Monday, July 31, 2017

How to start Metal Detecting

Every time I think I can’t come up with something else to do outdoors, I stumble upon something fun and engaging! Have you seen the new metal detectors that are on the market now? They are amazing!

I love the idea of finding treasure (or something of historical value)! No matter where you live there is the potential to find something interesting. I live in the historic Hampton Roads of Virginia. It is rich in history from colonial days onward. Most here people metal detect for Civil War artifacts. I know one guy in my area who found a saber on his property! The second most popular use is on the beaches. This can actually turn into a small source of income as people often loose jewelry at the beach.

If you are like me and are new to metal detecting, you will need to pick up a just few things. Really, you probably already have a lot of them!

  1. Metal detector (Obviously). There are TONS of metal detectors on the market. It is beyond the scope of this post (and my knowledge) to tell you how to choose the best one for you. Instead, I recommend you head over to which is an awesome resource for researching metal detectors.
  2. Headphones. These are not going to be always necessary, but if the area you are in is noisy they are necessary. Really just about any headphones will work at first. You probably already have a pair.
  3. A digging tool. Some people carry a small folding shovel, but I prefer a gardener’s knife. It does not do as much damage to the ground (you can easily dig small holes) and it is lighter to carry. Your choice here is going to depend on your area. If your ground is sandy or rocky, you might want to go with something else.

  4. A pinpointer. Another fun gadget! A pinpointer is basically a small metal detector that only goes off when it is very close to metal. These are invaluable when trying to find something small. They cut the time to find something in half easily! Like metal detectors, there are a ton of these on the market. It would take all day to go over and compare the features of all them, so for pinpointer reviews click here.

    A bag to hold your loot (and the garbage). You will need a tough bag that can get dirty to put the stuff you find in. MOST of what you find will be junk. While I guess it is not technically littering to leave it where you find it, I like to pack it up and toss it appropriately. A lot of the stuff you find will be sharp and rusty. I’d hate for a kid or pet running through the area to get hurt on it. Plus, trash looks trashy. I use a small, old tool bag I have. You can find these in the hardware section of any department store. They are the perfect size and are almost indestructible.

A pinpointer

See, not that much stuff!

Once you have collected your gear, you will need to find a place to metal detect. I recommend starting in your yard. It will help you become more confident with your equipment and will serve as a good dry run. Who knows, you might find something valuable!

In the US there are a few places you CANNOT metal detect. Do not metal detect on:

  • Private property (without permission). This includes seemingly abandoned property, property owned by railroads, farmed and fallow fields, school playgrounds and sports fields, ect…
  • National monuments. Want to get arrested? This is how you get arrested.
  • National parks. It is illegal to take or leave anything on national parks, or to disturb the ecosystem.
  • Civil & Revolutionary War Battlegrounds.
  • Native American Lands. (unless you are a member of that tribe assumingly)

So where can you metal detect? Lots of places. Lots and lots of places.

  • Private property with permission.
  • National forests. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Most BLM land.
  • City, County and State parks. (unless otherwise posted)
  • Wildlife Management Areas
  • Most beaches (check local laws)

One Wildlife Management Area alone would give a lifetime of metal detecting, so your options are very open.

So, with a few simple tools and a place to search, what will you find?

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Basics Of Turkey Hunting

Here is a guest post from Build Great Farms! There is a link to their blog at the bottom of this post, be sure and check them out!

Turkey hunting has been a popular pastime for generations, a trend unlikely to change anytime soon. Turkey hunting season is generally the Spring, at which point hunters gather to see who can catch the largest turkey and/or the one with the largest beard. The winner generally receives a trophy for their efforts. If you are considering joining a turkey hunt or merely wish to improve your performance in them, here are some tips that will help you catch a turkey.

 1. The Value of Patience 

 All turkey hunts are a waiting game as hunters anxiously await the appearance of their targets. Turkeys have exceptional eyesight and hearing, preventing you from catching them unless you are extremely quiet and still. The turkey hunting process can take hours even after a turkey returns a call, so you should be prepared to be patient before taking up the hobby.

2. Learn the Rules 

 The laws governing turkey hunts vary from state to state and among organized competitions, so you should ensure that you have a complete grasp on the rules for every event you participate in. Time schedules, bagging limits, and legal hunting grounds are all matters of particular importance that you should look into.

 3. Use a Hen Call 

 Most turkey hunters rely on hen calls to make clucking, purring, and yelping noises that convince turkeys other turkeys are in the hunter's area. A real turkey doesn't make the same sound every time, so you should try to have a variety of hen calls to mimic the vocal range of actual animals.

 4. Adopt an Expert's Approach 

 Relying on luck is unlikely to help you nab a turkey. Instead, try scouting an area at night to locate a turkey resting in a tree. Remain in the area until daybreak, and call the animal before it has a chance to go anywhere else. Turkeys are naturally social creatures that seek companionship when they wake up at sunrise, so you have to be ready to act when the turkey begins to stir.

 Alternatively, camouflage yourself in an area where turkeys are likely to feed or drink. They are bound to get hungry and/or thirsty eventually, ensuring that you have a target to go after. The best time frame to do this is late afternoon to sundown.

 5. Know Your Target

 Generally speaking, you are looking for a male turkey when you are on a turkey hunt. Male turkeys tend to be physically larger than their female counterparts, a crucial advantage when size is the factor deciding who wins. Male turkeys are categorized by beards on their chest that can grow to over nine inches long. Some turkey hunts use these beards to determine the winner, forcing you to catch a male to have any chance at all.

 It is also possible to identify the gender of a turkey you are tracking before you can actually see it. Veteran hunters can identify male or female based on coloration, with males tending toward the darker side of the spectrum. This can help you determine if a feather trail is worth following. Turkey droppings also vary by gender, with females leaving behind small curlicues while males look kind of like a question mark.

 6. Using the Weather 

 Rainy days are typically the best time to hunt turkeys, but take cover if lightning is in the area. Turkeys frequently congregate in an open field to dry out after a storm, a fact experienced hunters use to help locate them.

 Catching turkeys is a difficult endeavor, but the rush you get from a successful hunt is worth the effort. Armed with these tips, you will be turkey hunting with the pros in no time!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

How to Teach a Kid to Shoot - Part 1 Safety

I am so excited! My kids are finally old enough that I can teach them how to shoot a gun! I have been waiting for this for years!

What I found surprising was how nervous I was for the kids safety the first time we went shooting. I am very comfortable around guns. The safety procedures come second nature to me. However, for them it was all new. Kids can be unpredictable.....

So before we started I drilled into them a few basic rules. I tried not to be too complex, they are kids after all. These are what I cam up with:

1. Keep your finger off the trigger.

I simply taught them to not touch the trigger until they were looking down the sights. I was expecting this to be one of the hard ones to follow, but they caught right on.

2. Never point the gun at anyone. 

This was the hard one. Kids are naturally oblivious to anyone and everything around them. Keeping a gun safely pointed is tough for even most adults I've taught, so this does not come as a surprise.

What ended up helping was when I told them to imagine a laser beam shooting out of the barrel that cut anyone it touched in half. Being Star Wars fans, this game caught on quite well with them.

3. Pretend the gun is always loaded. 

This was another easy one. They don't know enough to tell if it is loaded or not anyway, so treating it as if it was always loaded came fairly naturally.

Using these simple three rules, and going over them religiously, has kept all of us safe and let us enjoy the process without worry.

In Part 2 I am going to talk about the gun I chose to use when teaching them, and why I chose it.

Would you like to see a video of our first shooting session? Here it is! (The shooting is at the end of the video.)

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