Too Busy Getting Noticed to Notice…

Folks, we might want to take a step back, leave the video camera at home and think about our image and pastime because right now it’s not all that great…

We need to get it to the masses…

…was what I was told when I started my job as Director of Marketing for Garrett in 1988. The goal was to get the product in a major retailer’s stores or an iconic catalog. That was where the money was, or at least that’s what everyone thought. I tried my best in the two years I was with the company but other than a very close but no cigar overture with L.L. Bean and a brief stint in the Sears catalog (a month later they stopped printing it), I failed my mission.

I bring this up because thanks to cyberspace and reality TV metal detectors are now indeed in the hands of the masses and in my opinion it’s not working out so well.


Now this is only one instance and it may well blow over with local detectorists /clubs taking the initiative. On the other hand it could very well have disastrous consequences for every park in NYC. Time will tell….

I shared this video on two detecting Facebook pages and was amazed at the responses. “Staged”, “Squirrels, dogs”, “someone is out to get us”……hardly anyone wanted to admit that we have tekkies in our ranks who just don’t give a damn, and honestly it doesn’t matter, the damage has been done, right or wrong.

Leaving unsightly holes is not a new problem. It is however now a more frequent one thanks to our swelling numbers and I’m afraid it’s going to get worse. The picture of someone digging in a park with a shovel is unacceptable, and I don’t care how well you dig with it or how neat your holes are, the image is wrong.

I don’t have an answer to this problem and I’m not sure there is one. All we can do is keep our eyes open and pay attention to the rules and regulations. We need to slow down, take our time and make sure we do it right.  We need to police our own and we need to teach, preach and hope that we can somehow make a difference. Otherwise….




Filed under Metal Detecting

33 responses to “Too Busy Getting Noticed to Notice…

  1. I have seen the same conditions left at both the beach and in parks here in Chicago. The problem is detectors are available from every store chain and you can buy them with no idea of how to properly retrieve a target. The new detectorist watches a couple video’s of guys and gals digging lots of great stuff and they head to the park with a garden shovel and dig a 12 inch diameter hole to recover a penny that s 2 inches down. I have also yelled at old timers that can’t be asked to take the time to cover a hole the right way. I get the comment, who the hell do you think you are telling me what to do, I have been doing this since the 70’s. I hate to say it Dick but I believe you are completely correct, the hobby is on borrowed time. eventually the powers that be will say no more!

  2. njfella007

    Dick, when was this video from? I’m surprised I never got wind of it, but nonetheless, I will be sharing this if it’s okay with you.

    I have hunted Prospect numerous times, and I know people who’ve been hunting it religiously, almost every weekend for the last 10 or 20 years. The amount of history they’ve pulled from there would make your head spin – silver coins galore, heaps of coppers, all types of relics, etc. Which I why I will be sharing this. Many detectorists I know would be VERY upset if they ever lost Prospect.

    Would love to know who the guy in the video is. Hopefully we can uncover his identity somehow. This is obviously unacceptable.

    For the record, I know you use the term “tekkies” as a blanket statement a lot, and you might not have meant it, but IMO it makes zero difference whether someone is a tekkie or not when it comes to leaving open holes. I know many who film their hunts, who are very active on social media, and yes, they may even wear camo (lol), but they would NEVER treat the ground with such disregard. On the other hand…

    I’m sure there are many low key, unassuming people who could give two shits the damage they leave in their wake. So, I don’t think it’s fair to peg the problem of unfilled holes solely on the shoulders of the tekkies.

  3. heavymetalnut

    You are absolutely correct on this post. No need to have a shovel period. A hand digger is all that is needed. Many are too lazy to get down on their knees and dig a small hole. Shovel is the lazy way out. It’s intimidating when seen by others too. I hope they don’t shut down any park due to this news story. There are gonna be many pissed off detectorists who do dig proper plugs.

  4. SeabeeRon

    Just saw this Vid on a forum. Disgusting!! these people are ruining it for the rest of us!!

  5. njfella007

    I’ve been saying for years that this hobby is on borrowed time, and I still believe it. Yes, the bans/ordinances will surely help phase this pastime out, but the bigger issue is simple supply & demand. Once a coin or relic is taken from the ground, it’s gone forever. With each passing decade there’s been less and less to find due to increased competition.

