The Excavator…


Had a lot of great comments on the Prospect Park situation so I decided to go one more round. For those of you who didn’t bother to read it may you find nothing but hot rocks and pulltabs the rest of this year….

Leaving Open Holes/Our Achilles’ Heel

Detectorists leaving open holes is an age-old problem but I have a hunch it’s happening more now simply because of our increased numbers. Just stands to reason that as more people enter the hobby the more image problems we will face. Having said that I am willing to bet that most of our problems are caused by the experienced detectorist and his perceived need to find as much as he can in the shortest amount of time. The need to ‘one up’ the competition and be king of the hill.

As I stated in the previous post I get tired of the typical tekkie response whenever we face a problem similar to Prospect Park. Tired of hearing about how “it’s the golfer”, “the squirrels”, “gophers”, “dogs”, “birds”, “kids”, “groundskeeper”, “archaeologists”, etc..  Now in a few instances these attributions might be correct but in the long run it’s US. We detectorists….we who can do no wrong….we who “always” live by the code of ethics.  Well I’m not sure what your theory is but we damn well better find some way to alleviate the problem, and I use the word alleviate because in my opinion it’s impossible to fix.

I’m pretty sure almost all the manufacturers enclose the code of ethics when they ship out a detector (albeit buried on the last page of the owner’s manual), and I suspect the beginning detectorist reads it, but in his or her haste to become rich and retire at a young age it goes in one ear and out the other. Now we could throw this responsibility over to the local club but they are disappearing at an alarming rate and there’s no guarantee that the new detector purchaser is going to go that route even if there is a group nearby.

So how do we get through to the rebel(s) in our midst? The guy who just received his brand new detector and wants to show his wife that he didn’t piss away $500 for nothing. Will he read the material that came with his new machine? Will he really practice digging neat holes in his back yard? Can we somehow insure he does things that won’t reflect on the rest of us? The realistic answer is NO!

The only suggestion I can offer is that we ALL have to monitor the sites we dig regularly. If you belong to a club and your members have a park they detect on a regular basis (permit system or not) assign a club member to visit it weekly or bi-weekly. Have them look for unfilled holes, dead plugs and any other potential detecting problems. He or she might also talk to the park personnel to let them know they’re keeping tabs on things and picking up trash.

No club in your area? Then you’re the monitor. It’s to your benefit and as well as the pastimes. Don’t piss and moan after the area is closed. Take the time to insure it’s always going to be there for you.

Now I know this is not a fool-proof idea and is only as good as the detectorist on the local level. No one can catch every bad situation or uncaring tekkie. But if we ALL tried to do something like this it has to help, and just perhaps the effort will be noticed by the those who are unfamiliar with our pastime and who can make or break us.

Then again what the hell do I know…

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19 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

19 responses to “The Excavator…

  1. Lisa

    Great post, Dick. Since I don’t do a lot of digging anymore (starving archaeologist) I cannot verify how much of a problem this is. However, I do read, and I’ve read of this being an issue. And, you’re 100% correct. It does nothing but devalue your hobby and give fodder for those hell bent on limiting your activity. I like the monitor idea!

  2. Your right on the money with this Dick. The club that I started and have since walked away from has members (veterans) in this hobby who dig the worst plugs and don’t care about it. That burns my butt when this happens, when we have to go behind these people who should know better.

    Another problem is selling detectors over the Internet and in big box stores. Those salesmen and women a lot of times know nothing about detecting and could care less. All they worry about is making a sale. The small mom and pop shops are being bypassed and those are the places people need to support because of the knowledge those people have. Most are detectorists themselves and can help the newbie with the laws and go through proper digging techniques. I put on 1-2 training sessions a year at my lock shop to help stress some of the problems we face. In my opinion it’s is way too easy to buy on line….another downfall.

    • Hi Kenny, good to hear from you…

      I’ve always suggested buying from the local dealer. They’re there to help newcomers and pro’s alike. They’re also there if the buyer has a problem with their purchase and some even offer loaners when and if a detector needs to go back to the factory for repair. All kinds of reasons to shop locally.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Kenny…hi to everyone up there in the frigid tundra.

  3. Bob K

    I agree with your comments about the holes, I do keep a watch over our parks, just as you said about the (fox)holes and the dead plugs. Seems like in dry spell like were having now (54 days) some don’t change there digging practices. As for your last comment you do know a hell of a lot….
    Thanks for all do and say about our hobby.

