Hunt Free or Hunt Fee’s?

The first group hunt I attended which came with an expensive price tag was DIV, and that was quite a few years ago now. At the time I had thought the fee of $250 was over the top, but it was DIV. I wasn’t sure when I’d get the chance to go again, so I made the sacrifice, and dished out the cash. The $250, however, was just the hunt fee. There was also the cost of gas, hotel room, meals, and extra money for whatever else might come up. In the end, it came out to about $1200.

Since then, I’ve noticed a trend, and that trend is that the cost for some of these hunts has reached the price tag of ridiculous! Some of the club hunts that used to be free, or a max of $10, have easily gone up to $20 or $30, and sometimes even more than that. A one or two day organized non-club hunt can cost from $50 to $150 nowadays. It’s gotten so expensive, so quickly, that if someone offered me the opportunity to hunt a farm field all day for $50, I would probably consider it a bargain.

I’m perplexed by this trend, and wonder if I’m the only one who has noticed this? What’s driving this? Is it poor negotiation, greed, site availability, or just the lack of time to seek out a reasonable venue? I know sites have gotten scarcer since the hobby has become more popular and some of the reality shows have portrayed us in a poor light. Even so, I suspect some of the organizers just throw dollar signs at property owners to secure a spot. They know everyone will want to go, and figure they’ll just pay whatever, but well, that’s just my suspicion.

I also suspect that some of the organizers feel they are entitled to make a profit for their time and work they put into it, fair enough, but I never profited from the boards I’ve served on, my website, or the years of work and dedication I put into fighting for the rights of detectorists to enjoy our lawful hobby. It’s always been my passion for the hobby, not dollar signs that drove me, but it seems folks have very different agendas nowadays.  I just don’t get it.

I’ve even paid some hefty fees to hunt properties advertised to have “Never been hunted before”, only to find out afterwards that the property owners or organizers were dishonest, and the places have been pounded. I can digest it if it was the property owners who weren’t up front, but if the organizers and my fellow detectorist’s weren’t honest, well, that’s just plain old taking advantage, and shame on them.

A certain yearly hunt I attend used to be $50, and that was for the entire weekend. The next year it went up again, then the next year again, and this past year it was close to $130. Now, I don’t mind paying $50, or even $100, because the money is going to charity, but are these hunt organizers taking into consideration the travel costs, hotel fees, meals, etc… that folks have to pay in addition to the hunt fees? Even if the money is going to charity, it’s still way more than the average person can afford. And what about the folks that can only attend one day, but are forced to pay the entire hunt fee for two days? I’ve crossed a few hunts off my list because I didn’t think that was fair.

I’m also a woman, in a male dominated hobby. I don’t always have the luxury of finding someone to bunk with and split the cost of a room like the men do. I usually pay full price, and at the last Hunt I attended I had to pay an additional 25% single occupancy fee.

I’m not cheap, but these things sometimes annoy me. Sure, I could bring my significant other with me, but why ruin it 😁 I go to these hunts when possible, dishing out $2 to 3k a year for fees, food and lodging. After all, I don’t want to miss out on the Fab-u-Dig of the year. And whether I find anything decent or not to justify the price, I still go. Maybe that’s the problem.

I go for the fun, the camaraderie, and the metal detecting of course, and I will probably still go because detecting is awesome, and its my lifestyle. I plan and put the money aside for such things, but I know a lot of people who can barely afford a $20 hunt, never mind putting money aside for a weekend Hunt-o-Rama.

Metal detecting is not a cheap hobby, the gear itself can set you back financially, but once you get that gear, should you have to continue to go broke to participate?

I’ve noticed that it’s the “Middle Aged” generation that seem to be running and attending these hunts (and middle aged would include me now… so I guess I’m my own statistic), but we shouldn’t forget the other generations.

There are a lot of seniors involved in the hobby, and for many of them, detecting is one of the few activities they can still physically enjoy. Most of them are retired, some on fixed incomes, and I know from conversations I’ve had that a lot of them don’t go to these hunts because they simply can’t afford it.

Then there’s the younger generation, some of who are still in school, and don’t have jobs, or have young families burdened with the cost of diapers, formula and child care. Everyone is always saying we need to get more young people involved in the hobby, but I know that if I had those expenses, I wouldn’t be able to dish out five hundred bucks for one of these hunts.

I know, I know, they don’t have to go to the hunts, they can find their own sites, and hunt for free, but theres just so much people miss when going it solo. Sure, they can always find an old coin or piece of jewelry when out hunting alone, but they can’t find the enthusiasm, friendships, and camaraderie that comes along with these organized hunts, and that is what keeps most people in the hobby long term. Finding stuff gets old, but participating, being a part of something, and sharing your passion with like minded people, well, that never gets old.

Just my opinion-Happy Hunting!

28 thoughts on “Hunt Free or Hunt Fee’s?

  1. Allyson you nailed it with this one sentence….

    “It’s always been my passion for the hobby, not dollar signs that drove me, but it seems folks have very different agendas nowadays…..”

    Today the pastime is all about $$$ from top to bottom and that’s really sad. Terrific post and you’re right on the money, no pun intended…

    1. Thanks Dick. I have to get on my soap box every once in a while. Just bothers me that a hobby that only a decade ago was all about fun & passion has so quickly turned to be all about $$.

