Follow the crowds, yes More is still Better
One of the biggest mistakes that I made when I first started metal detecting was to under estimate the competition. Some in our midst are fine tuned to the best places and the best times so good that while most detectorists hear of an event that will draw a large crowd they have already been there and done that! So efficient at cleaning up after the crowd that almost nothing will be left for the rest of us and we will think that all that talk about people dropping treasures is all baloney because they never found a thing. Only after a time I became aware of just how they work. For instance there was a huge outdoor event in Houston where a monster crowd of a half million people were supposed to be there. I thought about going up there next week when I watched a TV show about the cleanup process using large teams of people picking up all of the trash. There in the midst I spotted a guy from our detector club just swinging the day away and working along side the cleanup crew!
I began to realize the saying is true that the early bird gets the worm (or in this case – treasure). My first attempt to practice this was when I received a package from the UPS man – my new pulse detector! and just before Labor day. The Labor day weekend was here and the beach was packed but not only that a local phenomenon occurs about once a year here and the normally dirty brown rough surf with large breaking waves and undertow gives way to clear water a calm sea and the most excellent swimming beach that you have ever seen. One of these days I was in the water and looked out to sea and noticed that there was not a ripple at all!! The sea was as flat as a table and clear as gin. The crowd loved it and the water was full so I decided to join them and hunt right there in the midst of them. With the water so calm I could simply walk out to shoulder deep water and walk along the bottom sweeping just like on land. What fun! This was hypnotic with the warm water and the song of the threshold my detector made. The targets that I found were at amazing depths and I was truly surprised how well the pulse detector works.
To make a long story short I hunted with the beach crowd and found quite a lot of good finds including watches, coins, and two gold rings! While the crowd ignored me. Now you might think that I was right on top of that one but guess again. I later discovered that another water hunter had hunted for a long time at night using a small light to identify his finds. I would not have thought that anyone but myself was working this crowd but I am still slow to discover just how good some detectorists are at this trick. Most assumptions fall far short when it comes to estimating the competition and we can all learn from this to polish our crowd techniques to maximize our finds instead of just mopping up the leftover pennies!
In this example I only mentioned the Labor day crowd at the beach but investigate all outdoor events especially those where objects that are dropped will be covered in high grass, sand, or water. On the fourth of July this year at a local park there was an event that drew large crowds and I was going to be there early the next morning. The picture displayed in this story is actually a picture of the evening of the Fourth where the crowd is leaving and as you can see by the litter a large crowd should have also littered coins everywhere. The next morning early I was there working the grassy areas very good and ignoring the wet grass. After all I was the first one to get my share of this one! HA! Guess what…. It had been cleaned out. Someone must have worked at night because the park was clean and there wasn’t a coin to be found! Drat! And I thought that I was SO clever getting up early.
I had heard a story about an old woman at the beach who worked crowds at night as soon as they left for the day and her finds were astronomical with boxes of gold rings. Meanwhile all of industrious types would get up early the next day having slept well and go to the beach where the crowd was only to be disappointed again with just a few pennies. Sometimes we just can’t accept that there are folks just a little more clever than we are. I am surprised at just how many in our midst actually go out in the middle of the night and go metal detecting while the rest of us snore the night away! Notice that there are consistent good finds made by some detectorists and ask them sometimes not where they found it but when.
If you will remember to record the large crowds of the summer and fall by going to the event with your camera and be sure to include where the crowd is going for hot dogs and soda because sometimes these are temporary trailers brought in and when they leave you will have no idea where to find these treasure troves. Take good pictures and date them and write down the location and type of event. Then when the seasons change you will have no problem going back to these good spots. Note the picture that I took on Galveston beach in the article on wet sand hunting. That has been a good reference for me and as I return to the area now I can still remember the picture and where the crowds were when I hunt the wet sand or water.