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  #1  
Old 01-27-2022, 03:48 PM
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Default Coming to an agreement and keeping finds

Most of the targets I am researching are on private property and as such, I will probably have to come to an agreement with the owners of those sites.

I am happy to pay them by the hour to hunt their property, but I remember a time when one landowner was simply trying to use me. It went something like this:

"Yeah, you can search wherever you want, but I want to see what you find."

"Absolutely!"

After my search, it quickly became, "Eh. You can keep that. But I definitely want that. And that, and that, and that, but you can keep that..."

In short, I was fleeced, and since that time I never really tried to get on private property again. Because if I find a piece of continental currency, I assure you that I would prefer not to hand it over to the landowner. Split the difference? Sure. But hand it over? Nope!

Have any of you had similar experiences and how did you deal ya with them?
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Old 01-27-2022, 04:19 PM
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State College, huh? Lewistown here.

Here’s what I’d do. Put the good stuff in your pocket. You don’t HAVE to show them everything. Some might find it dishonest but you are the one doing the work. You’ll find that most people don’t want your dirty stuff.

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Old 01-27-2022, 06:24 PM
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I absolutely wouldn’t offer to “pay by the hour” to hunt someone’s private property unless I was 100% certain that the site had stellar history and truly spectacular finds were guaranteed. There are too many other hunt opportunities on private land that I don’t have to pay for.

I don’t do any formal and/or written agreement with any private property owners when I ask for permission on their land. But as I’m doing the asking, I certainly guide the conversation to get a feel for the land owners intent when it comes to keeping what’s found. It usually isn’t hard to figure out - the conversation you described would raise a red flag for me that I need to dig a little deeper. When he said “But I want to see what you find”, I definitely would not have left things at “absolutely!” Instead, I would have continued the negotiation in a friendly way to gather more info. I might have responded something like, “Sure, I’d be glad to show you some of the more interesting finds…Do you think you’ll be interested in keeping anything?” Where the conversation goes from there will tell me a lot about whether or not I’ll hunt or walk away. And I’ve definitely walked away from permissions where my radar said the landowner might not be reasonable. So far, my process has allowed me to avoid any problems with property owners post-hunt.

Don’t get me wrong….I’m happy to split finds with owners in some situations, and sometimes certain finds just belong with the property or the owner. Our time and equipment is valuable. At the same time, the land isn’t ours…giving some of the finds to the landowner is often times an appropriate way to say “thank you” to be able enjoy our hobby on their land.

I very much disagree with partyofone - if the landowner says he wants to see everything, then you’re obliged to do just that when you proceed to hunt his land. If that’s not something you are willing to do, then you’re morally bond to politely walk away and not hunt his land, in my opinion. If you aren’t willing to show them everything, then you need to have the backbone to say so up front. To agree to those terms and then purposely not follow through is the very definition of dishonesty.

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  #4  
Old 01-27-2022, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by partyofone View post
State College, huh? Lewistown here.

Here’s what I’d do. Put the good stuff in your pocket. You don’t HAVE to show them everything. Some might find it dishonest but you are the one doing the work. You’ll find that most people don’t want your dirty stuff.
I learned that from a veteran tector a long time ago. I seldom really followed that advice but I don't hunt many permissions, only public.
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Old 01-27-2022, 07:19 PM
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This topic comes up all the time . Personally if someone wants money and/ or to cherry pick my finds I would laugh and say no thank you . Plenty of places to hunt without having to sell your metal detecting soul.
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  #6  
Old 01-28-2022, 12:29 AM
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That’s what socks are for right?

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Old 01-28-2022, 07:14 AM
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You run into another owner like that, tell him "Sure, you can keep all of it, if you like." Then bury it back into the yard in random spots.

Just make sure to spell out any agreements BEFORE you locate anything.

Roger
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Old 01-28-2022, 07:31 AM
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I just don't hunt locations where the owner wants to see what I've found. Never turned out good. Learned my lesson.

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  #9  
Old 01-28-2022, 09:09 AM
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I agree 100% with what AirmetTango wrote.

