9 Best Metal Detecting Forums – Get Advice from Others

9 Best Metal Detecting Forums – Get Advice from Others

One of the worst parts about having a niche hobby like metal detecting is not being able to find information when you need it. For any niche hobby these days, online forums are the best places to ask questions and learn from the people who have been doing it for decades. But not all forums are created equal, and it’s important to know which ones are worth your time and which ones are just trash finds.

1. Friendly Metal Detecting Forum (http://metaldetectingforum.com)

Friendly Metal Detecting Forums is the second largest metal detecting forum on the web with an outstanding 261,360 threads, 3,083,598 posts, and 52,465 members.

This is a classic forum in the sense that it is run on the vBulletin platform. As a result, the forum looks fairly modern, but still has the same recognizable statistics such as birthdays and who’s currently online. The Friendly Metal Detecting Forum has a huge user base of knowledge, but it still has the feeling of a small ‘friendly’ community.

Friendly Metal Detecting Forum
Friendly Metal Detecting Forum

The user tag1260 recently posted on this forum asking about what the proper way to cut plugs is. His question specifically mentioned not wanting to kill the grass and has already received 19 responses at the time of writing this (even though this post was just written a few hours ago. This kind of responsiveness and communal sharing of information is not rare at the Friendly Metal Detecting Forum and, in fact, is what this forum is known for. And also why this is the first forum on my list.

2. Treasure Net (http://www.treasurenet.com/)

Treasure Net is the largest metal detecting forum at the time of writing this. And while it also claims to be the original metal detecting forum it is definitely the most popular. The site boasts 500,000 threads, 5,400,000 total posts, and 120,000 members.

While this means that Treasure Net doesn’t have the same ‘friendly’ environment as a smaller forum, it also means that pretty much anything you want to know about metal detecting can be found from the huge base of knowledge which is being added to every day.

With this forum, if you can imagine it then there is probably already a few threads and couple dozen posts already dedicated to it and everything related to it. Some people don’t like this because there is no way to stay up to date with even a tiny portion of this gigantic forum, but if you like having more information than you know what to do with then this is where you should be.

Metal Detecting in the USA
Metal Detecting in the USA

Special Mention Website – Metal Detecting in the USA

If your looking for a wealth of knowledge and an experienced metal detector you MUST read Metal Detecting in the USA. J.R. Hoff has dedicated countless hours to build a resource that he freely shares with others.

The site goes into depth regarding civil war era artifacts and has extensive documentation about bullets used during the civil war. Since the history in the USA doesn’t go back thousands of years like other parts of the world, reading about the discoveries here in the USA is more to my liking.

3. Canadian Metal Detecting (http://www.canadianmetaldetecting.com/)

The Canadian Metal Detecting Forum isn’t as big as the previous two, but it still has a total 601,097 posts, 54,969 threads, and 8,941 members. This forum is obviously directed towards Canadian’s; however, everyone can learn from the conversations had on this site.

There is a ton of good information about relic and coin hunting, and plenty of stories to go along with the tips and tricks you can learn from this forum. This forum might not have the size and appeal of some of the bigger forums, but it still has thousands of active users who are all looking to learn/teach about metal detecting.

4. Find’s Treasure Forums (http://findmall.com/)

Find’s Treasure Forum is self-described as the “internet’s most popular treasure forum” and is the third largest overall. This forum is built on the Phorum platform and is middle of the road as far as user experience in its current form.

However, at the time of writing this the Find’s Treasure Forum was moved to a different domain while a new and improved version is being constructed to replace it. After this new version of the forum replaces the old version the Find’s Treasure Forum will have one of the best user experiences of any of the forums on this list.

Another tip is… Find’s Treasure Forum is known for having a strict moderation and admin team, so it’s best to stay current with the rules and regulations which govern posts on this forum.

5. Detector Prospector (http://detectorprospector.com/)

The Detector Prospector metal detecting forum is owned and operated by a man named Steve Herschbach and is primarily frequented by gold hunters of all sorts. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the Detector Prospector Forum is the best metal detecting forum when it comes to the subject of gold.

Detector Prospector Forum
Detector Prospector Forum

The site is also very enjoyable to use as it is built on the Invision platform. The Invision platform is modern and easy to navigate, but, even if the site wasn’t so beautiful, it would still be worth your time for simply the awe-inspiring posts that one can often find here. I’m talking so many gold nuggets that you might start looking into moving to Australia.

A recent post on the Detector Prospector forum by user tnsharpshooter links to a YouTube video that shows him finding a large old gold coin as well as some other colonial finds. This one user has posted 5,835 times since registering 7 years ago, proving the dedication of the members found on this forum.

