I recently got a note from an AUS buddy who asked:

” have been working a site for the last year, it’s a  site that’s had hundreds of people camping weekly from the 1850’s to 1960’s. I have managed to clean out hundreds of silver coins along with 40 silver rings. I know there are gold rings and coins but can’t get through the thousands of pull tabs and foil. Can you recommend anything?”

While there are a lot of sites where just showing up with a detector will get a few finds–there are also other tough locations where random digging is pretty much a waste of time.  When I say random I mean just relying on the tone and meter.   At these types of sites there is no avoiding the need for broad-based basic skills.   Similarly I saw a recent post by a guy complaining that his new 15″ coil was only getting 4″ of depth.  He had no understanding of “signal to noise” issues, interference or how to tune a detector for the conditions as they are–not what you would wish them to be, in mind.  With many hunters–it’s only when they go to a larger coil that the need for this kind of conditions based-awareness becomes apparent.

The Equinox has the features to operate effectively in dense aluminum but because it tends to stack these responses into a narrow ID band–it’s necessary to gather more information than just the tone and meter readings.  This includes: shape, size consistency, relationship to the surrounding ground (solidity / corrosion) and depth.  These are the signal features that will make your digs more accurate and give you the ability to spot anomalies.

Another way to operate is to work “systematically.” by this I mean to break down the site’s trash matrix into manageable segments. This may involve starting by digging all of the responses that are just below “penny”  from say “19” to “23”.  You might also want to try initially getting rid of the distraction of low foils (less than “6”) or clad coins–“24” to “30”).  Another method I’ve used is to begin by knocking out the most common one or two tab varieties using the “notch” feature so as to focus upon any unusual responses.   It’s also not a bad idea to take a few of the most common trash targets home and bench test them to learn all of their features.  For example in some conditions oval tabs will hit twice–because they have two circles.

My point is that trying to go in and sort though the entire range of sounds and ID responses is a difficult and unfocused way to operate-a sure fire recipe for frustration.  Another key is to let the site’s features themselves guide your digging.  When you recognize those high traffic high activity sections of a site–your digging efforts will be more productive.   I call this “wide net / narrow mesh”–best ground, best targets, and cover a lot of it.

These are some of the kinds of focused approaches that will allow you to make gold finds at sites with a lot of aluminum.  Over the years I’ve heard a lot of hunters go on about the value of “digging everything.”  I can only say that at some of  the sites I hunt–picnic sites especially–you would be in a seniors home long before you found any gold.   These kinds of skills–(that many chose to try and  ignore) are what distinguish a skilled tough site hunter from a “hacker”.    A favorite saying that applies well here is that “even a blind pig will find an acorn once in a while…”  It’s when you begin to let the conditions  (ground / site features / trash matrix and ratio…) dictate your settings and methods that these aluminum infested site conditions can be overcome.