Detecting Dangers


TQ Circle of Friends
I was thinking about a thread I answered about some potential dangers that detectorists/relic hunters may encounter.

I only hunt in the water so my experience is limited but there are plenty of experienced people here who might help me put together a list of things to watch out for when hunting.

For example, I get broken pieces of glass in my scoop some times so I always look before I stick my paw into it!

CW relic hunters have dug up live rounds, prospectors in the deserts or the mountains must have experiences that gave them a burst of adrenaline, divers must have a tale to tell.

Every type of hunting can have perils.

Can you think of something that might be helpful to a person who is new to the hobby? Something that happened to you or someone you know while they were detecting?

I will take them and organize them according to the type of area/environment and put them into a sticky post down the road.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Old homesteads with abanded water wells. Stepping on rotten boards that are covering them or they may be covered with weeds. Nasty outcome:cussing:

electric wires buried by home owners that do not meet code, to shallow. I have come across some that were only 1"-2" deep.

Walking around old home places that have boards with nails sticking up. I always wear hard bottom boots when around these places, and I have been glad of it at times. It could be bad with tennis shoes on.



...Which fortunately haven't happened to me. First, I was at a local park doing some detecting. When I got home, my wife asked me where I had been hunting and I told her. She said that I should watch out down there because they had recently found some used drug needles in that park. Dang, and i was rooting around in some of them holes...

Second, snakes! We have them here in some places I would be going. And when wearing head phones, even the loudest rattlers may not be able to be heard.

Oh, one other. I hunt the local parks early int he morning on the weekends before most people hit the park. I noticed this Sunday that there were some really shady people there early. When running with head phones, it's sometime hard to remember to keep an eye on these people when you are working the park. Don't want anyone to sneak up on you for any reason.



Bees and wasps, We have yellow jackets around here that have nests in the ground (Small wasp type) and bumble bees live in the ground also. Around old houses wasps can get your attention real fast. The smallest and most troublesome for me is chiggers (insect repelent usally prevents them from bitting) Y'all take care and HH

Dirt fishing yo also find some sharp pieces of metal, and glass. I wear gloves for this and other reasons.

Spiders, ticks and other animals. Some people take dogs off leashes in leash areas? I had this one just the other day.

Good post and idea, Beale.


Thanks for the tips I know that I get in such hurry to get my gear get out and just start hunting without thinking at all about safety. I think I will at least start with wearing some light weight gloves never thought about the discarded needles but I guess a park would be a likely place to find them.


shallow or deep gotta watch out for those jellies.


MR. NO SHOULDERS ! Snakes are very plentiful around here. Especially Copperheads, Rattlers.
PLEASE be careful this up coming Spring, Summer and Fall around old houses, tall grass, old trees, rock piles and the such.


I think this is a great idea. At first one would think its just common sense, but experience is part of common sense. I have none of the former, some say little of the latter.
Steve, I think it such a great idea you should submit it for publication when you get it all polished up.



I have heard several people complain that they get poison ivy a bunch. Fortunate for me, in CA, I don't come up against this, but while in KY, I'll need to keep my eyes open...maybe wear long pants and long sleeves.

I also always wear gloves because I have found tons of glass and old rusty and sharp wire and nails. I am a delicate flower and my hands would tear like paper if they picked up this stuff without gloves. :doh:

Sunscreen is a nice item to carry around.
Thanks for the tips I know that I get in such hurry to get my gear get out and just start hunting without thinking at all about safety. I think I will at least start with wearing some light weight gloves never thought about the discarded needles but I guess a park would be a likely place to find them.
There are a couple of companies that make
gloves that are supposed to be poke proof. Those wold be best, and
going to look in to them.



Active Member
Good thread Steve!

Always be aware of your surroundings. I always use headphones, and my detector plays tones, so I can keep my eyes open to see what's around me. The picture that some people have of detectorists is a person hunched over, looking at the ground or their meter and oblivious to everything else. Break that stereotype as long as your detector has tones (are there any that don't?), there's no reason to not be looking around.

When hunting be careful what you show to "curious" people. They may praise that nice ring you just found, only to describe it to their cohort who may approach you saying they lost it, and are able to describe it perfectly.

