Allen Henneberry is the current president of OPTH, Olympic Peninsula Treasure Hunters Metal Detecting Club, and he is one of the founders of The Outlaw Metal Detecting Club, which has two chapters, one in Tacoma and the other in Olympia. He also belongs to various other metal detecting clubs.
He has been metal detecting since 2001. Allen owns several metal detectors and can be seen swinging his three favorites: the Minelab Etrac and CTX3030 at parks or his Whites IDX at club hunts.
Allen believes it is important to keep the general public informed about the good metal detectorists. Often when someone sees a detectorist with a shovel, they fear there will be destruction. Therefore, it is imperative for all of us detectorists to showcase that we do little destruction and try to leave no trace and campaign to show the garbage, continents, and dangerous objects that detectorists remove from the soil along with finding coins, tokens, jewelry, and relics.
In this interview, we will touch on metal detecting in Washington State, tips for park detecting, and advice for managing metal detecting clubs. Please see my interview questions below and Allen’s answers.
Metal Detecting in Washington State
This will probably be the oddest interview question I have ever asked, but I had to ask it. The Olympic Peninsula is known for flying squirrels. Have you or do you know any metal detectorists who have had an encounter with one? I can imagine they can spook detectorists if they are focusing on digging up a find, and out of nowhere, a flying squirrel comes by.
I hadn’t heard about the flying squirrels. That’s interesting. I’ll be keeping an eye for them.
What Washington State specific laws should metal detectorists be aware of if they are new to the hobby or visiting from out of state?
State parks have regulations on individual parks. Some are closed to detecting. Others have a pdf on the website that highlights the area for detecting.
What is the best way to find who a property owner is in Washington State to ask for permission?
The best way I have found is to knock on the door of the house on the property or talk to the neighbors in the area.
Regarding metal detecting beaches in Washington State, the Washington State Parks website says, “Metal detecting is allowed between the ocean water’s edge and the mean high tide line along the Washington coast.”. What does the “mean high tide line” refer to? I have never heard of that, and we don’t use that term in California.
That’s where the high tide starts.
Tips for Metal Detecting for Old Coins and Relics in Parks
What is your favorite method of researching parks and locations in parks where old coins and relics can be found?Historical pictures on the internet or in books.
What advanced tips can you give to detectorists for finding older coins, tokens, and relics in parks?
If you are finding older pull tabs in an area, then concentrate in that area.
What are your favorite park digging tools?
I use a White’s digging tool.
If a signal is deep at a park, what are your methods of making a plug look when digging a deep plug?
I usually cut a larger horseshoe-shaped plug, so it still is attached on one side, like a hinge.
It covers back up very nicely. Also, make sure your digging tool is sharp. It makes a cleaner cut.
Managing a Metal Detecting Club
What do you think makes a metal detecting club successful?
Keeping members interested. Different kinds of club events. Try not to let the events get boring. If members start losing interest. Try changing your event to something different.
From your experience, what are the best ways to promote a metal detecting club and get members to join?
We have tried different things, booths at other events, and club business cards at local businesses. Social media seems to work best at this time.
Which club events do you see working well, bringing in good participation?
Monthly meetings and club hunts. Our fundraising hunt in October.
The Future of Metal Detecting
It is important for the preservation of the hobby to keep the general public informed of the positive aspects of metal detecting. What do you feel is the best way for detectorists and metal detecting clubs to do outreach and show the positives of the hobby to the general public?
We have done demonstrations at local events, including some sporting goods businesses that sell detectors. Working with the public at local events is key.
If you had the chance to talk to the management, engineers, and marketing staff of various metal detector manufacturers, what would you like to tell them as a detectorist for them to innovate detectors or how to improve customer experience and satisfaction?
I think they all are doing a good job. Getting a detector repaired seems to be the area that needs improvement.
I would like to thank Allen for answering the above questions. If you are new to the hobby or looking for someone to metal detect with, please consider joining your local metal detecting club. If you are near the Olympic Peninsula, consider joining OPTH Club, Olympic Peninsula Treasure Hunters. Or if you are near Tacoma or Olympia, the Outlaws Metal Detecting group in Tacoma or Outlaws South Sound is the 2nd Chapter of the Tacoma Outlaws Metal Detecting Group.
Joanna Jana Laznicka, a Czech-Canadian residing in Southern California, is passionate about all things associated with metal detecting. She mainly detects on the West Coast, from Southern California to Northern British Columbia. As the founder of Focus Speed, her goal is to bring quality content to metal detectorists.