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10 Tips to Enhance Your Metal Detector Treasure Hunting Experience

1. Choose a metal detector that's right for you

The first step towards becoming a successful treasure hunter is choosing a quality metal detector that best meets your needs and objectives. Think about the kind of treasure hunting you want to do and how often you want to do it. Consider how much money you want to spend, keeping in mind that a new detector can cost anywhere from $100 to more than $1000 depending on its circuitry, features and performance capabilities. Also, determine how much you already know or are willing to learn about operating a metal detector. You should ultimately invest in an instrument that is easy to use and can help you achieve your goals.

2. Read your detector's owner's manual

Take a closer look at your owner's manual after assembling your detector. You'll find basic instructions on how to operate the detector's controls and valuable advice on how to use the detector's special features to help maximize your chances of finding treasure.

3. Research 

One of the secrets to successful treasure hunting is research. Try to learn as much as you can about the location you want to search, the kind of treasure you want to find and the best ways to recover it. The more prepared you are the greater your chances for success. Research can be something as simple as inquiring about good places to hunt or as complex as investigating the history behind a suspected gold cache site. Treasure hunting magazines, books, metal detecting clubs, local metal detector dealers and Internet chat forums are just a handful of the resources available.

4. Perform bench tests 

Bench testing is a great way to become familiar with your detector's capabilities and limitations prior to spending time in the field. Knowing what to expect from your detector, such as the audio and visual signals triggered by various targets, can help you to find treasure more quickly and easily.

5. Learn proper search and recovery techniques

Did you know that scanning in a straight line as opposed to a wide arc helps keep the searchcoil level, prevents it from lifting after each sweep and ensures that overlap sweeps remain uniform? And that using a screwdriver-like probe to locate a pinpointed target helps prevent target damage and makes it easy to refill holes? These are just a handful of numerous tried and true treasure hunting techniques that can improve your chances for success. Detector owner's manuals often contain useful information on how to scan, pinpoint and recover targets. 

6. "Practice makes perfect"

Perhaps the best treasure hunting tip of all: The more you hunt the better hunter you'll become and the more treasure you'll find. No matter how sophisticated your metal detector is, your success ultimately depends on your ability to use your detector to its fullest potential.

7. Take care of your detector

Help prolong the life and performance of your detector by cleaning it thoroughly after each use and storing it in a location free from extreme temperatures.

8. Mind your manners 

Filling search holes, obeying No Trespassing signs and leaving a search area in better condition than it was found, are a few of the responsibilities of a dedicated hobbyist. Many treasure hunting enthusiasts and organizations have adopted a formal Code of Ethics for Metal Detector Operators:

I will respect private and public property, all historical and archaeological sites and will not metal detect on these sites without permission.

I will keep abreast of and obey all laws, rules and regulations governing federal, state and public land. 

I will aid law enforcement authorities whenever possible.

I will not willfully cause damage to property, including fences, signs and buildings, and I will always fill the holes I dig.

I will not destroy property, buildings or the remains of ghost towns and other deserted structures.

I will not leave litter or uncovered items lying around. I will collect all trash and discarded targets upon leaving a search area.

I will observe the Golden Rule, conducting myself in a manner that enhances the public perception of the hobby of metal detection. 

9. Be careful

Most treasure hunters agree that compared to a lot of other hobbies and sports, metal detecting is probably one of the safest activities around. Nevertheless, a smart metal detectorist knows the importance of observing the following cautions:

DO NOT hunt in areas where electric lines, gas/water pipelines, bombs or other explosives may be buried. 

NEVER trespass or hunt on private property without permission.

NATIONAL and STATE parks, monuments, military sites, etc., are absolutely "off limits." 

BE CAREFUL when digging toward a target where the underground conditions are unknown. 

10. Reap the rewards

Gold, silver and jewels are just a few of the potential rewards of treasure hunting. Many hobbyists find metal detecting a great way to enjoy the outdoors, stay in shape and meet new friends.