Research pays off

If you’re like me, we’re always keeping a lookout for potential target sites to metal detect. Whether we’re running errands around town or out driving the countryside, our heads are on a perpetual swivel looking for promising ground.

Yesterday I caught sight of two spots that, based on research after I got home, should yield some great finds.

One is on the west end of town, a spot that’s obscured by shrubbery, overgrowth and trees. I’d noticed it before; yesterday, though, I pulled into a nearby parking lot and jotted down the address. If you don’t already, keep a pocket notepad and pen in your glove box just for this purpose so you won’t forget when you eventually get home. I discovered, by searching the county auditor’s website, that this 4-acre property has a home that was built in 1829, though you wouldn’t know by looking at it; the auditor’s records show that it was remodeled in 1987. It is now abandoned, sitting empty.

The owner’s info for this property had a post office box for the address; enter the subscription service I use just for occasions such as this. Up popped the residential address for the property owner, who happens to live near my home. It’ll take some door-knocking but, based on the appearance and age of the target site, I am confident of gaining permission to hunt it.

The second spot was one I’d also noted in the past, wondering how old the small home was. It’s located north of the city in a little village crossroads, and it’s also vacant. Though the lot itself is less than a half acre, research showed the structure was built in 1865, the year the Civil War ended. Records also show the owner happens to be the son of a long-time acqaintance of mine, one I became friends with when I first began my law enforcement career back in 1979. Getting permission shouldn’t be a problem on that one.

Two more spots added to the list of target sites I keep on my laptop, a list that’s beginning to bulge with promising spots for the coming spring and summer.


Patience and Metal Detecting


“Why can’t I ever find anything?” my buddy asked.

My first thought was well, if you wouldn’t walk like you’re late for a bus, you might…

But that’s not what I’d said to him last fall. I’d watched my friend, who detects sporadically during the course of a year, scan a section of a local park while walking and swinging his coil at a rapid pace; I guess he wanted to make sure he covered all of the park’s open ground in the time we had to metal detect. Mentally, I shook my head.

“You need to slow down”, I told him. “You’re missing all the faint tones, the deep ones.” As we know, deep usually equals good.

He slowed his pace….a little. He ended that day with a ’56 wheatie, a few clad coins…and a lot of iron trash. Me? A merc, a silver Rosie and an 1893 Indian Head cent. All three of my keeper coins had been dug at least five inches deep, signals I would have surely missed if I had adopted his style of detecting.

That’s the key when looking for those deeper targets…patience and knowing your machine. You can’t get a feel for your detector if you only hunt a couple of hours every other weekend.

I’m fortunate in that I am retired and can pretty much hunt when I want. When I do get out, I get the sense that I’m just a skoash bit better with my AT Pro than I was the last time I hunted, and that feeling only comes from hours put in swinging the coil. There is no replacement, no accelerant for time spent with a detector in your hand.

This same pal and I hunted for three hours a few weeks ago, during a mild break in our winter weather here in Ohio. He’s slowed down even more but is still too quick. We hunted a wooded area with a lot of history that day, an old place that was populated in the mid-1800s. At the finish of our hunt I possessed a couple of pretty cool relics and a few as-yet-to-be-identified objects; Paul ( not his real name ) had only found rusted iron.

As we headed up the highway, he asked “So what am I doing wrong? How do you find the good stuff? Where should I be looking?”. So I told him, once again, the closely-guarded, ark-of-the-covenant-like secret to making good finds….

“You need to slow down.”

A Drained Lake and Decent Weather

Last Saturday was a good day, as is any day we can get out with detector in hand during February here in Ohio; it was fifty degrees and partly cloudy, I had nothing planned ( the ‘honey-do’ list was empty! ) and my wife was going out to look at wedding dresses with our daughter-in-law to be up near Cleveland. That being the case, off I went in my 2004 GMC Canyon in search of a spot to hunt.

I keep a list on my computer of locations I’ve obtained permission for, parks within a three-county area and other likely spots that could yield history. I hadn’t yet decided where I was headed as the garage door raised itself but, by the time rubber met road, I knew where I was going: a state park. After all, I had the $5 permit fee in my pocket and knew the park would be pretty much deserted, plus I hadn’t talked to the chief ranger in over a year, a fellow copper originally from the Pittsburgh area who took on the park’s law enforcement role in retirement. It would be a good day.

