Metal Detecting Code of Ethics


Metal detecting is a method used to help find lost, forgotten, and hidden items. Metal detectors use a unique detection process to pinpoint the location of various objects that have been buried or possibly dropped.

Historical events and everyday mishaps have led to numerous valuable and sentimental items being lost. Among those items, you might find coins, jewelry, old tools, buried weapons, silver and gold pieces. Some finds may be in not-so-good condition; however, with appropriate restoration, shine and clarity can return to most objects. Metal is a time-resistant material, which means it can stay underground for very long periods without severe damage.

Lost and forgotten items are often of precious value. The price, rarity, and history of many discoveries motivate detectorists to keep looking for new sites and treasures. Seasoned detectorists prepare the necessary equipment and organize hunts and outings down to minor details.

There are many places where you can hunt for hidden treasures. Riverbanks, forested areas, meadows, farmland, beaches, and anywhere else publicly accessible or has permitted metal detectorists to hunt and dig are great places to start. Only a tiny part of these locations have been fully discovered. Other popular metal detecting sites include old buildings such as homes, barns, schools, churches, and stores no longer open for business.

Using books and documents referencing historical events with general GPS coordinates or land descriptions is an excellent way to plan for a day or weekend of quality metal detecting. Researching the location prior to adventuring will ensure that the best equipment is packed, access is granted, and you have a better idea of what could be found at specific sites.

Some people have already researched certain areas and posted their finds, successes, and failures to help others be knowledgeable and prepared if they are interested in the same or nearby locations. Sharing success stories keeps motivation high and draws in anyone intrigued with the hobby from young to old.

Everyone must follow the rules and regulations while involved in this kind of hobby. It is the best way to avoid potential legal problems, harmful or dangerous situations and maintain excellent relationships with landowners and other metal detectorists.

Do’s And Don’ts

Many think about various things when it comes to metal detecting, but some are unaware of or forget to remember the code of ethics. Some people overlook general guidelines and beneficial practices when they do not consider it an important part of metal detecting. The thought and idea of finding the next big treasure chest and becoming richer than they could have ever imagined can cloud their understanding of the rules and safety precautions.

Metal detecting is potentially an enriching activity; however, knowing what is allowed and what is not is crucial. For example, when permitted to metal detect on private land, it is respectable and assumed to examine everything that was found together. The landowner may or may not care what was found and what you choose to do with it once you leave the property, but some finds can have a personal value that exceeds any monetary value. Establishing good relationships is ideal in the field of metal detecting.

Another reason it is essential to understand what is and is not allowed when metal detecting is the legal consequences of trespassing or if some finds are not reported to the proper authorities. Minor offenses may result in small fines, but repeated violations or voluntarily withholding information on particular discoveries can lead to more significant punishment. Any land with mining claims posted, belonging to a government entity that forbids metal detecting, or harboring artifacts of great historical value are areas to watch for and avoid.

Using readily available resources makes researching effortless in today’s time. Online libraries, metal detecting forums, informational websites, online and printed version maps, historical map overlays, and even state and county rules and regulations can be accessed within seconds via the internet. It is highly encouraged to check the laws and regulations of an area before starting any adventure that includes metal detecting or not, especially if you are new to the hobby.

While researching, you will find that some areas are strictly off-limits for any form of metal detecting. Historical sites are among these restricted locations. Not all historical places of significant meaning have been fully surveyed, and some may never be completed due to the size or importance of leaving the land as it is without further disturbance. Unique sites such as these are adequately marked with signs, fences, gates, and security.

No hobbyists or archeological amateurs can detect and dig at restricted locations, and the legal consequences are severe for those who do. With approved government supervision, you may be lucky enough to be granted limited access to particular areas within the site, but this is rare and must be applied for with plenty of time in advance. National Parks are listed as off-limits to metal detecting, but some state parks will allow the activity.

History, present-time, and the future rely on the help of archeological amateurs and metal detectors to uncover what has been lost and forgotten. There are sites still yet to be revealed that is full of historical value. There have been mass graves located from battles during the Civil War, relics found to link ancestors with one another, and glimpses into the past of how life was in certain areas during different times.

It is, however, necessary to report such discoveries to the authorities promptly. There is always a potential to be rewarded for valuable discoveries.

It is also necessary to understand that regulations might differ from one state to another. If the data is not available on the internet, you can visit any public record office or ask experts who regularly deal with the matter. Some locations might generally allow metal detecting, but particular limitations are always possible. Many of the rules might apply on an individual basis, and you will be safe from legal problems if you ask for your exact area.

Members of metal detecting groups of local areas may be knowledgeable in the rules and regulations of where and when it is ok to metal detect. Metal detecting clubs are often located throughout towns, counties, and the state, with group contact information available online

Metal detecting on private land is not allowed without clear and prior consent from the landowner or their representative. Trespassing can be a criminal offense, so always obtain permission first, preferably in writing to serve as documentation if needed.

Verbal consent is acceptable if recorded or noted in detail, stating who gave permission, the day and time access was granted, and for how long. Otherwise, you may encounter problems if a dispute starts between the landowner and yourself.

If you find some potentially valuable items on private lands, it is essential to report your discoveries to the owner and not just to the authorities. You should also always follow your agreement to avoid any issues in the future.

Protect The Environment

It is imperative to understand that nature is the most significant wealth humans have, much greater than any historically valuable artifact. It is necessary to pay attention to the natural vegetation, animals, and landscape of all areas being hunted. Any holes that are dug must be filled, animal habitats left alone, waterways left naturally flowing, and all trash brought in should be taken out.

Any damage done to the natural setting of the environment or its animals can be seen as vandalism. Some animals are protected by the law as endangered or threatened species. Adventuring, exploring, and metal detecting are all ok to do, as long as appropriate care and understanding are used and applied. It is crucial to keep environments safe while spending time in them.

Take a Care of Trash And Dangerous Objects

Metal detecting is often a physically demanding activity. It usually takes hours of hard work to reach maximum efficiency and learn how each metal detector works. While numerous items can be found relatively close to home and in a local setting, part of the fun is being able to travel to different locations in more remote areas. Outings that require traveling also require food and drink preparations. Whenever more items are packed, the amount of items that could be left behind also increases.

Trash becomes a serious issue when it is left behind for someone else to take care of. Never leave trash or dangerous items at metal detecting sites. Always travel prepared with extra bags for garbage collection and proper disposal. Sometimes others will forget to bring a trash bag with them; not only is it kind to offer yours to them, but it also helps ensure the cleanliness of the area for future visits.

Not all finds will be an ideal piece of metal. Frequently, soda cans, pull tabs, rusted nails, and other hazardous items will be found and require disposal, making trash bags even more beneficial to bring along.

Sadly, there are many unscrupulous people out there, and they often do not care about the safety of others. They might drop and bury potentially dangerous and harmful items for many unknown reasons. Those might include lethal and toxic objects. These discoveries should be reported to the authorities if someone becomes injured, an item penetrates the skin, or there is evidence that validates needing medical or police attention.

Use Proper Equipment

The code of ethics also includes the use of appropriate equipment for each step of the metal detecting process. It is usually the best way to get the maximal result while not making an unnecessary mess at the same time. The shovel, for example, should be of a suitable size. Smaller and foldable shovels are generally the most used. It is important to remember that the ground is also a potential home for some animal species, and your activities should not harm them.

Jason Smith

I am a former Marine who works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, coffee, soaking in hot springs or my hot tub.

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