For a treasure hunter using a metal detector, the most frustrating, irritating, ego deflating and all around bad thing that can happen to you is for you to find a new hunting site, put new batteries in your detector, then call your hunting buddy and brag about this virgin hunting site you have found. You and your buddy go to this wonderful place and after you have hunted an area and know there is nothing left to find, you go to the next area. Then, your buddy goes over this same area you just left (you remember the place youre just sure theres not so much as a square nail left uncovered by your search) and, 30 seconds into his search, he finds treasure, not deep small treasure, but a nice silver coin or piece of jewelry so shallow that the needle on a detectors depth gauge bounces off the stop.
Anyone thats been in this situation, (and believe me, Ive been on both sides of this coin) knows that what comes next is the price you pay for missing treasure. Your buddy waits until both of you are around other treasure hunters and the story begins and doesnt end until claims have been made that your detector couldnt find a car in General Motors in all metal mode, while his detector could find a picture of a quarter a foot deep.
You have but two choices, you can have a good natured laugh at yourself and hang your head in shame, or you can blame your detector. Well friends and neighbors, I really dont like to laugh at myself that much, but the truth is that if you missed this, or most any kind of treasure in your search, taking into account the fact that if there had been a problem with your detector you would have mentioned it while you were hunting.
Its probably not your detector that missed the treasure, its probably (you guessed it) you, or, to be more accurate, your hunting technique. If you are the type that wanders aimlessly around your hunt site swinging your detector back and forth hoping to be led over treasure by divine guidance, call me; I would like to follow you around and pick up what you miss, because until you develop a good hunting technique you will be missing treasure.
A good hunting technique can be broken down into three basic steps.
If you wander aimlessly, you have no way of knowing when or if you have covered the entire area.
The first step in site layout is to divide the total area you are going to hunt into small, easy to manage mini hunt sites and think of each as its own complete hunt. Most hunt sites will provide natural divisions, especially when hunting in cities and towns around houses. When hunting in open lots or in rural home sites no natural divisions usually exist. When dividing these open areas, try to keep your divisions to no more than 20 square yards; anything larger will be difficult to manage.
After you have divided your hunt site into mini hunt sites with marker flags (or any type of visible marker that will stand off the ground), place markers on all four sides of the first area you plan to hunt. The markers should be placed about three feet apart, a little more if you are tall or have long arms, a little less if you are short or have short arms. The marker placement should be made so that when you swing your detector from side to side you comfortably reach from marker to marker. As you move from area to area, always use one boundary from your previous area as one for the next; this will ensure that you dont leave an unsearched gap between areas.
If you have sloppy search patterns you will leave unsearched spots all over your hunt site, and the fact is, if you dont pass the detector over metal, your detector cant sound-off.
The best search pattern I have found is a crisscross pattern that has each pass overlapped by 50 percent. To use the crisscross pattern, first start with the area you previously marked, and slowly go around the outer edge of the area. Next search around any obstructions in the area, then choose one side and face into the middle of your search area; consider this side to be side one and the side you face to be side three; the side to your left and right will be sides two and four. Start one marker away from the corner on side one, facing the matching marker on side three; walk towards this marker; when you reach that flag, move to the second marker from the corner on side three; face the matching marker on the side one and move to that flag; continue this pattern until you reach the opposite corner marker. Repeat this procedure between sides two and four.
Again, if you dont move the detector over the treasure, you can never find it. If you combine a good site layout with good search patterns, but fail on detector movement, you win the battle, but lose the war. Good detector movement can be described as a constant, repeatable, overlapping method of moving the coil combined with keeping the coil level with and close to the ground throughout the entire movement.
Two of the easiest detector movements methods to use are what I call the stair step method and the back and forth method.
The stair step method starts with the detectors coil at either of the sidelines and moves it to the opposite sideline, then forward a distance equal to one-half the size of the search coil and then moves back to the starting sideline, and again moving forward a distance equal to one-half the size of the search coil. The stair step method is a easy to learn movement that allows you to move between two points with relative speed while keeping all areas hunted within the center 50 percent of the search coil. The downside to this method is that you may start to go too fast and become erratic on the forward movement of the coil and start missing the proper overlapping of search lines.
The back and forth method starts with the detectors coil at either of the sidelines and moves it to the opposite sideline and then returns to the original sideline, then moves forward a distance equal to one-half the size of the search coil and then moving to the opposite sideline and then back to the original sideline. The back and forth method is a little slower and a little harder to learn than the stair step method and will feel jerky at first, but on the good side, this method helps prevent you from going too fast and it has the coil passing over each area twice, giving you two chances to pick-up faint signals.
Your detector movement method may vary to suit your personal needs, but you need to ensure that any method you use is repeatable and overlapping while keeping the coil level with and close to the ground.
When you have combined these three basic and logical steps into a good hunting technique, it will allow you to search any area with the confidence that you are getting the very most out of your hunt site. If you choose not to use a good hunting technique, and youve found a hot new location to hunt, call me; I want to be your hunting partner; I wont harass you if I find what you miss, I PROMISE! Yeah right!