We often forget that when we go metal detecting whether in the woods or even in seemingly safe neighborhoods we are at the mercy of poisonous snakes, venomous spiders, wasps and yellow jackets and the ever present tick which can cause lime disease. And then there is poison ivy, sumac and ok to worry about.
I always spray on insect repellant that contains 25% deet around my boots, feet and ankle areas and any other areas of exposed skin. More than once I have forgotten to spary and found some ticks up in my groin area where they seem to particularly fond of. My dermatologists told me you must get a shot when you find a tick on your body to prevent lime disease. Good advice is don’t stick your hand anywhere you cannot clearly see. Don’t put them in holes (your dug holes are ok), under boards, in rock nooks. You may surprise a snake or spider and they may do more than surprise you. Using good gloves is a good practice. I once was digging a hole and felt a sharp bite and it was a spider in the ground. It got my finger but other than the brief pain, not harm was done. I was lucky that time. I always wear good gloves at all times when digging for finds. In the south we have to be especially careful of yellow jacket nests. They have a tendency for all of them attack a person or animal when you are near their nest. I have experienced this three times in my life (all when just wearing shorts and tee shirts) and found it to be very painful. Had to take some Benadryl capsules to lessen the pain. When you see more than one yellow jacket flying near you, be aware that you might be close to their nest. Avoid that area at all costs. Save that area to hunt in the dead of the winter. If you get bit by a snake and don’t recognize it as a poisonous snake, then look at the bleeding holes. Water moccasins, rattle snakes and copperheads have fangs and will leave two evenly spaced puncture marks. You need to seek treatment ASAP! Non-poisonous snakes leave small multiple puncture marks with their many teeth, not just two fang marks. Be aware of lakes, rivers and creeks, they are the favored by the snakes because of the fish and frog they eat as food. The non-poisonous snakes have a chemical in their mouths that make you bleed more. This is really nothing to worry about. In the south you don’t have to worry as much about these hazards during the late fall and winter. But come spring and summer you have to very much aware of these dangers when metal detecting. So be aware and be safe in your metal detecting hunts.
Some of your best old abandoned homes and home sites are found in the woods requiring a mile or two hike in to the site from your car. One reason they are the best sites to hunt, most detectorists won’t do the research or make the hike. So do your research with historic aerials and google earth and prepare for your hunt. These longer treks require you to be more prepared. When hiking in and out you may come across some different type of hunting areas. You might find that the home has an interesting but real trashy area or some tight areas between rocks in a creek. Here is what I do. I take a back pack that has my small 5×8″ coil, extra batteries for my AT Pro and pin pointer. I always take my cell phone and use commander compass app to mark the home site GPS coordinates on a aerial map picture of the home site for reference. I also pack my bug spray with 25% deet, some snacks and 2-3 bottles of water. Of course take my gloves, pin pointer and my 4′ digging tool. It is better to be prepared than to have left something important back home or in the car. Oh yes, I always use a check list and check it before I leave the home and leave the car to start the hike.
I have found that the two best areas for hunting creeks is where the creek empties out into a river and within walking distance of an old road. The next good place is where a creek goes under an old road. Look at your topo maps as old as you can find and search for these two places. I usually just take my AT Pro, good hiking books, wear jeans, lots of Deet since these areas usually have lots of nasty and annoying bugs. I take my scoop, and use my gloves because of the fishhooks and broken glass that is often in found in these area. I pay particular attention to bedrock areas underwater as well as clay layers covered with sand. My recent best find was a 1938 14K class ring a few months back. Keep your eyes out for intact old bottles buried in the creek bank, they can sometimes be worth more than jewelry and coins. Just look at the ebay sold listings for bottle and arrange the search by high price first. I always search the banks for exposed bottles and relics. Often the creek bank erosion exposes a bottle dump. When you see broken glass or a bottle partially exposed in the creek bank dirt it is a good chance you have found a bottle dump.
www.metaldetectingguides.com – Bottle dumps are often found when hunting old home sites. There is usually some metal in an old bottle dump. When you dig some metal and find bottles especially old embossed bottles put your detector aside and start carefully digging out these bottles. Old embossed and colored bottles that used stoppers can be worth a lot of money on eBay. Be sure to use your toughest gloves when digging these dumps.