    To go out for 5 or 6 hours today and dig 2 or 3 silvers is a great hunt…and is sadly the exception. So, imagine how difficult it will be to find anything 15 or 20 years from now. The newer faster/deeper machines are cleaning everything out fast. Yes, no place will ever be totally hunted out, but I don’t know of too many hardcore detectorists who will be happy hunting for a whole day to go home with just a single piece of silver or one old coin. That’s not the type of action most of us diehards are looking for.

    IMO, the only niche in this hobby which WILL last forever (unless it’s banned) is beach hunting. Due to constant replenishment from depositors, as well as what’s kicked in on a daily basis from the sea, that is the one aspect of this pursuit which will be around forever.

    I give it another 15 or 20 years before this hobby is cooked, if not slightly sooner. It will still be around, but the lack of real action and the amount of nonsense we’ll have to put up with will make it pretty much a waste of time.

    • Agreed and when a major TV station airs something like this we should be concerned. I just wish I had an answer or even an idea but I don’t.

      • Joe

        Here’s an idea I’ve thought about on a few occasions. Could work or might fail terribly, but on the surface it seems doable…

        How about a short, required training class when someone purchases a detector with their local dealer? It would only need to be for an hour or two, but would cover the basics such as; properly digging a plug, how to pinpoint targets, etc. After the class, the detectorist would be given some sort of an I.D. card stating that they were trained on the equipment, as well as good practices regarding the hobby. Each card would have a unique # attached, and all of the #’s would be entered into a national database governed by the detector companies, so they know you’ve been trained, and will offer some small goodies in return (magazines, hats, etc.).

        Next logical question would be, well what if someone wanted to buy their detector from Walmart, Cabela’s, etc? Easy. They are totally free to do so, but if they instead purchase from their local dealer, they will be given a nice training discount on their purchase, in addition to getting the I.D. card.

        Also, to sweeten the pot, the dealers could offer a discount on goods bought whenever someone already has an I.D. card and furnishes it at the time of purchase. All of this could easily be underwritten/accomplished by the manufacturers, since it is essentially an insurance policy of sorts, which might help guaranty the long-term survival of their cash cow businesses. If the hobby is heavily banned or outlawed, they will lose much more than we will.

      • Joe I like the idea but there are parts that I see as problematic….

        1. Not every dealer would do the training but give out the card.

        2. The mail order companies would balk. The customer would still buy from them to save money and the manufacturer is not going to want to upset them.

        3. The manufacturer is not going to want to be the steward for all this, let alone a fall guy when something goes wrong.

        The training thing always comes up and I know there are videos out there on proper recovery techniques. The problem however is that a few hunters will watch them, nod their head, agree with them and then go out and leave unsightly holes. I do think our numbers have created a “hurry up” mentality that just fuels all this.

        We have a problem with personal responsibility and that’s not something we can control.


    Hi Dick, Sad to say that I’ve seen this on an organised dig where supposedly responsible detectorists were not filling in their holes properly. A steward at the dig was bemoaning the issue and rightly so. I was appalled as the culprits seem to have no idea that such poor practice will result in the landowners denying access in the future. I can only hope that the organiser had a quiet word with those responsible. We cannot dig on public land in the UK so any permissions we get on farms and other private land are valuable and not to be abused. Unfortunately I think it’s all part of a general decline in behaviour generally like some kind of sickness that is spreading into all areas of life. Or perhaps I’m just another moaning old git. If that is the case I’m a proud moaning old git who fills my holes.
    All the best from a very chilly Eastbourne.

    • John I’m certain that detectorists here in states view me as a moaning old git too but I hope a few of them will remember the labeling and criticism when they reach our age…

      We just might need to form a “Moaning Old Gits” club. I know of another blogger in the UK who would fit in nicely….

  7. In my view, it’s imperative that permit holders contact the Parks Department and demand better policing to ensure holes are filled-in. Trouble is, there is no organisation to act on their behalf… that’s another pigeon that’s come home to roost.

    • Not sure you meant what you said Bubba…The parks department is not responsible for our bad apples, WE ARE. You are correct though about the organization, or lack thereof.

