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Do you need a license to detect gold and metals?

Do you need a license to detect gold and metals ?

Do you need a license to detect gold and metals ?

Before you start looking for and digging holes, you need to make sure that you are not violating any laws. While metal detection is a great hobby for a variety of reasons, the downside is that if you don’t play it safe, you could find yourself in some trouble. If you don’t get permission to dig into the location you’re looking at, you could potentially face heavy fines, misdemeanors or even criminal offenses that could end up in jail. And you can not invoke ignorance, so you need to know the laws regarding the legal place of digging and where it is not.


Be careful

As you become more experienced in detecting and you talk with other detectives, you are likely to hear about people who are circumventing the laws and playing them dangerously to find treasure. Don’t fall victim to this type of disclosure – even though it can be tempting. The odds really aren’t in your favor. Instead, find out as much as you can about the metal detector laws in your area and always get permission to find and dig a site before you start swinging your metal detector.

If you decide to get into the field of metal detection, you need to know that you cannot just grab a metal detector and start searching. In many places, it is not legal to use a metal detector in public without a permit. However, there are a few places where you can. Knowing the difference between the two can determine whether you find a trophy or get fined.


Do you need a metal detector license?

Metal detection licenses are required in many areas where metal detection is permitted, and these permits can be obtained either online or at designated offices. Metal detection licenses are used to keep up with important discoveries made through metal detection and also to help return any lost items that may be found during a metal detection.


You don’t need a license everywhere to detect metal

You don’t need a license to detect metal everywhere. If you’re detecting metal on your property, for example, you’re within your rights to search anywhere you want, and you’re not obligated to report your findings to authorities unless you come across a dead body or a suspected crime scene. You can also ask other people with private property for permission to go metal detecting on their land without having to obtain a permit to do so. Your landlord may have terms, such as a requirement to share whatever is found, but you don’t need an official license as long as you have permission.


Learn about local metal detector laws

The best thing to do when you’ve located a site to dig is to always inquire before you begin. If you are considering private property, the metal detection laws are very simple – you can usually search if you have permission from the property owner. However, there are exceptions, for example if the site is a historical site or an archaeologically significant site, you cannot dig there.

When the site you are considering is owned by the government, you need to talk to the officials before you start digging as there is not always consistency in what is allowed and what is not. Even though you have been given permission to search for a government-owned site, this does not always mean that you can legally search for another site.

City property disclosure rules can also vary from city to city. While one municipality may allow exposure in their local parks, another may not. You may find that some flags posted about the legality of disclosure in certain regions. This is great if it has been explained to you, but if not, don’t dig until you have permission.

Fortunately, if you want to detect metal on the beach, this is usually allowed. Most beaches allow you to search because digging in the sand is what people do there. Just know that if the beach you intend to search is part of a state or federal park, you need to get clarification from the governing officials.

How to Get Permission to Metal Detect on Private Property?

Some of the best places you can ever searched were private property.   Some of the old houses ended up giving some prospectors  “exclusive” search privileges.  Some of the houses were a 120-year-old mansions built during the logging boom.  It’s a dream to detect.  Visualize paths to the carriage house and in-laws house, old oak trees with remnants of swings in the branches and a small stream.

Taking the owner permission Steps:

  1. Find the property owner
  2. Look the property owner in the eyes.  As humbly as possible say – I know this is weird, but I’m a huge history buff and love metal detecting, is possible for me to metal detect on your property?
  3. Ask if they lost any keys or heirloom items that you could return.
  4. Let them know you will be digging, but you will be careful and fill the holes to nearly invisible condition.
  5. Let them know, you’ll also pick up any trash like nails.

Most of the time public parks and fairs are excellent places to metal detect. If it’s not posted, spend a couple minutes searching the web to see if metal detecting is not allowed on the municipality website.

At this point assume that you can, but if challenged – plead ignorance and say you didn’t know and will stop immediately.

Most times nothing will come of it. It’s those times that you ask – is when you’ll be denied. It’s just easier for the municipality works to just say no, than to help a detectorist.


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