For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please
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  1. #1
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    For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Hello, would one day like to prospect for gold. I was wondering a few things like how you obtain a claim and how much does it cost? What kind of equipment and nessities are required besides a good detector? Once an area has been found that has gold in it do I get involved with a sluice? Can one make a living doing it? Do you get like an RV and just go out and squat on your claim? What about government land searching, can you do it legally or is there some kind of permit required? Sorry for all of the questions but have been wondering about this for a while and would really love to try it one day. Thanks in advanced, Tim

  2. #2
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Welcome, I'm not sure where you're at but the best way to start is to join a local club if you can. Lots of info there and places to go. Different people have different equipment so you can see what you like and don't like and what works and doesn't work. As far as making a living at it, it's very hard even for those that have been doing it for years and years. Better treat it as a hobby, that MIGHT sometimes pay for some of your expenses. Doug.

  3. #3
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Watson
    Welcome, I'm not sure where you're at but the best way to start is to join a local club if you can. Lots of info there and places to go. Different people have different equipment so you can see what you like and don't like and what works and doesn't work. As far as making a living at it, it's very hard even for those that have been doing it for years and years. Better treat it as a hobby, that MIGHT sometimes pay for some of your expenses. Doug.
    I'm in middle Tennessee but not going to try hunting for gold here. Looking at what others have experienced like out west in the dryer climates. This gold interest I have is not going to happen next week or anything. There is a great local club here but it is mostley for the detecting of coins and relics and such which I am very familiar with. Just thinking one day of expanding into prospecting some hopefully.

  4. #4
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    Nov 2009
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    I would suggest doing some research.
    Self education is a must for any prospector!!

  5. #5
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    As far as the requirements on public lands contact the BLM and or Forrest Service and get 1st hand infomation for yourself.
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  6. #6
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Quote Originally Posted by frank
    As far as the requirements on public lands contact the BLM and or Forrest Service and get 1st hand infomation for yourself.
    I guess that makes pretty good sense. Thanks Tim

  7. #7
    us
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    Aug 2007
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Hi there Big Tim,
    First off I want to mention that I appreciate your attitude as you do not seem to be foaming at the mouth about this venture and that is a good start!

    Second you own an MXT and that is a fairly good machine for gold and is therefore a good place to start. Self education has already been mentioned and since you have the MXT you can begin to learn about gold detecting by building your own test garden. If you can get your hands on some powdered iron, maybe a teaspoon full, mix it with several shovels full of your yard dirt. Once it is WELL mixed you can use this dirt as the basis for your test garden. Since you've been hunting for coins and such for some time do you happen to have a gold ring that is crushed or badly damaged or that you just would not mind cutting it into various sized pieces?? If so you can do just that cut it into very small, and then larger and larger pieces, very small would be about a 1/16" x 1/16". Once you have the pieces glue them to light colored poker chips with some sort of glue on nonmetallic tape, you do not want to loose the pieces so make sure they are not going to come off the poker chips. If you do not have the gold you can use the same sized pieces of lead or cut up a nickle and you will get about the same response from these metals as you would gold on the detector. Once the garden is planted leave lots of room between each sample, put your detector in its prospecting mode and learn what it tells you over each target.

    I have a GMT with the small coil and the stock 6 x 10 and use it in the National Forests here in California. Last year I used it to help me locate a nice bunch of small nuggets, about $400 worth at todays prices. Can one make a wage from it, not from what I've seen yet. How does one find a spot, go where the 49ers went as they did not get it all. Again, I go out into the National Forests and so far I can go where I want BUT I STILL CLEAN UP THE PLACE WHEN I'M DONE. The caps are to get your attention so I was not shouting. Big holes out in the forests or along the sides of pristine rivers look just as ugly as park lawns do when a detectorist does not fill in their plugs. I enjoy the adventure of being out there searching, fishing, camping, campfire at night and the bats flying around catching the bugs. When you find any amount of gold it is exciting even the teeny tiny little bits. Even small nuggets or even smaller pickers make your heart run faster. So a claim and how does one get one, there are lots of scam artists out there more than willing to sell anybody a worthless piece of paper to a worthless piece of ground. Me I go where gold has been found before and search on my own. Join a gold prospectors club that has claims to go to or join other groups that have claims you can go to as a member. If you've got the funds and have really practiced with your detector you can sign up for a trip to one of the Alaska groups say on Gains Creek. For now I would advise practicing, getting newer metal detector prospecting books from the library and doing self teaching.

