Metal detecting is an exciting pastime for anybody who likes the outdoors, but it can be a little intimidating for beginners. Whether you’ve just bought your first metal detector or you’re still on your first hunt, here are some techniques and tips to help get you started.

1. Patience is key:

Metal detecting can be an exciting pastime, but it’s still more complex than most other things in life. Many variables can ruin your day, including soil, moisture, and even weather conditions. Be prepared for everything and know that everything you do is an exercise in patience when finding something precious at the end of your search. If you let yourself get overly excited, you will get frustrated very quickly and lose focus on what you’re doing, turning a quick search into a frustrating hunt.

2. Recognize metal detecting as a skill: 

Metal detecting is an art like any other. There is no set of rules that say you have to find things in the same place each time you hit the ground, but just because you wanted a coin or an old quarter in one location doesn’t mean that’s where it’s going to show up every time (and even if it did, some places are just better than others). Now don’t get me wrong, metal detecting can be a very addictive sport once you start getting the hang of things and downing coins and relics left and right, but that is not what makes it a sport. Like any other, it takes practice and patience to perfect, but once you do, it’s one of the most thrilling and addicting passes time out there.

3. Start small:

Your first metal detector is not going to be the end-all and be-all of your metal detecting career, no matter how much you paid for it or how much excitement comes with opening up a new box with your very first machine in it. Your first detector may just turn out to be something you use when you go on vacation or hunt land that isn’t your own. So when you’re looking for something to hold you over until the day you can get a better machine, get something inexpensive and easy to use. Many people who never thought they would buy their own detector didn’t start with the best machine out there, but they eventually upgraded when they realized how much fun it was to be out in the field every weekend.

4. Learn how to use all of your machine’s features. 

If you are lucky enough to have a machine with set modes like Standard, Coin, Crop Marks, etc., it is vital that you learn those modes and how each one works correctly before hitting the woods every weekend. While the default setting can be used in most cases, especially if you are just going out to get your feet wet and start to get the hang of things, there are times that it won’t do the trick. If you know what each setting is for and what it does, you will be able to adjust as necessary and use your time searching wisely instead of playing with knobs all day long.

5. Take a class. 

There’s something to be said about going to a class and learning firsthand from an expert. Many local clubs and organizations offer classes on metal detecting for beginners, or if you want to learn something new, you can ask someone what they would recommend, but there is no better hands-on learning than going through a class. Not only will you learn how to use your machine, but you will get tips and tricks from the best in the business, so it is well worth it if you find one that suits your needs.

6. Know your location: 

Before you ever head out and start detecting, learn as much as you can about your locale. White areas will often come up, but there is nothing wrong with getting excited when you find a brown (or any other color) area. It’s all about being open-minded and learning what is out there and how to spot it. If you are out in a new locale, you can always ask for advice from other detectors if they happen to be around and always keep an open mind.

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Metal detecting can be a lot of fun, but it’s also a very addicting hobby that keeps you on the road every weekend looking for some great treasure. So load up that old rusty metal detector and get ready to have fun. Of course, you can always buy a new shiny metal detector and have the same amount of fun as the next guy, but it’s what you make of it that counts.