Metal Detecting - Getting Permission

7 June 2012

Metal detecting is a great outdoor activity and there are many public places to hunt for riches. But, there are times when you may want to detect on private property. To do this, you really should get permission.

There are a few ways for you to ask for permission and some work better than others.

One way to ask for permission is to write letters to homeowners and explain what you want to do. This is one of the least effective ways to ask. Most will just toss your letter in the trash even if it is well written and includes a self-addressed stamped envelope.

Another ineffective way to ask permission is to cold call on the telephone. This is worse than writing letters as it is too easy to say "No" on the telephone. You will most likely come across as a salesperson and people do not like to be disturbed on their phone.

The best way to ask for permission is in person. But, there is a right way and a wrong way to ask.

The right way is to dress in a presentable manner with neat pants and shirt, no hat or sunglasses, and do not have your detector in on hand and a shovel in the other.

Identify yourself and explain what you would like to do. You may want to include some local history as one of the reasons you want to hunt on this property. Ensure that you will not be destructive and you will clean up any trash you find.

You may have to offer an incentive to your prospect. For example, you may offer fifty percent of your findings or you may just tell them that if you find anything of value or something that the owner may have previously lost you will hand it over.

If you have more than one metal detector, you can offer to have the homeowner metal detect along with you. This serves a couple of purposes. They get to participate and keep an eye on you and you get to introduce them to the hobby.

It is also a good idea to hand out business cards even if the people tell you no. They may have a change of heart later on or may need your services if they lose something of value.

Do not get discouraged if people tell you that you cannot detect on their property. Thank them and move on to the next property

Once you do get permission, ensure that you fill all of your holes, remove all of the trash, and leave the area nicer than when you arrived.

You can also ask people who allowed you to detect on their property to recommend friends or relatives. Having a recommendation goes a long way.

So, get out and start asking if you can detect in that old church, 100-year-old farm, or the turn of the century schoolhouse. You will get some rejection but you will also get some that give you permission and you may find that you are the first person to have ever detected at that site.

Remember, too, that hunting on private property can be considered trespassing and you may get arrested, get fined, and have your precious metal detecting equipment confiscated.

Larry Westfall is a retired expat living in Thailand and spends his free time with his metal detector [] at Thailand's beaches.

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