Let Me Introduce Myself…

I’ve written about getting permissions before (Knock, Knock Who’s There? and No Need to Knock Yourself Out) but it seems it’s still the number one question every detectorist asks so let me offer a few more brainfarts…

Where to Dig? The Dilemma!

It doesn’t matter which social media platform you choose the most often asked question is How do you approach a landowner and ask permission”. It’s a predicament not just for the detectorist but ultimately the manufacturer as well. Face it – why bother purchasing a metal detector if there’s nowhere to use it?

No question finding a place to swing your coil is a challenge for many today and it’s only going to get worse. The more newcomers that enter into the pastime the greater the competition for space. It’s also a double-edged sword because the rush to find more than the other guy has resulted in increased scrutiny and closures of places that were once available. Places like parks, schools and athletic fields….

So what’s the answer?

Not sure there is one!. Having started when I did I didn’t have to deal with the problem of where to hunt and I didn’t have to stay one step ahead of the competition because there wasn’t any. Metal detecting back then was somewhat of an aberration. The times I did hunt private property getting permission was easy and today’s liability concerns did not exist.  I really believe that if I were entering the pastime today my interest would be short-lived.

The female advantage

In the past I’ve joked about my ‘rent-a-kid program‘ but it’s not as far-fetched as you might think. Remember you only get one chance to make a good first impression so why not consider taking a youngster or female tekkie with you.

Detectorists like Jocelyn Elizabeth,  Dominque Ivy and Allyson Cohen have a distinct advantage when it comes to gaining permission….they’re very attractive gals, and yes I know I’ll take some flak for saying that but we all know it’s true. Women are simply less threatening in appearance whereas a strange man knocking on your door is just the opposite. Sorry guys, some of you are a whole lot of ugly.

Face it, gals like Dominque Ivy, Jocelyn Elizabeth and Allyson Cohen will get permission a lot quicker than we male tekkies

Practice makes perfect

When you knock on that door or ring that bell you want to come across as sincere, honest and non-threatening. Holding a detector in one hand and a shovel in the other won’t cut it. Likewise, leave the camo at home and know that the landowner isn’t interested in seeing your navel or butt crack. Make sure you’re dressed conservatively even if it’s not your norm and do NOT bring your buddies and ask if they can detect too. Ask for yourself only and if you get a ‘yes’ work on adding them in at a later time.

Don Mitzus says

“When I knock on doors I’m dressed in jeans, flannel shirt and suspenders. In the summer I will frequently replace the flannel shirt with a polo or golf type shirt.  Never a t-shirt, especially one with some heavy metal band on it. I also don’t wear a cap or hat when I go to the door. Probably 80% of people say yes.”

How could you say “no” to Don Mitzus?

Of course Don has that lovable face and smile, something a lot of us, including me, don’t have but it’s a very big part of the ‘first impression’ adventure. I second the NO t-shirt and no cap and for crissakes if you feel you just can’t talk to someone without a cap at least don’t wear it backwards.

It’s Showtime!

Okay the door opens and you’re on. Now what? Just what are you going to say? Have you any idea? Have you practiced your spiel? Can you deliver it in a relaxed manner? Are you prepared for responses like:

  1. “Why do you want to detect MY property?” 
  2. “Just what is it you’re looking for?” 
  3. “Why should I give YOU permission to dig up my land?”   
  4. “What happens to the things you find?” 
  5. “And if you injure yourself on my property then what?”

All very reasonable and logical questions you should be prepared to answer. How you respond to the first one just might be the difference maker.  A few tips/suggestions….

1st question – Why do you want to detect my property?

The other areas for detecting (parks, schools, etc.) are competitive, crowded and I prefer the quiet and solitude of rural sites.

Maybe mention that while the finds are few and far between they come with out all the modern-day trash.

You think there might be an old homesite or cellar hole on the property and you’re curious to see what might be there.

You’re more  into relics and rural areas tend to offer a better return on your time and effort.

2nd question  – Just what is it you’re looking for?

I sometimes find buttons, buckles, bullets and maybe a coin or two and if you’d like I’d be glad to bring my spare detector and show you how to use it.

3rd question – Why should I give you permission to hunt my property?

Just that I will be careful and considerate of you property and when I’m finished you won’t know that I’ve been there.

4th question – What happens to the things you find?

I’d be happy to show you everything I find and if you like any or all of them they’re yours!

5th question – And if you injure yourself on my property?

I have a hold harmless agreement with me that I will sign and leave with you. 


No matter what happens always remember that being turned down changes nothing.  You couldn’t hunt that property before asking, and a “no” merely reinforces that. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Almost always anything that increases in popularity will result in more options, more choices. Not so with our pastime. We’re left with a limited and well-defined number of places to scan our coil and we are literally losing ground day by day thanks to population growth, construction, so-called progress and unfortunately uncaring tekkies who leave holes.

Country roads, farmland, wooded areas, open fields are not the next frontier…they are NOW so work on your presentation and remember that you’re also representing me as well. Don’t mess it up.



Both John and I received a reminder from Peter Tompa yesterday about the April 30th deadline for the Public Consultation on the Treasure Act.  Here’s John’s post from today….please read it and if you can, take the time to share your thoughts.