    Equipment: Plastic gold pan, classifier, small digging tools. That will get you down the road just with these items. You have a detector that is useable for prospecting so you can dig a 5 gallon bucket of dirt and check the dirt with the detector before you do anything else with it. Here is another place where your gold samples glued to the poker chips will come in handy. Place one on the ground and see what your detector tells you about the NEW area! Highly mineralized soils are a lot different from simple soils (thats why I suggested tossing in the powdered iron into your dirt at home) and you must learn how to set your detector for the mineralization. Okay so you find a place with a lot of flakes and your back is getting really sore from all the bending over you must do so how do you move more dirt in a day without killing yourself? 1) really classify and all that means is to bet the big rocks out of the finer dirt. Classify down to 3/8" or 1/4" for panning or sluicing. Now don't even think of just throwing all those classified rocks away, that's what the 49ers did. Run your detector over all the rocks you take out of the dirt as the detector can "see the gold" even if you or I can not. A bulk classifier is nothing more than a BBQ rack or a refrigerator rack set at an angle over a catching area, say a large piece of plastic. Tie two sticks to the top of the rack, push the sticks into the ground so the rack is at say a 45 degree angle to the catch area and just slowly pour shovels full of rough sample on the top of the rack and allow it to fall to the bottom of the rack, gravity will take care of most of the rest. Okay, so you've panned and then you've classified and you still are just not getting enough dirt moved in a day so now you purchase your "first" sluice box. This is sort of like purchasing your first pan as most of us have more than one pan and some of us have more than one sluice box. For a first sluice go for the new units with drop riffle designs, check out Angus McKirk or California Sluices, I think Angus has better designs. Also astrobouncer on this site has posted Lots of pictures of the drop riffle sluices he makes out of wood on his table saw. The drop riffle sluice boxes are easier to use and catch almost all of the gold that goes into them, checkout pvillehunter posts for his efforts with sluice boxes. He started with a Keene sluice box and has just switched over to the McKirk boxes.

    Here in National Forests in CA one can stay "park" their vehicle in one spot for 14 days and then it must be moved, I'm not sure just how far it needs to be moved but moved. Camping in the forest is usually free as there are NO amenities. Camping just off a highway at a campground costs from say $8 and up a day. Where I go I backpack in and where I go the roads are rough and one is safer if they have a true 4 wheel drive rig though the all wheel drive Subaru's have good ground clearance and if they are not super loaded down then they go most of the places where the big rigs go though they have their limits. One can go to the desserts of Arizona or to any western location and prospect as long as you've read and understand each areas rules.

    One common rule is be prepared to take care of yourself where ever you are!! I have a 1992 Bronco 4 x 4 rig and in the summer I carry two sets of tire chains with two to four rubber snubbers per wheel, I do not have a winch on my Bronco so the chains on all the tires help. Another common sense general rule is to be in good physical shape as this "hobby" requires some work if not a lot of work especially if you backpack your gear into a canyon for a two week stay, say down a 3000' vertical drop canyon with an 85 pound pack and yes I do that. I'm 67 years of age this April so it can be done and usually I am by myself.

    Really pour over all the old posts on this site as there are some really good informative ones in the prospecting metal detecting and sluicing sites. I'm a novice at this and I've asked lots of questions so you could go to these two areas and scroll down till you see one of my postings and then just follow the thread of answers, they are amazing! These fellas have really given me some great information. In return I try to help others and I try to post some good pictures of the country I get into.

    Their are rules for the places you will be going into Depending on what you will be doing. I've been told that Dredging in California is coming back although at the moment it is still illegal to dredge in CA. If/When it returns then you will need a permit to dredge and then they may limit the types of places one can dredge, that is unknown at this time. Sluicing or panning in the Nat. Forest requires you to haul your stuff in and have at it, no permit at this time. Be informed and that means You need to get in touch with whatever authority looks over the area you want to go into and the rules change from time to time so stay informed. Do all that you can to clean up after yourself! This will be important for all of us to do as if we all go out there and mess the place up, they will close All Prospecting down and we will deserve it if we are careless or allow others to be careless. At the end of last years prospecting season I moved a ton or two of boulders to reclaim the spot I had been prospecting. It was a lot of work for one guy to do but I did it without rules from the Forest Service, I did it as it was the right thing to do. Its sort of like litter in the big city, it's ugly if it gets left there and if a lot of people do not clean up after themselves then the forests will get ugly and they will be closed to all prospecting.

