The prospect of finding buried treasure has intrigued people for all of history. People have spent their lives and made epic voyages in search of the shiny stuff. Hobbyists and avid treasure hunters carry on the tradition with metal detectors.
But how do you get started treasure hunting? What type of gear will you need? Where do you start looking?
The first thing you need to do is determine what you want to do with metal detecting. Do you simply want to comb your backyard for coins or trinkets for the sake of curiosity? Is it something you'd like to do with your child? Or would you like to search for potentially valuable items, such as gold or silver, without being fooled by scrap items such as old aluminum cans?
For casual hobbyist purposes, a simple, affordable, and easy-to-work metal detector is recommended. A basic unit such as the Bounty Hunter Challenger will do the trick. These units are able to detect the full spectrum of metals as any metal detector (so if by chance there is gold in your backyard, you stand a chance of finding it!). They have less bells and whistles that you won't be needing, making these options simpler to operate. These more basic units are often also available in smaller sizes for children, such as the Bounty Hunter Junior.
For more advanced purposes, there are models such as the Bounty Hunter Camo LS with greater control of discrimination or notching, which filter the types of metals your metal detectors alerts you to. For instance, you may set it so that it will only beep when detecting metals on the gold end of the metal spectrum, and not, say, iron or aluminum. These models often have built in pin-pointers, which allow you to pin point very small objects in an area your metal detector has found objects in.
Beyond your gear, you need to determine where you might go metal detecting. It is important to do your research on a site you have your eye on, and to be aware of laws and regulations in the area. For instance, it is illegal to metal detect in National parks or monuments. Some states may require permits or may have other similar restrictions. Regulations by state can be found here: http://www.mdhtalk.org/maps/fp-map-regulations.htm. Lastly, be respectful and courteous. Don't leave holes dug where people may be walking or hiking, as this can be dangerous.
Enjoy your new hobby, and good luck!