How to ask for metal detecting and magnet fishing permissions.

a phot of a hand knocking on door
Do you fear knocking on a door and asking for permision to metal detect and magnet fish?

A beginners guide to getting metal detecting and magnet fishing permissions in the UK and US

This morning i received a comment on this blog which i will quote below.

“Could you discuss how to get permissions, i started metal detecting after watching your videos and i have a permit for beaches and river banks etc but have not been able to secure any land and its quite frustrating can you help me, thanks Richard, “

This is something that is asked so many times on all the metal detecting forums and blogs that i read and to be quite honest can fit into the magnet fishing world also. Much or the land or water that we want to treasure hunt on is owned by somebody and we need to get permission to be on the land.

Asking for permission to metal detect and magnet fish on someone’s land can take a lot of nerve, especially once you have been refused a couple of times. Unfortunately it is usually the case that the person asking the question has already been out and spent a good chunk of their cash on a metal detector or some magnet fishing kit. This leads to a large percentage of  newcomers giving up the hobby before they have even started and quite often down in the wallet when they find out how difficult it can be to get a permission. So i have knocked together a basic guide to get you started down the path to metal detecting and magnet fishing permission success!

The best way to get permissions to treasure hunt.

The thought of trying to gain metal detecting permission is quite daunting even for the seasoned veteran with thousands of acres under their belt. There is just something about the thought of knocking on a farmers door that literally sends shivers down the spine of a detectorist or magnet fisherman, maybe it is the fear of the unknown or quite possibly its the thought of cold, hard rejection.

Whatever the reason, breaking down that mental sense of fear is the first step of conquering the art of permission hunting. What you need to remember is that farmers are just normal people too and the worse that will happen is they will say no so you can get that thought of being chased off the land with a double-barrel shotgun out your head!

There are generally three options when it comes to trying to acquire a metal detecting and magnet fishing permission and I will list them below in the order of the most effective starting with the worst way.

  • Phone call: There is not much to explain here, it is as simple as it sounds. You look in the telephone book (does anyone even use these anymore?!) or go on Google and search for farms in your local area. You will usually then see the address and phone number of the farmer that owns the farm and land. This technique is generally used a lot and is not the best approach as the farmer has no idea who he or she is speaking to. I mean come on would you let someone you have never met dig holes in your garden based on a phone call? That being said some people have had success using this method, but it still is not the best way.
  • Send a letter: Again pretty self explanatory, write a letter to the farmer and ask for permission to metal detect or magnet fish on their land. This way I have found it to be better than the cold call with the phone. It allows you to go into detail about who you are and your reasons for metal detecting, you can go in depth as much as you want and you know you won’t be bugging the farmer when he could be busy like you would be with a phone call. I find this method works a hell of a lot better than the phone call and for added effect include a stamped addressed envelope with you’re letter so the farmer does not have to fork out for a stamp, although doing so makes this method quite expensive. 
  • Door knocking: Arghh nooo, the most dreaded and feared way to gain permission, the physical act of banging your hand against the farmers’ door and speaking to them! This is by far the best way to go about your business, really think about it and you will realise why. By door knocking you are letting the farmer actually see you, people need this to make a judgement about things, by letting them see and speak to you they will be able to judge if they think you are trustworthy. You will also be able to convey your passion for the hobby and for history and let them know on a personal level how much you would love to be able to metal detect on their land.
You need permission to treasre hunt on private land
You will need permission to metal detect and magnet fish on any private land.

Now we have been through the three methods I will give you a few tips for success. Below are my best tips for getting metal detecting and magnet fishing permissions.

  • When going door knocking remember that you want to give a good image of yourself. Think of it like a job interview, without the suit…. Dress smart/casual and avoid going in your camouflage detecting kit or waterproof magnet fishing gear as this will look a little bit presumptuous.
  • Always remember to be polite and smile, as bad as it sounds most people make judgement about someone in the first few seconds of meeting.
  • If they say no say thanks anyway and ask if you could leave your number in case they change their mind at any point.
  • Buy the relevant insurance and show them this as it lets them know you are covered should anything go wrong.
  • Show them how passionate you are about history and tell them about how you would be recording the finds on the PAS database (If you are based in the UK) and reporting any treasure finds through the correct channels.

Whichever approach you decide to take i wish you the best of luck and please try to remember that the worst that will happen is they so no, its no big deal and there are plenty more farms to try. Some strike it lucky on their first attempt and others take multiple attempts but you will get there in the end and secure your first metal detecting or magnet fishing permission.

About Andy 18 Articles
Andy has been a prominent figure in the treasure hunting world for coming up to a decade on various platforms such as YouTube and blogger. On Magnet Fishing Pro he has shared his wealth of knowledge and experience in the form of guides and blog posts to help you progress in the hobbies of magnet fishing and metal detecting. You can read more about Andy's treasure hunting journey on the About Me page