When you ask somebody in person or on the phone, it's best to keep things friendly and light. The goal isn't to make a quick business transaction. The goal is to quickly make the person feel comfortable with the idea of you literally poking around their property. I'm always surprised (but grateful) at the people who are just like "Sure, anytime! You don't need to call or knock or anything when you come by." Some people give no reasonable sign that they give two cents about what's in their yard (pardon the pun) and there's no reason to question a good thing.

Therefore, in most cases, getting too legal or serious about the interaction is going to give the impression that you are up to something beyond some goofball hobby, such as the possibility of finding something they'd want to keep. I remember the first time somebody asked me why I picked his property in particular and if I had some 'inside info' on something being lost or buried on it. I didn't have any specific intel, and getting the permission was just a matter of him trusting me.

Again, being vague up front about the ownership of the finds, and letting the owner bring it up if they're interested, is going to work in your favor 95% of the time. But, if you get enough permissions this way, then occasionally it's going to come back and bite you. Suck it up, have some integrity, and remind yourself that you might not have been able to detect that place at all (or many others that worked out in your favor) had you not left the arrangement vague. If you know in advance that you aren't going to show the owner any keepers no matter what, then you either need to get that clarified or don't hunt.

AirmetTango was right about your situation. When the owner said he wanted to see the finds before you even got started, that was your cue to get clarification. Those agreements can look a lot of different ways, but there's no need to offer up more than what you are willing to do or say more than what will help the owner trust you. There's virtually no situation where you'd need to pay to detect. Paying an owner a fair value for a coin is about all I've ever heard of.

If they never show any interest up front, and you find something you don't want to risk losing, there's no need to go find them for show and tell. Don't make a huge scene when you dig and ID it either.

If somebody gives you permission to hunt when they're not around, then it's pretty clear they aren't interested in seeing or keeping what you find unless previously discussed. There's no reason to bring it up. If somebody IS going to be home and I get a vibe that they might be interested in asking later, I'll just ask if they want me to knock on the door before I leave. If not, then that's all I need to know about their interest in what I'm finding. If they do want me to follow up, then I'm in that situation of deciding if I want to clarify further or take the very small risk of showing something that they'll want to keep. What I'm not going to do is be dishonest with them.

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Last edited by ToySoldier; 01-28-2022 at 10:32 AM.
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  #10  
Old 01-28-2022, 10:14 AM
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The only time we are going to give finds back to the landowner is when they are personal long-term friends. We will go detect for free to help those friends connect with the history of their property. Well not exactly free. We make them provide us with lunch.
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  #11  
Old 01-28-2022, 11:22 AM
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AK, hello. First, I would never, under any circumstance offer to pay to hunt a property. That sets a bad precedent.

I start with an introduction, I tell them my name, where I'm from and then I say I am a history hunter, I do metal detecting, I look for old coins, buttons, tokens and the like. At this point I will usually pay a complement on their house or property and ask how old it is. Then I try to gauge how I'm being perceived, suspiciously, with curiosity, and or welcome. If they are at ease then I am and I proceed to to tell them, I am very respectful of the property, I don't make a mess. I dig a small 3 sided plug, use a towel to put any dirt on that comes out of the hole and dump it back in and flip and seal the plug back up.

When speaking with a property owner I keep it light and friendly and tell them I'm in it for the history and cool finds and I don't sell any of my finds. Then I look for a reaction and that gives me an idea where the conversation is headed. Its usually at this point I whip out my phone and show some pics of my finds. In the hopes they can see my passion in what I do,

Never mention Gold. I made that mistake once or twice. You see their eyes widen and all of a sudden and it gets them to thinking.

Later on, point blank I will will pose the suggestive question, so your ok I keep what I find ? I then tell them, I really have a lot of time and money invested, not to mention all the work involved and my return as opposed to how much junk I dig is not all that much.

If I don't get a yes I will start to politely end the conversation. Most say yes, some will say Yes but I would like to see what you found. But if I get a, well lets see what you find first. red flag, move on.

There a plenty of property owners out there that will let you hunt without condition so to pay or make an agreement that usually leaves one or the other (usually you ) with a bad taste in their mouth. Just keep knocking.

