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Thread: A true story of the "dig all" (lest you miss a gold ring!) philosophy

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  1. #1

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    5,701
    1497 times
    Banner Finds (3)

    A true story of the "dig all" (lest you miss a gold ring!) philosophy

    There was a certain fellow in my part of my state, who I was corresponding with about some new metal detector technology. A machine which had just been introduced to the market. The two of us wanted to put it through its paces, and compare to our current machines.

    We agreed to meet up in a distant city, at a particular old park which .... over the years, has given up thousands of silver coins. It's an immense park, in a big city, covering dozens of city blocks, that dates back to the 1870s.

    The idea was, that we would flag and compare signals, then post our opinions for our fellow md'rs to read and comment on.

    This fellow was one of the types of md'rs who "bristles" at the thought of cherry picking or passing tabs, foil, clad, etc... Afterall he reasoned, "you might miss a gold ring". Or to pass all shallow signals, because ... "sometimes an old coin is shallow", or " afterall, the clad adds up over time". When he learned that I was angling only for oldies/deepies (and favoring high conductors at that!), he bristled at how ill-advised this is. In his mind's eye, his tactic of "digging all" (except iron, of course) would give him the "best of both worlds". In other words, by "digging all", he reasoned that he would not only have any gold rings that were in this park turf, but ALSO the deepies at the same time. At first glance, this sounds reasonable. Afterall, if you're "digging all", then you would *think* that logically, you have both the shallows, and the deepies, and the nickels, etc... right?

    But in actual practice, it doesn't work out like that, IMHO (for junky urban turf). By the end of the day, he did indeed have a dateless V nickel. He also had a wheatie or two, and a lot of clad. And he had copious amounts of tabs, corroded zinc, etc... Contrast to my tactic of passing shallow stuff, and (gasp) passing lower conductors, I had several silvers, a dozen or so wheaties, etc... The fellow couldn't understand why he didn't have the "best of both worlds", so he wrote it off to non-familiarity with this new machine we were there to test, etc...

    But I believe it works like this: When you set out to dig every single beep in a junky park like that, after the first 5 minutes, your ears become subconsciously trained/tuned to the loud "bongs" of the shallow stuff. Rather than the deep whispers which tend to be the older stuff. And by digging all the foil and tabs (even though only taking a minute or two each), he had spent most of his time on his knees digging all those targets, rather than having that time be spent on the signals which are most inclined to be old coins. So perhaps he had 10x the amount of targets I did (since I was being selective on what I would chase). And I had almost no clad (since I refused to dig anything less than 6" deep).

    Yes it's true that this fellow would eventually no doubt find a gold ring, that the "selective" person would miss. Granted. But if gold rings are my goal, then I do not go to junky blighted tab/foil ridden parks to begin with. I would simply go to the beach. And if angling for oldies in junky urban park turf is my goal, then .... there are times when your time is better spent being a little selective.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

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  3. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    I'm in pretty good shape.....for the shape I'm in!

    Apr 2013
    Vacherie Louisiana
    XP DEUS,Garrett AT Pro, GTI 2500 , Minelab Explorer II Garrett Pro Pointer Detectorpro Uniprobe Detectorpro Pistol probe Vibra-tector 730 Vibra-Probe 580
    1,097
    197 times
    Metal Detecting
    As always, I enjoyed it Tom.

    Roy
    I don't MD for profit...it wasn't planned that way, but .......

  4. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    TerrySoloman.com

    May 2010
    Congress, AZ - White Plains, NY
    Tesoro Cult Member - Tejon; Sand Shark; Lobo Super Traq; Vaquero; Cibola; Compadre - Minelab GPX 5000
    5,413
    2737 times
    Metal Detecting
    I enjoyed it as well Tom. I don't -completely- agree with you on all of your points, but I do enjoy reading your thoughts.
    Please visit my Website http://TerrySoloman.com

  5. #4
    us
    Bill Jones

    May 2007
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Multiple Tesoros and Whites
    1,023
    188 times
    Metal Detecting
    Even though I'm sympathetic to the "dig it all" or nearly so approach, when considering the rewards for the time spent, I think Tom hits it pretty darn well. Location versus targets is especially a consideration if jewelry is the main goal.
    luvsdux

  6. #5
    us
    Jul 2006
    All over Texas
    Team Tesoro
    4,251
    578 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    My momma once told me that there is a time and a place for everything. That being said, I have to agree with Tom. Digging every signal in a heavily used blighted park would drive me insane!

