were obviously not going to plan. I explained why I was in the village, and that I'd researched the history and it would most likely be productive because of the ancient settlement pattern...and...He stopped the lecture there and told me to come back in a couple of weeks' time when they'd started plowing up. Now usually catching a landowner at 'the wrong time' will bring an instant no, and on a busy working farm there'll be far more of those than good moments. Though successful on that occasion I always prefer to send a written request, that way you'll get a chance to mention the neighboring places you've visited and the history of the place you've researched. The owner will read it when he has a chance to sit down with a cup of coffee, and if you enclose a self-addressed envelope or your email, along with the acknowledgment that you know he's busy but you'd be grateful for a response either way, I'm sure you'll be lucky. Often I don't ask directly for access in the letter, just the chance for a meeting so he can see 'the cut of my gib', previous finds and realize how much enthusiasm I have for this wonderful hobby. I also offer the use of my spare machine if they'd like to try, but most are far too busy and will just say 'maybe when I retire' with a smile.
 
While I did get a great permission (Seated Liberty Dime and IHP) via a Ring Doorbell, and a couple over the phone, the best method by far is in person, face to face. As others have said, dress nicely, not like a bum or a church missionary, but clean regular clothes. Step back a bit from the door when it is opened or you know someone is coming. Have a prepared "presentation" and smile, be CONFIDENT, show interest in their home and property and the history of it. My "spiel" is...

"Hi, my name is David ______, I have a hobby of finding history from ______ (fill in town name), such as old coins, tokens, buttons and relics, and I like to metal detect for items like that. You have a neat home, looks like it dates from the ______, can you tell me more about it? I have the OK from the city to detect the boulevard outside the sidewalk, and was wondering if I could have permission to detect in your front yard also. I am very respectful of property, don't leave holes or make a mess, and would love to have a chance to scan the front for items lost there years ago."

Play it by ear from there, listen to their stories, show interest, offer to share extras that you don't need for your collection if it comes to that. I rarely ask to detect back yards as that is usually the homeowner's more private areas, and I seem to find much more in front yards anyway. Good luck!
 
I have a recent article in AMERICAN DIGGER and did a podcast in RELICS ROUNDUP on permissions (titled CAN I DIG HOLES IN YOUR YARD).
First get a professional looking business card. You want to appear professional, experienced and knowledgable.
As many have said, someone outside is the best option. Apologize for interrupting them and make a simple request.
if knocking on the door, knock then move well away from the door. Otherwise you are perceived as a possible threat. Take your hat off, apologize and ask.
mail and phone are virtually useless.
 

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Man - I just scored 2 sweet permissions within the last week at an old church and a fair ground by simply emailing them on their website. I have had to do this because my area has become increasingly restrictive of the spots we liked, parks, schools, and there are too many Karens.

I said effectively "Hello, my son; who is 11, and I have a lot of fun metal detecting together and would like to ask permission to metal detect on (X area off your property, something like avoiding gravesites etc, I qualify what im asking for to allay fears and using judgement as not to offend) your property/church. We do not leave any trace of issues and will be respectful of your property. Additionally, we will throw away any trash we find. If not, I understand and thank you."

So far this has worked every time. I think it invokes the idea of a father and son spending quality time - which is not a lie. I am totally truthful in this. My son and I love to metal detect together, he is 11, we will be respectful and relay that.

I should add edit: I included my phone number and they BOTH called me. I suspect to get an idea of who I am. I answered, we talked. Very friendly.

Other edit: If its a farmer, I have walked up and knocked and asked - dude borders a civil war field - he was like - yeah some people have done it here before - just stay away from xyz - to which i agree.

On a residential area of an old home - never tried.
 
I've had no luck getting permission for the site that I was referring to at the start of this thread, but to be honest, after my initial inquiry with no response, I have basically moved on. However, much like SirFrancesDrake, I did just score permission on an old church location that has been there since the mid 1800s, as well as an old school house property that is also from the mid 1800s. Got those via an email as well. While it's not located next to a civil war field, I do hope that maybe a drunk parishioner or a clumsy school boy dropped a coin or two back in the day. ;)
 
Well, I had my eye on a big and old house in the country on my daily drive to and from work. Huge front yard. Someday I was going to walk up to that house and knock on the door. Then one morning on my drive just as I reached that house a cat sprinted out of the corn stubble across the road headed for his breakfast and there was no way to miss him. So I finally made my walk to the door to tell them I hit their cat and it was dead. I’m not sure what the point of my story is except “How not to get a permission.”
 
i Received permission to hunt an older home in the small town I live in. I didn’t find much other than trash, it had been hunted before. I stopped back by the property owner’s business and thanked her for letting me hunt and showed her what I had found. After we spoke she told me about some other property she owns that has 4 buildings dating back to 1916 that I now have permission to hunt. It never hurts to go back and thank someone for the permission.
 
Recently I've had some luck by contacting the land owner online, usually on Facebook. You can get their name by using apps like OnX Hunt, then its usually fairly easy to find them on Facebook and shoot them a message. To me, this is easier than face to face because I have time to think about what I want to say, then type it out without being put on the spot and tripping over my own words. If I get a "no", its not as awkward as face to face. I just send them another message thanking them for their consideration and move on.

I just started doing this recently, but so far I'm 2 for 3. Even landed one old church permission that I've been eyeballing for decades.
 
I have a recent article in AMERICAN DIGGER and did a podcast in RELICS ROUNDUP on permissions (titled CAN I DIG HOLES IN YOUR YARD).
First get a professional looking business card. You want to appear professional, experienced and knowledgable.
As many have said, someone outside is the best option. Apologize for interrupting them and make a simple request.
if knocking on the door, knock then move well away from the door. Otherwise you are perceived as a possible threat. Take your hat off, apologize and ask.
mail and phone are virtually useless.
I have a business card and have access to rural farm areas and of course the home. Hard to real reach out so been working on a form letter with card attached to leave in mailbox on the road. Seen any good ones out there? Have xhunt and know property owners name but phone call out of question and hell their working don't want to drive on the property and bother em especially when no one at the home and everybody out in the fields.
 
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