The mental game

I got out detecting for a couple hours this afternoon. I hunted a schoolyard in a small neighboring town. In 2 hours I had dug 39 coins. Out of the 39 I had two wheat pennies. A 1920 and a 1936.
I will definitely hit this spot again. I dug many coins that dated in the 1960’s. this tells me that there should be older coins as well. It is a large area that would take forever to grid and hunt properly. I think I will hit it again once we get some rain.

Later this evening my wife wanted me to run an errand in a town 7 miles away. I decided to take the Ace with me. I ended up stopping at another old school yard that I have found silver and wheats at. Tonight I only found two memorial pennies. Why? My mind wasn’t in the game. Just like anything in life if you want to do it right you have to be in the right mind. I find myself in this position more often than I should. I have also seen others hunt when their mind wasn’t in it. The metal detecting doesn’t require a ton of physical energy, but it does require a huge amount of mental concentration. The first sign of my mind not being in the hunt is when I notice that I’m not fully hearing my machine. It almost feels like I ignore what it is telling me. Anyways I just wanted to remind everyone how easily it is to detect without really being involved!

Happy hunting and stay focused while you are out swinging!

The little Ace amazes me sometimes….

Well the little Ace did it again. This machine flat out amazes me sometimes. This week I have been at a tradeshow in a neighboring town. This town is old and has several old parks. I decided to detect over my lunch break. There was a park only a mile or so from the convention center. This park is surrounded by homes from the early 1900’s. My thought of homes lining the street were quickly confirmed by finding a buried walk that led to nothing. It was a cool 43 degrees after a small front moved through last night. I started swinging and immediately got an odd deep signal. Since I was unfamiliar with the soil in this area I dug it. At about 8″ I found an unfired .22 bullet. The bullet had a U stamped on the bottom. Quick research says that it is a bullet made by United Metallic Cartridge in the early 1900’s before the company was purchased by Remington. I proceeded to dig several clad coins and then I got a sweet deep belltone. Another great target was found at 8″. It is a 1912 wheatie without a mint mark. I left on that note and headed back to an afternoon of trade showing.

As much as I love the little Ace 250 I am thinking that it may be time to graduate to the next level of metal detector. I kind of think of metal detectors the same as golf clubs, pool cues, or fishing rods. I dont see the point of upgrading until you have reached a certain level in the “sport”. For instance, I have the same set of golfing irons that I bought used in the year of 1999 or so. I don’t play golf often enough or well enough to justify expensive clubs. My detecting addiction seems more like my passion for fishing. I have dedicated the time and effort to the hobby and I can see the benefit of having a better machine. The hard part is figuring out which direction to go. In my mind there are three levels of detectors. Beginning, intermediate, and high end machines. There are several machines I would like to have. But that doesn’t clarify where I should go. I know guys who have or do swing multiple detectors of different levels. I am thinking the next step should be an intermediate machine. I know some beginners who went straight to a high end machine and always seemed confused and unsure of their programs on them. The Whites V3i , Minelab E-trac, and XP Deus are all high end machines that seem to do very well. The Garrett AT Pro, Minelab 505 and 705, Whites MXT, and many others I would consider intermediate level machines. I look forward to swinging a few different machines before making a decision on which direction to go. A fellow hunter has offered me his White’s DFX to try and I swung a Garrett AT Pro for about an hour last weekend. I do not know anyone who has a mid level Minelab that I could try out though. As you can tell I am open to all brands but I just want to find a machine that fit’s my desires and needs. Hopefully some good unbiased opinions will come up in the weeks and months that follow. Most importantly with any machine is taking the time to learn it and learn it well!

Happy hunting.. Signed confused detectorist who doesn’t know what he wants!

Noreaster summary

As I wrote in Noreaster day 1 the silver coins eluded us. This whole trip really boggled my mind. I still consider myself a rookie metal detectorist; however I feel that I have learned my Ace 250 well and I know it is capable of finding pretty deep silver. I was extremely pumped about this trip. I spent hours pouring over plat maps of Jackson county Kansas. These maps were from the 1880’s and as recent as the 1930’s. While on the trip we hunted 3 towns that were founded between the 1850’s and 1870’s. These towns boomed because of agriculture and the railroads that ran through them at one time. I thought we would for sure see some barbers with seated coins not being out of the question. Here is a list of the locations we hit.

1- City park that was built in 1867. Produced one Indian head, two wheats, and two silver rings.
2- Public school from 1916. This school produced tons of clad, one Indian head, and one wheat penny.
3- Farmstead from early 1900’s. At this farm we were looking for more than coins and found several relics and not one coin.
4- Rural school from the 1870’s. This site was where I thought we would really find the goods. First hand people said it was used weekly for community meetings and 4-H meetings up until the 1940’s. There was a plethora of bottle caps but we did manage some clad and one silver ring.
5- City park from the 1880’s- absolutely nothing notable from this site.
6- City park from the 1860’s- This was one of the most beautiful parks I have seen. The city has done a great job of mixing history and present day. We dug some clad and a non silver ring.
7- Park from the 1880’s- this park was on our way home and has been hit by many detectorists from the Wichita area. We found an old token, a wheatie, and some clad.

