Groundhoggin’ During Covid…

Well guess who got off his butt went detecting? Yup, this dilapidated dude and I took along my old (as in 40 years) Garrett VLF/TR Groundhog.  Story line – Old guy, old detector looking for old coins.

I had the Groundhog ready to go for a few days but no matter how much I tried I couldn’t seem to find the “get up and go”. The desire was there but the body wasn’t. Well Friday was the day. Sunny, temps in the mid 80’s – perfect for a walk in a park that shall remain nameless. I would have preferred to detect two other older parks but they’re are now off limits thanks to the ‘shoveling’ crowd who not only thought it was okay to leave unfilled holes but to leave the undesirable finds as well. It’s only a matter of time my friends….

Anyway I gathered up all of MY needed gear – detector, headphones, apron, dropcloth and screwdriver and headed out to see how long the legs would last. When I arrived at the park I headed to the larger open field area, not wanting to bother the few moms and kids that were in the play area. I ground balanced, set the threshold, the disc to just below nickel, the mode to VLF and started scanning. I even got brave and removed my mask in hopes it might stop someone from wanting to chat.

It didn’t take too many swings to remember why I loved this machine. Seven inch coil, crisp, sharp responses and with a flip of the handled switch I knew to dig or move on. I mean who needs visual readouts/numbers? Oh and reverse discrimination, remember that?

Now I’m not going to bore you with the “I got a signal near the base of a large tree” or “on my way back to the car” BS stories but will simply say I lasted about an hour and a half before the knee and back won out over the fun. My haul? One silver Roosie, one each clad quarter and dime, three clad cents, one wheatie and a matchbox car – none deeper than five inches. Did I wish I had a newer, deeper detector? Not really. I just wanted to remember the good ole days, have fun and enjoy the nice weather and I accomplished all three. I also fell in love all over again with the Garrett Groundhog!



If YOU are detecting a city park or somewhere where you are visible to the public please make every effort to not draw attention to yourself. Leave the shovel in the car, the camo clothing in the closet (Rambo’s old hat now anyway) and don’t carry a weapon or knife. If you feel that threatened maybe you shouldn’t be there in the first place. Remember too the park you save just might be mine!

Stay safe & happy hunting!




Filed under Metal Detecting

27 responses to “Groundhoggin’ During Covid…

  1. Way to go Dick—glad you got out. I’m amazed you were able to find silver in a public park. Not amazed at your skill (we know you have that), just amazed the recent explosion of newbie vultures didn’t get it all. But then again, if you’ve seen the way some folks swing their machine, it all makes sense 😊 congrats on the digs.

    • Allyson thanks. This park is a literally a hidden gem. It’s tucked off a main street/road that goes through the town and if you didn’t know it was there you would miss it. No signs pointing to it, not a big park and not a big town. It’s also not “that old”, just old enough to experience a few years of silver usage. That’s probably more than I should have said. And no skill involved really, just walked over it. The GH is a fun machine and easy to learn and use.

      Still looking for a way to effectively copy the over 300 “detectors on shovels” photos….hope your day out in that video was a profitable one. Stay safe.

  2. Joe

    Was thinking of you a few weeks ago, Dick, as I know you enjoy the lost/hidden treasure stuff. Caught a rerun episode of Expedition Unknown, and it really piqued my interest.

    It was about a book published in the 80’s called “The Secret”, which details clues leading to several buried keys throughout the U.S. Once all of the keys are located, the finders of each will share in a huge treasure haul.

    Only 2 keys were found previously, and this particular episode featured a fella who found the 3rd one. Talk about an intelligent guy…it was simply AMAZING how he pieced everything together. They essentially deconstructed his process of solving the clues/riddles, and it was fascinating.

    In terms of detectors, I’m in the same boat as you. Been using an Explorer 2 since the beginning of the year. It’s 2+ decades old. Still works fine and I’ve been finding plenty. Goes to prove that who’s swinging it and where it’s swung is more important than what IT is.

