How To Get Permission For Metal Detecting

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The thrill of making discoveries and uncovering hidden treasures is phenomenal. But don't let it lead you to wave your detector around on private property without permission. 

Make it a point always to get proper clearance. Let's talk about how you can get permission for metal detecting.

Find out who owns the property

The first step to getting permission is to know who to ask. You have to identify the property owner and don't rely on the word of a third party. 

How do you know who the owner of a property is? You simply have to ask. Ask the people on the land or the neighbors if you don't find anyone home. 

DO NOT METAL DETECT SIGN
Never metal detect without being sure you have permission to do so

Remember to ensure you finally get hold of the property owner and request for his/her permission.  Here are some basic rules to follow when asking about the landowner.

  • Identify yourself
  • Explain what you want to do first
  • Ask if you can talk to the owner
  • Always be courteous
  • Remember to smile

It's always best to present yourself in a good light when trying to find out the owner. Getting straight to the point may risk offending people or looking suspicious.

If the land is unoccupied, it may be a bit more taxing to find out who owns it. These tips should help you locate the owner.

Basic Google search

Run the property address through Google. Google really does know everything; your search should return you some clues about the owner’s identity or, at the least, some hints to point you in the right direction. 

You can also use some sites and apps to aid your search. LandGlide, OnXmaps, or  ReportAllUSA.com, for example. Using these apps will help you find the name of the property. 

You can then cross-reference these names on a social media site, and you'll probably get their contact details ( unless they have a very common name). 

reportallusa maps
Reportallusa.com

You can also google their name and the property’s address, and you'll get some pretty good inclinations. Also, visit the county assessor’s office in the locality; you will likely find the owners listed in their books. 

Finding the owner’s name isn't as creepy as it may sound. You are merely trying to determine the property title holder just like you would if you wanted to buy the property. Think of it as due diligence of sorts. 

Ask for permission

Once you’ve identified who to ask, it's now time to seek permission. 

On private property, it’s as simple as walking up and asking. More than half the time, owners are intrigued with your hobby and maybe keen on uncovering what's on their land.

Don’t be afraid to ask; after all, the worst you can get is the answer no. 

On that note, if you do get a no, politely thank the owner for their time and move on. Don't take it upon yourself to explain what the owner is missing out on or let them know what’s what.

permission to metal detect

Doing so gives metal detectors a lousy rap and makes it harder in the future to get permission. 

You don't lose much by simply walking away, with a smile, of course. There are plenty of places to metal detect after all. 

If you can manage to find the owner’s email address, you can draft and send an email instead.

Emails work very well if you're intimidated by the idea of walking up to someone's house.  While crafting your email, remember the following;

Start strong

Put in a subject line that packs a punch - straightforward and clear. For example, “request for permission to metal detect in the back yard of xxxxx address on xxx date.” 

Making your request as precise as possible right from the get-go may get the owner to open the email.

If you lead with a weak subject line like, "I want to metal detect on your property," you risk offending the owner. 

Keep it short and sweet

When you're writing your email, don't ramble. Giving the owner a history lesson about their property will make them tune off before getting to your request.

Say hi, preferably address them by their correct name, spelled right. State who you are and what you want to do. Say thank you and end the email. 

Keep your language casual but not too endearing

Use casual language but remember not to go overboard with the familiarity. Don't throw in heart emojis just yet.

Remember, you don't know the person you're addressing. So keep it friendly and warm but don't go overboard. 

Getting permission for on corporate-owned property 

If you want to metal detect on school property, contact the principal of the school directly.

You can set up a face-to-face meeting or email them. Where you can do face-to-face, go for that instead of email.

A personal touch may make it harder for them to say no.

For county parks, check with the county or sheriff's department. They'll know who’s in charge. If they can't allow you in, they'll know who you should go to. 

In a state park, contact the state ranger or parks office. You may find that they do allow metal detecting.

Metal Detecting in a state park
Always get permission and advice from park rangers to detect in state parks

In which case, you'd simply have to ask them to let you in. Be sure to ask about any rules regarding protected areas and if they have any time limits. 

To get permission on church land, simply walk in and ask. Bigger churches will usually have an office on the premises. 

For smaller churches, ask the caretaker or get contact details for the church leaders on their signposts. 

Another idea would be simply to walk by after their church activities, you'll find the members all in one place, and they'll let you know who to ask. 

Wrap Up

Metal detecting may be a fun hobby, but if you do it without permission, you're looking at more than just a caution.

You can be prosecuted or fined heavily for trespassing. Be sure to seek permission from the rightful owners.

Do a little detective work to identify who owns the property. Then ask them face to face or over email if they'll allow you in. Remember to be courteous and responsible; otherwise, you’ll ruin it for other metal detectors. 

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