An Old Myth Revisited…

Not a lot going on so I decided to share another blurb from “Coin Hunting…In Depth” and it concerns the ole “hunted out” theory.  I never believed in it and still don’t.  Hope you find a brainfart or two in what follows…



I don’t think there are too many detectorists who haven’t had someone tell them the site they were searching  was “hunted out” and I am willing to bet they also prefaced it with “I cleaned it out” or “I spent days there and didn’t find a thing”.  Well let me tell you, what these self applauding detectorists were really saying is “I know it all” and “if I couldn’t find anything there no one can”.   Well don’t believe it.  It’s just egotistical bullshit masquerading as fact….


Now before you jump all over me I am aware that there are places that have been hunted to death and the pickings there are slim, but I will never buy the hunted out line. No site is ever hunted out, and whenever I heard someone say that I would smile and reply “gotcha, thanks”… It just meant to me that the site must really be good if it was hunted so hard, and that those who did hunt it removed most of the surface goodies and left the deeper stuff for me.

Anyway after a while I pretty much knew what I was up against  and learned a few lessons along the way…

A few tips…

When you first search an area like this you already know you won’t be hearing a helluva lot of signals, so come up with a couple of different plans or approaches.  My first was always to grid out an area, maybe twenty by twenty feet and work it to death, scanning slowly North to South, East to West and yes even Northeast to Southwest, etc., overlapping your sweeps by one third.

Note* If you shorten your stem so that the coil is literally at your feet you cannot help but slow down. It will also help you avoid haphazard scanning.

If your headphones have volume controls, max out the volume on your detector and then adjust it up and down from there.  Hunt in ‘All Metal’ or zero Disc and turn up your threshold a little more than usual.  Listen carefully for any slight increase in your audio.  When you do hear a change lower your threshold just barely into the silent area, and crank up your sensitivity (or gain).  The reason for this is to see if you can bring up a numerical readout. Your detector will be erratic but all you are trying to do is ascertain whether the item is wort digging and this readout could be the difference maker.

If after a while you haven’t found much of anything, either move on and grid out another area or consider searching the same area again with your larger coil.  Also look for areas that might have been ignored or overlooked by those who hunted before….along fence lines, around tree roots, under shrubs and overgrown areas on the fringes.  It’s not unusual for vegetation to creep in over the years and actually shrink a park or athletic site.  The big thing to remember when hunting any heavily detected site is to not be in a hurry.  There’s good stuff there and if you have the patience it will be worth the effort.

My Favorite Hunted Out Site!

The very first TH’ing article I ever wrote for a magazine was called “My Favorite Hotspot“, World of Treasures magazine, sometime in the early 80’s, and it was about the Plessey Porcelain field in Frenchtown, New Jersey. The field itself goes back to the mid-1800’s and was used for community celebrations, athletic events, carnivals, fireworks and was without a doubt the most productive site I ever hunted.  I took hundreds of old coins from that field over the years, and all the while the competition kept telling me it was hunted out.

In 2011 I mentioned Plessey to my ole New Jersey friend John Punola, and he decided to travel South and give it a go.  He too came home with a few nice old coins and wrote an article called “Plessey Revisited” for Western & Eastern Treasures magazine, reenforcing my belief again that no site is ever hunted out.

John Punola (photo from "Plessey Revisited" , WET 2012)

John Punola (photo from “Plessey Revisited”, WET 2012)

So when you hear about a “hunted out” site,  be sure to put it on your to do list.  It just might become one of your favorites….



Received the following from Roger Barbrick concerning the possible beach closings in Massachusetts….

First I want to thank you all again for signing the petition to stop a ban on metal detecting on Massachusetts State beaches…

I just had a lengthy discussion with a DCR official regarding our concern and he was very supportive. He will be meeting with the DCR Commissioner to discuss the situation and will let me know how that meeting goes. He informed me that he did not think it was their intention to take away this recreation from us and they were simply trying to promulgate some new rules to reflect the merger that took place a few years back and to bring the Regulations up to date (I’m paraphrasing).

He mentioned that they had received lots of phone calls and emails on this. It got their attention and they are very concerned. I asked if it would be safe to continue detecting the DCR beaches, and he said it was and that beach detecting can continue while we figure this out (I hope the Rangers get the memo). He stated he would probably know more in a week or two.

My discussion with him was very positive and upbeat and he had numerous question regarding what we do and how we do it.I forwarded him some of the trash pictures that were sent to me for him to look at and to share with the Commissioner. The outlook is a good one I think and I will update you all as soon as I have more to share.

Again, I will update you when I know more.

Thank you all for the support!

Roger Barbrick



Most of you are familiar with D.J. Yost but if not be sure to check out his website DJ Digs.  DJ’s recent ring return garnered him the following article in the local newspaper and I’ve added it to the “Who We Are” link above.  If you happen to see similiar writeups or mentions send them along. I have been somewhat laxed in keeping that area  updated.  Thanks D.J….great job!