    Now, in an a freshly plowed old cotton field....well that's a different story.
    63bkpkr likes this.


    The stuff that dreams are made of.

  7. #6

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    5,701
    1497 times
    Banner Finds (3)
    Quote Originally Posted by thrillathahunt View Post
    ... Now, in an a freshly plowed old cotton field....well that's a different story.
    Yes, the cherry-picking (to pass commonly recurring junk) would only apply to turf. Would not apply to "relicky" situations, like ghost-towns, plowed fields, old-town urban demolitions, beaches, etc....
    SusanMN likes this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  8. #7
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    'South' Texas
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    2,655
    1206 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I Third the motion, "a good read" that I enjoyed going over. I suspect he agrees with not asking for permission 'everywhere' one detects................63bkpkr
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  9. #8
    us
    Apr 2009
    Bronx
    Tesoro Golden Umax Whites DFX 300
    119
    48 times
    Tried digging everything in a trashy park. Never again! Could hardly walk the next day from all the deep knee bends.

  10. #9
    us
    Sep 2013
    Michigan
    Fisher 1265x, Minelab Explorer II, Garrett Master Hunter ( BFO )
    1,117
    635 times
    Metal Detecting
    Well I'd have to say after 25 years detecting the same park, one thing I learned is the masking effect can be a real bugger, so I personally dig everything, spent the first 15 years running full disc cherry picking it, things started to slow down, figured well hard work pays off and started digging all those discriminated targets...All i can say is I wish I had started sooner, it paid off.
    Most intense example of masking in one hole was a rusty bottle cap at 2 inches, a tab 2 inches under that, a square head nail 4 inches under that, and finally the reward, a 1889 Indian 2 inches under the nail...was my first Indian, and the last time I used disc.

  11. #10

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    5,701
    1497 times
    Banner Finds (3)
    Quote Originally Posted by BC1969 View Post
    Well I'd have to say after 25 years detecting the same park, one thing I learned is the masking effect can be a real bugger, so I personally dig everything, spent the first 15 years running full disc cherry picking it, things started to slow down, figured well hard work pays off and started digging all those discriminated targets...All i can say is I wish I had started sooner, it paid off.
    Most intense example of masking in one hole was a rusty bottle cap at 2 inches, a tab 2 inches under that, a square head nail 4 inches under that, and finally the reward, a 1889 Indian 2 inches under the nail...was my first Indian, and the last time I used disc.
    bc1969, no doubt there are always spots where someone should "dig all". And yes, the minute someone passes junk, it *could* be a gold ring, or it *could* be masking a goodie underneath it. Sure. Granted. But that still doesn't mean that "therefore, we should all 'dig all' everywhere".

    Here's an analogy: When you are playing blackjack, and have 20 .... do you "hold" or do you take another hit? How do you *know* that the next card MIGHT NOT BE A ONE CARD afterall? Naturally most people "hold", even though it's true that the next card might be a one card. Why? Because ... odds are ... it's not.

    Now if time allows, and the place isn't that punishing, SURE, dig all.