6. The Dankowski Metal Detecting Forum (http://dankowskidetectors.com/)

Thomas Dankowski (aka NASA Tom) is the architect of this forum, (Dankowski Metal Detecting)and it is the place where the best minds in metal detecting get together to talk shop. Moreover, these seasoned professionals are always willing to interact with amateur to try and pass on the information they have amassed over the years.

Of course, like on any forum, the occasional silly argument can be found without having to try to hard. But, in its defense even the silly arguments that happen on this forum are going to be well researched and intellectually sound. It’s only because the people on this forum are so passionate that can get caught up in the weeds of discussion so often.

7. American Detectorist (http://americandetectorist.com/forum/)

The American Detectorist Forum is owned by ‘Epi-hunter’ and ‘angellionel’, although an entire administrative-team work in conjunction to keep the forum operational. This forum is relatively small as it has 229,745 posts, 22,500 threads, and 3,807 members. But, don’t let this forum small size fool you, it is still built on the vBulletin platform and therefore it has a top of the class User Interface. Additionally, every month an award is given for the best relic, coin, and jewelry related find for a total of three awards that are given out.

This forum’s home page is actually separate from the main forum in that it is just a website that has a bunch of information regarding finds that have been posted on the forum and also articles that were written by members of the forum on tips and tricks to metal detecting. There are two metal detecting tutorials on this site as well.

8. The Treasure Depot (http://thetreasuredepot.com/)

The Treasure Depot is definitely an old school forum in the sense that it looks a lot more like 4-Chan than Reddit. Despite the ancient User Interface, the treasure depot forum has over 1,000 topics, almost 5,000 total posts, and around 15,000 members.

A recent post by user John-Edmonton entitled ‘I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside) I gotta go away (Baby it’s cold outside)’ describes going out on his first hunt of 2020. Even though it was -2 degrees Fahrenheit outside, John was still able to find a total of $3.96 dollars’ worth of change, 16 coins in total.

9. Relichunting.net (http://www.relichunting.net/)

Relichunting.net is a niche forum which deals specifically with the art and practice of hunting relics with a metal detector. This forum has 6 sections, 120 subjects, and 28 categories in total. With only 84 users this is by far the smallest forum on this list, but it is also the most specific.

User FooserPaul recently posted about his finds from a 5-hour hunt. He found a Colonial Buckle, Crotal Bell, and a Fatty Indian Head Penny all in a 100-ft by 100-ft field. To me, this post perfectly captures the spirit of this forum in that it is filled with posts of completely unique finds which are really interesting to learn about.

Can You Metal Detect in Winter? (Find out HOW)

Can You Metal Detect in Winter? (Find out HOW)

As outdoorsy people understand, receiving a Christmas gift for a summer hobby is almost torture. Whether it’s a new set of golf clubs or a fishing rod, staring at it collect dust over the winter months is difficult. Three years ago, I was given a brand new metal detector for Christmas and I was at a loss. How was I not going to use this until May? The ground was frozen, it was cold and I had no idea how I was going to make the most of my new toy.

Yes, it is possible to metal detect in the winter. There are several things that have to be adapted to be successful detecting in the winter, but it’s possible no matter where you live in the world.

Can you use a Metal Detector in Winter
Can you use a Metal Detector in Winter – YES

An easy answer for this article would be to suggest moving somewhere warm for the winter, but it’s not always that simple. In fact, metal detecting in the winter can produce quite a few artifacts that would be much more difficult to find in the summer.

Can I metal detect in the snow? Will it harm my metal detector?

Yes, you can metal detect in the snow. However, if the snow is deep, your detector won’t penetrate the ground as far as you’d like. Find areas where snow drifts haven’t piled or the wind has blown some of the ground clear. The metal detector will still function properly, but you may have trouble getting as much depth as you would like.

It’s also recommended to put a coil cover on your detector. Coil covers protect the coils on your detector from getting cut. They’re also useful in the winter because they’ll prevent you from getting electrocuted. The moisture from the snow can set your detector off so it’s important to have a coil to protect yourself from any injuries. It’ll also protect your detector from frying its electronics. If you don’t have a 100% waterproof detector, you could be at risk of losing your machine.

Where are some Good Spots for Winter Metal Detecting?

There are three main spots to focus on when detecting in the winter.

The first spot to look for is an unfrozen body of water. This is only smart to do if you have a wetsuit or pair of waders. Be prepared to get cold if you choose to detect in open water. Also, having a waterproof metal detector is also a necessity. If you let a non-waterproof detector fall in the water, you’ll likely ruin it.

Metal Detecting in Rivers

Detecting in shallow open water won’t require you to deal with the trash or other annoyances that you work through on land. You likely also won’t have to dig as deep as you usually would if you are detecting in shallow water.

