Hunted Out – Your Spot or Your Detector?

Pickings: Is it Your Spot That’s Hunted Out or Your Detector?


Most people reading this have probably read numerous articles stating that you can never have hunted out spots.  While this may be relatively true, it sure does seem like the pickings get less and less.  The following list is what we’ve come up with for why this happens and what you can do about it.  If all else fails, do more research!  There’s a hell of a lot of untouched spots for all types of good coins, relics, and jewelry all over this country.  Why can’t you make the cover of a magazine?

     1.  Equipment – Metal Detector

Limitations.  A pricier metal detector does not necessarily mean it is a better detector (nor the reverse!).  However, you know you’ve upgraded when many of those iffy signals you had before turn into solid, but deeper targets.  Believe it or not, when I purchased a new detector (a Tesoro this time), it was as though I was hunting my old, hunted out spot for the first time.  I found many large deeper targets and several small, shallow targets, such as a 3-cent silver, that I had never hit before.

     2.  Corrosion. 

Corrosion is the breakdown of metal which is usually leached into the surrounding soil.  When this happens, the signal is not as strong as it once was, so these targets get skipped.  However, wet ground often enhances the metals’ conductivity, so hunting after a rainstorm may improve your success.

     3.  Angle.

This particularly pertains to coins and buttons, but the more surface area your detector is hitting, the better the signal.  If your detector is just hitting the rim of the coin, you may not even detect it.  Try hitting your old coin producing spots from different directions than you did before.  

     4.  Vegetation. 

Many people are lazy and want a nice flat, green lawn to metal detect on.  Believe me, it takes one to know one!  We’ll go around fallen branches and avoid the tall grass.  Clear this stuff out and take the unbeaten path sometime and you may be surprised!  Also, try the wooded hillsides behind old house sites.  In my area, this is where the oldtimers threw all their trash (and buttons, buckles, coins, and etc).  Most of my good finds have come this way.

     5.  High Target

Concentration. When there are lots of targets like at an old dumpsite or “privy,” many people are quickly frustrated (me in particular). My friend uses his detector as another tool along with a large shovel and pick. When he shovels a pile of dirt, he’ll go over the pile with his detector, rake it, and go over it again. It’s a lot of work, but when you find a civil war era dumpsite, it’s certainly worth the time and you may find nice old bottles as well! Just don’t do this in a park – please….

     6.  Low Target

Concentration.  Work with your sensitivity set on high and discrimination set on low.  Work in grids with landmarks to
thoroughly cover each section.

     7.  Technique.

Most inexperienced detectorists will literally fly around with their detectors in all sorts of haphazard ways.  Sure, they’ll probably find the larger, shallower tin and aluminum targets, but if you slow down and work smaller areas methodically, you’ll be headed home with something to show.  

     8.  Your Glorified Metal Detecting Honey-Hole Really Is Hunted Out: 

Research, research, research.


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