What Lies Ahead?

While I’ve seen a great many changes in the pastime over the years the Tesoro, Kellyco situations are ominous in the sense that maybe we’re sliding down a slippery slope that needs to be addressed.

Here’s my take…

Compared to other outdoor hobbyists we detector users are a small group and there’s a limited amount of money to spread around. As a result those manufacturers, distributors and dealers who don’t take care of their customers or stay one step ahead of the game will fall by the wayside. Additionally as more entrants come on the scene we’re seeing the number of places where we can practice our craft getting smaller and smaller, resulting in detectorists losing interest and selling off their equipment.

Next by most accounts metal detectors are not going to suddenly get that much better. The technology has hit a plateau and most new models now are focusing on design, weight and a helluva lot of hype. Nothing wrong with that but when you have every manufacturer busting their butt to come out with  something new every spring and fall there has to be a strain on “everyone’s” wallet. I think we may be seeing it now.

brown leather wallet using blue steel clap

On the plus side…

Forgetting wannabe archaeologists like Warsaw Wally & Heritage Harry, metal detecting is here to stay. The allure and the desire to search for treasure is as strong as ever but it’s now being defined by over crowding, public scrutiny and the loss of land thanks to development and a few irresponsible hunters. No matter how many YouTube videos come on the scene or how many rock stars have you buying their brand you and you alone know what your situation is. I’m guessing it’s not what it once was.

So what’s the answer? I really think we need to come to grips with the “where can I hunt” dilemma because when that dries up…POOF! Used to be you could hit city parks and schoolyards and come home with quite a few decent finds but today detectorists pretty much take what they can get and for convenience sake label themselves relic hunters. We need to change this and we must find a way to change the public’s perception of what we do and how we do it, unless of course you’re content with hunting cornfields. Unfortunately to accomplish this we need movers and shakers and I see no one willing to take up the mantle. Gotta crank out those videos….

Yup, we’re fiddling while Rome burns….

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It’s Throwback Thursday!! Here’s one from 2014

FORGET THE HOLY GRAIL!

opened bible on wooden surfaca

Metal Detecting, or as some like to call it, treasure hunting, is not an exact science, nor is it a subject you need to have a degree to excel at. It’s a healthy outdoor activity that frequently turns into an addictive pastime, but if you want to make sure that happens you need four things….a goal, decent equipment, a plan and a basic knowledge of how to research. Capisce?

A GOAL

First off you bought a metal detector to find ‘something’.  Whether it’s coins, relics, gold nuggets, jewelry at the beach or uncle Buddy’s stash,  you had a reason for getting involved and as such you already have a goal.  Of course you may be an Indiana Jones wannabe, out to find the holy grail. If so forget it. I’ve already found it!

DECENT EQUIPMENT

Next, I am assuming you studied the various manufacturer catalogs, compared apples and oranges, and bought the best detector you could afford.  Whether or not you will bother to take the time to learn it’s features and capabilities is another story.  If that’s too much trouble for you don’t piss and moan about all the trash you are finding.

A PLAN

Next comes a plan. How are you going to go about achieving your goal?  Head down to the schoolyard, the beach, the gold fields or good ole uncle Buddy’s farm?   My guess is that you will do all four without any forethought whatsoever.  From what I’ve experienced over the years it’s usually open the box, turn that sucker on and out the door!  And don’t tell me I’m wrong.  I’ve not only seen it….I’ve done it myself!

RESEARCH

Research should probably be the first on your list and not the last because to me it’s the most important. You can have all three of the above but if you don’t take the time to research you will be pissing in the wind and your detector will quickly wind up in the closet.  Understand too that the odds of finding a hoard, the Middleham jewel or uncle Buddy’s stash, are slim to none, so do yourself a favor and spend more time finding a place to take your detector than you do actually using it.  Depressing I know, but as Joe Friday would say, “just the facts, ma’am”….

You'all stay tuned...you hear!

You’all stay tuned…you hear!

Now having said all this I confess that as of late I have not practiced what I just preached.  I find it more convenient to sit on my ass with a glass of wine and tell YOU all what to do.  Not so much because I want to but because it’s all I can do right now.  I am however sitting here with the holy grail, looking at houses in the South of France and planning my next move.  You’all stay tuned.

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Next we need

10 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

10 responses to “What Lies Ahead?

  1. Bob Sickler

    From my perspective, I think the amount of people entering and continuing in metal detecting has greatly dwindled over the years. For most people, the fact there is less to find on public lands is a direct cause… Add to that restrictions on using metal detectors on public lands have increased as well. Signage on public land that blanket states “no digging or removing plants, objects and artifacts” pretty much discriminates against those of us who metal detect without calling us by any collective name! There have been people entering the hobby/sport who fail to find anything interesting or valuable first time out and immediately remove themselves from what they started. The final frontier for metal detecting is access to private land and there is growing restrictions to that end as well.

    Faced with the above, why would metal detector manufacturers want to invest in the R&D to make new models each year? Those manufacturers who are left are in direct intense competition for the dollars of people long devoted to the pastime. We who have the liquid assets to purchase a new detector or two each year. Many of us, who have found a good detector that works well and don’t care about new “bells and whistles” each year, have curtailed spending for a new detector. Expenditure has become only necessary when we feel the upgrade is truly worth it.