Keeping with the theme of water, beaches or shorelines can be great spots to look in the winter. You won’t have to deal with the usual traffic that would be around in the summer. The winter winds will continue to push things on to the shore line.

Look for the natural dips in the sand. The water will push the artifacts to the lowest possible location. If at all possible, visit a beach along the ocean. The movement of the tides helps disperse the snow and ice and as a result the sand won’t freeze. If you aren’t near a saltwater location and the sand is frozen, wait for a sunny day. The sun will unfreeze the sand enough to begin digging. Again, be sure to have the coil cover to protect your detector from the water.

Another spot to search is within popular winter tourist spots. Whether it’s sledding hills, ice rinks or fishing lakes, they will all produce treasure. The best spot to look, however, is a ski hill.

If you can, search near the ski lifts. People are always losing things as the enter and exit the lifts. Whether they slip getting off the chair or they are in a hurry to get adjusted, there’s likely a plethora of treasure to be found.

PRO TIP – Get a good shovel and even a pick. Developing your skills digging is a basic skill when it comes to Metal Detecting. Read about some great shovels HERE.

Chances are you’ll have to go when the mountain is closed, but if you can get permission from the owners you may get your hands on some impressive finds. Jewelry, coins or even keys could make themselves into your pockets. My brother was able to find a wedding ring at a ski resort in Colorado with his detector and it was returned to its rightful owner.

Another spot to look at these winter hotspots is the parking lot. If there are gravel parking lots, go ahead and spend an hour or so looking around. All of the winter gear removal almost guarantees the loss of valuables. The beauty of winter detecting is that very few do it. However, it requires quite a bit of creativity from those that try. You have to think outside of the box to get the results you want.

Tips for Metal Detecting in the Winter

One of the most important pieces of equipment for winter metal detecting is a strong shovel. The firm ground makes digging extremely difficult. Therefore, be sure to bring a strong metal shovel to break through that first layer of soil. It’s also not a bad idea to carry a hand held pick if the ground is too frozen. Use the pick to break the frozen ground apart before you dig.

Read about my favorite digging tools in this article – A Guide to Metal Detecting Digging Tools

Another thing to remember is that the cold weather is going to drain your battery life at a faster rate. Be sure that your detector is fully charged before you head out to your spot. If you need a break to warm up, have a car charger handy so you can get a few extra minutes of juice while you thaw.

Metal Detecting in Winter
Metal Detecting in Winter – Finding some Bling!

Waterproof clothes are a must for winter metal detecting. Having waterproof pants will give you peace of mind that you won’t have water seeping through if you get on the ground to dig. Also, waterproof gloves will help you sift through the snow. You don’t want to have to quit your detecting adventure early due to faulty clothing.

Winter metal detecting isn’t going to be the easiest or most comfortable experience of your life, but it can be rewarding. Not many people are going to put time into it over the sixth months. This leads more treasure for those who are willing to give extra effort.

Like many hobbies, it’s trial and error. There are no guaranteed spots like there may be in the summer, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work. It’s even more rewarding when you find something valuable on a long cold day rather than on a perfect day in the summer!

Where to Metal Detect in Ontario: MAPS INCLUDED

Where to Metal Detect in Ontario: MAPS INCLUDED

Thousands of years ago, Woolly Mammoths and First Nation tribes were wandering what is now Ontario, Canada. Each day, the goal was to find enough food to survive to the next. First Nations tribes followed the animals and gathered whatever vegetation they could to keep a steady diet. Hunting and Gathering were the means of survival until the 18th Century.

Etienne Brule, the first European explorer to travel through Ontario in the 16th Century, saw the land for all it was worth, but failed to erect a settlement. The Iroquois fought to keep their land until the end of the Seven Years’ War in 1763. In 1776, nearly 9,000 British Loyalists moved to Ontario to claim the land.

Money just waiting to be found in Ontario
Money just waiting to be found in Ontario

Fast forward almost 100 years to 1867 and Ontario was named one of the first four provinces of Canada. The others were New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Today, Ontario is home to Toronto, Ottawa and Mississauga and is the second most prosperous province behind Alberta.

There are numerous outdoor pastimes to be found in Ontario. Fishing, hunting, hiking and kayaking are amongst the most popular, but metal detecting could easily be considered in the top five. The large amount of public land available to search makes it a common place to try the hobby. There are no regulations against detecting on beaches, parks and beaches. As long as respect is the main goal, people rarely have trouble finding places to detect.

The rules for private property and Provincial Parks in place similar to the United States. People need permission for detecting on private property and detecting within 500 meters of a historical site within a Provincial Park is illegal.