    Okay, this should keep you busy for the rest of the winter. Read, practice, plant your test garden, learn how to pan and still keep small bird shot in the pan, check out the government printing office for "Placer Mining" brochures, check out the internet for "how to pan for gold" as one fellow from Oregon has posted an awesome 'how to' for panning and reading a stream. And now I need some sleep. Go have fun!! 63bkpkr

    note = picture from latst years metal detecting/panning/sluicing

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    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  8. #8
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Thanks for the pic 63bkpkr very neat looking at your finds. That is what I was looking for on advice. I am foaming at the mouth to ever get out and try that prospecting but it looks like it is going to be a long time before I even get the chance to try it. It is a shame that there is alot of bogus claims being sold to people. There is a few places here in east Tennessee that has been known to produce gold but it will probably not be anything like what is out west and also the sates parks here forbid a detector to even be on the premisses because or the civil war areas. What a shame too becaue I know there is some mighty fine stuff out there just going back to the elements to never be appreciate by anyone anymore. I know the first gold rush was in Georgia I think and maybe there are a few places there that can be looked into siince it is not too far away. I like how you put those nuggets on the old half dollar for a scale of the size of them. I see I am going to have to get a few more items sometime later on in life before I even try to set out on a prsopecting adventure. I do alot of business with Gerry Mcmullen up in Idahoe and he takes people out and trains them on how to get into prospecting with a metal detector. If you have never heard of him he is a very good person and I have got to know him somewhat pretty good over the years of doing business with him. You can look him up by searching gerrys metal detectors. He takes people to Alaska and also here in the US to look for gold. He also takes people to Great Britian to look for relics and overall just a stand up guy. He has alot of pics on his website if you want to go check it out of trips he has taken people over the years. I do have hope one day of persuing this and I know it is going to take a lot of patience. I got the MXT because I think it is one of the best machines I have ever used on coins and relics. I know alot of guys bought them for prospecting also and that is another reason I have it thinking I will get the chance also one day. I did have some scrap gold but I never thought of putting it in a test bed for the MXT on the gold hunting program. I can get ahold of more and when I do I will try it out with some lead shot and all to see how it is going to react. Thanks again 63bkpkr on all of the advice. I will look more into the older threads where you have started a post and take a look at it. If anyone else wants to chime in about this please do so. Thanks agin, Tim

  9. #9
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    If you're not too far from Georgia you might check out the GPAA and the outings they have there. Great bunch of people and a lot of different equipment. Doug.

  10. #10
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Yes , 63bkpkr has said it well . I worked in the mining and oil industry for many years and it takes a lot of money to make money .
    And you have to learn as much as you can before going out and buying a bunch of equipment .

    If you start and treat it like a hobby and not let yourself get the glory virus of gold in your eyes you can and may find some gold and make a little money . But do not go into it thinking you are going to make millions or even thousands of dollars .

    Also try to find some friends who are doing this and have been for a while , they can teach you much and save you many a heart acke learning the hard and costly way !
    I do not want to put a damper on this as you can make it fun and make a little . And it looks like you are thinking things out before grabbing your detector and shovel and rock pick and hitting the road .

    Most of the main things I learned was from the quote, Old Timers . They taught me more than I every learned in class , more knowledge than I saw in a book , most that can only be learned by doing .

    Anyway you can make it fun and make a go at it. Just do research and more research like was said above . And you will make it happen one way or anther .
    Few things I love to do is , Metal Detecting for anything of the past!
    Making Detectors better ! Tuning and finding ways to upgrade Detector hardware , To make them work the Best that is possable !