The twenty-minute drive through rolling farm ladscape, still brown and gray with bare treelimbs arching skyward in the intermittent patches of woods, hinted the least bit at the coming of spring. The air, crisp and clean, faintly smelled of wood smoke here and there as sunshine tried its best to burst through dirty-bottomed clouds. As I pulled into the large lot of the park’s commissary, jam-packed with sleeping pontoon boats, I saw that both park patrol vehicles were parked near the building…hopefully, someone was in.

Alas, all the doors were locked and there was no stirring from inside as I knocked a couple of times; looks like I’d be saving that Lincoln paper for another day.

I drove down to the beach area and was stunned at the water level: huge expanses of bottom were exposed, including the entire swimming area. Now, I know that there’ve been detectorists scanning the sandy bottom since the lake level was dropped, but there was no way they could have covered all this ground, not even with an army of treasure hunters. The exposed lake bottom extended at least 200 yards beyond the swimming area and was a quarter-mile wide, if not more.

After parking, I droppped the tail gate and geared up, making sure I had spare batteries for my AT Pro and waterproof pro-pointer. I’d brought both my sand scoop and the T-handled shovel I dig with, not knowing if the sand/clay would still be frozen in spots. Luckily, it wasn’t, and I ended up using the shovel as a guidepost every time I walked the breadth of the swimming area, moving it ten feet farther towards where the deep end of the swim area would have been had the lake been at summer levels. As it was, I started scanning in what would have been thigh-deep water and covered the area out to the boundary.

I won’t bore you with the details of each and every find; I ended up recovering 6 ear rings, a ring and a necklace along with a handful of clad change. Most of the items I classified as bling immediately, but held out hope on two of the ear rings; I’d decided to wait until I got back to Ram Field Ranch to clean and take a really close look at them.

I spent four hours at the park, seeing only a few people taking advantage of the weather to enjoy leisurely strolls along the water’s edge; I was approached by one person, a teen girl curious as to what I’d found, and told her of the possible treasure of the two ear rings. “That looks like a lot of fun”, she’d said, and I told her how addicting our hobby can be, adding that my wife was happy I didn’t spend my days in the recliner watching TV. The gal laughed at that, obviously picturing this gray-bearded sixty-year-old doing just that, and wished me luck as she strolled away.

It didn’t work.

The two hopefuls turned out to be junkers, too, but I really didn’t care; I’d been outside getting some exercise, imagining each promising signal being something semi-valuable. I was tired and hungry when I got home, my lower back questioning my intelligence as it complained of all the bending it had been subjected to, but it soon was quelled by medication and a hot bath. I hadn’t had any success this day….

…but I DID notice that both marinas were void of water, too, as I left the park….which means I’ll be back very soon…

…as long as the weatherguessers cooperate.


Mystery Solved

One of the reasons I post metal detecting videos on YouTube is to elicit assistance in identifying mysterious, unknown items we all come across in our digging adventures. That happened once again overnight, when a person who goes by ‘Manabozo’ on YT solved the puzzling, round wheel-like object that came out of the ground in a flick uploaded on October 13th, 2016. Here’s the link to that video:

It was the main frame of a gyroscope, easily identified when compared to the photos below.



Manabozo, by taking the time to respond to the video, in effect makes us all a little smarter, adding to the mental files we carry in our heads while we are out scanning the earth for buried relics and artifacts from the past.

Gearing It Up…

Sunshine and low 40s today and tomorrow before the rains come Tuesday; prepping my equipment to get after it in an hour or so. Headed to a swimming pool complex that’s slated for demolition in the spring, so I’m hoping to find some jewelry…and silver.

Stay tuned to my YouTube channel…I’m seriously considering making a video on applying a protective coating to the business end of my pinpointer. This is something I believe everyone should at least consider doing because it will extend the life of the instrument, protecting the casing from wearing through, and it will not affect its operation.

Looks like my red-headed angel and I will be in Ocean Isle Beach in early March…looking forward to that FIRST beach hunt of ’17 !