    • Joe I’ve seen that show a few times and every once in a while they will have something that grabs your interest. I did not see that one but will give the book title a look see. As for the old machines I suspect I might have found a little more if I were using a newer detector but I wasn’t interested in deciphering numbers, pushing pads and certainly not digging deep holes. Incidentally I had absolutely no problem pinpointing with the 7 inch coil.

      Have one for me…

  3. Bob Kerr

    Glad to hear you got out for the fun/solitude and enjoyment. My body is in the same shape, so if you need some more pain let me know (willing to share).
    Let me be first to say Happy Birthday old kid. With many many more Birthdays.

    • Bob appreciate you willing to share your pain but I’ll pass thank you. Thanks too for the BD wishes…it’s tomorrow but at my age it really is one day at a time.

  4. I, like Joe, was also thinking about you a few days ago. Funny really, I was flicking thru a detecting catalogue and saw this gadget for…$20 and y’know what? I thought of you! Amazing, eh?

    Anyway, over on D&C I’ve done a piece about what I think is a 2,000-plus year old bronze sword pommel. I found it using a Groundhog ADS with a 12″ coil. It gave me a massive signalled was over 18″ down.

    Glad to know you got your bones out and about. But what the hell is a ‘Roosie’? Is it a sort of Floosie?

    • Wow, what was the gadget that you thought I’d like? I’m okay with surprises and presents….

      Saw the post about the pommel. Was it found recently or a while back?

      Finally “roosie” refers to the Roosevelt dime. You know like when they call you woosie, boozie, etc….

      • I forget the gadget, it was the $20 price tag that for some reason, jogged the old memory. Weird eh?

        The ‘pommel’ was found a while back in southern England. Ah, yes, Woozie, Boozie. Yep, got it.

  5. Tony

    Dick, very good to hear you got out and scored some keepers for your birthday, Happy birthday!
    Getting out always makes me feel better – which is what we all need during this Pandemic.

    • Thanks Tony. Didn’t really get out for my BD. Got out to play with an old friend. Miss the old detectors. They were built like brick sh*t houses and were easy to use.

  6. Bob Sickler

    Well Dick, finally you got out! Glad to hear it my friend and it sounds like you better return because if you can find what you found in this age of proliferated deeper beepers, that park has not been run too often.

    The Garrett Groundhog was my second commercially made detector, the Deepseeker was my first. Before that, they were detectors I made myself. Not too long ago, I got the nostalgia bug myself and wanted to go back to my Groundhog “glory days” too. I couldn’t swing it hand-held like I used to in the beginning due to a large calcium hump on my wrist… No doubt how I got it. So I went back to using it “hipmounted” like I used to before moving on to other lighter detectors in the 80’s. I got to my plowed location, that really requires some depth to find targets, so I switched to the heavy bulletproof 12″ coil. Next, I forgot how much trouble it was to connect all the wires, straps and lastly wired headphones… And get them in the right order… Don’t forget hanging one’s glasses around your neck with another cord which added chaos to the whole mess come dig time! Short of it, I looked like a paratrooper… Talk about uncomfortable! I lasted about 2 hours of not finding a thing and feeling a like helpless bug in a spider’s web. Next time out in the same location with my wireless AT-Max made me realize that nostalgia is fun in mind and on paper, but there is a reason metal detector manufacturers like Garrett have stayed in business.

    Fact is I’m quite happy with my AT-MAX and wasn’t even considering buying another detector…. But, after learning that Garrett lessened the weight of their new detector down to 2.5 pounds, improved balance, increased the size of the visual ID and display, reduced the center of gravity, greatly improved the ergonomics, maintained simplicity, and increased the feature set, I’m now looking forward to owning the new Apex. In this time of my life, it’s all about comfort and enjoyment. If it helps us to keep on metal detecting as we all get older, I’m all for change!

    • Bob, sending this off to Garrett and telling them they need to give you a job. Never heard a detector described so seductively.

