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Offline The Catseye Cleaner

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How to become invisible and other handy hints
« on: August 06, 2014, 23:22 »
kThis is basically a reply to a post by Coinballs that I started yesterday then scrapped because I thought it was starting to sound like I was lecturing him, but in light of what everyone is saying on the subject I revive it and posted it in his thread and here in case some people missed it.

First of all, get on your councils web page and check their bylaws to see if there is anything that has been written that directly concerns metal detecting. Do not ring them or write to them or go to the council chambers to ask permission. Most of these public service types live in constant fear of their superiors. For them, it’s far easier to say no than it is to run the gauntlet of saying yes and face the consequences if something unexpected happens. As nearly all of them really have no idea what it is you want to do, you can guarantee a “No” answer 99.9% of the time.  If there isn't anything you can find in council bylaws that specifically say you are forbidden to use a metal detector; then go ahead. But before you start, consider the following.

These are the things I do and why:

1. The golden rule:- Keep a low profile.

One of your biggest threats is not the fluro shirted council worker, not even his boss; it's the busybody across the street peeking through the blinds. As long as no one "makes a complaint" you will likely have no dramas. However once Mrs Gossip from neighbourhood watch picks up the phone, the dominoes are falling.

One way of keeping a low profile is to look like you're meant to be there. Wearing clothing similar to what the gardeners wear will help. Dressing in military style camouflage gear and lurking in the shrubbery with a metal detector and a pick axe is definitely an attention grabber.

Carry a minimal amount of digging equipment and keep it out of sight until you need to dig. Dragging a serrated edged Raven spade with you in a park is not a good look either.

2. Keep your excavations tidy.

Ideally, you should not be able to see any evidence of where you have extracted your target. A good operator should have a well practiced set of techniques to achieve this goal. In council operated parks and anywhere else where there is a risk of attracting too much attention, I have used the following methods to achieve close to invisible extraction sites, with good results.

Firstly, select the type of target you’re hunting, e.g. predecs or goldies and set up your detector to react only to those targets. This can be done with any of the high end coin and relic machines from minelab and probably other manufacturers too. The reason is careful use of the discrimination pattern can drastically reduce the number of holes you will dig. Sure you will miss a few, but there’s always next time.

Take some time to pin point your target as accurately as possible. This helps reduce the size of any hole you dig.

Using a pinpointer is a must in this type of environment. A pinpointer can help you decide if you can remove the target with a screwdriver or if you’ll need to cut a plug. When hunting goldies I have left targets that I’ve felt were too deep to dig simply because I didn’t want to risk messing up the lawn.

There are several methods to cutting a plug. Some people prefer to cut a triangular flap and leave one edge attached, which is good for grass that spreads by runners. I prefer to cut a small slightly tear drop shape plug. But whatever method you choose,  DO NOT CUT THE ROOTS OFF THE GRASS! That will kill it and scar the area.

When you’ve cut your plug, lift it out in one piece and put it on one of those flexible plastic cutting boards. You can get a pack of 5 from a discount store for less than ten dollars. Next, check to see if the target’s in the plug or still in the hole. In the plug: cut off half the soil and recheck the two halves etc. Again, be careful not to cut the roots off. In the hole: Re-pinpoint and dig out the soil, dump it on the cutting board to check until the target is found. When you refill the hole, if you have dug out any stones, make sure they go in first so there’s no chance of them being picked up by the mower.

Pour the loose soil back into the hole then press it down with your fist, replace the plug in the same orientation as it was cut. Press it down with the palm of your hand then gently brush the area with your fingers to stand the blades of grass back up. I have dug 50 or 60 holes in one session using this method and could only spot three or four excavations where things went a bit wrong.

3. What to do when approached:

When I’m working a park or (around) a sports field and someone comes along, invariably the first question they ask is “What are you looking for?” No matter who they are the answer is always, “My wedding ring. I lost it round here when I was bla bla bla......................”. If they think for one second that you are getting something that they cannot or they have some hang up about lost property or you are looking for treasure or any other reason they may judge to be morally corrupt, they may question your right to be there and in some cases, feel obliged to inform the authorities. But if you’re looking for your own wedding ring it’s a whole different story. Most people will say “Good Luck” and move on. And, of course, don’t have your wedding ring on when you tell this lie. And above all, stay inside the law.

« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 06:29 by Rwork »
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Offline Radar1966

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 23:27 »
Wise words indeed, considering the wealth of knowledge and experience here it should be well heeded.
Picks and parks don't mix and send the wrong message regardless of ones intentions.
regards
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Offline FSH00

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 23:36 »
Sticky ??
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Offline Rwork

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2014, 04:01 »
Well written TCC.
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Offline blueyonder

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2014, 08:37 »
Ditto sticky!
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Offline Dutchy (Jarhead)

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2014, 09:07 »
Straight out of my playbook, well said.

I always wear hi vis when detecting on parks and ovals. Throws people off a bit and makes it looks like I'm meant to be there. Hundred of hours detecting ovals, school grounds and parks. Only been questioned about 6 times in 20 years.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:15 by Dutchy (Jarhead) »
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Offline Meggie

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 09:14 »
Well written & sound advice ...  If I can add my bit too :

I know we like our space but don't become Mr Grumpy towards everyone else .. be friendly,have a smile & talk to those that are genuinely interested in what you are doing.

Meggie ...
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Offline Coinballs

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 10:19 »
When people approach me which is quite often I talk to them about what im doing "looking for old coins" and most are interested, some watch for a bit and when they see the ground go back to the way it was before hand they say good luck and they are on there way and all whilst im holding a scary pick.

"and all whilst im holding a scary pick"
Keeping your digging tools out of site and not taking a pick into a park is a better idea.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 07:13 by Rwork »
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Offline John-au

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2014, 10:20 »
Well written but can I add for those that dig it can be very worthwhile returning a week later just to see if the plugs or whatever method you used show up. It is not a good look if they are drying off. 
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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2014, 10:25 »
Some great advice here TCC and also great to refresh my memory.  Sucky indeed.

Offline Vinii

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 10:37 »
Great advice for a noob like me ,
 any hints for ground that is really dry with half dead grass
A neat plug is hard to keep invisable
Pry only ? Don't bother with plugs cause it makes too much mess ???
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Offline GemQ

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 10:44 »
Great little piece TCC.

The only thing I would emphasize is in parks especially with the couch grass to cut a third quarter plug and flip the plug out like a lid otherwise the grass will die in drier periods. I have seen some perfect plugs cut and then after no rain for a few weeks there are little brown circles everywhere which doesn't make the groundsman happy, also full plugs can be pulled out and damaged during mowing.
Enjoy the hunt, love the pre-decimals & Nuggs

Offline tailofdog

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 11:42 »
Does anyone use the 18 inch Lesche shovel ?
Can be hooked to the belt and, does not gather attention
on the belt.
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Offline ANT1967

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 14:50 »
Great post Rick ,
     Advice you will never get when you purchase a detector !!!
     relevance including comments from others should be read by all 
       
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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 15:27 »
Very well said..CC..  Great post..   I have the wedding ring story up my sleeve at all times, but i hadnt thought to say it was my ring that was lost.. Probably because im not married..
When i did some parks, I have always stayed to the ratty rugged parks, couldnt see myself beeping around a park with manicured lawn and people there.. If i go it's very very early or when raining.. 
Regarding dry grass Vinni.. , i would so come back another day when conditions change and ground is moist..   FNR
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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 20:26 »
For a bloke that wears a raincoat and polishes road markers some very sound advice, my only other advice is sports ovals are taboo they are audited by councils every week and if they dont pass the audit then the football or cricket club have to find another venue, let all of their players know and all of the supporters 
This they do not like at all
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Offline The Catseye Cleaner

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 22:23 »
Thanks Guys, I'm humbled by the response. Coinballs, I'd just like to say that none of this was directed specifically at you. If you can dig a hole and leave no mess, it doesn't matter to me what tool you use. This post and my response to your post is more to do with not being noticed. Ever since some clown hacked into a sports field in Maryborough Victoria with a pick, last year, we have all been a bit on edge about it; the word pick has become a bit of a dirty word.

John-au, yes I have been embarrassed by this very thing. Surprisingly it was when the ground was saturated. Dug the plug as usual and during the process water welled up in the hole. I replaced the plug, feeling sure the grass wouldn't even notice it had been dug up and replanted but two days later it was dead! It drowned because it had too much water and the roots rotted. The results are visible in one of the videos I put up on Youtube. I suppose some things we just learn as we go.

Vinii, If it's too dry (or too wet as I have discovered) to cut plugs, change tact and hit the tot lots or somewhere that won't suffer for being dug. When the dry ground becomes damp enough to cut plugs successfully, you will also start to hear some of the deeper targets due to the moisture content of the soil. It's worth the wait.

