Metal Detecting in South Dakota: A Complete Guide for 2022

Are you looking for a place to start your South Dakota metal detecting adventure? You’ve come to the right place.

Metal detecting is a pastime in which you go on an expedition and search for everything from jewelry and coins to historical relics using a metal detector. This behavior has been seen for some time. It originated as a result of individuals discovering that metal detecting might make them a lot of money. Metal detectorists are always looking for and detecting rare metals such as gold and silver, which they subsequently sell for a profit. A typical metal detector costs approximately $200, and if you know where to search, you may return your investment in as short as three metal detecting sessions.

South Dakota is one of the best states for metal detecting enthusiasts. The weather is great for metal detecting, and the surroundings are ideal for prospecting for gold and silver. South Dakota has it all if you want to go metal detecting on beaches, rivers, streams, creeks, ghost towns, or state parks. However, you should conduct research and become acquainted with the local and federal metal detecting regulations in the Mount Rushmore State.

Metal detecting laws in South Dakota

Despite the fact that metal detecting is seen as a recreational pastime, the prospect of discovering anything of historical significance to the government cannot be discounted. As a result, metal detecting legislation and regulations differ from state to state.

South Dakota has created metal detecting standards and limits. The Archeological Resources Preservation Act also governs metal detecting on government land.

Keep in mind that private property is exempt from state and federal legislation. They can only be used for metal detecting on public or private land. You just need written authorization from the owner or tenant to metal detect on private property.

The rules for metal detecting in South Dakota are simple. Make certain that you are not metal detecting in any historically significant areas of South Dakota. As a result, utilizing metal detectors or excavating for relics on any South Dakota historical monument is illegal. As a result, employ extra caution while digging native mounds, burial sites, or earthworks.

Metal detectors are also forbidden on Trust’s land without permission, according to South Dakota law. Furthermore, because all historic and prehistoric sites in the Forest Preserves are owned by the State of South Dakota, they may not be demolished without permission. Unless you have the appropriate authorization, metal detecting is unlawful in many areas.

If you’re metal detecting in South Dakota on state or federal land, don’t dig up anything that looks like an artifact or is more than 100 years old. If you find and gather a historical relic, notify authorities so that it can be appropriately cared for. Metal detecting is likewise prohibited in South Dakota National Parks unless permission is acquired in advance. Metal detecting, on the other hand, is permitted in South Dakota’s public parks as a leisure pastime. Metal detecting is occasionally authorized in historically significant sites.

Overall, it is vital to understand and observe the restrictions when metal detecting in South Dakota. Infringements of these limits will result in heavy consequences such as fines or, in the worst-case scenario, prison time. Contact local, county, and state officials to verify you meet all of the standards if you want to open a new metal detecting site in South Dakota.

Related: Dumpster Diving in South Dakota: A Comprehensive Guide

Is it legal to metal detect in South Dakota?

In South Dakota, metal detecting is fully allowed. Legality, on the other hand, has limitations. As previously indicated, metal detecting without a permit is prohibited in South Dakota’s historic sites, state parks, and federal regions. As a result, metal detecting on South Dakota public lands may require a permit.

The South Dakota Parks and Recreation Department does offer metal detecting permits. You can download an online form from the department’s website, fill it out and mail the permit application to your local Parks and Recreational Department. Once you mail your application, you will get the written authorization within a week or so there are no issues with your application.

If you apply common sense and seek jewelry, coins, and gold nuggets in public locations around South Dakota, you’ll be OK. Before metal detecting in a historically significant area, check with the local county office.

Can you metal detect on BLM lands in South Dakota?

Metal detecting is legal on BLM land, as it is on other public lands in South Dakota. Even though metal detecting is permitted on BLM land in South Dakota, you must use extreme caution to avoid destroying or exposing artifacts. According to ARPA, the government has the ability to take any “archaeological valuables” discovered on BLM territory. Archaeological resources are tangible artifacts from human life or activities that are at least 100 years old and have archaeological relevance.

Where can you metal detect in South Dakota?

Despite the fact that several well-known metal-detecting locations in South Dakota have been prohibited, there are still a few suitable metal-detecting locations.

One of the first areas you should go metal detecting in SD is your hometown. Knowing the history of an area not only saves time but also aids in finding uncommon things. What you find and how valuable it depends on where you metal detect and the history of the place. Detecting metal in historical regions will produce better results than detecting in random settings.

Some of the best places you can go for metal detecting in South Dakota are:

  1. Abandoned Buildings and Structures
  2. Abandoned Parks and Churches
  3. Old wagon train routes
  4. Native American Trails and Ghost Towns
  5. Natural Disaster Destruction Sites
  6. South Dakota Beaches, Rivers, Lakes, and Creeks
  7. School yards and abandoned mines
  8. Civil war sites

Is there any buried treasure in South Dakota?

