December 1, 2022

Paid metal detector hunts are both fun and rewarding

Chicago, IL (January 28, 2020) – You have your metal detector, earphones, digging tool, coin pouch, and maybe a pinpointer. You’ve practiced digging targets in yards, parks, beaches, or playgrounds. You’ve found some coins, maybe a piece of jewelry or two, a token, and assorted trash. Are you ready to expand your horizons and try something new? If so, consider a seeded hunt.

Seeded hunts are metal detector events that are usually organized by a local detecting club or dealer. Participants pay an entry fee to attend, where they hunt for assorted coins and prize tokens buried by the hosts. There may be a couple different hunts which last two or three hours each, or sometimes four or five separate hunts about 30 minutes long.

The shorter hunts usually have a different theme, some being for larger clad coins (quarters, halves, and presidential dollars), while others have buried tokens with numbers stamped on them that correspond to specific prizes. Some events are just for older coins, such as Indian head pennies, buffalo nickels, half dimes, two cent pieces, etc. If there is a beach at the site, count on a hunt in the sand for assorted coins and prizes. The last hunt of the day is often a silver hunt, which is loaded with hundreds of silver dimes, and other valuable coins.

These seeded hunts have a variety of twists, depending on the site and the person running the event. Woods hunts are common. The targets are usually scattered on top of the ground and the entrants have to search through brush, vines, leaves, rotten logs, and other obstructions. Be prepared; poison ivy, bugs, and other critters often attend these woods hunts.

A “fun hunt” is usually included in the day’s activities. This is often the first hunt of the day to allow the participants to check out their machines and make sure they are working properly. This could be a partner hunt, with one person detecting while the other digs the targets. It might also be a poker hunt with five people per team. Playing cards are buried, each with a silver dime inside, and each person on the team detects and digs one target. Each team uses their five cards as a poker hand, and the best hands win prizes.

If the event spans at least two days, a night hunt is usually offered. The targets are thrown on top of the ground in an open field and must be found without the aid of any lights. Pinpointers are very useful in these dark hunts, where wheat pennies, silver dimes and prize tokens are the common targets.

While many seeded hunts are for coins and prizes, some events are primarily for Civil War items. These are usually held in the southern states where these relics can be found in their natural habitat. Bullets, buttons, buckles, and other artifacts are buried in the field or woods, with some tokens included for larger prizes such as bayonets, cannonballs, new metal detectors and more.

A collection of Civil War-era bullets found by the author at a recent seeded hunt.

Most of these paid, seeded hunts last one or two days, while some span a week. Treasure Week in western Pennsylvania and Treasure Fest in southern Indiana are both week-long events with numerous hunts held daily. These are usually held in July. Both have been around for many years and are outstanding events.

Seeded hunts are great opportunities for learning. Look around at all the different detectors and accessories used by the other entrants. Chances are someone has a machine like yours, and they can probably give you some tips about its use. They can also make recommendations on favored accessories and additional gear like coils and pinpointers. I use my Minelab Equinox and Vanquish detectors regularly, and I’m always happy to share my experience and tips with others at these events. Thankfully, others are, too; I have a Minelab CTX 3030, and I’ve learned a lot about running it from other CTX 3030 owners.

Ask around if you have questions about any of the activities. Most detector folks are very friendly and eager to share information with you. Find the hunt schedule and be sure to be ready to line up around the field in plenty of time. The huntmaster will usually give a quick talk before the hunt, explaining any rules, what kind of items are buried, and other pertinent information. Ask the huntmaster if you can see how one of the tokens which will be in the ground reads on your particular machine. When everyone is ready, the horn or gun will start the hunt. What you find in the hunt field is yours to keep, except for the tokens which must be redeemed for your prizes.

The author at a recent organized hunt in Kentucky.

Many seeded hunts were cancelled in 2020 due to the virus, but a few went on as scheduled. Hopefully, 2021 will see the return of more events and more opportunities for you to get out, learn and have fun. The best way to find one of these hunts in your area (or elsewhere), is to simply search “Metal Detector Hunts” on the internet. Some treasure-hunting magazines also publish a calendar of events, which may list seeded hunts. Another way to find a nearby hunt is to visit or call your local metal detector dealer. He or she will know of any hunts in your area, and they may even have their own events planned and scheduled. While talking with your dealer, ask if they can recommend a nearby detector club you might join. Finally, if you attend a seeded hunt and enjoy it, future hunt flyers are usually available on the registration table, and the person organizing the hunt may be available right there to answer any questions you may have.

While you continue enjoying and learning from your own regular detecting activities, a seeded hunt offers beginning and even experienced detectorists many unique advantages. Treasure in the ground is guaranteed, there is usually very little trash to contend with, you don’t need to secure permission before hunting, you have a good chance of winning some prizes, and you’ll be surrounded by passionate people who are usually willing to share their experience and help you become a more effective treasure hunter.

What are you waiting for?

Story by Richard Creason


Minelab is an Australian, multi-award-winning business that has successfully scaled world markets to command global leadership in its key areas of operation. Based in Mawson Lakes, South Australia, with regional offices in Cork, Ireland, Dubai, UAE, Chicago, U.S., and Itajai, Brazil the company specializes in advanced electronic technologies. Since its origins in 1985, Minelab has been the world leader in providing metal detecting technologies for gold prospecting, treasure hunting and landmine clearance. Through devotion to research and development and innovative design, Minelab is today the major world manufacturer of handheld metal detector products. Over the past 30 years, Minelab has introduced more innovative and practical technology than any of its competitors and has taken the metal detecting industry to new levels of excellence. Minelab is a Codan Limited company (ASX: “CDA”). To learn more about Minelab, visit