Several areas I've hunted in the woods have been rocky with a thick layer of leaves....step carefully. It's easy to step on an unseen rock beneath the leaves and twist something or fall.


TQ Ambassador
Someone already mentioned to be careful about shallow-buried electrical wiring...also be aware of phone lines and cable for addition to getting hurt from buried electrical lines...some utility companies will insist that you're financially responsible for repairs. I've never had this happen while MD'ing - but I HAVE accidentally cut phone and cable lines while digging post holes for a privacy fence...the lines were very shallow (less than 6 inches) and the repair guy was pretty mad...and informed me that if it happened again I'd be billed for the repairs.


New Member

theres no snakes around here PAPPY.hahaha thanks for that tip about live rounds STEVE,we go out to ocotillo wells for riding and the kids all the time find spent shells, just last time we had the kids empty there pockets cuz two of them dissapeared around the corner (scared the living %#&@ outta us)
so we had them run back to camp, one of them had a live round in his pocket, needless to say ALL the kids had a sitdown meeting with me..


King of Spam
Staff member
Man I can't count the times I got poison Oak up in Delaware...Nasty nasty... I always shower when I get home from running around in the wild woods..That way the stuff can be rinsed off before it spreads... Pris, poison ivy is nasty too.I will say that also...not to take your thunder, but I hate this stuff.....I think I have had that a few times too..All this stuff should be avoided if you see it..chances are if you see it, you are already in it...Good post Steve....Buster...:spin: :spin: :spin: :icon_tong :spin: :spin: :spin:

I am new to all this and dont know about the dangers of detecting, but i did dig up a nice little nest of rattle snakes last year while digging a latrine for my camp site...
"I screamed like a little girl and ran like hell"
I don't like cell phones, but since my wife made me get one I always take it with I don't turn it on becuase I have found that I get calls and the wife asks "what are you doing?" my response is usually "trying to dig a hole". But I hunted some pretty steep areas for civil war relics and the loose rocks will occasionally give me a little slide, so If I actually took a tumble and needed to contact someone I do have the phone.

I watch for glass in holes, dug a few bottle caps with the top of the bottle and shards of glass. Walked up on a 300 lb Black bear last summer, But he runned away.


Active Member
Two dangers I have acually run in to. First one was a cotton mouth about 3 1/2 feet long and as big around as my wrist. Lying under a log I stepped over while detecting Old Coldwater MS ghost town. Don't know if you guys up north know about these, but they are about the most aggressive snakes in North America. I've never been scared of snakes, but I was caught half over the log with this snake between my legs.:yikes: It gives off a very foul odor and hates to be bothered. Somehow I managed to keep from getting bit.

The second thing that is very dangerous and already mentioned is old systern wells that aren't filled in. I found out that they cave in, even a few feet from the mouth. Stay away from old wells!!!
Scorpions, I found a couple of saddles, I believe every scorpion in the state of Az. was on holiday in them.
Digging in steep embankments.
Vertical mine shafts.
Illegals in border states, They've walked 100 miles, tired, feet hurt, they see a truck, doesn't take much of an imagination.



Well-Known Member
Great Post Steve and Great advice from everyone. Pretty much what everyone said. Be very careful and Use Common sense if wanting to go into an abandoned building, Rotted Floors. Unsafe Floors or Roof stuctures over head. Mean critters hiding or nesting depending where your living... Came across a Possum nest with babies and Mamma Possun was not happy at All. Just take a moment to asess where your at and what your about to do. We All can get into that comfort zone that we've done something a hundred times and never had a problem but theres always that 1rst time and that 1rst could be your last ! Just remember that on Land or in the Water there is ALWAYS Potential for Danger.
I don't know if it's just the beaches where I live, but I find the most dangerous junk there. I've found rusty nails, broken glass, a bullet and even a portable gas canister for a camping stove. The bloody people just figure oh no liquor on the beach, I'll sneak it in, and then they just "bury" the bottles/cans and leave. The portable gas canister I found while out hunting with Pris, I got a beep, started digging in the sand, and then my sand scoop hits something, up it comes dented and it still had some liquid stuff in it. I was like :cussing:people. Another time I got a hit, and it was the top to a large wine bottle, I ended up making two trips to the nearest trash can to get all the glass out of the sand. I was afraid some poor kid was going to make a sand castle and end up in the bloody ER.

