Metal detecting is steadily gaining in popularity among enthusiasts looking for buried treasure in parks, on beaches, and just about anywhere they can. But the question arises regarding metal detecting on public and private property, and before anyone goes on the hunt with their metal detector they should learn how to get metal detecting permission from a landowner.
Before you set out on your quest, you should first find out if metal detecting is permitted in the area you have in mind and whether or not it is permissible to detect on that property. You should always consider and observe signs posted on property that does not allow trespassing or that states to keep out. If you really want to detect on that property you should first locate the property owner and ask permission first.
If it is a homeowner and you simply want to detect around their property or yard it can be as simple as going to their front door and knocking and speaking with them personally to get their permission to detect. The best way to approach a property owner for permission is to ask them in person instead of through a phone call or email. While a phone call may seem personal enough, the best way for the owner to get a good first impression is through a face to face meeting. An email is less personal and may be rejected outright or deleted.
When you first approach a landowner about detecting on their property, you should not bring your metal detector with you but leave it in your vehicle. When you approach someone with equipment in hand, it can appear to be intimidating and a bit forward. Always be polite when you approach the landowner and work out any arrangements with them on the areas you can detect in and always let them know your best practices for digging and plugging any holes that you dig on their property and always leave the area as intact as you found it.
If you find a property you want to detect on, and there does not seem to be an owner on the land, you can always check with your County Assessor’s office to find out who the property belongs to through a record search. You can also use search engines such as Google to look up property owner information and then initiate contact with them. If the land is public land you may still need permission to metal detect and should check with local government agencies and the proper authorities before you go onto the property with your metal detector.
While metal detecting can be a fun hobby and sometimes profitable, it is always best to follow certain rules and best practices to keep the hobby enjoyable for all concerned. If you do not consider the rules and ask permission before you detect on private or public land, you may be making it difficult for other metal detector enthusiasts by violating certain laws and ordinances that will be more enforced if everyone does not respect other people’s property.
When you ask a landowner for permission always be willing to give them your contact details, and if they are concerned about you finding anything valuable on their property work out an arrangement with them to show them your finds. Let them know your name and phone number or email address if they inquire. People don’t like strangers prowling around their property so it is best to introduce yourself and give them the information they need about you so they can feel more comfortable with your activities.
Always ask permission the same day that you plan on detecting on the property and always respect the landowners time. Arrive at a time that does not disturb them or their routines around the property, and if necessary ask when a good time would be for you to detect on their land. They will let you know what a good time of day is for them.
Sometimes it may be necessary to draft a letter of permission and to draw up an agreement with the property owner on anything that you find of value. You may need to split the value of the item with them if you find something that is truly valuable and worth a lot of money on their property. After all, you are digging on their land and whatever is on that land they own. So to protect yourself and your finds and to gain the most value from your detecting, a simple written agreement between you and the property owner may be needed. You may also want to have it notarized or otherwise made legal.
If you find an area that you would like to detect, the simplest method is to go up to the property and ask the owner for permission. The worst case scenario is that you could be told no, but there are many other places that you can detect on and it is just a simple matter of going to those locations and finding the owner and asking for their permission. It may seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you don’t feel comfortable approaching people, but you do not want to just go onto other people’s private property and begin metal detecting.
Asking permission is not that difficult if you approach others in a friendly and straightforward manner. Most property owners are often curious what is buried on their property and want to know its history and will often be more than willing to grant you permission to do your detecting.
These tips on how to get metal detecting permission from a landowner should prepare you for an enjoyable experience that allows you to be carefree and within your legal rights. You will feel at ease enjoying something that you love, and you may find some interesting things along the way and meet some good friends. Remember to always follow the best practices and you will make the hobby enjoyable for everyone and make property owners very happy that you take them into consideration and are willing to respect them and their property.