A Twofer…


Now don’t get excited or have a heart attack but if the rain holds off this afternoon I’m actually going to head out with the Simplex. Need to hear a beep or two and see how many downs and ups I can handle. Should be interesting.

In the meantime it’s Throwback Thursday and a twofer at that. The first “Old Names, Old Times” is from August 2015 and “Let Me Introduce Myself” is from April 2019. 

OLD NAMES, OLD TIMES

Spent the first 22 years of my life in Lambertville, a small river town in central New Jersey. The population at the time was right around 3,000, and it’s pretty safe to say most everyone knew each other. Wasn’t a whole lot to do there, though as I look back I had a helluva lot of fun doing something.

Lambertville was most definitely a blue-collar town, and I knew people with names like Razor, Weezer, Moose, Spigot, Meat, Chalk, Earsy, and last but not least two cousins named Booger and Bimmer. Booger had a glass eye, and they would often stop the high school football games to look for it. True!!

Lambertville today...

Lambertville, New Jersey on the Delaware river (as it is today)

What does all this have to do with metal detecting? Not much really, but I got thinking about all the early metal detectors that had cool names. Names like Beachcomber, Ghost Towner, Daytona, Chief, Pacesetter, Challenger, Groundhog, Master Hunter, Red Baron and Big Bud. Then there was the Coin Scanner, the Judge, the Coin King, the Nugget Hunter, the Condor, the Backpacker, the Outlaw, Rustler and the Thunder Stick, just to name a few.

oldmodels.collage

From top, left to right…the Red Baron, Gold Bug, Frontiersman, Grandmaster, Usika, Condor, Judge II, Rustler and the Challenger

Then, for whatever reason, the manufacturers decided that using numbers and alphabets would make metal detectors sound more hip.  We had the 6000d, AT-3, VLF-840, Mark I, 555d, 1210x, CZ-5,  and of course today we have the MXT, ATX and the V3i.  And we all know that if you add the word “Pro” to any of these products they automatically make you a much more efficient treasure hunter. You dig deeper, find more, swagger more, and you are finally able to talk to all the geeks out there in Tekkie World.

I can hear you saying “and your point is?”….   Well nothing really, though I sure would like to see simple, easy to remember, names like Groundhog, Judge and Backpacker return.  I’d also love to go back and spend time in Lambertville, but alas my home town has changed like everything else. Last time I visited the faces were different, the stores I remembered were gone, the high school had burned down, the movie theater was now a hardware store and I couldn’t find anyone named Weezer, Spigot, Earsy or Booger.

Those were days my friend. I thought they’d never end…

 __________________

LET ME INTRODUCE MYSELF

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.

 _________________


***********

17 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

17 responses to “A Twofer…

  1. John Taylor

    remember YOU are representing ME!..truer words have never been spoken! don’t f**k it up! amen! damn straight! I’m just sayin’

    (h.h.!)
    j.t.

  2. Yo Ricardo:
    Maybe if male Tekkies wore dresses or skirts, fishnet stocking and high heels, might improve our chances….works for me!
    i’m just sayin’

  3. John Taylor

    reverend! I think you need to back off on the scotch! ehe! heh! he! I have a problem picturing you in a dress!
    the good lord would NOT approve! I’m just sayin’

    (h.h.!)
    j.t.

  4. Ed B.

    If enough of us detectorists started wearing dresses it could possibly become a new reality TV show…….”Detectorists Who Crossdress”. It might be far more entertaining than the ones that are on TV at the moment.

  5. Tony

    Just getting out will make a person feel better!