    One manufacturer claims to have ended the need to buy anything else and now finds itself faced with “rushed to market” failures and design flaws. Another long term manufacturer runs steady and slow with solid engineering, careful manufacturing, and quality materials. As in nature, only the intelligent and strong will survive!

  2. Joe

    I was going to write out a detailed reply to your assessment of our hobby – which is spot on by the way – but Bob beat me to it. And I don’t think I can put it any better than he did, which is almost a carbon copy of what I think too.

    Aside from the hardcore adrenaline junkies & history lovers like us, what AVERAGE person is going to invest long-term in this hobby (both time & money), when the returns are so terrible? And by “returns” I’m not talking monetary, although that’s a part of it too. Rather, I’m talking action. People want to find good stuff…old coins, jewelry, relics, etc. And we know how tough that is to do on a regular basis today, what with the increased competition, most public areas being hunted to death, as well as the bans, ordinances and a million other asinine regulations.

    So, capturing a new customer for a manufacturer becomes pointless, since the frustration soon sets in, their detector goes to the closet, and there’s no further revenue spent by that person…a dead end.

    The smart manufacturers realize this, and are now concentrating on the overseas markets. The combined pie is a lot bigger than the U.S., there’s less regulation, and heck, a guy with a $200 detector can literally walk into a field and find a million dollar hoard. That’s ACTION. Without it, only the junkies like us will thrive, and we a very small market indeed.

  3. john taylor

    Unfortunately,I agree with everything noted! Dick mentioned “cornfields” and I wanted to comment on that!

    I would be perfectly content to hunt them until I “croak”, however it has become such a “hassle” to secure permission that it seems the effort expended is “almost” NOT worthwhile! Liability issues can be a giant “pain in da ass”, and most people just do NOT want you on their land!

    Everything is drying up and you really do have to content yourself with hitting places over and over again..I have found that hitting “sidewalk easements” and wide open ballfields with a lot of area has made a difference for me, but it will never again be like the “old” days. Ya gotta hunt smart today!

    (h.h.!)
    j.t.

  4. Joe

    My buddy and I hit a park this past spring which is on every map known to man. Nothing special about it. Not historical. Not designated a landmark. Nothing. Nada. Just big and old…maybe turn of the century or a few decades prior.

    Started popping silver within maybe 10 minutes of getting there, both large & small. Washingtons, mercs, barbers, the works. I think I got 6 or 7 before we had to head home. Go back the next weekend, even better. Literally, every few feet an old coin would pop outta the ground…all UNDER 6″ and virtually no trash! It was like the movie Field of Dreams.

    We couldn’t figure out why so much was there. Surely, it had to have been hit over the years. Anywho, I keep scooping out old coin after old coin, and by this time people are coming over making small talk, we’re letting kids play with our detectors…we felt like we were running for Mayor we were so popular. Not because we WANTED to be popular, but because we tried to be as friendly as possible and not blow a killer spot. And yes, we were even using lesches with drop cloths.

    I probably had about 13 or 14 silvers by this time, and me and my buddy were hunting in a big field. I just dug a merc at like 3″ and was in amazement, when I heard muffled mumbling over the threshold in my headphones. I turn around and look towards my buddy who has the look of death on his face, as some middle-aged fella was talking to him. I knew right then & there what that look meant.

    Turned my machine off and walked over to see what was what. Turns out the fella was the manager of some kooky community association that in some way loosely overseas the park, and yep, you guessed it…no detecting allowed.

    We tried reasoning with the guy, showing him there was no trace of our handiwork and so forth, all for naught. Wouldn’t budge.

    We’re almost positive he got called upon from the ONE bad apple I ran across that day. She was about 75 or 80 years old and crept out of her house because she saw us swinging “geiger counters” through her window, and came to question me personally.

    Did the right thing and left quietly with no beef, but it wasn’t easy!

    All that history in the ground and they’re content letting it rot into oblivion for no good reason. Makes me sick, and this is precisely what we’re up against.

    • I remember losing a couple of places like that too but it was due to construction or what they call “progress”…and once they started working they still wouldn’t let me on to detect.

    • Hi Joe:
      Your last paragraph highlights another crime…archaeological vandalism. These people are SUPPOSED to garner as much information as possible for the common good. By allowing or campaigning that artefacts be left in the ground to rot and dissolve, shows that many are not fit to caretake the heritage.
      What they are doing is no different to thieving from a protected site, in fact, it’s probably worse.

      Best
      JH

      • Joe

        I agree with you, John. Unfortunately, after asking that fella for his business card, we investigated a bit further and found out that indeed, his story was truthful. We tried pressing the issue, even going so far as telling him we’d donate anything we found to the association he overseas, but it just wasn’t happening. “Obtuse” is the word that comes to mind!

        We probably hunted only 2% of that park, and it is a massive place, which means there are probably thousand of old coins and relics resting in the dirt, which nobody will ever have the privilege of holding again because some nitwit wants to flex his authority.

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