    But I've seen parks where any returns for this tactic, simply would not be worth it (perhaps the park you cite wasn't one such type park). There was a turf-scrape at an 1880s park in SF in 2006, which .... when they scraped off the turf, we went in with "relic mindset" (ie.: dig all), since holes weren't an issue (the place was a big dirt-heap during construction). And in the week or so of nightly hunting, I saved every single target, both junk and good. At the end of the week, I did a spread sheet on the amount of aluminum junk per each gold item I'd found. I had perhaps 5 or 6 gold items (2 rings, a few charms, a watch back, etc...), and thousands of aluminum items (the park was "blighted" in a poor neighborhood). To have gone there before the demolition, trying to dig this many targets out of this type turf, in search of those gold items, would simply have been an exercise in insanity. You'd be kicked out of the park d/t too many holes But sure, other parks that aren't as "blighted", perhaps a person can strip-mine and not go insane.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  12. #11
    us
    Sep 2013
    Michigan
    Fisher 1265x, Minelab Explorer II, Garrett Master Hunter ( BFO )
    1,117
    635 times
    Metal Detecting
    Well Tom I would have to agree on some of your points.
    The park I have been hunting all these years also has a old school on the property, and before that in the early 1900's was a bottle/garbage dump..I can attest to that, when a long time ago..mid 80's they excavated an area for a new building...I fondly remember toting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of old bottles home ( lived right around the corner ) .
    As far as holes go, well personally I know that one reason is why so many laws, rules and regulations over the years have really ruined it for the rest of us who actually care about our hobby...I cringe when I run into a fellow hobbyist using a shovel or making coil sized holes.
    Personally I can retrieve coins from upwards of 10 inches using a flat blade screwdriver and a round porcelain probe just by making a small slit in the grass, not that there is anything wrong with making a plug, as long as you leave a hinge on the plug the grass will not die.

    Sorry if I got a Lil off topic in the thread...but yeah I agree with the insanity thing lol.

  13. #12
    ca
    Jul 2012
    In da bush
    Fisher's 1266X, 1270X & 1280X
    469
    447 times
    Exploring the country side, away from all the madness; living my dream one hunt at a time. Meegwetch
    Good story Tom and when it comes to gold, I agree with you.
    Although you'll hear me preach about digging those iffy or discriminating signals, I'm referring to deep, old targets.
    Personally, I can't stomach looking for gold in trashy parks. Maybe this is due to being spoiled as a relic hunter.
    When I'm out in the field, the quest is to find all non-ferrous which doesn't turn out to be a bad idea.
    There's a whole spectrum of finds that I collect like buttons, buckles, trade items, etc. which often are in the lower conductive range.
    Also, I recycle brass and copper so most times it's a win-win situation even when I find junk.
    Relic hunting junk still satisfies me as it's OLD junk.
    But digging a pouch full of pull-tabs, tin foil, can slaw disgusts me!
    It's not old, can't be recycled (or has no significant melt value) and the ratio of gold to crud does not motivate me.
    People say the ratio is a 100 pull-tabs to one gold ring. In my experience, it's more like a thousand to one!
    When I crave gold, I go to the beach.
    One does have to keep the fun factor alive in this hobby.
    This is coming from someone who goes through insane measures to unearth history, so I'm not criticizing anyone who does dig up crap in order to find gold.
    It's just not for me.
    Cheers,
    Dave.
    A metal detector can only do so much..........
    It's up to you to do the rest!

  14. #13
    us
    I deal in reality

    Mar 2010
    Maryland
    XLT , surfmaster PI , HAYS 2Box , VIBRA-TECTOR
    7,128
    1423 times
    Well Tom, I liked your post as usual,but I would like to make a point. You really don't know what is deep and what is gold. Your detectors computer is set up to compare trans and receiver signals and match them to a computer program that is based on coins basically. Here an example of the fallacy in this logic. I picked up a steady signal of ring at 3" in a 200 year old yard that had never been hunted. I wound up digging a 10'' hole to recover a 200 year old blacksmith made ax head. I tested the detector with a gold ring at 3" when I got home and the indication was correct. It appears that both objects at the given dept return the same signal, so you really don't know what is really down there. Frank...
    Name:  ax300.jpg
Views: 292
Size:  59.6 KBThis was the ax head. the detector was an XLT.

  15. #14

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    5,701
    1497 times
    Banner Finds (3)

    reply

    Frankn, I'm trying to understand your point. If you meant that the detector can't tell you exactly what's down there ..... ok .... sure. We all know that. Of COURSE the detector can't tell any of us what's in the ground. But let me ask you a question: If you get a foil signal, what is it most often going to be ? And if you get a shallow clad quarter signal, what is it most often going to be? Naturally the "foil signal *might* be a gold ring. And the quarter signal *might be a $20 gold piece* etc..... It's all in the odds Frankn. No one doubts that machines don't have 100% accurate TID (lest we'd all be rich already ! haha).