South Dakota is a lovely state with an interesting history. South Dakota is reported to be home to many Civil War-era buried riches. Confederate gold and silver coins are said to have been buried beneath South Dakota soil to avoid capture by the Union Army. Some lurk in the shadows, waiting to be discovered! Despite the fact that many of these claims have yet to be substantiated, treasure hunters and metal detectorists are hopeful that they will be found soon.

The Bear Mountain TreasureOn the west side of the Bear Mountain, there might lie a gold treasure worth more than a million dollars. Two prospectors buried their gold hit near their cabin in 1879. However, criminals learned of the hit and murdered the two men before the location of the wealth was revealed.
Hat Creek Train Robbery LootA chest of gold and silver coins washed up on the shores of Hat Creek after a railway heist. The treasure was discovered near Rumford.
The Jessie James TreasureA member of the Jessie James gang is said to have buried a treasure near Garretson. There isn’t much information available about this treasure. This one will need much investigation.
Canyon Spring Outlaw TreasureIn 1878, a massive stagecoach heist occurred. Outlaws took $400,000 in gold and silver before burying it between Canyon Spring and Horsehead Creek in Wind Cave National Park. The outlaws were apprehended and executed. They never disclosed the precise site.

Metal detecting in South Dakota Rivers and Creeks

South Dakota not only boasts stunning scenery but also has various rivers and streams. Because there are so many rivers, creeks, and streams, it’s an ideal location for metal detection. When detecting in rivers and streams, make sure you have enough waterproof metal detectors. The following rivers and streams in South Dakota are good for metal detecting:

  1. Big Sioux River, Minnehaha
  2. French Creek, Custer
  3. Little Minnesota River, Roberts
  4. Little Spearfish Creek, Lawrence
  5. Yellow Bank River (South Fork), Grant

Metal detecting in Ghost Towns of South Dakota

South Dakota’s terrain is littered with hundreds of abandoned settlements and ghost towns. These are the towns where mining formerly occurred, but people departed as the ore ran out. People moved to other cities and towns for a variety of reasons.

The ghost towns of South Dakota are all abandoned villages and towns. These communities in South Dakota have a long and famous history. Metal detecting in South Dakota’s ghost towns could also require municipal permission. South Dakota’s ghost towns will rapidly become one of your favorite metal detecting locations after verifying whether you need a permit and acquiring one.

Historical items may be found in these ghost towns. In these South Dakota ghost villages, coins, beautiful jewelry, and other treasures abound.

Some of the popular ghost towns in South Dakota for metal detecting are:

  1. Annie Creek, Lawrence
  2. Brownsville, Lawrence
  3. Farmingdale, Pennington
  4. Hillsview, McPherson
  5. Rochford, Pennington

Metal detecting clubs in South Dakota

One of my favorite South Dakota pastimes is metal detecting since it allows me to reconnect with old friends while also making new ones. I definitely recommend joining a metal detecting club in SD if you want to meet new people and go on metal detecting trips.

Metal detecting has been increasingly popular in recent years, with clubs cropping up all across the country. Members of the club are involved and supportive of one another. These groups meet once a month to show off their discoveries, plan their next trip, and discuss how to assess the diversity and value of their finds.

Metal detecting groups might be a great method to find out about new treasure-hunting places. If you’re a beginner, setting up your metal detector for a specific spot may be tricky. As a result, joining a metal detecting group is an excellent method to address this problem.

Unfortunately, since this side hustle is pretty new in South Dakota, there is a shortage of good metal detecting clubs. I couldn’t find any metal detecting club in SD that I could recommend to you guys. Therefore, I will leave this out for you to find out on your own. Do some research on your locality and see if you can discover any metal detecting or treasure hunting clubs. And if you find one and would like to recommend other, please send us a message. We would be happy to add them to this article.

One other alternative to metal detecting clubs is a metal detecting Facebook Group. Some of the most popular Metal Detecting Facebook groups in SD are:

  1. Metal Detecting SD
  2. Metal Detecting Finds and For Sale
  3. Metal Detecting Advice for Beginners

Final Thoughts

Overall, South Dakota is a great spot to go metal detecting. Nature, history, weather, and the permissive restrictions of South Dakota all contribute to the enjoyment of this activity. Before attempting to metal detect in public, make sure you are aware of South Dakota’s metal detecting rules and regulations. Furthermore, rules and regulations change on a regular basis, so don’t base your judgments only on this article. If you wish to visit private land, make sure you acquire permission from the owner beforehand; otherwise, you might be charged with trespassing.