  6. People are very protective of their privacy. If you knock and you get a no, well, you broke even.

    In my area, there are more and more places that have been added to that list of protected areas. Like a few weekends ago. I drove the 3 1/2 hours out to the ocean foe a weekend of detecting on beaches that were hot spots back when I was a kid. I figured with modern tech, I should do well. Well, I would have except all but one beach have now been declared as protected wildlife areas. The only thing you are allowed to do is look at things. No disturbing of anything. As the sign said “only leave behind foot prints”. While I’m all for protecting wildlife and all that stuff, society is turning these recreation areas into no go areas. (Not to mention, there were about 6 people including myself at one of the beaches that stretch for miles, but masks were mandatory?) Definitely the areas where we can hunt are diminishing by the day so our image as detectorists or treasure hunters is a very important thing. Those key things are even more important now than ever. That whole code of conduct thing.

    I’m just happy that I live in a county and city that doesn’t frown on the hobby.

    Have a good day!

    • Matt, agree with you that the available areas for detecting are diminishing by the day and we (and the manufacturers) need to wake up. A massive PR campaign is in order though I doubt it will happen. I know I’m being selfish saying this but sooooo glad I started enjoying this pastime in the 70’s.

      You also said “I’m just happy that I live in a county and city that doesn’t frown on the hobby”.

      I don’t think cities/counties frown on our pastime, they just don’t understand it and take the easy way out (as in banning it). That’s where the PR comes in and where local clubs present their case. Unfortunately clubs are no longer sustainable. The hobby has turned into a me, me, me endeavor and the hell with everyone else.

      Just one old beeper’s take on things….

      • I understand that. Our club has been around for over 30 years. It has always been labeled as a community service club. We offer free recovery of lost objects and also help out law enforcement. We do our best to make sure the hobby is always viewed in a positive light here.

        Living in the west, and in the area that brought thousands over during the gold rush, treasure hunting and prospecting has always been a thing here. So that is why it is accepted so much.

        It is a fun thing to pull a little lump of pure placer gold that the old timers didn’t get back in the 1840’s!

        I realize I’m pretty young for this hobby, considering I’m the youngest member of my club. The next oldest is 25 years older than I. But they are a great group and I’m always looking for others who would like to join. Sadly, I’m sure there will be the day that we shut it down mainly from the Me Me Me attitude that seems to be prevalent out there. I’m sure I’ll have to figure out how to continue the club at some point. Which being a full time worker and also working overseas from time to time, it will be an interesting new chapter in our club here.

      • Matt, I’ve always felt that clubs were important and needed if we were to police ourselves and promote the pastime, but thanks to social media getting anyone to show up at city hall is now impossible. If it don’t affect them they don’t care. If and when our pastime goes down we will have no one else to blame but ourselves. JMO.

      • I agree. As the man said “we are our own worse enemies”.

        I have noticed, most of the clubs close by where I live are very brand specific. As in, you have to use a certain brand and have to only purchase from a certain dealer. That can be a put off. That’s why I like my club. We are just a group of enthusiasts who enjoy the hobby and are happy to share knowledge and even permissions with each other. I just hope we can meet up again.

  7. John Taylor

    talking in general terms, just more reasons WHY we “all” have to make sure we cover our holes! leave no trace behind! ..just sayin’

    (h.h.!)
    j.t.

  8. John Taylor

    unfortunately,i agree! the “yay for me, and f**k everybody else” mantra is doing grave damage. if we are not good custodians of the hobby, then the “only” places you will be allowed to detect will be your own back yard! ..I’m just sayin’

    (h.h.!)
    j.t.

  9. Tony

    Back in the day there were good reality metal detecting shows on TV and folks got interested in what could be on their property. Clubs and dealers started to get calls from folks who needed help in locating stuff, be it a property marker or a lost item and even buried stuff their grandparents stashed. Then those shows turned a some folks off and we all know why.
    Once the Pandemic came by things got shut down completely. Hopefully things will change.

  10. Hi, Dick–I enjoyed your writing style, humorous and witty and knowledgeable. I am Mathew Hopper’s father-in-law. He speaks highly of you. Since I began metal detecting recently, he thought I might like your blog. And I do! My website listed below is an early work in progress. I hope to meet readers who like my books and to sell them and offer my speaking services to schools.

    https://eadsjim.us2.authorhomepage.com/

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