Last Chance to Have Your Say….ACT NOW!!


Throwback Thursday Photos

Field testing Fisher 1225x detector…circa 1991

With Jimmy Sierra, circa mid 80’s



Filed under Metal Detecting

21 responses to “Let Me Introduce Myself…

  1. Dominique Da Silva

    I agree I have an advantage being female and fully admit to taking advantage of this advantage!
    😘 Domestic

    • Dominique Da Silva

      Oops. My signature is Dominique not Domestic. I hate auto correct. But it’s also funny so I let my phone correct me.

    • john taylor

      it’s kind of a given dominique!..boyfriend stays in the truck, while you make the score!
      great arrangement! “smart”,and you two have hunted some “knockout” places so far!


  2. Ed B.

    All excellent points Dick. Here in southern New England “most” schools, parks, and athletic fields are still open to detecting BUT just aren’t producing like they used to.

  3. Well, you made the point very clear…and you are correct…too many people in a hobby, a hobby made for just a few caring practitioners. And a hobby that has become just a little bit too much of a good thing for the general public. One method of getting permission I’ve seen one “smooth-operator” use on social media again and again is to build themselves up as some kind of unbelievably caring, concerned individuals, pushing the “Just look what I’ve returned to people…!!!” narratives over and over. Then mentions or comments to other social persons (usually female detectorists) who post a permission site they are hunting, that “When do WE hunt?? LOL!” If they make the mistake of letting them on the property, they will be back later…with friends in tow. This, of course, destroys what little trust is left for detectorists with property owners, so like you said, maybe work on getting friends over later…maybe permanently later! And you are also correct about the “competition” end of it (or what I term the GREED end of it) mostly from hunters who are not in the hobby for the hobby, but in the “value-added” end of things…trying to make a living out of it. Some actually do, and that’s okay as long as trespassing and property damage did not come along with it. As you know, my wife comes along on our permission hunts and she is pretty, personable and is easily likable, while I am none of those, so we can and do get permissions as long as I wear the horse costume. Cheers, Dick!

    • Yeah if I was Patti I’d leave you in the car… Kidding aside glad you’re home and on the mend.

      • That’s an even better idea at that…love that air conditioning! haha! Thanks Dick…I’m recovering nicely…watching the nicest metal detecting weather in the country pass by the window outside haha! Cheers, my friend!

    • john taylor

      i’m guessing jim,you are staying silent in the background with your mouth ‘zipped”
      while your wife is doing all the talking! “smart play!” my man!


  4. Many years ago, ‘my detecting partner, ‘Pete the Hat’, secured permission from a crusty old member of the English aristocracy who ruled her slice of England like a medieval monarch, often mounted on a fine piece of horseflesh. She enjoyed a fearsome reputation among the local peasantry.

    Cutting a long story short, Pete, dressed in his best sartorial ‘permissions’ outfit; brown brogues shoes; tweed sports jacket; check flannel shirt and tie; and his famous Irish tweed trilby set at a jaunty angle, secured the necessary approval. “Right, mate,” he says to me, “We’ve got 1500 acres to look at, including a deserted medieval village.” We had a great days’ hunting, during which ‘Her Highness’ approached us and smiled down at us from the nag. We touched our forelocks in reverence.

    A week later saw us back at the venue and we were approached again by the Lady of the Manor…
    ”WHAT ARE YOU DOING” she barked.
    “A LITTLE ARCHAEOLOGY,” says Pete jovially.
    “WELL GET OFF MY LAND…NOW!” She screamed.
    “BUT YOU GAVE US PERMISSION,” Pete explained.

    The moral is; always make sure WHEN and for HOW LONG the permission lasts.

    • Good point and something I neglected to include. What I remember of your sites was the deliverance of a bottle of scotch to the landowner before any digging.

      • Nope…. always at Christmas as a token of appreciation. Always a decent bottle of Single Malt. But the farmer who owned the land with the roman fields where I took you to test some Garrett machines some years ago, was a ‘Johnnie Walker Black Label’ kinda guy.
        In fact, me and Pete used to jump aboard his Land Rover 4×4 and he’d drive us to the local pub for a Christmas celebration with his neighbouring farmers (more permissions!!).

    • john taylor

      excellent point! john! especially so with the monarchy!.ehe! he! he! never can be sure with the queen!
      the NEXT week, she could invite you in for a little taste of the “barley!” i’m just sayin’


  5. Tony

    Thanks to all for the terrific ideas. Now I just need a good looking female hunting partner and a few bottles of any libation will do nicely.
    Just don’t tell my wife!

  6. heavymetalnut

    pretty much that’s my sales pitch when door knocking. Yesterday I door knocked because there is a old cellar foundation behind the guys house. him and his wife came out onto the deck. i explained what I wanted to do and he said I already hammered that site with my radio shack detector. he brought out some buttons,oxen shoes and some iron relics. his wife is the town historian,next thing I know he says lemme grab the Polaris 4 wheeler I will drive you up there! the site was overgrown with honey suckle vines and poison ivy. there a huge hay field next to it. he then says when i hay the field i will brush hog around the cellar and give you a ring Dave. I wish everyone was this awesome when ya door knock! Looking forward to hunt the field and cellar when he gets it done.

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