There are few laws on where people aren’t allowed to detect. The issues arise when people start trying to dig. Again, digging in designated historical areas is illegal. However, as long as the holes aren’t more than several inches on school grounds, public parks, etc., there are going to be few issues.

There is all sorts of public land to search all over Ontario! Here are a few spots to start:

GRAND BEND ONTARIO – Beach Lovers and Metal Detecting

Grand Bend can be found on the shores of Lake Huron. Located on the Southwest coast of Ontario, it’s a popular vacation spot for families all over the area. Everyone knows how much stuff gets brought to the beach. In Grand Bend, there is the “Main Beach” where thousands of people can be found lounging on a warm summer day. There is also the North Beach where younger folks hang out leaving behind all sorts of treasures.

Metal Detecting at the Beach Grand Bend Ontario
Metal Detecting at the Beach Grand Bend Ontario

The South Beach is designated more for families. Rambunctious children running around causing parents to drop valuables makes for a metal detectors dream. The difficulty with detecting on beaches is crowding folks who are trying to have a relaxing afternoon. I’ve had my fair share of elderly ladies give me death stares for getting too close. Don’t forget to bring your headphones! The loud beeping of your detector interrupts the screams of children and crashing waves. Check out our article on the best headphones to wear metal detecting for some options.

The Pinery Provincial Park has in Great Bend has a 10km beach perfect for detectors of all abilities to explore. While you’re at it enjoy the Oak Savanna trees and 300 bird species within the park. The sunsets over the water even make a slow day detecting enjoyable. When searching a Provincial Park, you’ll need to secure a permit from the superintendent. Since it’s not a “public” park, you’ll need to jump through some hoops to receive permission.

The prevailing winds drive finds up onto the beaches. The waves do their part by keeping the treasure up on the beaches. Look for the natural dips in the sand. The water will bring the treasure to the lowest point. The beaches in Grand Bend are extremely smooth so no need to worry about gravel and rocks.

BURLOAK WATERFRONT PARK- Water, Picnic and Metal Detect

Burloak Waterfront Park is located between Mississauga and Hamilton and just south of Toronto. The proximity to the major cities makes it a hotspot for all sorts of people to visit. It’s a great place to spend the day picnicking and searching. Be careful with how deep you dig in the park. Don’t go further than several inches. Most police officers and park workers won’t mind, but if you’re creating a mess, you may find yourself in trouble.

The beach as well as park provide detectors with different types of ground to explore. It’s always exhilarating to search in the midst of the city.

HIGH PARK – Lots of Room

High Park is Toronto’s largest public park. There are numerous hiking trails, sports facilities and a waterfront that borders the Grenadier Pond. Again, the more people, the more treasure. However, you may encounter fellow detectors due to its proximity to the cities. It’s a great spot to bring your family! There is a playground as well as a zoo for the kids to enjoy while you’re out detecting.

Digging shallow holes here is fine, but be sure to only dig three sides so the soil can fall back into the place. Also, feel free to mess with your sensitivity while at the park. You’ll likely be catching all sorts of different metals due to the constant traffic so it’s important to have your settings exactly where you want them.

CHRISTIE PITS PARK – Lots of Activity

This is another park in the heart of Toronto. It’s a public park with baseball fields, soccer fields and other green surfaces. There is also a playground and pool. This is a common spot for sledding in the winter. Sledding hills are great spots to look. Kids get too ambitious and take a tumble off of their sled and send half of their belongings flying. It’s a perfect spot in the summer to detect, but go ahead and try it in the winter. Choose a morning during the week or early on the weekend and you’ll have the hills to yourself.

Pay attention to your digging depths! No need to get in trouble.

BLUFFER’S PARK – Many Parks to Scan

Bluffer’s Park is one of several parks located along the Scarborough Bluffs. It has one of the best urban beaches that folks love to spend time on in the warmer summer months. In the Instagram era we live in, people are spending quite a bit of time in this park due to the scenic views. When people are searching for the ideal Instagram photo, they wear fancier things. Go ahead and look at common photo spots and see what you can find.

Also, be sure to search the beach. It’s wonderful sightseeing. It’s one of the best parks in the greater Toronto area.

CENTENNIAL PARK – Busy but Lots of People Means $$

Centennial Park is going to be one of your busiest parks on this list. However, it also has the greatest variety. It’s home to a BMX park, ski hill, conservatory, sports fields and a wading pool. Again, it’s a great spot to bring family and let them entertain themselves while you detect. If you can secure permission in the winter, go ahead and search by the ski hill. Be sure to focus on looking near the lifts. This is where people will slip and fall and lose some of their precious cargo.

Also, the baseball fields are home to many weekend tournaments and league games. Search near the dugouts to see if you can find earrings or rings that parents or players lost.


In 2018, DJ Dowling, a patient at the Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Whitby discovered an old silver coin that belonged to the former agricultural minister of Canada. The coin was worth nearly $1700 and the man donated it to the Diabetes Centre. It will be displayed once their expansion is complete. Read the complete news article HERE.

Dowling has also found a 1990’s pure gold locket and a powder flask from the mid-1800’s while detecting in the area.

One of the most historical finds in Ontario was part of a gold Pyx from the 1600’s. A pyx is small round container that is used to carry the Eucharist. It was found in Northern Ontario off the coast of Fort Pierce. Underwater metal detecting is growing in popularity over the years and can be an extremely fun if you’re looking to expand your abilities!


Metal detecting clubs are great places to network and grow in your skill. Metal Detecting can be a lonely hobby. Joining a club gives you access to more ideas and locations to hunt as well as a chance to meet people. Members of these clubs are generally extremely nice and let folks borrow equipment when needed.


Forums of all types are useful to join. Forums are online clubs that give people a chance to ask questions and research anything they may be curious about. If you have a keyword or phrase you want to research, type it in to the forum and see what pops up. You may have to request permission to join, but once you’re in, you’re all set!

Canadian Metal Detecting – http://www.canadianmetaldetecting.com/


David Humphries here, Wow! A couple years ago I grabbed my sons metal detector to take on a camping trip. I thought it would be fun to walk the beach and just do a little sweeping. Little did I know I would be bitten by this amazing hobby. Read more ABOUT DAVID HERE

What are HOT ROCKS when Metal Detecting?

What are HOT ROCKS when Metal Detecting?

I was looking for old coins on the shore of a local river back when I first got into metal detecting and I kept getting false hits even though I was using discrimination. I couldn’t figure it out, which especially bugged me because

I usually have great luck with rivers. I went back to that river last week, now with much more experience, and immediately realized the problem… HOT ROCKS! To help you not make the same mistakes I did, I have put together some tips and tricks for identifying and dealing with Hot Rocks when Metal Detecting.

What Are These “Hot Rocks” That Detectorists Keep Talking About?

Hot Rocks (sometimes known as “Cold Rocks”) are rocks, pebbles, or sediment, which contain higher or lower amounts of conductive or nonconductive minerals relative to the ground around them. Specifically, related to what your metal detector is manually or automatically ground balanced.

Hot Rocks While Metal Detecting on a River Bank
Hot Rocks While Metal Detecting on a River Bank

Types of Hot Rocks Found While Metal Detecting

There are two main forms which Hot Rocks can be classified into. Firstly, Positive Hot Rocks, which contain higher amounts of conductive material. Secondly, Negative Hot Rocks, also known as “Cold Rocks” which contain higher amounts of nonconductive material.

Negative Hot Rocks – Think Magnetite

Negative Hot Rocks are very nonconductive as they contain (usually) high concentrations of Magnetite. Magnetite is an Iron Oxide (Fe3O4 to be exact) and will often cause the rock or sediment which it is in to become dark black in color. Additionally, it will cause the rock or sediment to become heavy due to the high atomic weigh of the Iron Oxide Molecule. One of the most common ways to encounter this type of Hot Rock in North America is “Black Sand”. This is just as it sounds, sand which is dark, or black, in color, and abundant in Magnetite.

Magnetite, however, can be used for more than just disrupting your metal detectors ground balancing systems. In places where Magnetite is common, it is also not uncommon for the soil to also be gold-bearing. This is especially noticeable in streams and dry-washes of gold-bearing regions due to the Magnetite being collected into a more concentrated area.

Tips for Identifying and Dealing with Negative Hot Rock Interference

Negative Hot Rocks, at shallow depths, will exhibit a false-metallic audio response. This false-metallic audio response of the metal detector will sound less definite and more general than responses from “real” targets. This is often accompanied by a delayed acquisition and then nulling of the audio response when you move your coil away from the area and back to the target location. Some other characteristics of the Negative Hot Rock audio response are: the response being unrepeatable or only repeatable when swinging the coil one direction, the signal being completely unable to be pinpointed, and in cases where the metal detector will display a signal on a screen these signals will not be present on that devices screen.

If you are using Manual Ground Balancing then, besides hearing these false-metallic audio signals, you will also have a lower detection depth in highly non-conductive sediments. One way to fix this issue is by using the Non-Silent Search type accompanied with the All-Metal discrimination mode, then re-balancing your metal detector. You will notice a lowering of the Threshold tuning level before re-balancing which is an indication of this process needing to be done.