    • Unfortunately Bob those who only care about themselves will dig those big holes, drought or not. As for me knowing a hell of a lot…can you spare a few minutes to talk to my wife?

  4. Hi Dick:
    You are preaching to the converted. I and many others have no argument whatsoever with your sentiments. But, how to achieve a ‘detecting education’ for the ‘uneducated’?

    Perhaps the answer is for all manufacturers – and maybe retailers too – to include in the box or point of sale a leaflet outlining Tekkies’ responsibilities and to make the new customer aware of the huge detecting community ‘out there’ and the results of indiscriminate digging and trespass.

    Our hobby DOES NOT hold the monopoly of the villainy: academics loot Native American sites with the untold loss of archaeological data – Daniel Amick of Loyola University, being the prime example, who readers might recall stole 17 artifacts, including arrowheads, from public lands on two field trips to New Mexico, according to the statement by Kenneth Gonzales, U.S. attorney for the District of New Mexico.

    The problem is of course, that in the US at least, no viable ‘national body’ exists with whom the manufacturers can sit down round the table and thrash out a plan of action.

    The US is the spiritual home of treasure hunting with a metal detector – it’s legal; wholesome; educational; and contributes enormously to historical knowledge. YET, and I cannot imagine why, US enthusiasts have no-one to speak-up for their hobby at ANY level.

    Your Washington Update in W&ET was a milestone.

    • “Perhaps the answer is for all manufacturers – and maybe retailers too – to include in the box or point of sale a leaflet outlining Tekkies’ responsibilities and to make the new customer aware of the huge detecting community ‘out there’ and the results of indiscriminate digging and trespass.”

      John they already do this. Just that a few tekkies ignore it when they think they can get away with it. It’s called greed.

  5. Bigtony

    “In the box” is not good enough! It has to be attached to the battery door so that you have to tear it off in order to put the batteries on a charger. That way you acknowledge that you will abide by code of ethics on such leaflet.

  6. John

    Hi Dick, You can lead a horse to water……………..There are unfortunately people who won’t/don’t listen. They are totally self focused & when their selfishness is pointed out to them they get offended. Go figure. Too many idiots not enough ammunition. Not that I’d condone going quite so far but it is frustrating & unfortunately not going to get any better any time soon.

  7. John

    Cheers Dick. Wet and very windy but on such a small scale that you wouldn’t even register but it doesn’t stop us complaining!! Hope all is well with you too. Best, John

  8. Bob Sickler

    I find a large component of blame for bad recoveries goes to those who do not know how to pinpoint a target accurately with their metal detector first. I’ve seen plugs replaced with the soil around the plug decimated. This is ripe for suction removal by high-powered flail mowers. It tells me the target was not pinpointed with the searchcoil correctly and the operator had to scallop the sides of the plug hole afterwards to find the elusive target. This is true wherever many detectorists have been. Some people do not know how to spot the correct point on the ground to start a plug in the first place because they never bothered to learn beforehand the actual physical electronic center of their searchcoils through experimentation. For some it’s ignore the owner’s manual, “I know what I’m doing.” The predominant searchcoil winding configuration today is “2D” which makes it even more difficult to pinpoint correctly if you ignore the manual. I could write another book on just proper target recovery alone, but only those who cared about the subject would read it unfortunately. Those detectorists are unfortunately the minority today.

    Simple math: “Treasure” + greed + uneducated recovery techniques = DISASTER!

    • Agreed!! Pinpointing has gone out of style. Today it’s “right der somewhere”….

      Bob please do write another book. I will be the first purchaser.

      • Bob Sickler

        Thanks Dick, but at this stage of my life, I’d rather be metal detecting more than writing about it in book form. Writing on this blog is a little more fun and informal and hopefully it will still do some good… But there is that part of me that continues to want to be the teacher and help others… Who knows!

      • I will just have to keep bugging you then….keep us posted. My book and my last will be quite different though it’s stalled at the moment.

  9. Bigtony

    Bob, I think you are onto a big issue here. Most new detectorists are probably having issues with centering the target under the search coil. Some coils will locate a target in front of the coil not the center and thereby fooling the inexperienced person. Good post, we all need to educate those new club members with more information.

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