Trev, you are right. When I said sports fields what I should have said was "around sports fields". Never dig the playing surfaces! Besides, who plays a footy match with a pocket full of change?
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Minelab Explorer II x 2 + Sunray X1 probe, Minelab Excalibur II, Minelab Sovereign Elite, Garrett Infinium LS, Garrett A2B Groundhog, Minelab CTX3030, Garrett Pro-Pointer X-Pointer Minelab Musketeer Advantage.
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Offline Coinballs

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 23:11 »
Thanks Guys, I'm humbled by the response. Coinballs, I'd just like to say that none of this was directed specifically at you. If you can dig a hole and leave no mess, it doesn't matter to me what tool you use. This post and my response to your post is more to do with not being noticed. Ever since some clown hacked into a sports field in Maryborough Victoria with a pick, last year, we have all been a bit on edge about it; the word pick has become a bit of a dirty word.

John-au, yes I have been embarrassed by this very thing. Surprisingly it was when the ground was saturated. Dug the plug as usual and during the process water welled up in the hole. I replaced the plug, feeling sure the grass wouldn't even notice it had been dug up and replanted but two days later it was dead! It drowned because it had too much water and the roots rotted. The results are visible in one of the videos I put up on Youtube. I suppose some things we just learn as we go.

Vinii, If it's too dry (or too wet as I have discovered) to cut plugs, change tact and hit the tot lots or somewhere that won't suffer for being dug. When the dry ground becomes damp enough to cut plugs successfully, you will also start to hear some of the deeper targets due to the moisture content of the soil. It's worth the wait.

Trev, you are right. When I said sports fields what I should have said was "around sports fields". Never dig the playing surfaces! Besides, who plays a footy match with a pocket full of change?

All good mate
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Offline MikeSav

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2014, 20:54 »
Common sense stuff. But it is amazing how uncommon common sense is! 
Great advice, and I love the lost wedding ring line. I think I will use that.
Thanks for your post.
Mike.
............Now........ Where did I drop that ring??? ::)  
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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2014, 21:29 »
Spot on TCC ! , I think your post added to Meggie's along with moist soil covers it all . A variation on the ring loss story that i use is the loss of my wife's 18 ct ear ring , it seems she has lost in a few places !
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Offline philbo

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2015, 06:47 »
Great words of wisdom. I spent many years on an OHS committee and on of the first things we learn in training is that common sense is a myth. 
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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2015, 10:12 »
Flat blade screw driver in parks and a pin pointer....
If you can not pinpoint a coin and then  pop it with a screwdriver, then its too deep  OR you need some more experience in you back yard.
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Offline BlacknWhite

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2015, 11:54 »
Flat blade screw driver in parks and a pin pointer....
If you can not pinpoint a coin and then  pop it with a screwdriver, then its too deep  OR you need some more experience in you back yard.
Add a modified pair of pointy nose pliers, kit complete. .
  • Detector(s) owned/used: seban Extreme (don't laugh), AT Pro, Sovereign GT, 2 x ML E-Tracs and a Tesoro Bandido II
  • Oldest find: 1816 KGIII Sixpence

Offline Slothy

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2015, 03:47 »
An excellent bit of advice! 
Here in Adelaide any cutting of plugs in summer leave a dead spot in most parks because they get just enough water to survive usually. I use a gasket scraper  and a probe made out of a length or brass rod glued into a golf ball.  I dont even take my Lesche with me on summer park hunts.
As for a bit of a PR tool I keep a couple of broken bottle necks with tops still on in my finds pouch as examples of what a fine civic-minded bloke I am! ;) Usually I just say I'm playing about testing settings if asked what I'm looking for. 
Mostly I hunt on rough areas of un-irrigated public land where getting the Sampson to work isnt an issue.
The main thing when approached is to be friendly and chatty which seems to disarm all but the most obnoxious "officials".  Having a natural gift of the gab helps too....  ;D 
Mostly though, I prefer to hunt any potentially contentious areas late in the evening or avoid them completely.


  • Detector(s) owned/used: Whites Coinmaster GT, Garrett EuroAce, Garrett AT Pro, Pro-pointer, Xpointer
  • Oldest find: Mid-1800's Gilt flat button, 1863 Vicki penny
Oldest coin - 1863 English Penny
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Offline Andy1918

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Re: How to become invisible and other handy hints
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2016, 22:36 »
I only just read this post, and the advice is spot on.  A great post for any noob.
  • Detector(s) owned/used: Minelab X-Terra 305, Minelab Excalibur II, Minelab Pro Find-25
  • Oldest find: Queen Victoria 1900 Shilling, Queen Victoria Half Penny (Date: ??)
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