Should I dig ALL the signals??
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  1. #1

    Dec 2019
    123 times

    Should I dig ALL the signals??

    I have found some interesting detecting spots that I will hit this summer (when the snow melts) in Montana.

    I found an old mining town that had a few thousand residents in and out in the late 1800s. There was a brothel, bar, grocery, livery, and houses, let alone the actual mines.

    My question is if I should dig every hit? Pretty sure I have read that its the thing to do. But in Montana, time is very limited in the mountains, and these old mining locations will be full of nails and miners' garbage.

    Should I dig up all targets? As you can see, there is a lot of ground to cover.

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    Creator of Maximum Off Grid
    Wilderness Survival Journeywoman
    Off Grid Systems Designer
    Overall badass extraordinaire

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    Nov 2012
    XP Deus, Tesoro Cibola, Full sized shovel and a backhoe
    28097 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (8)
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    I would dig only the non ferrous. All of my machines will eliminate iron except for very large iron, the bane of our existence. Although, some of the larger mining tools can bring some good bucks and have a lot of historical significance.

  3. #3
    Jul 2019
    SW Pennsylvania
    ace 350, equinox800
    606 times
    Metal Detecting
    If you have unlimited access to the site, you could try digging solid high tones & all solid "soft" NF tones first, then mid tones to iffy high tones next time you go.....and so on. Keep in mind that the more you dig, the more good tones you could possibly reveal/unmask in a given area. Good Luck!

  4. #4

    Jul 2012
    715 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Dig all the iron tones. Forget the non-ferrous. Old tools are a very interesting find. My 2 cents.
    gold chick, Doug H and SanMan like this.

  5. #5
    OBN is offline
    Dec 2008
    Mid-Atlantic Waters
    6001 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Since I'm a water only hunter I can tell you what I would do if the area was submerged, underwater. I would do sampling of different areas. Map the place off into sectors and map the "target history". Each sector you go in and dig all...then record what was found where and then go from there and determine what area holds what your looking for...Me...... I would be looking for the gold, SO I would put myself in the places with the "highest chance" of finding it. ...brothel, bar, grocery..etc
    Last edited by OBN; Feb 02, 2020 at 11:28 AM.

    Blood Member of RingKeepers
    2020......Gold Rings....23 .......Silvers ...18

  6. #6
    Jul 2018
    Mountains of Western Colorado
    Garrett, General Mathematics, Geometry,Crystal ball,
    1890 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Dig all grid it out so you know where you started and stopped.Use flags on the locations you hit sometimes you can get the little wire ones the utility company uses then go back and dig with a good pin pointer after locating areas of interest.
    Last edited by cyzak; Feb 02, 2020 at 11:34 AM.
    gold chick, SanMan and bc5391 like this.
    The mountains have rules.They are harsh rules,but they are there,and if you keep to them you are safe.A mountain is not like men. A mountain is sincere. The weapons to conquer it exists inside you,inside your soul.

  7. #7
    Charter Member

    May 2012
    20991 times
    You won't dig every signal.
    Should you? Yes. For about two square feet to warm up. And depending on what your recovery focus is on you may want to dig everything. You won't cover much ground though. How itchy are your feet?

    On a site I revisit I clean out a small area at first. That's not easy when the rest of the site is waiting. But there have been good recoveries made underneath bad recoveries that way.
    Then , I go cherry picking. Hunting in jewelry mode for any targets above mild aluminum. Looking for coins or precious metal.
    Should I be cherry picking? Knowing I'm missing good targets by not digging everything?
    I've watched much better detectors than mine flit around and seldom stop on a site I grind away on.
    Who makes the most valuable recoveries? Does it matter?

    You get to personalise your goals by the minute.
    If the ground is concrete hard , you'll lean toward cherry picking and missing potential "good" recoveries.

    Iron can mask a good target. A tin can can have something in it.

    On your mining camp site I'd want to work some small areas much harder than others.
    That does not mean you should/would. That's part of the fun.

    If you recover nail number three hundred where a building was , or get weary of twenty signals at once and want a break , look for an open area within sight where a picnic/communal gathering place may have been. Level ground with a view and easy access. Away from dusty traffic. Who knows?

  8. #8

    Dec 2019
    123 times
    Thanks for all the great tips. I guess I'm already feeling overwhelmed with the site, especially since I have found several unclaimed public land sites that are beckoning me.

    I feel like a site like this could take months, if not years, to fully cover. It's about 7000 feet elevation, giving me maybe a three month window in montana to dirtfish.