Now this is where I get lost. If I look at these locations on paper it looks great. After 32-34 combined hours of hunting them without the success I hoped for I have to wonder. I have some thoughts on why we didn’t get the results we wanted.

1- Were the locations hunted out? I don’t think so. These towns are very small and off the beaten path. I can’t imagine MD’ers hunting them on a regular basis (especially gridding them).
2- Was the good stuff ever there? With most locations being in towns of less than 500 people maybe coins were not dropped.
3- Did average people carry silver? I’m wondering if the average park goer carry dimes, quarters, and halve dollars? Considering the only old coins we found were cents it makes me wonder.
4- Did we hunt them the right way? My hunting method was scramble until I found something that resembled a coin and then start gridding the area.
5- Would a different detector help? I don’t see this as being a big factor. We swung 3different detectors. A Garrett Ace 250, Fisher F2, and a Garrett AT Pro.

I would love to discuss this hunt with someone who has researched old spots and had success hunting them. What are your thoughts on the hunt. My hindsight says we should have forgotten public property and focused more attention on private residences. All three towns had many homes from the same time in history.

Happy hunting and thanks for reading! I apologize for the length of this post but like I said my mindis boggled.

Noreaster day 1

Well today started the weekend of metal detecting Northeast Kansas. The day started at 4:18 am. I met up with Patton from the friendly metal detecting forum. We headed 190 miles northeast. As we were reaching our destination which was a public park we noticed the temperature drop to 34 degrees. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. It was chilly for the first 30 minutes. We started hunting and within 30 minutes I had my first silver ring. About 30 minutes later I had my next good find, a first for me. A 1902 indian head. I couldn’t believe how green it was. The hunting then got pretty slow. I hunted for about an hour without any notable finds. Then I hit the silver ring with the green stone. This ring is extremely small more like a babies ring. I then dug a wheat penny. We continued to hunt for another hour or so without anything. We then decided to hit an old school/playground . I dug one wheat and another indian head. This one was a 1901. It was in better shape than the 1902 and you can read the full liberty on the headdress. The third property was a special place. We hunted the farm that my wife’s family has owned for over a century. I wasn’t looking for coins specifically at this location. I was digging everything in hopes of finding some neat stuff for the family. We achieved our goal and found many neat things. Our last hunting spot for the day was an old school where I pulled my third sterling ring for the day. We were both exhausted, whooped, and a little disappointed that the silver coins eluded us. Nothing that food, a hot shower, and a soft bed can’t cure. We will be back at it tomorrow before heading back towards Wichita. Hopefully the precious coins will show themselves tomorrow!

Happy Hunting!







Bags are packed and I’m ready

I am ready for my weekend metal detecting trip. After talking to my wife I realized that the last guys weekend I had was back in 2008.. It was a great weekend at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl. If you have never seen or heard of it you are missing out. Anytime you have a 1,000 pound car with over 400 horsepower racing on a dirt track it is fantastic. Previous to that trip my trips consisted of bass fishing trips back in 2005.

Not only am I excited for a full weekend of metal detecting but I am also ready for some time with friends. I am hopeful that we have some good finds. I would really like to make some first coin finds. With the age of the places we are hunting I can assume the ground holds indian heads, buffalos, seated coins, and barber coins. I may be a whooped, worn out, dragging butt guy come Sunday afternoon but I am stoked for the trip!

Quick list of equipment packed

Garrett Ace with extra coil
Garrett propointer
Extra digger
Extra batteries
Water for hydration
Water for cleaning finds
Headlamp in cases it gets dark and we are not done hunting.
Extra shoes

Thats a first

Well today over my lunch break I went detecting. I rode the bike a couple blocks from work where I had spotted what I thought to be a good hunting spot. I started detecting and noticed immediately that the Ace was fairly quiet in all metal mode. This was due to the lack of trash. I was running all metal and full sensitivity. I started out by digging a few clad coins and a few kitchen measuring spoons. The Ace said the next target was 6″ deep. It just sounded great. I was thinking Indian Head. What I found was a Missouri State sales tax token at 5″ deep. This is the first tax token I have dug. If you follow my blog you know that I have dug a couple transportation tokens. I had been wondering why I hadn’t found one of these tax tokens. I have also been wondering why I haven’t dug an Indian head. Maybe that means it is coming!! Anyways the tax token is in pretty bad shape so I used the old trick of rubbing lead on a sheet of paper to show all the words and picture.