    • The park also belongs to the responsible element of Tekkiedom. They ought to demand that their interests are policed too, so as to reduce the amount of holes left unfilled. Indeed, as these holes are regularly appearing is proof the park patrols/police are not doing their jobs. Better still, make all permit holders bailiffs.

      That said, the responsibility to refill holes is firmly with the permit holders. Those who transgress ought to have their permits revoked or suspended.

  8. Joe

    I left a comment with an idea above, but wanted to end with this, which will be my last word about this here…

    PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is key. Not just in metal detecting, but in all aspects of daily life. Someone can go out and ace their driver exam tomorrow, and then stupidly down a 12 pack the following weekend, causing a drunk driving fatality. A person facing financial hardships can choose to get a second job, or can just as easily go out and rob a bank. You see where I’ heading with this.

    Having MORALS & GOOD ETHICS is ultimately what it comes down to, at the end of the day. Or, as my Jewish friends would say, it’s about being a mensch.

    All the rules, bans, ordinances, outcries, etc. will do little good if a person is a slob, or cares little about the result of his or her actions.

  9. Thanks Joe. well said and right on the money….

  10. Bob Sickler

    I’ve said for some time now that the final frontier in metal detecting is private land. The same social video portal used to illuminate everyday metal detecting exploits may eventually destroy the recreation for the rest of us non-video stars. The video accompanying this blog is ominous proof.

    Many of today’s metal detecting videos are filmed on private property. Some with permission and some I bet not. Recoveries (or “treasure” as some would generously label it) are being overly portrayed in terms of their resale worth in dollars and not as a recreation that discovers and reclaims history or simply supports the physical health and enjoyment of its participants. If you were a private land owner and started to easily investigate on public media what it is we all do, would you want to grant permission to people who leave destruction behind and brag about the dollar value of items found? As a detectorist would you yourself give permission to another detectorist to hunt your own property in this light?

    In the history of life, it has always been human greed that eventually destroys all that is precious. Whether you recover with a shovel or a screwdriver matters little compared to the act of publicly doing it carefully, respectfully and showing no damage left behind. I agree that a full-size or even a small shovel has no place in public view if we want to be perceived as being caring of what we do as a recreation. The use of shovels today for some is to speed things up… Get it deeper and faster than the next guy right? A poor reason to be using one on public property. I myself use a medium handled small spade to hunt rough terrain and wooded areas. It does cut a deeper plug, sometimes easier and more neatly than I could use a hand digger in rocky soil, but I would feel way too self-conscience to be using one on public lawns. Especially since I’m the guy who endeavored years ago to educate metal users about proper recovery techniques in the first social media we called “magazines”! Social media is nothing new. Those of us from a former era used magazines and face-to-face club meetings to share a common interest.

    I guess I’m different because my metal detecting finds are cherished for their value as history reclaimed. It won’t be long before anything worthwhile still buried will be oxidized featureless into the base metal it was created from. History is everyone’s history. Maybe it would be better to talk about finds over social media with explanations as to what they actually are. Educate the uneducated or be educated ourselves… Portray ourselves as custodians who care about our past, not people willing to sell it to the highest bidder.

    One little story before I step off the soap box… Back in the 80’s when I was field testing metal detectors for public consumption, I recovered several modern coins in my own backyard during one of the tests. I did so using only my detector pinpointing skills, a small modified screwdriver probe and a hand-held digger. My recoveries were purposely as neat as possible, it was my own yard and it was good practice to use on other people’s property as well. Later that evening at twilight I looked out the backdoor window and saw several skunks walking about. I laughed to myself thinking boy I was glad I wasn’t out there on my hands and knees catching some perfume! In the morning, I found all of my recovery plugs uprooted. The skunks had intelligently used my little holes to make it easier on themselves to find grubs! A skunk is a skunk, no matter how small the hole they leave behind.

  11. wendell

    Education is good but when attitudes are bad people don’t care how they leave the area. It should look better after a dig than before with all the small trash taken away and either recycled of disposed of properly. If you care, you will get the education from some of the people on the numerous forums. I’ve learned a lot over the years and try to pass it on to others, but it only takes one person to give our hobby a bad name.

