No Need to Knock Yourself Out!

A dilemma that many detectorists face today is finding a place to detect. We’ve beat to death the parks, schools and athletic fields and the current trend or tendency is hitting the rural open field and farmland. The problem of course is how do we get permission to hunt those areas? 

A few months ago I talked about the right and wrong way of knocking on doors and now I want to share another way forward…..letter writing.  Yep, the old-fashioned way….


I often write landowners because:

  1. They live at a distance
  2. It’s less confrontational
  3. It’s a chance for you to share your story, work, background, etc.
  4. It offers the owner time to check your references
  5. It doesn’t demand a snap yes or no
  6. It lets the landowner know you care enough to sit down and take the time to tell your story
  7. It’s a courteous way of asking

And this is not to say knocking on a door is wrong. Just another way that I’ve found that works more often than not.

I recently sent out a couple of letters to landowners as a result of my grandson getting involved.  The first one resulted in us receiving permission and the two most recent are still out there, pending. I found the sites as a result of driving around our town’s rural boundaries, seeing what “might be” an old site, verifying via Google Earth and then locating the owner through the local tax district site (in my case DCAD).

Here’s an example of my most recent letter (not real names or addresses)

Dick Stout
9876 Main Street
Silver Coins, Texas 56789

March 22, 2017

Mr. William Smith
123 Golden Street
Denver, Colorado 46463

Dear Mr. Smith:

I found your name through the Dallas Central Appraisal District site and I’m writing you with a somewhat unusual request…..

My grandson Lucas and I love to metal detect and wondered if you might allow us to search your property (124 Johnson Road) in Dallas. I’m 75 years old, have enjoyed the metal detecting pastime for over forty years and my grandson has just recently fell in love with it as well.

The reason we are interested in your Johnson Road property is because an older map we looked at indicates there may have been an old home or structure there and if so it might offer up a treasure or two.

If we’re allowed to metal on your property we promise not do any damage to the area and will leave it as exactly as found. We promise as well to hold you harmless should we incur any accidents or injuries while there.  If you have any questions at all please call me at 972-446-8988 or email me at

Thanks so much for considering our request. We look forward to your response.


Dick Stout


Now I could have gone into more detail in the above letter but I tend to do that when I am writing just on my behalf. Why? Well honestly because adding my grandson’s name to this letter gave me a slight advantage, whereas if it were just me writing I would be more inclined to include more information, both business and personal.  Kind of like knocking on a stranger’s door with your five-year old daughter or son at your side automatically puts you at an advantage, and I am not advocating you do that but so you know, I am in the process of starting up a “Rent A Kid” business.  I will fill you in on the details when I am done but basically you will be able to rent a kid and the cuter he or she is the more the fee…

Okay, enough silliness…. here’s a more involved type of letter…

Dick Stout
9876 Main Street
Silver Coins, Texas 56789

March 22, 2017

Mr. William Smith
123 Golden Street
Denver, Colorado 46463

Dear Mr. Smith:

Let me introduce myself if I may. My name is Dick Stout and I have lived at the above address for the past thirty years.  I found your name through the Dallas Central Appraisal District site and I’m writing you with a somewhat unusual request…..

I’m 75 years old, retired and one of my favorite leisure activities is metal detecting.  I’m wondering if I might gain your trust and permission to try my hand on your property at 65 Johnson Road in Denton, Texas. I’ve driven by it numerous times, noticed the old outbuildings in the rear and thought it might offer up a treasure or two.

I realize you nothing about me and because of that I am attaching a separate sheet with names, addresses and phone numbers of references, (personal and business) should you want to know more.

If you allow me to metal detect on your property I promise not do any damage to the area and will leave it exactly as found. Likewise I am attaching a hold harmless statement freeing you of any legal liability should I incur any accidents while there.  If you have any questions or want to know more please feel free to call me at the number above. You can also email me if you wish at

Thanks for reading this far and for considering this unusual request…..


Dick Stout

PS: Enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope should you wish to reply that way.


Incidentally I always follow-up these letters with a phone call in about two weeks time…..

Here’s a copy of a very basic Hold Harmless Agreement. There are many others out there in cyberspace…..


