follow the rules sign

We may receive a commission when you make a purchase from one of our links to sites such as eBay and others. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for support!

One of the first things you should learn as a beginner metal detectorist is the metal detecting code of ethics. Learning the code of ethics and following it helps ensure the hobby of metal detecting will be one we can enjoy for many more years to come.

Why Do We Have a Metal Detecting Code of Ethics?

For all of us who love metal detecting, it is very important that we will always be able to freely enjoy the hobby and share the excitement with others.

Having a universal code of conduct for us to all follow as a guideline helps us ensure we do not do any activities that may harm the public perception of detectorists worldwide.

Every metal detectorist I have met who is very serious about metal detecting agrees: The code of conduct is extremely important to follow.

Think of it like this: You are an ambassador for metal detecting. You represent not only yourself, but an entire sport each time you go metal detecting.

Most of us who come into metal detecting are here for the sheer enjoyment and curiosity – what might we find? Others even come into the hobby because it genuinely can help others recover lost objects, typically often items of sentimental value.

Unfortunately, once in awhile we may read in the news where someone who is not aware of the basic code of ethics guidelines will damage property or do other things that hurts the reputation of the good natured detectorists. One bad apple unfortunately can ruin it for everyone.

There are so many good things that metal detecting can do in the world, such as recovering lost wedding rings for couples or unearthing important parts of history. It is very important that metal detecting remains legal in as many places as possible.

Beyond just finding treasure, many of us enjoy most finding new friendships as we meet other detectorists through clubs and other events.

For this reason, even if you do not officially join any club or group in your detecting activities, it is very important that you still familiarize yourself with the ethical code of conduct.

Following this when metal detecting to help ensure our sport, hobby, and passion is viewed in a positive light by law-making officials and the general public.

The Metal Detecting Code of Ethics

Many organizations, clubs and associations have their own set of bylaws and code of ethics. While the specific words of each group’s ethics may vary, the message is always clear and consistent: Get Permission, Be Respectful of All Laws and People, and Don’t Damage Property.

Here is Our Metal Detecting Code of Ethics:

1. I promise to be aware and observant of all Federal, State and local laws which govern metal detecting in locations I visit while treasure hunting.

2. I promise to never trespass. I will always gain permission from the property owners before metal detecting on privately owned land or other property.

3. I will learn and practice recovery methods which do not damage property. I will fill all holes and leave no traces of digging.

4. I promise to be considerate of others while metal detecting in public areas and will exercise courtesy to not disturb others’ enjoyment of shared public common spaces.

5. I will always do my best to show respect and appreciation to the natural environment. I will not disturb any wildlife, plants or cause damage to natural habitats for animals or plants.

6. I will respect sacred places and will not metal detect at cemeteries or on other religious grounds.

7. I will not metal detect at night.

8. I will remove any trash or litter from the area.

9. I will not tamper with nor cause any damage to buildings and any structures, gates, fences, signs, or do anything which may cause contamination to wells on the property.

10. I will return identifiable objects to their proper owner whenever possible. I will report any findings of significant historical value to the proper organizations to ensure history is preserved and recorded.

The most important thing to remember while metal detecting is that you do your best to be a considerate detectorist. The Golden Rule is a good one to follow when you are in any sort of hobby. Think about how you would want your own property treated or how you would want others to behave if you were in a public commons area.

When we all follow these simple guides as a code of ethics, we can ensure that detectorists are able to enjoy the hobby to the fullest.

Do you have any guidelines that you suggest should be part of the code of ethics? Any questions you might have?

Share your thoughts on the metal detecting code of ethics in the comments section below.


  1. Agreed. Thank you. I’m just starting after golfing for 62 yrs. 14 hcp. I’m happy to move on. I am also big history buff this is fun. And yes I get permission.

    L Parker
    Pasco Co.

  2. You did a great job on your site!! Good info and good ideas and since I’m totally new to metal detecting I appreciated the information. I hadn’t really given much thought to the researching part. I see how necessary that’s going to be. I live in Washington state and we have a LOT of old gold mining areas from the 1800s gold rush era. Abandoned ghost towns are easy to find here and there are many of them. Now I need to find out who owns those lands and see if I can detect on them. Gives me something fun to do. Thanks for the good information! 🙂

  3. Wonderful idea to hold each other to a honored code of ethics. I came across the code by accident while searching info about learning rules and laws about metal detecting. Thanks for reminding everyone that metal detecting is great when we follow a few simple but needed common courtesy rules. Looking forward to making new friends and many great finds. God Bless

    1. It is so much fun to learn how to metal detect for everyone’s safety in mind! Thank you so much Angela!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *