Welcome to Detecting 101!

Metal Detecting for Beginners book cover

I’ve been metal detecting for a dozen years, and the hobby has turned into a real passion. When I first got interested, though, it was slow going. I didn’t have a clue how to go about detecting, much less actually finding anything. I didn’t even know where to start looking. Here I was, all revved up with excitement, and no place to go! It was quite frustrating—a real buzz kill.

I didn’t know any metal detectorists I could talk to. Back then, I couldn’t easily find information telling how to get started myself. It was a few years before Facebook caught on, and I didn’t know about Internet Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and niche interest websites.

Our local library didn’t have any books about the hobby. All I could find were specialized books about how to use a certain machine, how to search for certain types of objects, or how to hunt particular types of locations. There was nothing simply to help beginners with general how-to information about getting started detecting, from choosing appropriate equipment and finding places to hunt, to the hunt itself and then recovering items once you found them.

Common sense told me there must be ways to get permission to hunt on other people’s property, but what were they? What kinds of machines were available? What were the important considerations in buying one? What could I expect to pay, and where could I buy them? It was too big an investment to make uninformed, so I simply floundered for a few years, my detecting dreams shelved until I could figure it out.

A few years later, I received a starter machine as a Christmas gift, so I got started by default. By then, the Internet was pretty well established and I did a search on “metal detecting.” I discovered several sites dedicated to the hobby, which offered discussion forums on different topics. I found two sites that welcomed newbies and had topic threads just for our ill-informed questions.

There were experienced detectorists there who were patient and welcoming. (I have since found, to my delight, that this characterizes the majority of dedicated diggers.) I took advantage of the ability to ask questions, and made a few friends I contacted off the boards and began real friendships with.

From there, I got invited to a group hunt, where I met others from the boards, and that’s when my real learning began. There’s just nothing like hunting with someone who knows what they’re doing to kick your learning into high gear. Then I met someone in a Facebook metal detecting group and invited him to hunt my yard with me. These folks become my metal detecting mentors, who taught me nearly everything I know. I‘m a lucky gal to have been taken under the wings of these kind and generous people.

These days, there are many websites about metal detecting in all its forms. There are almost as many Facebook pages dedicated to different specialized facets of detecting and treasure hunting. There are even a few good books for beginners, but they’re long and take some time to get through.

Metal Detecting for Beginners book coverRemembering back to when I got started, I didn’t want to have to wade through a huge book, I just wanted a simple, general “getting started” handbook, basically a collection of tips you could quickly read through and then get out in the field to hunt. So that’s what I wrote – Metal Detecting for Beginners: 101 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started.

This website is a place where I can expand on the content of the first book and later titles in the series, and where we can interact with each other. I certainly don’t have the only “right way” to hunt, and I learn from others every day.

So leave a comment or question, subscribe to the blog, and let me know what’s on your mind. I look forward to all of us helping each other become more successful, fulfilled metal detectorists!

About Mary Shafer 12 Articles
Award-winning author Mary A. Shafer is a full-time freelance writer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has four published books and contributed to two anthologies. She’s a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Nonfiction Authors Association, Pennwriters, Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and is the founder of the Twin Rivers Writers Group in upper Bucks County, PA.

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