Its something that all of us have done. We’re out of the zone and just walking our metal detector and not detecting for gold nuggets.
As time goes on and you gain in gold prospecting expertise, unless you really have something causing you to defocus, this stops happening for most of us. Where “walking” the detector really comes into play is with the novice and intermediately skilled gold prospectors. Often if you read someone’s continual forum posts long enough and know they hunt nugget areas but can’t find one to save their life this behavior is a likely culprit. In fact a lot of nugget hunters have no idea they are doing it.
I’ve actually met prospectors who over time never learned to detect properly and this was how they hunted, just walking the detector. They had to untrain their selves from this non gold finding behavior.
So how is walking defined. In my opinion it is simply paying more attention to anything but what your gold detector is telling you. Its makes noise, you must listen to be successful. Think of it as a conversation, listen and participate by digging, balancing, adjusting your settings as needed. Gold nuggets can be very quiet and very subtle sounding. Many times newbies mistake this for ground noise and only listen for loud targets. Some gold nuggets will blow your headphones off but a large majority are very, very quiet when compared to trash like nails, boot tacks, etc. and easy to miss.
One of the keys to success is focus and don’t allow distractions to unleash the skunk. If something is taking your focus away, take five, get the camera out, throw some rocks, get yourself back in sync. Kind of like the picture on this post, I’ll bet some of your focus was taken away. As always, good luck and happy hunting!