Metal detecting may be your favorite hobby, but not everyone understands the appeal. Knowing that some people may be laughing at you can suck some of the enjoyment out of metal detecting. If you’re a beginner and your fear of public ridicule is strong enough, it may be enough to keep your hunts confined to the safety of your own backyard.
But if you’re wondering if you’ll ever muster up the courage for a public hunt, don’t worry. With a few tips, you’ll be waving your detector at your local park in no time.
Join a Club
If you can find a metal detecting club near you, it’s worth the small annual fee to give yourself the confidence you need to take your hobby out into the public.
Clubs usually have monthly hunts where many detectorists participate. When you’re feeling embarrassed to hunt in public, there is safety in numbers. If you’re hunting with a bunch of detectorists, you won’t feel as self-conscious. You’ll just be another face in the crowd to onlookers.
After a few group hunts, you won’t feel as worried about going on a solo hunt. It will become second nature to you.
Head to a Beach
If you’re more of a loner than a joiner, go to a beach to get used to metal detecting in public. Metal detectorists routinely hunt on beaches so people are used to seeing them there. They’ll stare less and you’ll feel less insecure about enjoying your favorite hobby.
Know What You’re Doing
One great way to feel less self-conscious about detecting in public is to know how to operate your metal detector. Practice in the privacy of your own backyard until you feel comfortable that you know what the various signals mean.
Perfect your plug-digging skills so you aren’t tearing up your yard – go for nice, clean plugs that won’t make it look like your yard has been attacked by a gang of angry gophers.
Once you get your technique down, spend a little time studying up on metal detecting rules and etiquette. If you aren’t breaking any rules, people will be less inclined to give you stink eye when you’re detecting in public. And if they aren’t glaring at you, you’ll be more comfortable.
To ward off any uncomfortable scenes with the public, fill in all the holes you dig up. Make sure you’re only hunting in areas you’re allowed to be.
Have Some Perspective
When you’re a beginner who isn’t yet entirely sure about everything you are doing, it can be easy to think the whole world is watching and paying attention to you. That usually isn’t the case. People are generally too wrapped up in their own lives to really notice what other people are doing.
If you do notice some people staring at you, just remember they may not be casting judgement like you think they might be. They may just be really interested in metal detecting. Maybe they’ve just never had the courage to pursue it like you have.
It might take some internal pep talks on your part, but try to summon up the courage to take your metal detecting public. Try to keep your mind on what you’re doing and what you’re looking for instead of how you might be perceived by anyone else out there.
After your first find on a public property, you’ll be so excited you’ll probably forget that anyone is watching at all. In the meantime, make no apologies for who you are and the interests you have – everyone is different and those differences should be celebrated.