Products™ takes pride in the industry we serve,
and ask you to join us in observing and promoting
ethical and legal detecting practices,
and in supporting dealers and organizations that
do the same.
Before you begin your new adventure, realize that
each time you go detecting you will be representing
EVERYONE in this sport; all will be judged by your
actions. Detectorists are a very visible group and
the public knows what you are doing. That is why
you must conduct yourself accordingly, learn proper
recovery techniques and abide by a code of ethics.
Scars from improper or sloppy recovery methods can
remain for years and further damage the image of
this activity. This can only lead to tougher laws
and regulations. Even in remote areas it is very
important to always leave no sign you were there.
your local laws regarding metal detecting, especially
on Federal, State or County lands, because they
can vary significantly from state to state. Make
the effort to search the local public records to
verify the laws regarding metal detecting in your
area BEFORE you go detecting. Do the same with State
and Federal agencies that govern lands AND waters
in your area.
If you will
be hunting on private property you MUST obtain permission
ahead of time and be absolutely certain you know
the exact boundaries of the property or yard. Check
with your County land records office (usually County
Seat) to obtain information on how to research or
obtain land ownership plats. In some places this
information is available online or you may be able
to purchase a plat book for your County (some libraries
also have copies you can view). These plat books
are useful tools, showing owner’s name and
boundaries, as well as Federal-, State-, and County-owned
lands. However, it is your responsibility to still
check with the land owner to verify the plat map
is correct. Penalties and fines can be very costly.
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Once you
have a name, try to locate the owner’s address
and pay him a visit. Introduce yourself, express
your interest and ask if he would allow you to metal
detect on his property.
practices and how you will proceed. Always be polite,
even if he turns down your request. If given permission,
find out if there are any limitations he might have;
certain times of the day, where to park your vehicle,
certain areas that might be off limits, etc. Above
all else, you must carefully cultivate the relationship
between yourself and the land owner to ensure that
you always have his/her best interest in mind. Often
there may be others, such as hunters, using their
property as well. Crop lands might be leased to
a farmer; buildings may be rented or leased to other
families. If your activities offend any other users,
they will also offend the owner and that will reflect
negatively on the sport. You may even get kicked
off the property. When you are on private property,
your actions and activities must always be beyond
reproach. You must always put the owner’s
concerns above all else. And this is just as true
if you are in a City park or on school grounds.
There are numerous cities across the country that
have banned metal detecting on city property, and
in nearly every case it is because of a careless
detectorist that left holes and trash. Always respect
the land owner!
comes with the responsibility to detect and recover
targets ethically. Your actions WILL affect the
sport so be sure you portray yourself in the best
possible way. Look for a local dealer or club in
your area. They can offer up-to-date information
on local conditions and laws, and teach you proper
recovery techniques. Joining a club is a great way
to give a stronger voice to the activity. You will
find that club members have a strong stake in keeping
the sport healthy by watching for violators or those
not using proper recovery techniques. The goal of
most clubs is to educate and teach those in this
activity. With your ethical participation, you will
help ensure we can all enjoy this activity for years
and years. Be Responsible!
1. Always check
Federal, State and local laws regarding metal detecting
2. Respect land owners and always obtain permission
before entering private property.
3. Always use proper recovery methods. Fill all
holes and do no damage.
4. Always take your trash with you; leave the area
better than you found it.
5. Appreciate and protect our heritage of natural
resources, wildlife and private property.
6. As an ambassador of the sport, use thoughtfulness,
consideration and courtesy at all times.
7. Never damage or remove any historically significant
or archeological treasures.
8. Always leave gates as found, and never tamper
with signs or equipment.
9. Do not destroy property, buildings, or what is
left of any deserted ghost towns or structures.
Use this method to unearth shallow targets (1 to
4 inches), when the ground is dry and when the risk
of damaging the grass is high. This method requires
a bit more practice, but is much less damaging to
the grass than Method 2.
After pinpointing the target (as accurately as possible),
use a probe to locate the target by pressing it
down into the soil. A probe can be an ice pick or
small screwdriver with the end rounded so as not
to mar your target. Next, insert the probe just
above the target center, and rotate slightly to
open the ground. Now insert the probe just under
the target at an angle and work the target to the
surface. Brush all the loose dirt back into the
hole and close by exerting pressure all around the
Use this method only where allowed in natural wooded
areas or fields, or in very moist lawn areas. Removing
plugs from hard, dry ground can damage the grass
roots and kill the grass within the plug, leaving
a yellow “dead” spot that will remain
long after you leave. This leaves a terrible image
and needs to be guarded against.
After pinpointing the target, cut (using a digger
or a sturdy blade) a half-moon shaped plug, 4-5”
deep and 4-5” in diameter, around the center
of your target. Cut straight down into the ground,
but leave the one side of the plug attached. Cutting
a hinged plug rather than an entire “plate”
will properly orient its return, prevent removal
by a lawnmower and lessen the chance of scratching
your target. Most importantly it will allow the
root system of the plug to remain intact, keeping
the plug alive and green.
Once cut, insert your knife or digger down opposite
the hinge and carefully fold it back. Scan the plug
and the hole to isolate the target location. If
the target is in the plug, carefully probe until
located, and carefully extract to minimize damage
to roots and plug integrity. If the target is in
the hole and not visible, use an electronic pin
pointer or probe the bottom and sides of the hole
until the target is located and removed. If you
need to remove more dirt from the hole, carefully
collect it on a rag or small tarp patch so it can
be returned to the hole when finished. By placing
any dirt on a cloth, it will keep the site clean
and make it much easier to return to the hole. Replace
all loose dirt with the plug, seat firmly and press
it down with your foot to remove any air pockets.
Done properly, you will leave no trace and the grass
will remain healthy.