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Being successful at metal detecting can be a direct result of the area that you hunt, but it doesn't have to dictate how successful you can be. Whether you live in area known for Civil War relics, a highly occupied area where numerous coins are found, or rivers where gold is commonly found, the ability to maximize that area is what makes some hunters successful while others are not.
Although I love to hunt military relics, the area I live isn't known for that type of finds, but with a lot of research and field time I still find them. So when I can’t, I coin hunt small towns. There is an abundance of smaller towns here. Where there are coins, there will be relics and the same is true for the opposite.
What has made me successful so far is being able to identify certain areas that will hold good targets. Now, 90% of my finds are not any older than the 1890's. So if that is all you have, then why not make the most of it. How I go about it, has been proven to work anywhere in the U.S. It was taught to me by my father who was quite successful even with old technology.
Before I even start looking, I try and make sure the town has at least had an abundance of people there before 1900. Railroads, postal routes, stage routes, and cattle trails to Kansas, is just a few of the things that can give your area a good amount of finds to recover and save.
Most small rural towns were once booming areas that saw a lot of people coming thru at one time or another. Nowadays only a few reminders are visible. Even better is if the town continued to flourish and is still going strong. Finding the area where the beginnings of the town were, can mean the difference in clad and a nice Seated Dime.
When I first start to look a town over, I stop at the coffee shops and barber shops and listen. Sometimes asking the right person can open up an old timer to tell of stories not heard in many decades. For this to work, you can’t be scared to ask, and once they start to talk... LISTEN. Take a small audio recorder. I have one that is smaller than a wallet and will hold hours of talk time. One thing I have noticed is when you go to writing stuff down or asking them to repeat they clam up. Try to take in everything they say, without interrupting too much. The info isn't always 100% correct, but trying to get dates or locations, can help you later in the research. Once you get one to talking then usually they will all talk. That is why they are there. They want to reminisce and why not let their past help you. These stories can really help in identifying certain areas that will produce.
With their information, you can head to the next place where I get quite a bit of my information.
I will continue this in part 2.
Good Luck and Happy Hunting,
Gonehunting for History
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