Metal detecting can be a lonely hobby. Let’s face it – some people simply don’t get the lure of detecting.
In fact, when it comes to treasure hunting, you often work alone, mainly because you don’t know anyone who shares your love of detecting. Working solo can certainly be fun, but sometimes it’s good to have friends who share your same passion – after all, without them, who will you brag to when you unearth something amazing?
That’s where joining a metal detecting club comes in handy. You don’t have to search for people who enjoy digging in the ground in the hopes of discovering some long-forgotten treasure. The work has all been done for you. The clubs are already there. A quick search of metal detecting clubs in your area will show you websites that list clubs in your state.
All you have to do is join one, and there’s many reasons why joining a club is good idea. And in this article, we’re going to explain all the benefits you get out of being a club member of a metal detecting group.
And before we move on in our article, if you’re someone that’s in the market for a brand new metal detector, please take a look at the interactive table below, where you can compare and contrast some of the most popular detectors currently on the market:
|Fisher F2||2.6 lbs.||$$||4.2/5||8" Concentric Coil|
|Garrett Ace 250||2.7 lbs||$$$||4.5/5||6.5 x 9" ACE coil|
|Garrett AT PRO||3 lbs.||$$$||4.7/5||Use in Water up to 10 ft|
|Tesoro Compadre||2.2 lbs.||$$||4.5/5||8" Search Coil|
|White’s Coinmaster||2.5 lbs.||$$||4.5/5||For Coins & Jewelry|
|Bounty Hunter QSI Quick Silver||4 lbs.||$$||4.3/5||8” Waterproof Coil|
|Bounty Hunter Tracker IV||4.2 lbs||$||4.3/5||8” Waterproof Coil|
Clubs Help Conquer the Learning Curve
Metal detecting can be confusing, especially for beginners. Every problem that’s thrown your way, every curveball you come across, well, it’s nothing new. Other people have struggled with those very same problems.
At metal detecting clubs, many members have decades of experience. You’re not going to stump them with any questions you have. Some clubs, like the Northern Kentucky Treasure Hunters, specifically state on their website that they are happy to share their years of experience with newbies.
Have Fun Without Judgement
Look, I love metal detecting. When I’m not doing it, I’m often thinking about it. But, if we’re being honest here, it doesn’t have the coolest reputation in the world. When I’ve told strangers, and even friends, that I belong to a metal detecting club, I’ve faced snickers and sympathetic looks.
I’ve learned to be a little more guarded with that information now. For instance, if I were single, I wouldn’t mention my metal detecting club on a first date. It’s definitely not first date material – unless you hit the jackpot and meet your future husband or wife at a metal detecting club meeting.
While everybody may not understand your love of the hobby, every single person in your club will. Everybody you meet there will understand how you feel when you pull something out of the dirt that’s been buried for years. They’ll get your frustration when you labor to dig yet another piece of junk metal from the earth. It’s a rare thing in this world to find people who passionately share your hobby.
You’ll find that in a metal detecting club.
Members Can Help Identify Your Finds
A large part of being a detectorist is learning how to also be a detective. In a perfect world, every object you pull out of the ground would have some sort of identifying marker, like a company stamp or an imprinted year.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
I’ve pulled so many things I can’t identify out of the ground that I’ve started to feel like the village idiot. I don’t want to brag, but before I began metal detecting, I used to think I was pretty smart. It’s been a bit of a blow to my ego to realize I don’t know as much as about this world as I thought I did. And I’m not the only one who feels this way. Identifying finds is a challenge every detectorist faces. Chances are, people in your club will have a much better idea than you do about what your latest find is.
Below, please take a look at some of the best selling metal detectors currently available on Amazon:
- Bounty Hunter Junior
- Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
- Garrett Ace 250
- National Geographic PRO Series
- Fisher F4
Try Out a Detector or Two
Interested in trying out a machine from the Fisher F Series line, but the money isn’t in your budget or you’re not sure the machine is all it is cracked up to be? This is another area where a club can come in handy. There’s nothing club members like to do more than show off their units.
In every metal detecting club, there’s a wide range of machines being used by the club members. Some have basic models, some have high end metal detectors you’ll be afraid to touch because they are so expensive. You will get exposure to a wide variety of machines so by the time you are in the position to buy your next detector, you’ll know exactly what model to consider and what features you are after.