Nazareth Area High School Class Ring Discovered, Returned After More Than 40 Years




Filed under Metal Detecting

16 responses to “An Old Myth Revisited…

  1. I know of that field in Frenchtown. I’ve personally never hunted it but have seen others there recently. I did get some decent coins from the school across the street though. I like how you said to shorten the length of the coil. I’ve always run mine like that for that exact reason. Never heard anyone else say that though. Guess great minds think a like!

  2. Robbie

    When I started detecting in late 1969, the Relco dealer who was also a detector user, had told me a certain park had been hunted out. Last year I dug at least 6 wheat pennies and 3 silver dimes in a section about 30 ft. wide by 50 length, at that same park that had been hunted out so many years before. The following 6 words, I really believe in.

    No such thing as hunted out !!!

  3. DJ, just a sample…The following excerpts are from “A Fond Look Back”, by Gloria Sipes Paleveda, published by the Frenchtown Historical Society in New Jersey, in 1984……a book that provided me with numerous clues and many old treasures when I lived near this small New Jersey community. I list them to give you some idea of what these types of books can offer you in the way of clues. The grammar and punctuation are exactly as used in the text…..

    “At the other end of the spectrum, Frenchtown was the scene of traveling religious revival meetings called Chautauquas (named after a town in New York state). There was much fervent singing and praying and lecturing. Attendance was always good, because, whether or not you were religious, it was something worth seeing. These chautauquas were first held in an empty lot on Eighth Street in a tent; later they were held in my parents’ French Theater.”

    “In the winter, sledding down Everittstown Hill was a very important and spontaneous pastime after a big snow. Adults as well as children would gather in the evening far enough up the hill to gain enough momentum to carry the sleds all the way along Race Street and then down Trenton Avenue.”

    “At the Pumping Station was the Dam, that has long been swept away by one of the spring floods that had taken the New Dam, further up the Crick, long before. The Dam was great for swimming and fishing and ice skating or just sitting at the bottom of the dam. The younger or timid ones swam at the top where the water was the shallower.” “Frenchtown’s Fourths of July become a morning of continual big bangs from the giant firecrackers of the Big Boys, Marvin Robinson, Charlie Gregorchuck and Malcolm Niece. And afternoons that are a kaleidoscope of greens dotted with flower colors from picnics up the Crick or down the River. All Fourth of July evenings were spent on the Porcelain Field where the famous, fabulous Frenchtown Carnival culminated in brilliant banquets of dazzling fireworks against the black velvet sky.”

    “I remember the tremendous, gigantic, seven-day Frenchtown Carnival at the Porcelain Field; I remember Strawberry Socials in June, going to Harvest Homes in August, watching one-ring circuses (mostly dog acts) at The Flat (now Borough Park), and Medicine Shows at the large Twelfth Street empty lot. I remember when the path up Honeysuckle Hill was kept open, and was a delightfully hidden bower. Spring water was on tap coupled with the community tin cup hanging from the faucet at the base of the hillside near Sixth Street and Milford Road.”

    And more…

  4. Great post Dick, and very inspiring. I have to admit I’m guilty of using those terms, ‘Dug out’, ‘Fished out, ‘Done to death’, etc. I can see now its the no patience in me, certainly will look at it in a different way now. Excellent tip on shortening the stem length, something I’m going to try next time out..

    • Thanks Janner. Hate to say it but as I’ve gotten older I have picked up that “no patience” bug that I preach about. I am now searching for that much talked about fountain of youth.

  5. Great post Dick. I too like the places that people say are hunted out. Gives me a chance to challenge myself to prove them wrong. I tell a lot of people there is no such thing as hunted out. I’ve been able to get into these places and walk away with some nice coins and jewelry.

  6. Great article, and ya learned me a thing or two! :^) I detect a fair grounds, and have people tell me that “I see other guys out here detecting all the time.” Well, I am barely past a rookie, and I find rings and other jewelry there all the time. In fact that field has produced gold, silver, platinum and a half dollar, not to mention all of the hoop earrings that were either silver or gold I’ve dug there. All obvious targets in my opinion too…lol I guess you could say that spot is pounded…but apparently they don’t like jewelry! hah

    • Thanks Rob. On the flip side I used to hunt the Flemington Fairgrounds in New Jersey and it was wall to wall bottlecaps and foil. It wasn’t fun but I knew how many years the fair had taken place, how many people attended and I persevered. I wasn’t
      disappointed….came away with hundreds of old coins. I wish I still had that kind of patience….

  7. supernova1c

    A great post to reassure folk about “hunted out” sites. I too have had success in area’s like this. Regards James 🙂

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