If there are large inconsistencies in the nonconductive Hot Rocks or Negative Hot Rocks at deeper depths then the Threshold tuning level may become completely null. In this case, when using All-Metal discrimination, nothing can be done to mitigate the effect on the metal detector. Instead, in this case you will need to readjust the Manual Ground Balancing until a small increase in the audio threshold is noticeable when lowering the coil to the ground. This an adjustment which is known as “Positive Offset” to the Ground Balance. This helps your metal detector compensate for any sudden decreases which could be caused by the inconsistencies or deeper signals.

If you happen to be using Silent-Search, you will not notice any change in performance unless you stumble upon a large Negative Hot Rock at a shallow or medium depth level. In this case your metal detector will exhibit the previously described false-metallic audio signal which can be ignored once you feel competent in recognizing the signal.

To reduce these false-metallic audio, or non-audio, responses the best thing to do is to use the discrimination features on your metal detector to eliminate ferrous responses. This, of course is only available on Very Low Frequency metal detectors. Furthermore, using these discrimination features may have an effect on your coil’s sensitivity or responses to metallic objects which exhibit a false-ferrous metallic signal. In the case that you are using a Pulse Induction metal detector, Hot Rocks of any kind (besides non-Graphitic Positive Hot Rocks) will not affect your metal detectors efficiency / responses.

Positive Hot Rocks – Think Maghemite

Positive Hot Rocks are very conductive as they contain (Usually) high concentrations of Maghemite. Maghemite is an Iron Oxide (Fe2O3 to be exact) and will often cause the rock or sediment which it is in to become red, reddish-orange, or yellow color. Although, Maghemite is an Iron Oxide, just like Magnetite, it exhibits lower ferrimagnetic properties (aka higher ferromagnetic properties) than Magnetite.

However, it is also possible that Positive Hot Rocks are very conductive because they contain high amounts of sulfide minerals. These minerals are Pyrrhotite (aka Magnetic Pyrite Fe(1-x)S (x = 0 through 0.2)) and Bornite (aka Peacock ore, CuFeS4). Pyrrhotite will be the same color as Maghemite but Bornite will be a copper-red or brown color unless it has been tarnished. In which case, it will turn to a range of blue and purple shades.

While these are the most common Iron-Bearing Positive Hot Rocks, these is a tricky subsection of non-Iron-Bearing positive Hot Rocks. These can be any rock or sediment material which has high concentrations of copper ore, bauxite (aluminum), manganese, gold, nickel, or commonly graphite. Graphite is a highly conductive Carbon-based substance which you may know from the fact that most pencil leads are now made of the Graphite substance.

Tips for Identifying and Dealing with Positive Hot Rock Interference

The non-Iron-Bearing forms of Positive Hot Rocks which are not Graphite, due to their distinct metallic properties, are difficult to deal with when it comes to ground balancing, although some tips will be given later in this article. When it comes to the Graphitic Positive Hot Rocks, however, there is a simple solution to dealing with its interference on your metal detector.

Changing the Sensitivity on a Metal Detector
Changing the Sensitivity on a Metal Detector

Turn down the sensitivity of the metal detector if is manually ground balanced and simply reset the metal detector if it is automatically ground balanced. Graphitic Hot Rocks will have a positive audio signal, be black or darker in color, and will leave a mark on your skin and other materials when touched.

Read this article about setting the sensitivity on your metal detector. How to Set the Sensitivity on a Metal Detector

As I mentioned, the signals from the non-Graphitic Positive Hot Rocks have their own distinct signal because they are all metals which could be found in thing which would be considered “real” targets. This makes them the most difficult type of Hot Rock to deal with by far, and also means that in some cases there is no other way to deal with them than to dig them up and find out for yourself. In areas where these types of Hot Rocks are abundant, this has been known to be a serious problem.

I have never experienced this, although I have been told they may be more common than you would think. There are some ways which very experienced detectors have claimed to be able to discern between these Hot Rocks and “real” targets although they take years of constant practice to theoretically be learned. I say theoretically because there is no proof that these methods are actually efficient at making a certain distinction.

Tips for Eliminating the Effects of Mineral Salts when Metal Detecting

Along with Positive Hot Rocks, high levels of mineral salts can cause sediment to have a higher conductivity than would be expected. This is because various mineral salts can exhibit conductive properties which produce false-magnetic signals from your metal detector.

The most common place to find these mineral salts is on the beaches of the ocean as they have been concentrated by the evaporation of ocean water. Also, because this is one of the most common places where metal detectorists will go for metal detecting (if they live near an ocean) so the statistic is somewhat skewed, but is effectively useful for determining some “best practices” when you know you may encounter these mineral salts.