1. In consideration for receiving permission to metal detect on the property of _____________________, located at______________________________. I hereby RELEASE, WAIVE, DISCHARGE, AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE __________________________ (hereinafter referred to as LANDOWNER(s)) from any and all liability, claims, demands, actions, and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, including death, that may be sustained by me, or to any property belonging to me, while participating in such activity, while in, on or upon the premises where the activities are being conducted, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH LOSS IS CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE LANDOWNER(s), or otherwise and regardless of whether such liability arises in tort, contract, strict liability, or otherwise, to the fullest extent allowed by law

2. I further hereby AGREE TO INDEMNIFY AND HOLD HARMLESS the LANDOWNER(s) from any loss, liability, damage, or costs, including court costs and attorneys’ fees that Releases may incur due to my participation in said activities, WHETHER CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OF LANDOWNER(s) or otherwise, to the fullest extent allowed by law.

3. It is my express intent that this Waiver and Hold Harmless Agreement shall bind the members of my family and spouse, if I am alive, and my heirs, assigns and personal representative, if I am deceased, and shall be deemed as a RELEASE, WAIVER, DISCHARGE, AND COVENANT NOT TO SUE the above-named LANDOWNER(s). I hereby further agree that this Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of ___________ and that any mediation, suit, or other proceeding must be filed or entered into only in _______________ and the federal or state courts of _____________. Any portion of this document deemed unlawful or unenforceable is severable and shall be stricken without any effect on the enforceability of the remaining provisions.

IN SIGNING THIS AGREEMENT, I ACKNOWLEDGE AND REPRESENT THAT I have read the foregoing Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement, understand it and sign it voluntarily as my own free act and deed; no oral representations, statements, or inducements, apart from the foregoing written agreement, have been made; I am at least eighteen (18) years of age and fully competent; and I execute this Agreement for full, adequate and complete consideration fully intending to be bound by same.

I HEREBY CERTIFY that I have personal health insurance. My insurance company is __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed this Waiver and Agreement on this _____________________________ day of _______________________, 200_______.


I know you are all going to say this is a helluva lot of work but let me remind you that you can save these letters/agreements on your PC and simply change out the name of the addressee next time out.

Finally, nothing here is a guarantee you will be overloaded with new sites to detect. They are just ideas from moi that have worked out over the years, though I have to tell you in the early days getting permission was quite easy and hold harmless agreements were unheard of.  So much for progress.



Have to smile at some of the over the top comments and photos on manufacturers FB pages….. all aimed at getting noticed and hopefully free stuff.



After 42 years I finally found that one knob detector I’ve been looking for.  Yup, I have my dream machine.  One knob, extremely lightweight and very portable and sturdy enough I can use it as a cane.  Found it at a farm sale last week.  Had to shell out $10 but it was worth it.

Bill Mahan’s Tiny-Tex, circa late 60’s….

Knew there was a reason I loved the old days…..




Filed under Permission

9 responses to “No Need to Knock Yourself Out!

  1. Great post Dick. It gives folks a place to start. I especially like the Rent-a-kid idea–it would be a great way for retirees to supplement their income 🙂

  2. wintersen

    A useful post for both those starting out and more experienced detectorists plus a couple of laughs along the way. I like it!

  3. David

    Where is Silver coins, Texas? I am looking to relocate. I currently live in Pull Tab city, Texas.

    • Hah, I really live in Bottlecap, Texas….no such thing as Silver Coins here in the Lone Star. Sorry too it took so long to approve your comment David…it would up in the Spam category for some reason.

  4. Better still, why not have an amply bosomed person of the female gender help you out; put $20 in her hand, point her towards the ranch-house door and tell her when the owner comes to the door to say (with a Dolly Parton drawl):-

    “Howdee big boy, me and mah uncle over der would just luuuurve, and ah mean luuuuurve, to hunt on your land for lil’ ol’ cute artefacts.” ot

  5. Ed Brozyna

    I’ve seen many detector brands come and go and though I remember D-Tex, I don’t remember the “Tiny Tex”. Loved the various points of sale in the ad, especially how it will find paper money !!!!

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