  12. Give a dog a bad name? Cop load of this: – “The suspicion must arise that the European Council for Metal Detecting is a blowhard organisation that can’t achieve it’s aims.” Really?

    Phew! So says the Heritage Journal website – an incestuos, super blowhard, dim-witted, anti-detecting group, who have failed miserably in their quest to have the hobby banned on all continents.

    They, like chefs who cannot flip pancakes, are useless tossers!

  13. Our Facebook site actually agreed with Dick’s post on shovels…mostly. As an old Git myself, AND a Facebook Admin for two groups, I’ve had folks who bray how cool (and cheap!) that $7 Harbor Freight full-sized shovel is, and even provide pictures of digging in a county park with it…which is a clear violation of Orange County Metal Detecting Permit rules. This is a component of the even bigger problem of what I call “Greed Detectorists” who are NOT hobbyist’s but are using metal detectors in the same way certain fishing equipment is used to fish for improper sized fish, or a gun for robbing a bank instead of hunting for food. And as for the beach being open forever to metal detecting, that is also going to be off the table if CFMDC members observations hold true for much longer. Officials in Cocoa Beach have already made at least one attempt to ban beach detecting because of holes left open on the wet sand of the public beach, but they failed, and members have seen older men who should know better, leaving deep, unfilled holes in the wet sand. The beach enjoys a welter of bike riders and joggers, and to have one cyclist hurt after running into one of the holes or a jogger break an ankle in one, would end the beach hunting pretty quick on legal grounds. So, it’s not solely big shovels and camo, it is blatant disregard for basic safety and common sense. I could go on for 60-years about this, but I have already 🙂

  14. Bob Sickler

    Like in all recreations, all it takes is a couple of “me first” selfish people to destroy it for those who care. That summation about people is sadly true and relevant from the beginning of civilization. Another sad fact is I don’t see any of the metal detector manufacturers being overly concerned about our problem, at least not in the public eye. They should be concerned because it will surely hit them in the bottom line soon at the accelerated pace we are experiencing. This is my 49th year enjoying metal detecting and I don’t have much hope for the future of the recreation. The world is moving way too quickly in all things via technology. The old wisdom that you can’t gain something without losing something is now coming back to bite us hard.

    • Absolutely!! We’ve also become a numbers group/generation, whether videos, FB groups, forums, likes, shares, followers, viewers etc..

      Not sure what happened to the manufacturers. They to use to have an organization of sorts that met to deal with potential problems. Now it’s just “here’s a new model, it’s better than the last one, please share it in cyberspace”.

      Of course if they put any instructional material in with their detectors no one would read it.

  15. Bigtony

    Dick, I do agree with you about social media and the loss of our hobby to those types; but on your recent post – my first impression was OMG! I for one will not throw a photo of someone metal detecting under the bus without proof. How many of those holes were made by folks with golf clubs? Do they replace their divots? Not on the filed where I metal detect and the grounds keeper will not throw them off the field like he does a detectorist. I also wonder who they interviewed for the news….was it a Conservancy member? For that answer you should ask the Task Force because they met with them over the years.

    Now my suggestion is simple – we must update the code of ethics to include – I will not detect park fields if the ground is too dry, (Probably between May 15th and September 15th – East Coast of course). This should also apply to folks who use golf clubs on dry park fields.
    Nuff said – I have been very busy and just saw your post. Go easy on me but stay positive and keep up the good work for the hobby and us old timers too!

    • Tony you may be right about the holes but my point was and is, we can’t use that as an argument without any proof. We, for whatever reason, always get defensive about these things. It’s been going on for years and years and years. We need to stop the excuses and find a way to fight it, fix it and monitor it. Adding something to the code is useless. There’s already something about filling in your holes and honestly if guys don’t care about leaving unsightly holes why would they care about not detecting during dry times?

      Finally you can’t ask the Task Force. They’re gone, as in disappeared.

  16. Coin25

    Dick, you are wrong about the code not working, it does and to add not digging in park fields when dry conditions exist will sink in and that is how we start this trip to fix what is broken. The Task Force was started in that park that was on the new video. Harry Nichols is looking down at us and isn’t very happy.

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