Why I Metal Detect

Posted by Ryan McCarty on

                                                                     

  I have enjoyed metal detecting since I was about 14 years old, I sit here writing this with my 40th birthday just days away.  Many people enjoy Metal Detecting for many reasons, I enjoy it for the chance to hold in my hands a piece of American history that has not seen the light of the day for 50, 100, 150, or 200+ years.  Pulling a coin or relic from the ground is the most exhilarating thing, especially if it’s old.  I try every time I find something significant to think of how did this get here?  My mind wanders to all different types of scenarios.  Was it after WWII and a joyous reunion of a soldier and his parents in the front yard led to coins being dropped?  Was it just during a normal day doing yard work?  Was it kids playing out under a tree to escape the blistering summer heat? Very rarely do we know the actual story behind an item that was lost but it sure is fun to let our imaginations wander.   

  My first experience with a metal detector was on Christmas day in 1992.  I was 12 years old and received a very basic radio shack brand detector from my Grandparents.  My Grandpa buried about 10 dollars' worth of quarters in my parents' front yard.  I did not know it at the time but that started a life long enjoyment of one of the best hobbies on earth.  I do not have any other memories of using that machine other than that Christmas day in my parents' front yard.  I'm pretty sure being a 12-year old kid I broke it the next day and it sat in the closet for years before my Mom finally threw it away.  Fast forward about two years and I am living in Vicenza, Italy.  I am a military brat and my father was stationed there. I am looking through a PX catalog and see an Ace series Garrett machine that I believe was a treasure ace 150, it had one knob for volume and one for discrimination and I instantly knew I wanted it.  I think it was about $350 and I did what all 14-year-old kids do, I begged my Dad for it.   I don’t remember exactly how it came about but we struck a deal that if I hit a home run this year in little league ball, he would buy it for me.  I am a righty and a pull hitter so hitting home runs to left field was what I did, unfortunately for me living on a military base all of our games were played on converted a soccer field and the left field fence was what seemed like a mile away, I jacked so many inside the ballpark homers that year to left but unfortunately the deal was only for a true over the fence home run.  I could not have made up a more perfect scenario then what happened on the last game of the season that year.  It was the 6th inning (last in little league) and my team was up by about 6 runs, it was what would be my last at bat that season.  I looked over at my parents and my Dad gave me that last chance look, I opened up my stance by placing my right leg further out then normal, first two pitches I whiffed big time swinging wildly and missing, the next pitch I connected and sent a foul ball sailing over the right field fence.  It was definitely long enough just not fair.  Two outs, two strikes, here comes the pitch, I connect and sent one sailing over the right field fence.  Finally, I did it.  My Dad knows exactly what I am thinking at the time and after the game we go straight to the PX and order my new Garrett machine. SUCCESS! 

  When I think back to the times using that Garrett machine in Italy I really kick myself for not detecting off the military base more.  I normally would just use it on an area of the base called the North 40.  It was a giant field used for training and PT.  I would find change all day long but nothing truly exciting.  I did detect off base a few times on random land that I am sure that I did not have permission to be on.  My best find was a British penny from 1928 that I found on some farm land near where we lived off base.  If I knew what I know today I am sure that some Roman coins and Relics would be in my finds display.  That first Garrett machine was what truly hooked me to the hobby.  I used it for many years until it broke and my wife bought me my next machine a Bounty Hunter tracker IV. 

  The Bounty hunter years I lived in Washington state and with that machine is when I started to travel more and research to find better coins and relics.  I will never forget my first silver coin I found was with that machine and it was a 1900 Barber quarter I found near the basketball courts at Spanaway park.  To this day I always check near basketball courts because of that one find.  It's silly of me because I know that most of the basketball courts have not been there for that long but for some reason my brain equates them with good finds.  It was also with that machine that first started hunting with friends.   

  My wife and I moved to Forney, Texas in 2005.  I used our tax return one year to purchase a Whites DFX and at that time it was the most expensive thing I ever bought myself that wasn’t a car or my house.  I think it was on sale for $1099 and pretty sure I slept on the couch for a week after spending our entire tax return on it.  I felt like the finds were going to dig themselves up with that machine.  I detected all over East Texas with that machine and found a ton of coins and relics.  I dug every chance that I got and would post all of my good finds on an internet forum called DFX only.  It was great sharing success stories over the internet and reading about others finds.   

  Another reason why I detect is because of the people you meet.  Metal Detecting people are some of the nicest people you will ever meet, as long as you don’t snake their permissions. LOL.  I met Chris at the gas station near my house.  I knew he hunted deer, hogs, and varmints and we would randomly run into each other at the gas station and talk about hunting, which is something that I also enjoy.  We probably did this for a year or two not knowing that we both enjoyed detecting.  Chris lives in the same neighborhood as me and had posted something on our neighborhood FB page jokingly about if you have a house built before 1964 he would like to detect your yard.  I ran into him later that week and said I wanted to show him something.  I opened up my trunk and showed him my DFX.  We made plans to go detect later that week.  That first hunt together was amazing.  We decided to go door knocking in a nearby city that has hundreds of older houses.  We ended up getting permission at a 1920’s house that had a pretty small front yard. I was swinging my DFX and Chris had a Garret AT Pro.  One of us searched the right side of the yard and one the left, separated by the sidewalk that led to the front door.  I had the first good find, a 50’s rosie dime.  We each meticulously searched our areas of the yard and then switched sides.  Not even a foot away from that rosie I found, Chris digs a 1944 Walker half.  I was so upset that I blamed my machine and purchased an AT PRO later that day.  Chris and I are best friends that have so much in common that sometimes I think that we are brothers.  Ever since that first hunt we have gone on hundreds of metal detecting trips, most of them nearby and a few times out of state to areas that have civil war history.  On our most recent trip we both found bucketlister coins, I found a trime and Chris found a Capped Bust dime.  Who would have thought that my best find metal detecting was not a coin or a relic but a true best friend. 

  I looked up the quote “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” and it is credited to something like 10 different people.  I am going to say that Mark Twain said it.  I have thought for years about how do I find something that I am passionate about to do as work and maybe just maybe squeak out enough income from it to make a decent living.  I have worked in retail management for about 22 years working at Best Buy for almost 20 years and now Petco.  I enjoy talking to people everyday, helping people solve problems, asking questions and just being genuinely curious.  I thought to myself why not become a dealer and help people enjoy this amazing hobby of metal detecting?  

  


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2 comments

  • soy principiante en esto y hace un año un poco más compre mi pri.er detector y para mi cada salida era increíble no solo por las pequeñas cosas que encontraba sino también es emocionante pensar que donde antes hubo todavía queda es lo que me decía un viejo amigo. Nunca encontré mucho más que monedas de esta época nada significativo. Eso fue en mi país Puerto Rico ahora hace un año que estoy en Estados Unidos y no dejo de pensar cuando llegue mi próxima maquina,a solo dos días y siento gran emoción y la verdad leer tu historia fue emocionante,ojalá algún día pueda conocer y unirme a alguien que comparta la misma pasión por este pasatiempo. Tu historia fue realmente emocionante y muy buena,suerte amigo.

    Luis on
  • Great article!

    Sue R on

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