By Kevin Hoagland
Let me start out with I am a social person. I appreciate the time I spend with other prospectors and miners. I would never trade a single minute of the time I have had around others in the field. Today though it’s all about social distancing - or in my world, a typical day of metal detecting.
Metal Detecting is the most solitary form of prospecting that I know, even if you are out with a group of friends.
I enjoy metal detecting, likely more than most. I appreciate every target, good and bad, and learn from each target I dig. I spend hours in the field listening to every sound, investigating every anomaly in the threshold and digging targets. Heck I even look at ant piles to see what they are digging out of the ground and stacking around their entrances. Everything is an indicator - good, bad or indifferent. The ground and the environment around you can tell you everything; you just have to look and listen.
Along with ears and eyes open, a detectorist knows that distance from others is a vital part of detecting. Detectors hear each other and there is nothing worse than missing a target because of interference from another detector. In some cases, the interference is unheard. As a detectorist, we know this and keep our distance for everyone’s success. It is something that we do without thought.
There have been many detecting trips out with friends that after we get together to talk about the area, may not see each other for the rest of the day.
Even when training, now and over the years, I’ll work with a detectorist to assure that they have the basics, then distance myself from them listening to their detector, One of the greatest tools in the last few years has been the arrival of capable wireless systems, I hear everything they hear from further away while they are swinging the coil. A lot of detecting beginners forget that I am even in the area which is perfect. They become more focused on the ground and the sounds, instead of worrying about me or anything else.
In my personal detecting, even though there may be others somewhere around me, I really get in the zone in my own world listening to every variance in sound and watching the ground for subtle changes excited at every target that I hear and find, never giving up my goal to become better. Holding to these personal rules has been the major key to my success as a nugget hunter. That and of course getting out there and swinging a coil at every opportunity.
Metal detecting is truly one of a kind when it comes to prospecting and treasure hunting. Really allowing me to completely disconnect, decompress and add to my personal wealth while enjoying all that prospecting has to offer.
Come on out, I may not see you or even know you are around but at least you are out here prospecting on a claim and enjoying the great outdoors around us!
Kevin Hoagland is the Executive Director of Development at the Gold Prospectors Association of America and the Lost Dutchman's Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org