‘I feel like I just won the lottery:’ Belton resident explains unique hobby

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 11:41 AM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - One Belton resident spends his mornings and lunch breaks trying to find treasures hidden along Central Texas shorelines and public parks.

David Doughty finds rings, antique coins and jewelry by using his metal detector.

“I like to just mind my own business and kind of get away from the crowd,” he said. “I put on my headphones and crank up my metal detector, and I’ll start walking the exposed shoreline.”

He waits to hear the right “beep” that indicates something valuable.

While he said about 95% of what he finds are soda cans, fishing waits or trash, he does find other valuable things which makes it all worth it.

“It almost feels like you hit the lottery regardless of the value,” Doughty said. “Sometimes, they’re not worth much at all. But I feel like I just won the lottery sometimes.”

He said he will usually find something of value to him about every one out of five times.

“I might find a little surprise at least once a week,” Doughty said.

Those surprises include gold or silver rings, bracelets and necklaces. They also include a coins dating back to the pre-Civil War era.

“You dig that 95% trash, and that one little ring will pop up,” Doughty said. “It makes it worthwhile.”

The low lake levels also affecting Doughty’s hobby. He can go farther with his metal detector because of the extra exposed shoreline.

“We probably got 20 to maybe even up to 50 yards worth of exposed shoreline,” he said. “That’s usually 8ft underwater, so right now is a great opportunity for me to get out here and just take my hobby to the next level and pick up these rings that people have been dropping swimming out here for the past God knows how many years, probably since the eighties.”

He recommended this hobby to anyone who enjoys nature and physical activities.

“It’s an honest hobby,” Doughty said. “It gets you out of the house. You’re doing a lot of walking. It’s somewhat physically demanding. Not too much. I just enjoy the outdoors. If you like the outdoors, this is something great for you to do.”

He said he is also a part of a few Facebook groups in Central Texas where he shares his finds.