  2. Yep, I agree with ‘Stouty’.

    In my experience, these events are for people who can’t or won’t find their own places to hunt. Never pay $250 for a hunt, no, no, no! You’d be better off spending that kind of mazooma on a few days holiday near a beach.

    Don’t fall prey to unscrupulous event organisers.

    1. Well, not all event organizers are unscrupulous. If we got you and Dick to organize a hunt, say with free beer and wine, I’m sure no one would complain about cost, or even remember what they found, kind of sounds like fun…

      1. Hi Diva:
        I mean this sincerely…if you ever want to bunk-in with another Tekkie, well… I don’t mind sharing…just bring a bottle of JD and a few 7’s, a few Chinese ribs…ya follow my drift?

  3. Well said. Isn’t it odd that no matter the cost or cause the finds remain the same or not at all.

    1. Great observation Todd. I’ve heard similar sentiments from others. I must admit though that if I talked less and hunted more at these things, I might find a little more

  4. When I hold a detecting event I charge $5 to $10 which goes to the land owner. I make nothing and do it for the fun of detecting with others and I still LOVE finding stuff after 40+ years. If I am attending a big $$ event I have to save for months and or sell finds (which I hate to do) or I can not go. Sadly, that is why I miss most events.

    1. Thanks for the comment Jeff. The hunts you set up are awesome, and your hunt fee’s are one of the most reasonable around. It’s obvious you do it for the love of the hobby, and have a deep understanding of why we do what we do. I wish there were more folks like you in the hobby, ‘cause you just get it.

      It sucks that a lot of people can’t attend some of these events because of the costs. If the fees continue to go up, I won’t be able to go either. I used to be able to justify it with “Its my hobby, something I love to do, and it’s really not that much money…”, but that story just doesn’t justify it enough anymore.

  5. There’s a growing segment in our hobby who believe that throwing money around will make them the best detectorist who finds the most coins and relics. Doesn’t work that way. The only way to find the good stuff is to pay your dues and do research. A 2k detector isn’t going to help you if you’re in the wrong spot or can’t use your machine correctly. And a $150 a head hunt probably will net you about $20 in coins and relics, regardless of what detector you use or what your skill level may be.

    Save your money guys. You can’t buy your way into fame and fortune in this hobby, you have to earn it. Know your machine, detect until your arm falls off and do endless research. End of rant! Lol!

    1. Well said Tim! Experience and location does play a big part in it. So does knowing your machine, no matter how much you paid for it. That’s something a lot of folks don’t realize. I do like the group hunts though, even though I usually don’t find much. It’s the social aspect. I talk too much and don’t hunt enough 🙂

    2. this is “dead nuts” accurate!..what he say! give that man a pint of
      md. 20-20..what it is! ..i’m just sayin’


  6. Instead of complaining about what others charge why not organize a hunt yourself ? It’s sorta like complaining how much a detector costs as you can build your own. Organized and advertised hunts hurt the hobby as they bring attention to it.

    Have we not learned from the damage the FMDAC did by bringing attention to detecting by trying to find out which public property allows detecting ?

      1. No, because I don’t participate in or promote organized hunts. I understand the camaraderie some feel but that camaraderie is usually at the expense of the hobby.
        These hunts on public property bring attention to the hobby which is not good. It ranks right along with treasure hunting magazines on racks in stores.

        Metal detecting is not like other hobbies/sports where more attention might, and usually does,lead to more available areas to participate in such. Detectorists here in the U.S. need to detect low key and keep out of sight as much as possible.

        1. Actually, it’s tv reality shows that bring the most attention to the hobby, but I get the whole keeping a low profile thing. And there’s really only one treasure hunting magazine left now, which I can only get at my local hobby shop or by subscription, so that’s pretty much a moot point on my end. And I’m wondering why you would even engage in conversation with me since I sometimes write for that magazine and have an article coming out in the next issue. I’ve even been on the cover of a Detecting magazine, so doesn’t that make me part of the problem?

          1. Yes, you are a part of the problem. Good to see the magazines have mostly disappeared from store shelves. No need to wonder why I engaged in conversation with you. I have done so to point out that group hunts and other things that bring attention, ( from those that do not detect ) to the hobby only hurts the hobby.

            What is helpful to the hobby is another subject. There are some things that I could point out. The old-timers dropped the ball and have nothing to show and I hate to see the some following in those same footsteps.

        2. again!..”dead nuts” on! been at this for over 35 years,and drawing attention to
          ourselves is a no -no! any attention at all is a detriment to the hobby! do your thing
          in a “low key” manner, or kiss the hobby good bye! take up ‘knitting” or, heaven forbid!,because “eventually” the only place you will be able to hunt is in your own back yard.


  7. I think we can all be part of the problem at times. What we do and can do to protect the hobby is probably a discussion for a different thread / blog. Bringing attention to the hobby and trying to get more people involved may no be productive. Detecting is a unique activity.

    1. yes, and therein lies the discussion.the “sensitive” nature of the hobby in regards to
      the “sites” and places we detect requires a certain ‘vigilance” on everybody’s behalf
      to make sure we conduct ourselves with the utmost respect for the land, and the “rules” of private property.failure is “not” an option if the hobby is to survive.again,to reiterate, after 35 years of involvement, any “exposure” whatsoever is not only counter productive, but hastens the eventual demise of the hobby as we know it.


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