Happy Hunting and thanks for reading!



Squeeeze and Eaaazeee

Well this evening I managed a short 30 minute metal detecting trip. I hunted a private residence in my hometown. I was kind of giving up on finding silver at this property until I got a good copper signal at 4-5 inches deep. The Ace pegged it and a 1922 wheat penny was begging for rescue.

After all the Ukena boys had retired to bed I tackled my motorcycle maintenance. The story starts on Sunday October 7th. I was practicing with a few other MSF ridercoaches when all of a sudden my friction zone was gone. I had frayed some of my cable off. After some quick adjustment I was limping along. My clutch was working more like an off/on switch than the nice smooth control it typically is. I made it home alright. Knowing my scooter needed an oil change as well I decided to hit the bike shop on Tuesday to buy my oil, filter, and clutch cable. I placed the order and the wait was on. The next 7 days were grueling. I have never let the Yamaha sit that long. I was stuck driving the big frumpy Yukon or stylish technologically advanced Sienna. I missed two wheels badly. Well they finally called today saying the cable was in. It only took me about an hour to get both items taken care of. I then went for a nice leisurely cruise around Rose Hill. Ahhhh, how I missed quick acceleration, great braking, great cornering, and the rumbling exhaust. I have said it many times but truly feel that two wheels is the way God intended man to travel. A bike speaks to your soul. I have heard that some finer vehicles that perform amazingly do the same. I don’t own one of those and I can say without a doubt that the Yukon or Sienna will not whisper sweet nothings to you the way a Yamaha will.

Til next time:
Keep the rubber to the ground, the coil to the ground and remember lerts live longer so be alert!




Back in the swing of things

I have finally had a little time to get out and detect. Sunday afternoon I made a trip to an old school with PulltabMiner and Patton. Patton had gotten a Garrettand he was anxious to hunt with it. I was eyeballing his new detector when I noticed he had put his DD coil cover on backwards. After a few short laughs we got to hunting. I found a wheatie from 41, a very small silver ring, and a bunch of trash. I thought I had found my first Indian but it ended up being a deep toasted memorial. Miner showed Patton and I up by finding a merc, indian, and a very cool token.

Today I went out on my lunch break and only found one coin but it was a silver one. I was hunting an empty lot where a house was recently demoed. This is also a popular area for the homeless in town. Mid hunt one approached me asking for change. I was 100% honest with him when I told him I hadn’t found any. I don’t think he understood the humor of this in his intoxicated state. Anyways he bumbled down the old cracked sidewalk the best he could. It felt good to start the silver coin rebuilding process.

Until next time keep the coil to the ground!




A not so typical Saturday

Well today has been an interesting day. I started out this morning with my weekly house cleaning chores. It was raining outside so it made sense to get the inside chores done early. I then made my first trip to a coin shop. I was planning on selling my dug silvers. I have always thought that I wouldn’t sell my coins but it seemed like the right thing to do. I decided to go to Phil’s coins in West Wichita. I was recommended to Phil’s by two people who have done business with him in the past. The transaction went smoothly and I got what I felt was a fair price on my coins. I probably could have sold them for a little more to individuals but I didn’t feel like messing with that. After attending the wedding of a family friend, I did get in a 30 minute hunt that produced a few old headstamps but nothing older than the 1940’s. I am still a little sad to see my silvers go. I don’t know whether I will sell future coins or not. I wander what these coins will be worth if I pass them onto my boys. I have a big metal detecting trip planned for next weekend that will hopefully start rebuilding my coin collection! It will be two days of detecting public and private land that boomed between the 1860’s and 1880’s. We will be hunting old town parks, old hotels, old schools, old train depots, and a couple old farms. I have had a ton of fun researching these sites. I have spent hours researching plat maps and reading about the sites. My favorite research tool is the Kansas historical society website. You can find their online materials at I am very optimistic that these hunts will produce more than a back ache!

Stay tuned and until next time happy hunting!

A man’s gotta do what he should do!

I want to reflect with everyone what has been on my mind lately.

I have only been able to metal detect minimally over the last couple of weeks. Sometimes during this period I have felt like throwing all of my responsibilities out the window and going to do whatever I want. These thoughts quickly get sidelined by everything going on in life. I have to keep my priorities straight as a husband, father, employee, and master of our families two dogs. I have talked to other guys in the past that have the same feelings. If you spend all your time doing only what you want you may end up with no responsibilities and be able to do what you want all the time. This does not seem like a good position to be in after all. My weekend seems to be packed with everything except metal detecting and I’m ok with it. All of this being said, I did manage to find a keeper tonight. My wife and I were at a local antique store and I got a good deal on an 1899 V nickel.

Happy hunting when you get the opportunity and hopefully you can be content in life no matter what it brings!