  11. #11
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Great response BKPKR--You said it all very well--great advice for you Tim. Take it, add to it from the sources and resources others have suggested. Check out some of the links on Jennifer's site (she's done a ton of research and gathered it all together to help new prospectors get started at http://www.prelovedplacer.com/forums/index.php (take the time to scroll down through all the links to see what's available) and check out some specific links too http://www.prelovedplacer.com/forums...php?board=69.0 http://prospectingchannel.com/how-to...ing-claim.html; and some video gold prospecting learning links http://www.prelovedplacer.com/forums...94.0;topicseen
    All the best,

    Lanny
    Nothin' quite as fun as chasin' sassy nugget gold! http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/me...mysteries.html

  12. #12
    us
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Hey Fellas,
    Thanks for the kind words but I'm just trying to give back what I've been given. Lanny I'd been on Jennifer's site a "little bit" but had not gleaned from it the links you've posted, what awesome reading and looking! Yes she has indeed done a superb effort in compiling all of this information!! I must be sick as I'm getting hot all over. Oh wait, its gold fever -LOL. It is real though and then it all comes down to integrity as without integrity we have nothing. We could have 100 pounds of the purest gold nuggets but without integrity that 100 lbs would only bring us misery.
    Right now I'm looking outside at the sunshine, the blooms on the trees, a few bugs floating around, a red squirrel had been out there earlier and from checking on the USGS Water Flow site I can tell that the snow is melting as the river is hanging in around 2000 cubic feet per second with no rain having fallen in the past three days. Winter is still with us but spring is on its way with summer on its heels and I can hear the mountains calling me............Baldy, Baldy.

    Enjoy and Big Tim thank you for asking your question........63bkpkr
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  13. #13
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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Man that is one pretty place your at 63bkpkr!!!! I guess if you do not find any gold then at least your in a pretty place!!

  14. #14
    us
    Northern California

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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Hi bigtim1973,
    The country I get into, including this river area, is all beautiful. It is also all rough but beautiful. I know of one place with a 200' waterfall at the back of a box canyon. The easiest way into the canyon is on a rope over the cliff and once down one is rewarded with totally awesome views including a series of pools and smaller falls at the bottom of the 200' fall. When one puts on their diving goggles, you did bring yours didn't you, and then slowly lowers their body into the 54 degree water you are greeted by a pool FULL of Native Rainbow trout mostly 18 to 24 inches in length.
    Back to the picture of the river, in the shadows on the right is a gold bearing tributary stream coming into the main river. The stream has a lot of claims on it so I do not mess around in there but the stream is just as lovely as the main river. The gold in my first picture could have come from this stream and was then swept down river where I found it. But you are correct, I do not need to find gold to have a wonderful time! As each of my three children turned four years of age I took them with me into this back country with lasting wonderful memories for each of them as well as myself. It is a great way to bond with ones children!

    I simply have the desire to be out in the mountains so I just make it happen each year. It would help if I lived closer but the 175 mile one way drive has become just a part of the entire adventure. In the 70's some of my friends and I started rafting the river. We hiked in the raft and all of our gear and then floated on down. No prospecting just rafting. Some crazy good times and one or two problem times but still some good memories. So bt you've just got to get yourself setup to do this either in TN or somewhere else where you are away from civilization for two weeks of more. Oh, there are quite a few black bears out here that I've had Many run in's with and a few of those times were close to Real problem times. I've gotten tired of having my camps ripped up, food taken and equipment ruined beyond use. A few times the no food situation caused quite some problems on the hike out. I carry a 454 Casull as my side arm and have come close to using it twice but fortunately the bears left. This is part of being prepared that I spoke about in the first post: How to hang your food supplies so the bears can not get them ( a steel cable helps) and being prepared to protect yourself if necessary.

    wide waterfall picture along another gold bearing stream heading into the high country
    waterfall coming out of a mountain side, ~ 500' fall back in the high country
    pool Down Below me and what could be in there?
    me just getting my pack off after reaching the floor of the canyon. See the tiny pack I have? What's on the ground to the left of the picture? Notice the sluice box?

    There is gold fever and then there is Mountain Country Fever and when you have them both, well it gets hopeless at times..........63bkpkr
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    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  15. #15
    Charter Member

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    Re: For those who prospect for gold I would like to ask a few questions please

    Magnificent country--beautiful pictures.

    All the best,

    Lanny
    Nothin' quite as fun as chasin' sassy nugget gold! http://www.treasurenet.com/forums/me...mysteries.html

 

 
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