Happy 4th…

Well here we are, July 4th, Independence Day 2020! A day that usually means beer, burgers and fireworks. This year however I’m a little leery.  2020 has been a booger bear in more ways than one and tomorrow? Hate to think….

For me personally it seems like all I’ve been doing is showing up for doctor or dentist appointments and both want a piece of me physically and financially. Three surgeries for skin cancers, plus cryosurgery, cauterizing and more to come. On top of that of course there’s the quarantine – a necessary evil till we come up with an effective vaccine. I will say the staying in, social distancing and wearing masks routine has not been a problem for Fay and I. What has been and what we fear are the “ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do” dimwits. 

Hate to say it but other than scouring social media and email I haven’t given the metal detecting pastime a thought. As a result here’s a rerun of something I shared back in October 2017.

Enjoy your holiday weekend, stay safe and have one or two for me…..


…might make us a little more palatable.

About two months ago I got an email from someone named Brad.  Brad lived in central New Jersey, my old stomping grounds and he had recently received a White’s Coinmaster for his birthday. He had one of my books, found my blog and asked if I might suggest a few places for him to detect.

Brad lived in Somerset county and while I didn’t hunt a lot in that area I did suggest a few places that used to produce a few old coins in Hunterdon county, just a few miles South.  I offered them with two caveats…. (1) I had not lived there for 28 years, had no idea what the sites/areas were like now, and (2) if they were still available I had no idea what regulations and/or restrictions there might be now if any.  The sites I offered were town parks, picnic areas, carnival sites, athletic fields and schools.

A couple of weeks ago I heard back from Brad. He had gone to one athletic field I had suggested in Lambertville, New Jersey and had just started to detect when a city maintenance worker tapped him on the shoulder and told him that metal detecting was not allowed. He left and then drove to another athletic field I had suggested across the bridge in New Hope, Pennsylvania. There too, after about fifteen minutes of searching a policeman drove up and asked him to stop.  On a more positive note Brad did say he was able to detect an old school I had recommended in Ringoes, New Jersey, and came away with a couple of silver dimes, so his excursion was not all bad.

He went on to say that since his first email he had purchased a pinponter, a Lesche shovel, and while finding places to detect was somewhat difficult he was having a lot of fun. I asked if he had the shovel with him when he was in those areas that he was asked to leave and he said yes.  Now I suspect he would still have been asked to leave no matter his choice of recovery tools but I reminded him to think twice about this is in the future. Both of the athletic fields in question were in residential neighborhoods.


Understand that back in the 70’s and 80’s detecting was not as popular as it is today and if there were ten detectorists within 30 miles that was a lot. In fact if and when you did run into one it was an exciting moment. One that almost necessitated a hug and surely a long talk about all things metal detecting.  In one instance it resulted in a new club, the (Mid-Jersey Research & Recovery ) and eventually the formation of the FMDAC.

Back then you also could walk on to most any town park, school or athletic field and not be bothered by anyone. If anything the local gendarmes would stop just to see what kind of goodies you were finding.  I remember quite a few doing it then saying “I need to get one of those”…..

Today the competition is keen and many of the areas that used to be available are nonexistent. I also suspect that those that are still available are not producing the finds that they once did thanks to the influx of new hobbyists.  What I don’t understand and often wonder about is how many areas have been closed because of our negligence and inability to present ourselves in a good light.  By that I mean, in the rush to beat the competition did we completely forget to think about how we might appear to others?  Did we bother to find out the rules or restrictions before we stepped foot on that property and in our haste to find all we could in the limited time we had did we sometimes leave unsightly holes or dead spots?  Were there times when we were asked to leave a site and got a little testy?  While I don’t know the answers to these questions I’m guessing it just might be a little of all the above.

So is there a way to fix this?  Personally,  I don’t think so.  Maybe John, Bill and Jim Bob will give it some thought and change their ways but will Bubba, Jack and Willy?  Sadly there are just too many tekkies out there who just don’t care about anyone else but themselves and once an area is closed to metal detecting it’s very hard to turn it around.


So a few suggestions, or spoonfuls of sugar….

1. When detecting small town community parks, maybe search in the early morning hours.  I personally loved Sunday mornings.  Hardly anyone out and about, and it was peaceful and quiet.

2. If you are searching a park or athletic field, leave the shovel and camo apparel at home.  You won’t be digging land mines.

3. If you are searching a manicured area (one that is extremely well landscaped and cared for) use a probe to recover your finds.  If you don’t know how to probe, LEARN.  If you can figure out how to use that $2,500 metal detector you can learn how to probe a target.

4. While it’s fun to hunt with a lot of  friends save it for the rural areas.  Nothing attracts attention like a gang of tekkies invading a town park.

5. You might laugh at this one but if you like to take a break for lunch think about where you are. Nothing shouts out trouble like popping a beer on the tailgate of your truck.  I experienced that once here in Texas and I wanted to crawl under a rock.

6. Be polite to police, city workers and others who might ask you to leave even though you know you are in the right.  Arguing is not going to help your cause. Think over your options and if and when you return be sure to have a print out of the park regulations in your pocket.  You can almost always find them online. No need to visit city hall and bring up the subject.

7. Dress as inconspicuous as you can. Maybe leave the camo belt at home and just bring your detector, headphones, pouch and digger. You might even like the simplicity of it all.

You may consider these suggestions stupid, or a waste of time, but that’s okay.  I am old school, old hat and just happen to care about how we look to the masses.




Filed under Metal Detecting

14 responses to “Happy 4th…

  1. Hey! Have a couple of large ones for me!
    Best to you and Fay.

    • You got it! Cheers!

      • john taylor

        sittin’ on the back deck,(already wasted a pint of 20/20)
        cookin’ some steaks on the barbie,and thinkin’ how fortunate i am to live in the greatest country on the face of the earth..happy 4th everyone, and may god bless the u.s.a…i’m just sayin’

  2. Frank Blazi

    Happy 4th Dick!
    After reading guideline number 7…..shirt,pants,socks and shoes should also be worn for maximum effect.

  3. Rosalie Ray

    Very good tips here Dick! Why would anyone ever need a shovel unless they were relic hunting in the deep woods, or maybe on the beach? We always used a probe. If the target was too deep (5 in. or more) we cut a deep hinged plug, lifted it up, scooped out the target, replaced the plug and tamped it down. Nice and neat, so no one knew we had dug there. (Another old beeper!). Sure miss the good ole days in the FMDAC! Take care. Rosalie

  4. Tony

    Happy Independence Day! Enjoy it and stay cool.
    I want to ask if you were a part of the International Treasure Hunt in the early 80s? I know it was held in Texas but not sure which town field? That would probably be a good spot to hit today if it’s still a field.

  5. Bob Sickler

    Happy 4th Dick! Regarding your comment on people who think their rights have been trampled on by wearing a mask… We will only get over this with a vaccine like all the other flu viruses in history… Unfortunately, today there is still no cure for stupid yet!

  6. Randy Dee

    Oh how things have changed, like you say Dick back in the early days no one knew what a detector was for they even called them Geiger Counters, I started metal detecting in 1974 with a BFO machine and no one ever challenged or chased you off sites.
    Hope you and yours have a Happy 4th July and a few liquid refreshments.

    • They like to call it progress Randy?

      I plan on having a good day though the liquid refreshments might have to be rather tame. Taking antibiotics.

      Take care my friend and stay safe…

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