I’ve always wondered if metal detecting in snow caused me to lose depth and miss out on good targets to dig. I’ve scoured the internet and have put together all the information you’ll ever need for getting the most out of your detector in the snow.
So will a metal detector work in the snow? Yes. Metal detectors work in the snow, but colder temperatures will be bad on the battery life and other electrical parts. Metal detectors will also lose detection depth depending on how deep the snow is.
If you’re feeling cooped up, metal detecting can be a great hobby to relieve that feeling. In Winter, temperatures and snow can discourage you from treasure hunting. In the article below, you’ll learn how to use your metal detector in the snow, how to protect your detector, and even some secret, often over looked spots that are only good after it snows.
Treat The Snow Depth As You Would Soil Depth
Metal detectors treat snow as they would the ground. If you have a foot of snow, you’re going to lose a foot of detection depth. While metal detecting has some very unique benefits, sometimes it’s not feasible in areas where a lot of snow has fallen.
If there is a lot of snow cover, your metal detector won’t be able to find any targets that weren’t recently dropped before the snowfall. This brings me to my next point.
Along with soil depth loss, you will be fighting frozen ground. Different soil types freeze and react to the cold differently, but for the most part, it is an absolute nightmare to dig in frozen ground. Sometimes, just the first couple of inches are frozen, and the dirt below is soft though. During an extreme cold wave, in the heart of Winter, you’ll barely make a dent in the soil. That’s why it’s important to have some backup spots, like the ones I have written about further below.
Awesome Spots To Metal Detect After a Snow
The metal detecting spots I talk about below are often over looked and produce the best results in the Winter time, especially after a good snowfall.
Sledding hills are a target gold mine. Going to these areas in the early morning hours can yield lots of jewelry and coins that people have dropped during their sledding adventure. If you don’t know any good sledding spots around your area, ask around on social media, or friends and family.
Parking lots can be amazing too, but there’s a trick to it. Metal detecting a parking lot that’s covered in snow can feel tedious. You have to deal with cars parking and parking lot owners asking you to leave. Here’s the key: wait until the snow plows come and remove the snow from the parking lot. The snow removal trucks will usually pile the cleared snow up on the side into a big mound. Detecting the snow mound is an absolute gold mine, all in one spot!
Beaches are easy to get access to, and can produce lots of good finds. Many people choose not to venture onto the beaches because there is nothing to break the cold Winter wind. You’ll find all kinds of items that have washed in during the Winter months that very few people have gone metal detecting for. Take care to dress very warming here, because not only will the air temperature be cold, but the wind chill values will be much lower in an open area like this. The nice thing about this area, is it will produce more times than not, even without snow on the ground.
Ski slopes, like sledding hills, provide lots of targets such as jewelry and coins. Ski slopes tend to get more metal detecting traffic than the other two areas as the Spring arrives, melting the snow. The key here is to try and get permission for one of these areas before Spring arrives so you’ll be there before others have a chance. Skip slopes can be harder to get permission to hunt at, and this is why I listed it last.
Benefits Of Metal Detecting In The Snow
If you fear snakes, mosquitoes, and other bugs like I do, you’ll be relieved to know that these pests disappear during the Winter. If you happen to come across a snake, it’s going to be too cold and slow to bite you and ruin your day.
There’s something peaceful about being out on your own, away from all the noise and loud talking that makes metal detecting in the snow a great stress reliever. Your less likely to be harassed by other treasure hunters, and you can have time to yourself to actually think and take your time hunting. You almost feel at one with your thoughts, the chilly breeze, and your metal detector.
There are a lot of people who have chosen metal detecting as a hobby these days. Most treasure hunters think that the Winter time is a no go for metal detecting, and that’s where you can take advantage of that incorrect thought process.
Even on respected forums with avid hobbyists, you’ll often see them shoot down any mention of metal detecting in the snow. They’ll say it’s not worth it, it’s too cold, it’s frozen, etc. Part of me wants to think they are deterring others from hunting so they keep the Winter spots to themselves.
You’ve likely thought outside the box to find this article, and I’m glad you have because there are tons of targets, especially newly dropped jewelry and coins that will be all yours for the taking since there will be virtually no competition.
How To Keep Your Metal Detector And Batteries Alive In The Cold
Batteries hate the cold. The longer they’re exposed to the cold, the faster they will die on you within hours. We aren’t talking about the spare batteries you carry along with you either. The battery inside your metal detector is just as prone to the cold as your spares.
I found a neat little trick to keep your detector battery from draining too quickly, and it’s not exactly obvious. If you live in a cold climate, you may have heard of hand warmer packets. These things are meant to go in your pocket to keep your hands warm out in the cold. These work absolutely great to tape to your metal detector’s control box to protect your electronics.
After you tape your hot pack to your control box, you can insulate it with a Velcro type of wrapper with foam insulation. Different control boxes have varying shapes and sizes, so a little creativity may be needed to make a solution that works for you.
I’d like to note that while batteries suffer the most from cold temperatures, electronic boards do too. The boards and screen on your metal detector (if equipped) can become brittle and non functioning. If your control box has the knobs that you turn to adjust your settings, these can lock up and not turn due to the cold causing them to contract.
Please use some common sense here. If it’s so cold that your metal detector control box is acting weird or freezing up, it’s likely just too cold to be out detecting for your own safety. Wait until the air temperature isn’t -30 degrees or something.
Protecting Your Coil From The Cold, Snow, and Moisture
When you’re detecting in the snow, you want to get as much depth as you can. This means you may be “scrubbing” the ground with your coil to get more detection depth. While your coil should be built to protect from moisture, it’s always best to protect it more when you can.
Not everyone has access to a coil cover, so there’s a trick you can use, especially for hunting in the snow that will protect it. The trick is a plastic bag. Not the thick type though! The kind that a grocery store would give you. Tie or tape the bag firmly around the metal detector shaft, and you’ve got yourself a nice layer of extra protection that won’t affect your detection depth for free.
While your metal detector will generally work in the snow, use good judgment and realize that a foot of snow, isn’t going to find targets deep in the ground with most common metal detectors on the market today, even if you were able to get your shovel through the frozen soil. You’re better off going to sledding hills, beaches and parking lot snow piles in these cases.
It’s important that you don’t put your equipment or yourself at risk in extremely cold temperatures. There’s a difference between metal detecting in the snow, and metal detecting in the Frozen Tundra of Antarctica. Always take care to wear the proper clothing, including gloves, and take proper precautions to keep both your equipment and body warm and safe.
Metal detecting in the snow can be quite rewarding. You’ll find more targets due to less competition, and you’ll have time to yourself in an environment that can be quite relaxing. Happy treasure hunting!