One more thing I will donate things I find back to the owners but at my discretion. Particularly dog tags, lost jewelry, (thats another question I will ask, did anybody loose and jewelry you want me to look for ?) so you don't get a Oh yea I lost that later. Also a wheat or Ihp that dates the year the house was built. And offer to try and clean it up for them. I have never given up a shiny coin. I'm too greedy for that. On the other hand, one house I did around Christmas I knew the lady had a couple small children and lost her job so I gave her a Visa gift card and also one for a local restaurant to make sure the kids had presents and something to eat. What I gave her easily was worth 10 times more than what I found in her yard, So not so much about the money, at least to me, its about what I find. Good luck to you. Mark

Do you know this place, is it still there ?
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  #12  
Old 01-28-2022, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by markinswpa View post
  • I will usually pay a complement on their house or property and ask how old it is......
  • I'm in it for the history and cool finds and I don't sell any of my finds
  • hopes they can see my passion in what I do...
  • Never mention Gold......
  • I will will pose the suggestive question, so your ok I keep what I find ?
  • One more thing I will donate things I find back to the owners but at my discretion.
  • another question I will ask, did anybody loose and jewelry you want me to look for ?) so you don't get a Oh yea I lost that later.
  • Also a wheat or Ihp that dates the year the house was built.
  • What I gave her easily was worth 10 times more than what I found in her yard, So not so much about the money, at least to me, its about what I find.
I have done all of these and wanted to highlight them because it's great advice.

With this one permission the guy just wanted to keep any coins I didn't want for my collection. It was a great property and he was really generous with the amount of time I was able to spend on it making a few great keepers. This place out in the country was so peaceful and relaxing I wouldn't have cared if I hadn't found anything. I left him some coins, some relics, dog tags, and a small bottle of good bourbon on his porch the last day I hunted.

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Old 01-29-2022, 09:29 AM
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I learned my lesson a couple of summers ago after having my first Walking Liberty half confiscated by a property owner in the name of the "history of her home". Homeowners usually have no expectation that there is anything of value buried in their yard. If they did, they would never let you hunt without bringing up the subject of who gets to keep what you might find. If you bring up that subject, then you will have to decide whether you are willing to settle for a pic of the gold eagle you might dig up or whether you want the coin for yourself, and then proceed accordingly. If they insist on keeping my finds I will move on somewhere else.
As part of my pitch, I always ask if they know of any family jewelry that may have been lost and offer to help find it for them and of course, I would give it to them if found. The answer is almost always no, but it sets me up as good guy and not some pirate looking to fleece them out of something valuable that they actually lost. If they want to see what I find, they see the clad, the junk and any wheats. Silver stays in my pocket and if I ever do find that gold eagle, it will stay there too. What they don't know, won't hurt them.

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Old 01-29-2022, 04:45 PM
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Hey, Mark! Long the, no talk. I hope all is well.

As for the Tavern, that's an awesome find! Yes, the Tavern is still here. I haven't been there in a very long time, though. I usually prefer go to Otto's, The Arena or Quaker Steak and Lube. Then again, we have a Mexican restaurant in town that I frequent about once a month after my astronomy club meetings. Their margaritas are absolutely dangerous because they're soooo good!

I still get to Ford City about once every other month or so, and when I do I try to get to Pittsburgh as often as I can. Aside from going home, we are always on the road for my kid's hockey team. They usually play Mt. Lebo or SHAHA when we have to go to Pgh. And I know that there are plenty of places to go detecting around Pittsburgh. As soon as the weather breaks and the ground thaws, I'm hitting some targets back home HARD.

Message me. There's one place I might need help with.
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Old 01-29-2022, 08:42 PM
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I'm with my friend Todd, MTtrashdigger. My detecting is 90% Private front yards and about 10% Curb Strips.

No written agreements or legal forms, just a friendly visit, a handshake, and the go ahead to detect. IF asked to find a lost piece of jewelry or ring I am happy to give it a try. Usually I have not had much success as many times the person losing the item doesn't know "for sure" where it was dropped. I have returned a few Sterling Silver rings that I found on or near the surface as recent drops, and in all cases the homeowner was delighted.

I have 2 pockets in my LAPG pants used to hold coins, a smaller hard to see pocket that gets the Silvers, Rings, Indians, Buffs, V Nickels etc, along with some of the Wheat Cents. My outer pocket has all the Clad Quarters and Dimes, Jefferson Nickels, some wheaties and all the copper memorials. If ever asked (and I have not had this happen so far) to give up or have my finds confiscated, the outer pocket is what they get, and no mention of anything else.

I figure with 5 years of detecting and learning my AT Pro, that knowledge is worth something. If a person wants the coins in their yard, I smile, am polite, say thank you but decline. After all, go ahead and spend $1000+ for your Nox 800 and Pinpointer, and spend many many hours learning your machine, and good luck with that. Thankfully the vast majority of owners out here in Montana could care less, just be respectful and careful in the yard, and they will be happy to go back inside, watch football, eat a meal, and let you detect to your heart's content!
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Old 02-02-2022, 08:04 AM
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I would be remiss if I didn't take time to thank all of you for your input.

I have added about twenty new targets so far over the past few days. Now all I need is for the weather to warm up and get rid of the ice and snow.
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Old 02-05-2022, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by LovestheShiny! View post
I'm with my friend Todd, MTtrashdigger. My detecting is 90% Private front yards and about 10% Curb Strips.

No written agreements or legal forms, just a friendly visit, a handshake, and the go ahead to detect. IF asked to find a lost piece of jewelry or ring I am happy to give it a try. Usually I have not had much success as many times the person losing the item doesn't know "for sure" where it was dropped. I have returned a few Sterling Silver rings that I found on or near the surface as recent drops, and in all cases the homeowner was delighted.

I have 2 pockets in my LAPG pants used to hold coins, a smaller hard to see pocket that gets the Silvers, Rings, Indians, Buffs, V Nickels etc, along with some of the Wheat Cents. My outer pocket has all the Clad Quarters and Dimes, Jefferson Nickels, some wheaties and all the copper memorials. If ever asked (and I have not had this happen so far) to give up or have my finds confiscated, the outer pocket is what they get, and no mention of anything else.

I figure with 5 years of detecting and learning my AT Pro, that knowledge is worth something. If a person wants the coins in their yard, I smile, am polite, say thank you but decline. After all, go ahead and spend $1000+ for your Nox 800 and Pinpointer, and spend many many hours learning your machine, and good luck with that. Thankfully the vast majority of owners out here in Montana could care less, just be respectful and careful in the yard, and they will be happy to go back inside, watch football, eat a meal, and let you detect to your heart's content!
I approach this very similar. Most that give me permission don’t care. Some have asked for things like this old spoon (non silver) I found. She let me keep the dirty wheats and sterling ring I found. I have the ultimate finds box I try to keep it concealed but have shown when asked. Personally I get very few private yards. Lots of old abandoned and gone home sites is a big part of my late fall and winter hunting. I take pics of everything and have started to take videos. That has definitely increased there attention when in yards or strips, so if doing that expect that it may lead to loss of found item. For the most part I don’t show much and when I ask I do offer to they can keep anything. However….. if a gold coin or a bucket lister came up I may have to hide that and no photos on site. That is probably the main thing I would just pack up and leave immediately lol. Haven’t had that experience and doubt I will. This is a touchy subject especially concerning morals. Guess I am lacking some cause a major bucket lister may not be shown if I assume confiscation may happen.

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Old 02-05-2022, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DiggingThePNW View post
......That is probably the main thing I would just pack up and leave immediately lol..
I was turned down for a permission because of a previous detectorist disappearing on the owner. The detectorist agreed to check in with the owner for show and tell, but the detectorist vanished after a couple of hours. The owner was an older man and I got the sense that he was sincerely just curious and the value wouldn't have made any difference to him. I told him I didn't have a problem showing him what I could find, but there wasn't anything I could say to change his mind.

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Old 02-05-2022, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ToySoldier View post
I was turned down for a permission because of a previous detectorist disappearing on the owner. The detectorist agreed to check in with the owner for show and tell, but the detectorist vanished after a couple of hours. The owner was an older man and I got the sense that he was sincerely just curious and the value wouldn't have made any difference to him. I told him I didn't have a problem showing him what I could find, but there wasn't anything I could say to change his mind.
And that is a reason for sure not to vanish. I understand that is a not so great move. Just not sure I could say I wouldn’t if it was something major. Just being honest. I know my partner wouldn’t show. Not sure if I would to be honest. Not trying to ruin it for anyone just haven’t had the circumstance pop up.

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