The dealer that I bought my White's from told me that he has found used needles and other nasty stuff in the parks. I went out and bought me a nice pair of gloves, after hearing that!

Y'all be safe out there :)


Well-Known Member
Got a new one. This happened to me just the other day. I was digging a plug and a big ole nasty looking spider comes out of thr hole!! Scared the living daylights outta me.

I was very gald I had my gloves on, Beale.

You guys are scaring me!
Snakes, scorpions, poison oak!
I'm glad that my hunts have been on the beach, although I have dug a piece of glass, and I'm sure there are other dangers.

Minelab-Thanks for the advice, I never thought about showing off a find only to have someone claim that THEY lost it! I'm glad to learn the easy way.

i'm from wi and have been spending the winter in sw az. md'ing and prospecting...
i always carry my need point leathermen with me and the other day it came in handy.
i was md'ing in the desert and came upon 4 guys with atv's seems 1 of them brushed a cacti with the atv and part of it stuck in his leg above the ankle, well the old leatherman came handy there, pulled 73 spines out of that guys leg.... boy was he in some pain........
my advice is if you are gonna be in the deserts , LOOKOUT FOR POKIES !and have something with you to pull it out with if you can't stay away from the pokies ..........
scary stuff

Property Owners - I know 99% of the time we all follow the rules and almost always are able to get permission to hunt wherever. Despite this there are those that think "As long as there isn't a NO TRESPASSING sign...". I live in Tennessee and I know there are a few "shoot-first" states. Also be aware that sometimes when hunting the country it's easy to end up on someone else's property and last thing you need is some trigger happy hick blowing your head off.

Other "Hunters" - I haven't heard anyone mention the danger of getting inadvertently mistaken for a moose. Make sure to dress appropriately with the neon colors if you are going to be MDing in the woods.

Getting Lost - Make sure to always have a "backup plan" if you get lost. Learn survival basics ie: how to tell directions, look at a map to know which way roads run etc... MDing is an adventure for me and I frequently am scouring remote areas for historic sites.

Lightning - You've got a big metal rod in your hand.. need I say more?

Parasites - Like a fool I don't like to wear gloves. My hands (and fingernails) get very dirty while digging. I'm very aware that parasites and germs live in the dirt so I make sure to clean my hands as thorough and frequently as possible. I certainly don't eat with dirty hands. I know a guy that got intestinal worms from eating with "dirt"-y hands.
Im more and more nevious about snakes, so while im out tomorrow im gonna stop and check out some snake gaiters.. The only other thing's that worry me, would be bees and hornets.(im allergic and they are getting bad around here)..
Another Post

I thought of a couple of other things.
Make sure your up to date with your tetnus shot.
If your allergic to insect bites/stings. Make sure you have your Epi Pen VERY handy and that it has not expired. They usually have a short(like a year) expiration date. It will printed be on the box or pen.
If your NOT allergic to bites/stings.........keep a Benedryl & Motrin handy. It will reduce the unpleasant side effects of the sting. Take it quick, or as soon as possible. If you got an ice pak, put it on the sting area also.
Poisin Ivy/oak/ is the oil from the plant that you must be concerned with. It's an oil. Wash it off with soap and water. You must be careful. If it's on your hands, from either direct contact from the plant, or from taking off your shoes/clothing or touching your equipment, you will spread the oil to any area you touch. It is a VERY personal..........tag, your IT game to every part of the body you touched.
Usually you don't know you have been in it until after you breakout. Pop a Benadryl. Take a shower. Use soap and water. Then carefully pick up clothes and throw them in the washer machine. Carefully clean your shoes and equipment and anywhere that pesky oil might have been transfered to(dishgloves are handy at this point). There are meds you can get at a pharmacy for small rashes(other than Benadryl). If you get it in your eyes/personal space or large areas, see your Doc or emergency center to get a shot and /or steroid tablets. Don't be miserable, get help.
Iv'e rambled enough.(one glass of red wine)