“How many did you get?” I asked my treasure hunting partner, Rick. He quickly replied, “I’ve got eight; including a 1914 Barber dime and some Merc’s.” “How about Jack?” “Well, he has nine, and a 14K white-gold band.” “Not bad,” I replied. Let’s see, I thought to myself, (as I did my mental math) that’s 17 silver coins between the two of them!

These guy’s were “smokin” me that day. I had not found a single silver coin, although I did have one 10K gold charm with its broken gold chain. I dug a “ton” of “wheaties” and some “buffalo’s” but I just couldn’t connect on the good “stuff.”

I wondered why? Was it bad luck? Was I just having an “off” day. Could it be that these guy’s where just better than me? Well, ah… NO WAY JOSE!

Very likely, their choice of operation that day was perfectly suited for that particular site. Rick’s technique is blatantly opposite of what we have all been told over and over again, which is to keep the discrimination level low. At these extremely trashy sites, Rick always “cranks” the discrimination level up to near maximum. His deduction is that to operate at lower discrimination levels requires more time to investigate, and dig, more trash “hits;” thus slowing him down and preventing him from covering more ground. I have witnessed him use this technique successfully too many times to discount it. IT WORKS in the right place, at the right time. He understands that he will not find gold rings, nickels, and some other premium coins and items; but his main objective is to recover silver coins, and his collection is growing, so what can I say?

That day, three gold items were found; none by Rick, of course, due to his high discrimination level. As mentioned before, Jack found one gold ring. Rafael (our other metal detecting buddy) found a rose-gold wedding band, and I found the 10K charm and chain.

Jack was “glued” to one small section that he selected to hunt. His area was grassy with a few small to medium sized trees, and one huge old oak tree, which I would estimate to be close to 200 years old. I was impressed by Jack’s thoroughness and patience as he completely covered that small patch of land. I glanced over at Jack once-in-a-while, and he was still there. Hours later, he was still there. Late in the afternoon, he was still there. HE DIDN’T MISS MUCH!

I talked to Jack later that day and he told me that he preferred to hunt with just enough discrimination to eliminate iron. Apparently, he has a “good ear” and knows what to listen for. As I said before, he found nine silver coins and one gold ring. He must have been doing something right!

Now, how about me? Well, my “modus operandi” was to “run” in notch-reject. I planed to get it all! Instead of staying in one area, I moved around, trying to cover more ground. In retrospect, I now clearly see that operating at the lower discrimination level (in super- high trash) did in fact slow me down. I recovered plenty of trash, (in expectation of finding a gold ring), eight nickels, many “wheaties” and the gold charm and chain. I am now convinced, more than ever, that there are indeed times when you must let the detector do its job of eliminating trash targets (iron, foil, pulltabs); even at the expense of loosing some good items. What’s that adage about “a bird in the hand?”

Just think about it a little… sure, we want it all, and can’t stand the thought of possibly missing a single desirable item. So, we use notch, and multiple notch, and target I.D., etc.; all sorts of technological and “theoretical” approaches to uncover those “goodies.” Then, along come Rick and Jack… one, who is willing to dig it all, and the other who’s not; but both go home winners at day’s end.

Sometimes, all the theories and gadgets don’t amount to a “hill-of-beans.” And at other times? Well, they are truly indispensable!

Successful treasure hunting does not have “rules” chiseled in stone. You must be analytical and decide for yourself what works, and what technique is right at a particular site. A certain amount of experimentation is needed, and so is knowledge; about your equipment, techniques of operation, the history of the site. Don’t ever forget that what works this time, may not be the “key” the next time.

Sometimes you win… sometimes you loose.

Thank’s Rick, and Jack, for the lesson. I’ll get you the next time, with notch… no, on second thought I know what will work better… I’m going to……..

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