There probably isn't anyone alive who hasn't had the experience of going to the beach or some other public place and seen someone, usually an older man, hunched over his metal detector, bags strung from his body full of gloves, strainer, pointer, and much more, looking for whatever he can find. The first emotion that most people feel toward such a person is pity, but what most people don't realize is that oftentimes that person is having the time of their life. They might or might not be making much, if any money for their efforts, but being out in the sunshine and fresh air and moving around, is often the best reward they can ask for, a reward that they happily accept. The most interesting thing about this picture is that often such people are rewarded many times over by the wide variety of their finds-coins, watches, bracelets, and so many other things-that make the effort worthwhile.
What is most often not seen when these folks are observed at the beach or wherever else they are found, is not what they find, but what they know. For example, most experienced metal detectors know that the best time to practice their hobby is in the later afternoon after everyone has gone home and the diggings are richest. They also know that some of the best places along the beach to look are around rocks, where things settle after they have been washed ashore. These are the kinds of things that make metal detecting not only fun but potentially very rewarding.
What You Can and Can't Do
Perhaps better than knowing what you can do is knowing what you can't do when metal detecting. Primary among these is knowing where you can hunt and where you can't. First, as tempting as checking out your local Civil War battlefield might be with your metal detector, to do so is highly illegal, an activity that will in all likelihood result in allowing you to regale your fellow treasure hunting club members about the night you spent in jail for your love of metal detecting. It is also important to know that wherever you plan on metal detecting, make sure you know if you are on private property or not. And if you are, you must have the permission of the property owner before you start. Violation of these property rights can result in severe penalties, that will make whatever you find pale by comparison.
One More Point Before You Start Hunting
If it's not obvious by now, it should be that metal detecting can be a hobby that is a lot of fun, not to mention very rewarding in many ways. Getting the full measure of fun from this exciting and interesting hobby is dependent to a great extent on the amount of learning you avail yourself of before you start. You need to learn not only about the proper equipment to use but how to use it. All of this can be learned by yourself by consulting any number of excellent resources. You can also learn by asking questions of others who will most likely help you, but in the end, it's a matter of putting forth the effort to learn and apply the knowledge you accumulate in the process that you will gain the results you are after. It doesn't matter whether the treasure you are after is a few coins, or a king's ransom, the joy is the adventure, one that you can revisit again and again for as long as you wish.