      • Bob Sickler

        Thank you Dick! At least I have one fan! Ha! Ha! Garrett probably doesn’t even know anything about me after Charles passed away. Reviewing and commenting on metal detectors is an old habit that dies hard! 🙂 Glad you got out though. Have you seen the new topical arthritis pain cream? Expensive, but I bet it works and a “Poop-Load” safer than the genetic meds. Hey maybe you should them my name, “Poop-Load” sounds pretty seductive to older adults? 🙂

      • Well you can used “poop load” if you want but you will never take the “Jersey” out of me….

  7. Tony

    Dick, yes they were built well. Probably their military grade specs detectors were simply adjusted for hobbyists and we benefited from a those designs – simple and versatile

  8. Ed B.

    Dick…….first of all, like the others, I want to say that it’s nice that you found the ambition to get out there for a hunt. Though I never had a Groundhog, I did start my detecting career with a Garrett American Series 2 and your photo brought back some memories. You’ve kept that Groundhog in wonderful condition and I wish I still had some of my old detectors but not for using them. Age has been slowly catching up with me and I no longer want to have to dig up pretty much everything in order to find an occasional “goodie”. I know that I’ve possibly missed a few good targets by relying on the VDI numbers but in the time I save by not digging it all, I’m able to dig a higher percentage of better targets.
    The knees are not getting stronger as I age……preservation will allow me to stay out here a few more years.

    • Ed probably should have added – after digging a few tabs I cranked the disc up to where any beep in the disc mode was a coin. Oh and age didn’t creep up on me it just quickly took over. Please let me know if you find an effective way to preserve the body. No wait let me take that back…I don’t need “preservation” I need “rejuvenation”….

      • Ed B.

        Beer and pasta works pretty well but you can substitute wine for the beer.

      • john taylor

        gut yaself all the “rejuvenation” ya need in that cock a doodle do red ya quaffin’ good for what ails ya, and mighty good for da soul too! dick! ya a regular “silver fiend” now! ehe! heh! he! hot damn!..howdja get so lucky? cover up! the “nasty” is out there! i’m just sayin’


  9. It’s nice that your able to get out and still enjoy this hobby with an old reliable machine. I’m still able to get out but I can tell, this old body of mine is starting to go downhill. I still have my old Blue Box Detector that I bought in 1968 and it still works. To heavy for me anymore. This Leukemia takes a lot out of me. I’ll still enjoy this great hobby until I can’t anymore. I’m glad there is a few places I can still go without someone ruining it by digging holes and leaving trash. Take care and Happy Birthday 🎈🎉🎊🎂🎁

    • Hi Kenny…

      Getting out with the GH was more for pleasure and old time’s sake. Was not expecting any silver for sure. As for the body? I like Mickey Mantle’s “if I knew I was going to live this long I’d have taken better care of myself”….

      Hang in there Kenny, we old guys gotta stick around just to piss off the young ones.

      • I do plenty of that to these youngsters when they think us old timers don’t know anything. They too will be old down the road and then see and understand what we talk about. I just hope to the good lord my grandkids will be able to enjoy this hobby like you and I have for so many years. Take care my friend.

  10. john taylor

    dick! i was in a public park the other day, and saw a “brother” digging with a ”sampson”..i brazenly walked over ,and admonished him about the “shovel”. he told me to go fu*k myself! i told him i cannot do that because i am NOT double jointed, and cannot bend over far enough.

    i have to think about this,as this park has produced “the shiny” in the past, and i don’t want to let it be perfectly honest, he was doing an “excellent” job back filling his holes.perhaps,i should let it go! i am in a quandary,as to how to effect a solution to this dilemma! i keep having this perverse thought of “crackin’ his skull for him but i dismissed that solution because once he got out of the hospital, he would continue his “evil” onslaught against this most productive park.i have decided that the best course of action is to pray for him to change his “destructive” ways…i’m just sayin’


    • You could always give him a bottle of whatever it is that you drink? That would at least render him out of sorts and incoherent. Just sayin’…

  11. john taylor

    it might “kill” him too, and i could never forgive myself. ohh well! on to da next! ..just sayin’


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