Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Metal Detecting

Metal detecting uses an electronic instrument to detect the presence of hidden metal objects. A permit is required to metal detect in Dane County Parks and can be obtained online. The permit is valid for three years.

Metal Detecting Permit Rules

Dane County Parks and the Four Lakes Metal Detector Club worked together to create rules and regulations to prevent unnecessary damage to park lands.

  1. Detecting permits are issued as a three-year permit. You must carry your permit card or this permit application with you while detecting on Dane County Park lands. If water hunting, display your permit card or permit application on your vehicle’s dashboard.
  2. Rule violations may result in permit revocation and/or county ordinance citation. Multiple violations may cause permanent forfeiture of your detecting privileges on Dane County Park lands.
  3. Only probes and small diggers less than 12 inches long and 2 inches wide may be used, unless otherwise approved in writing by the Operations Manager. All excavations must be returned to their original condition and all trash uncovered must be disposed of properly. Scoops and sifters may only be used at sand covered beach areas, sand volleyball courts or in the water.
  4. Designated historic or archaeological sites on Dane County Park lands (known or otherwise) and any state controlled lands are off-limits to metal detecting. Also, newly acquired lands may be temporarily off-limits while they are being developed. Status of areas may change year-to-year so always check with Dane County Parks when in doubt.
  5. Metal detecting should only occur in areas not currently being utilized by other park patrons. Detecting should cease or move to other areas when other park patrons begin congregating in areas primarily designed for other activities, such as ballparks, playground equipment or swimming beaches.