    I know a guy who got so good at calling deep silver, that he could go to various junky parks, and end the day with perhaps 10 silvers, 30 or so wheaties, etc.. And his total clad count? perhaps 3 or 4 deep clad dimes that fooled him. His total aluminum count? Probably zero. Was he leaving gold rings and nickels behind? No doubt. If he wanted gold rings that bad guess what he'd do? Go to a location where the odds are better at gold rings, THEN lower his disc, and have a ball.

    The the truth of what you're saying (that machines aren't 100% accurate) doesn't change the point of my contention about how some places deserve to have a little selectiveness, and don't bode well for the dig-it-all philosophy.
    Frankn likes this.
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  16. #15
    us
    I deal in reality

    Mar 2010
    Maryland
    XLT , surfmaster PI , HAYS 2Box , VIBRA-TECTOR
    7,128
    1423 times
    Well Tom, I will say that from your point of view, you are right. Provability is on your side, but I usually dig everything because there is a chance of hitting it big. Like this 3 ct Ruby wrapped in gold. Frank...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ruby gold ring 800.jpg 
Views:	26 
Size:	168.5 KB 
ID:	858167I will admit, that near the end of the day I get a bit more selective. lol
    Last edited by Frankn; Sep 05, 2013 at 02:24 PM.

  17. #16

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    5,701
    1497 times
    Banner Finds (3)
    One time I went to a high school football field scrape. I think the school only dated to the 1940s, and that's normally not old enough to interest me in regular turf hunting. But in this case, the lawn had been scraped for some sort of construction purpose. I walked out, turned on my machine, and dug the very first pulltab signal (since i just wanted to see how deeply they'd scraped too, for depth/strata purposes). And that signal turned out to be a gold band! So for the next 2 hours, I dug every single aluminum signal (all conductors for that matter). And my reward for the next 2 hrs. work? an entire pouch of aluminum haha
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  18. #17
    us
    Feb 2012
    God's Country
    Garret Ace 250, AT Pro, Garret Pro Pointer
    219
    103 times
    Metal Detecting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View Post
    One time I went to a high school football field scrape. I think the school only dated to the 1940s, and that's normally not old enough to interest me in regular turf hunting. But in this case, the lawn had been scraped for some sort of construction purpose. I walked out, turned on my machine, and dug the very first pulltab signal (since i just wanted to see how deeply they'd scraped too, for depth/strata purposes). And that signal turned out to be a gold band! So for the next 2 hours, I dug every single aluminum signal (all conductors for that matter). And my reward for the next 2 hrs. work? an entire pouch of aluminum haha

    I did this last fall! One of the very first signals that I dug that day was a 10k gold womens ring, that was in the same range as a can tab. That was the only ring I found that say out of several hundred targets recovered.

    I am very fast with recovering shallow targets, so when I'm in a park that has produced a lot of jewelry I'll typically dig every good signal. On older parks with lots of pull tabs I'm more selective at times as I don't like retrieving deep targets in parks, especially when there is a chance that it is a pull tab.

    To each their own in this hobby when it comes to what targets you want to dig. Being young and in excellent physical shape in addition to my fast and less intrusive retrieval techniques, I can recover/dig hundreds of objects in a few hours so I'm use to coming home with that trash pouch of aluminum and bottle caps.

  19. #18
    us
    Jul 2013
    New Yorkistan
    Garrett AT Pro, Garrett PinPointer
    711
    333 times
    Metal Detecting
    The way I see it, in order to be efficient with your time and target quality one has to be selective. Digging up everything that goes beep will leave with you with a whole bunch of garbage and lots of time wasted.

    I have been doing this for a little over a month and I have 13 silver coins, silver ring, silver pendant, 40+ wheatbacks and about $45 in clad.

    I dont dig any low conductors, I do however dig shallow targets, 2 of my silver quarters were less than 4 inches deep. And it is true, clad does add up ... I did collect enough to fill up my tank over a month, if one was to do this for years ...

    For each his/her own, as long as him/her enjoy it ... and hey, I wish there was more MD'ers like you, I will gladly take the clad!

 

 

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