Pulse Induction Metal Detectors can Help in Highly Mineralized Soil
Pulse Induction Metal Detectors can Help in Highly Mineralized Soil
Picture courtesy of Garrett Metal Detectors

Mineral salts will not pose an issue for you if they are completely dry. This means that if the soil or sand is completely dry then they will not cause any false-metallic signals to your metal detector. However, if they are wet then they can become conductive, and if they are concentrated enough, they can present as a metallic signal. These false-metallic signals can be discerned from true-metallic signals as I described above, and also can be completely eliminated when using a Pulse Induction metal Detector.

5 Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins

5 Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins

When I first got into metal detecting I didn’t realize how quickly I would run out of places where I could look for finds (mostly old coins because that is what interests me). After I extensively searched my yard, my local beach, and even my parent’s yard, I didn’t know where else I could go. Since then, I’ve done a lot of metal detecting, and not just in my yard, so I’ve compiled a list of places which I have found to be the best places to look for old coins.

1.Parks – Every Town has a Park

In general parks are the most accessible location to metal detect, simply because they can be found in or around almost any town in the United States. Many of these parks, whether state or county owned, exhibit large swaths of open land along with historical preservations such as monuments or buildings. I love to go to parks for this reason, because I almost never run out of places to look before I eventually decide to go home.

I have found plenty of old coins and other relics which patrons of these parks have been losing for decades. Moreover, getting a permit to access the park is relatively cheap and lets me go to any state park I want to as many times as I want to for the entire year. The only downside about metal detecting in parks is that the laws which govern whether or not metal detecting is allowed vary widely from park to park.

A Favorite Metal Detecting Pass-Time Searching for Old Coins
A Favorite Metal Detecting Pass-Time Searching for Old Coins

It is always a good idea to check with the state laws for your state, and then oftentimes even to check with the park manager to obtain permission before you go looking around. I haven’t had many problems with this, most parks I have been to allow it, however even with permission it is extremely important to always practice good metal detector etiquette when on land you don’t own. The actions you take when metal detecting on public land can have an effect on whether or not a park will allow people to use that park for metal detecting in the future.

2. National Forests and Bureau of Land Management Land – Scan Carefully

National forests are much like state parks, except they are minimally developed for public use and as a result of this have a significantly lower number of visitors. I personally like them because of this, but it does mean that there are fewer old coins or other objects which you will most likely find. Because there are less visitors, and those visitors aren’t focused in any areas in particular, it is more of a gamble in terms of where to metal detect.

I wrote even more about Metal Detecting on public land particularly BLM and National Forests in this article: Can I Metal Detect on BLM Land?

One major advantage of National Parks (and other Bureau of Land Management Lands) is that there is no need to get permission or a permit of any kind to metal detect there. Collecting rocks, minerals, or other small artifacts is almost always allowed with only a few exceptions which relate to historical preservations. I haven’t had any problems at National Forests, in fact they are usually the least stressful places to metal detect, but if you are worried about the rules of one in your area you can usually find information on its website.

One downside of National forests that I have experienced, besides the relatively lower chance of finding something, is the terrain of much of the forest. In addition to countless trees and bushes, there are also leaves and other natural debris which cover the forest floor. However, every once in a while, you can find trials, paths, or openings, and these are my favorite places to try finding something. You never know what you’re going to find, or if you are going to find anything at all, but National Forests are some of the calmest and most untouched areas where someone could metal detect.

3. Beaches – the GOLD Standard Literally

It is a common occurrence to see someone metal detecting at almost any public beach, and for good reason. I recommend for anyone who wants to try and metal detect in new places to look for a public beach in their area. Beaches are a huge location for people to concentrate especially in the summer. Moreover, I enjoy the fact that it is always easy to dig in the sand and even easier to backfill the holes you create by simply pushing the sand back into the whole. Sometimes the sand will even try to fall back into the whole while you are digging, although that in particular can be frustrating at times.

When looking for old coins, beaches might not come to mind because it is likely that if any old coins were at the beach they most likely have already been found by the countless numbers of people who have searched for them before you. And, this can be true of some beaches where patronage is very high and management of the sand is carried out on a consistent basis.

Metal Detecting on a Beac
Metal Detecting on a Beach – My First Find!

If the sand is being raked on a weekly or daily basis then most object will either be removed or heavily damaged by this process. This is why I try to find beaches which are not heavily trafficked or maintained. These are more common than you would think and can often be recognized by a large amount of debris in or near the sand and also a large amount of seaweed in the water adjacent to the beach.

Saltwater beaches can be a particularly fun place to metal detect as you get to see the ocean as you search. For me, I frequent the beaches of the Great Lakes for this same reason. People drop tons of stuff at the beach mostly due to the fact that they often don’t have pockets on their bathing suits / summer attire.

