VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — One of the stars of the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” is filming a new show about the hidden treasures of metal detecting.
Jase Robertson was recently in Vicksburg on a hunt to look for Civil War artifacts, The Vicksburg Post reported. Robertson’s metal detecting will be featured on an upcoming series on the History Channel, local land owner Rob Long said.
Long and a friend had done some metal detecting at Grant’s Canal, on property that had been owned by Long’s family before they deeded it to the National Park Service. Long said that before his metal detecting, he had done some research on the building of Grant’s Canal during the Civil War and had discovered a substantial amount of ordnance was fired in the area, which is part of Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg.
“We know that many, many, many cannonballs were fired at Grant’s Canal when they were building it by the Confederate Army. The river was considerably closer over there in those days, because that was before the river changed course in 1876,” Long said, adding if it was at the distance it is today, the likelihood of the cannonballs reaching their targets would have been slim.
Grant’s Canal was an unsuccessful effort directed by Union forces, and ultimately Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, to cut off a sharp bend of the Mississippi River. The effort aimed to redirect the river away from Confederate guns on the bluffs of Vicksburg that menaced boat traffic. The canal failed, but river cut across the same point in 1876, changing course.
From his research, Long said he was hoping to locate some of the mortar rounds with a metal detector.
Long said he enlisted the help of a seasoned metal detector, Bob Sullivan of Texas. Sullivan and members of his metal detecting club brought sonar equipment, which is used for metal detecting at greater depths.
“They came over and found a large shell fragment and they found a bunch of old coins and minie balls,” Long said, referring to the bullets used extensively in the Civil War.
The History Channel is hoping to do a series on metal detecting and possible finds, Long said. Scenes filmed at the Mississippi site covered what the group was looking for, how members went about their search, how they identify certain items and how their equipment works.
Long said he was surprised by the popularity of metal detecting. Some people he knows, including Robertson, are avid hobbyists and take metal detecting seriously.
“I didn’t know this was as big as it is. There are a lot of people that metal detect, and it’s worse than deer hunters,” Long said. “They are really sneaky. They won’t tell anybody where they were and won’t tell anybody what they found.”