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 How to Detect Old Homesteads 

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Is there an old homestead or barn that you'd love to swing your detector at but you're not sure how best to go about it since there's bound to be lots of trash mixed in with the treasure? First, be sure you have permission from the property owner. Even old abandoned buildings that are half falling down are owned by someone.

After you have the OK to hunt, follow these tips from expert Charles Garrett. Of course Mr. Garrett suggests using one of his own detectors such as the AT Gold or AT Pro for best results, but even if you own another brand of detector, his advice still applies: use a smaller size searchcoil, use minimum discrimination, and scan slowly.

• The use of a smaller size DD searchcoil configuration will provide you with the best ability to separate good targets from adjacent trash. Use a detector that has a visual target display and be sure to learn how your detector identifies targets both audibly and visually. Try to correlate the audible and visual signals before making a decision on digging a specific target.

• You will probably hear a steady reporting of sounds on old sites littered with iron junk. You can reduce the number of these signals by increasing your iron discrimination settings. Be aware, however, that the use of too much iron discrimination can cause you to miss good targets that are being masked by iron trash. Use as little discrimination as possible. You might be surprised at what others have missed on an old home site where they searched using maximum levels of discrimination.

• For the greatest depth and sensitivity, use headphones and set your controls for the faintest threshold you can hear. Cover old sites methodically and thoroughly. What does this mean? SLOW DOWN! Move along old home sites slowly and cross over the same area from different directions. Because of iron trash items, good targets may sometimes only present just a hint of a good signal— and sometimes only from one approach direction.

Whenever you're out detecting, remember to leave all structures and the ground around them in better condition than you found them. Good luck!

More metal detecting how-to tips and articles here.

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