Find some new hunting grounds
Sometimes the trickiest part of metal detecting isn’t learning how to operate complex machinery – it can actually be finding new hunting places. Some parks allow metal detecting as long as all holes are properly filled in, but some don’t allow it at all and will prosecute people who dig there.
Saying you didn’t know you couldn’t dig there won’t stop a police officer from writing you a ticket. It’s up to you to know the laws regarding metal detecting.
As hard as it may be to believe, strong-arming or cajoling family members into letting you hunt their yards isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Not everyone relishes having holes dug up all over their yards, especially if they’ve spent a lot of time landscaping their property. It can be hard to take, but you have to respect their decision and look elsewhere for a place to hunt.
This is where metal detecting clubs can come to the rescue. Not only do clubs often have organized club hunts in a number of places you haven’t hunted before, but you may be able to form close enough relationships with other club members that they’ll invite you to private hunts at their favorite spots.
Many clubs, like Arizona Treasures Unlimited, Inc. in the Phoenix area, offer a find of the month or find of the year contest. It’s a chance to win prizes for some of your best recent finds. It’s also an opportunity for a great show and tell – you’ll be amazed at what people bring in. Some of it will have significant local historical relevance, some items may be extremely valuable, but they’ll all be interesting in their own way.
A chance to do public service
If you like to help people, clubs offer a great opportunity for that. You’d be surprised how many times people contact clubs about helping them find lost wedding rings, class rings, and even the dreaded property line markers.
Members often freely give their time and services to locate these items for people, which helps build good will toward metal detectorists everywhere – and that’s a good thing for all of us in the hobby.
Some clubs, like the Sacramento Valley Detecting Buffs in California, even mention on their website that the club is happy to help people find their lost valuables.
Before you decide on a club though, there are some things you should consider.
- Cost: Most clubs have dues, usually paid annually. The dues shouldn’t bleed you dry, and if they seem steep, don’t be afraid to ask what is included in the membership. The Illinois Valley Historical Research & Recovery Association, for example, charges an affordable $24 per year for individual membership and only $36 per year for family memberships. That includes a lot – a monthly meeting, the occasional door prize or raffle drawing, and a number of hunts every year that are free to attend.
- Proximity: If there’s frequent club meetings, you’ll want to make sure you can attend the meetings to get some value for your membership dues. Or perhaps the club offers a big annual hunt that you save up vacation time to attend every year. If that’s the case, the day-to-day proximity might not matter to you because you’re still getting a good value – an enjoyable place to spend your vacation.
- Meeting Times & Location: If the club meets on Monday nights and you know you aren’t going to get out of the office in time to make it to the meeting, you may want to search for another club. Or, if attending meetings isn’t important to you and you’re signing up just to be involved with club hunts, sign up anyway and let the president know your work schedule interferes with meeting nights. If enough people have the same problem, they may consider switching nights. In general, most clubs, like the South Alabama Historical Research and Recovery Association in Mobile, Alabama, meet monthly.
- Activity: There’s nothing worse than joining a club, expecting all kinds of activity, and then, once the card is in your hand, you hear nothing but crickets from them. You quickly realize there’s no activity of any kind and you feel cheated out of the money you paid for dues. If you ask for calendar information before you sign up, that can solve this problem. A good club should be able to tell you about their upcoming meetings and hunts. If they can’t, keep searching. If the club has an active Facebook page, like the Outlaws Metal Detecting Group in Tacoma, Washington, it’s a good sign that the club members are passionate about both the hobby and the club.
- Ethics and Etiquette: The worst thing metal detectorists can do is reinforce the notion some people have that all detectorists are treasure-seeking trespassers who don’t care at all about the preservation of history or common courtesy. Before you join a club, ask if preservation is important or look over its website for clues that it is. Most reputable clubs will have a section on their website that highlights proper etiquette for detectorists.The Rocky Mountain Prospectors & Treasure Hunters Club in Fort Collins, Colorado, for instance, has a great page on its website that clearly spells out its code of ethics. These rules should be along the lines of always asking people for permission before hunting on their property, always picking up trash that you dig up, and always filling in your holes so people don’t come along and break an ankle the next day.
Hopefully, this article helped you better understand some of the wonderful benefits of metal detecting clubs.
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