However, people also love to litter on beaches, in particular aluminum cans and bottle caps. I always just do my best to use discrimination on my metal detector, when I can, and not get overly hopeful when digging up a hit.

4. Rivers – Folks Swimming and Canoeing

Both the banks of rivers and the riverbed itself can be great places to metal detect, especially if the river is shallow enough that you can comfortably dig without getting too deep in the water. Rivers are a place where many people visit, but also, they carry things down the river through their currents. Because of this, you never know what type of thing you can find on account of the fact that it could come from anywhere along the river.

Rivers are GREAT Places to Metal Detect
Rivers are GREAT Places to Metal Detect
Swimmers and Canoers Drop Stuff

Most river access will either be on private land, in which case you only need to make sure that you have the permission of the landowner to metal detect there, or on state owned land, in which case you should make sure that it is legal for you to be metal detecting in that specific river at the location you plan to be searching at. I do this by calling the main office of whatever state park or county park the area is located in.

Read all about metal detecting in Rivers and Streams in this Article:

When I metal detect in the river, as opposed to just on the banks, I always make sure to have a metal detector which is waterproof as well as to wear waders when I am in the water. Digging in the water can be tricky, so I always try to dig very slowly and carefully. Moreover, I only search in shallow water where I can see the riverbed I am digging in. 

5. Churches – Usually Older is Better

Some churches, depending on who owns them and what kind of church they are, will let you metal detect on their land if you get permission beforehand. They might only giver permission for some area and not others, or for some times and not others, and in general it is just very important to be respectful and mindful of the land you are on when you are metal detecting.

Old Churches are Perfect for Searching for Coins
Old Churches are Perfect for Searching for Coins –

I think the reason why I have always had luck with church land, in particular with finding old coins, is that people gather in these locations at least once a week and have been for generations. Of course, this is only true of older churches, but sometimes even newer churches will be built on land which had an older church on it previously. In general location which have previously had a building on them which was formerly highly trafficked, but which now is demolished and relatively abandoned, is a good place for metal detecting. In particular in finding old coins due to their heritage.

Tips for Looking for Old Coins

  • Use Metal Detector Discrimination Features as Much as Possible

On Very Low Frequency Metal Detectors, there are often discrimination features which either can help you look for the specific metals which coins are made of or which will specifically have a mode called ‘coins’ which does the same but in a simple way.

This helps me most on the beach and in areas where construction has happened due to it helping me weed out bottle caps, nails, pop tabs, and other waste materials. Read more about Discrimination in this article: What is Discrimination Metal Detecting and How to Set it

  • Look in the Areas Where People Would Have Their Things Out

While you are searching in any of the areas listed above, or anywhere in general, I always like to try and look near places where I know people would most likely congregate. Furthermore, in the areas where people congregate, I like to look in the areas where people would most likely be using or moving their belongings. Anytime people are moving around their stuff is an opportunity for them to lose something, and often this can be coins or small things which could be easily overlooked.

  • Choose Areas Where People Have Been for a Long Time

If you are looking for old coins in particular, you’re going to need to find a place where people who could have owned these coins could have lost them. Of course, this could be anywhere in the world, but some places can be proven to have been frequented by people who lived in the time when these coins were in circulation. This means looking for the year when a park, or beach, or church was founded / created. In the United States this is a particularly important consideration given the relatively short time that it has been a country. And, an even shorter time that many of its land holdings have been a part of the union.

  • Always Make Sure You Have Permission

Unless you own the land, it is possible that it is illegal for you to metal detect on that land. Moreover, even if you are allowed there may be limits or regulations which govern your access and utilization of the land. Because of this, it is extremely important to always be as thorough as possible when doing research for a location.

Gaining permission from a landowner, a park manager, a church owner, or government (via laws) should always be the first step. The punishment for metal detecting on restricted land can vary all of the way from being asked to leave the location to being shot at if you are on private land in a state with a stand your ground law in effect.

  • Be Respectful

It is one thing if you dig up a hundred locations, leaving piles of dirt at each one, in your own backyard. Is a completely different thing to do this on private land which you have been given access to or public land which you are visiting. If you want to continue to be allowed to metal detect in an area, you should always do your best to not disturb the land which you are searching on.

The easiest way to do this, and to know how to do this, is by following the Metal Detectors Code of Ethics. This is a document which details exactly what you should and should not do when metal detecting on land which you do not own. It can be found online at multiple websites by simply searching ‘Metal Detectors Code of Ethics’ on Google.

Thumbnail image courtesy of Garrett Metal Detectors