    Maybe I should do a cherry pick sweep then go back to hot targets?
    Creator of Maximum Off Grid
    Wilderness Survival Journeywoman
    Off Grid Systems Designer
    Overall badass extraordinaire

  9. #9

    Jul 2012
    715 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Take your time. I spent 13 years at a place 3 to 4 miles back in, hitting it about 5 times a year. I still occasionally go back and find things I had missed.

  10. #10
    nomad roman numeral 2

    Nov 2009
    nomads land
    any tector i can get my hands on
    2357 times
    first ask urself ? do u really think nobody has ever metal detected there before ? then u hit the most traveled places ? and then when u look over and say to urself ? oh that looks like a good spot ? then go there. and if it doesnt produce and ur conscience gets the bet of ya. go back over there where u were. ur mind will play games with u. its all about patience and luck. in my case i have more patience than luck. so go test ur luck and when u find something worth braggin about come back and tell us. and if u dont find much be sure to let us know. then u'll be sure somebody beat u to it. K
    gold chick and SanMan like this.

  11. #11
    Jul 2015
    Southwest PA
    371 times
    Coins and valuable metals
    If you have a large area to search then maybe see if you can find another detectorist in your area to help you out. Work out the details between the 2 or more of you as to who gets what. I would dig all.
    gold chick and SanMan like this.

  12. #12
    RTR is offline
    Roger. USAF Vietnam war Combat Vet

    Nov 2017
    Smith Mt. Lake Va.
    Teknetics Liberator Falcon MD-20 *********** Blue Bowl Angus MacKirk sluice Miller Table
    15433 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    IF,IT, makes noise.....Dig it !
    wilcam47, gold chick, AARC and 2 others like this.

  13. #13
    Feb 2015
    Yacolt WA
    EQ 800
    1783 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Hmm -

    I would look for any old info ie photos, maps, to determine what business was where if possible. then I would start (hopefully) with the bar and bordello front foundations out. JMHO
    gold chick, Blak bart and SanMan like this.

  14. #14
    Jan 2015
    Morris County, NJ
    Minelab Equinox 800 White's MXT
    642 times
    Gold Prospecting + Metal Detecting
    My thoughts are similar to those of others who have responded: while ideally you should dig everything, the truth is that there just may not be enough time across such a large area. That leads to cherry picking as probably the best option.
    Let me relate my own situation because it may help: My son and I have access to the property of a historic farm (1700's) here in town (just 4 minutes from the house). The town bought the farm some years back, then sold some of the property to a developer, and the remaining 7 acres are going to be turned into a park.
    7 acres doesn't sound like a lot, but it IS when it comes to metal detecting. My son and I started out cherry picking - guessing the most heavily trafficked areas and looking for strong signals; a walled garden produced nicely.
    My son thinks square nails are cool, so we started digging those signals along the old "driveway" and we found a few old coins in holes that had nails too. That led him to say "dad, we need to dig every signal." And I said, "son there's a signal every single foot - do you want to dig everything?" And that's when HE was the one who suggested we mark off a section and dig every single thing until the section was silent.
    I marked off 20'x20' - not a large area - near where we found the coins, thinking that would be a hot spot. I've been digging that for three weekends in a row, a total of maybe 5 hours, and I've only covered half of the area. I think I've dug fifty (50) different targets out of that 10'x20' section. Only one more coin, but a lot of weird old farm relics and random iron brackets etc.
    Yesterday I got tired of digging iron so I spent 10 minutes cherry-picking and quickly found a wheat penny (rang up 22-23 on the Equinox 800) within the other half of my 20x20 area. When I go back I'm going to focus on that other area - maybe that was the hot spot.

    The moral of the story is: when you get onsite you'll probably get a feel for the place pretty quickly by cherry-picking. Then, if you're feeling methodical, mark off an area and dig everything, and then re-evaluate whether that was worth it or not.

    It seems like you have an opportunity of a lifetime - enjoy it. There's no right or wrong way to approach it.
    - Brian

  15. #15

    Jan 2012
    16018 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Honorable Mentions (5)
    you should when learning your machine - later on you can pick and choose
    in the early days - i had a machine where you had to - first machines i had - had no discrimination on them
    they were all metal machines - but my Compass made slight differences in sound for different metals
    i got so good ...I could 9 out of 10 times tell you what i had and how deep
    even with the detector advances since then - I still hunt in all metal most times and can still
    you with great accuracy what I got before i dig it
    if you really want to get into the hobby - learn your machine and try and dig it all
    have had many targets that went off funny or bad - because of soil conditions or low batteries and
    turned out to be something good
    Motto = "I try to hit where others cant or others wont "


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