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Thread: Do you consider gold detecting profitable?

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  1. #1
    Oye
    Oye is offline

    Apr 2013
    15
    3 times
    Metal Detecting

    Do you consider gold detecting profitable?

    Do you guys earn enough to live on it or is it more just a hobby?

    Of course it varies, but overrall is it less, the same, more or even a lot more profitable than an average job with average pay?


    On a scale from 1-10 where 1 is max easy and 10 is max hard, how hard do you consider this activity/hobby or job?
    chinchilla likes this.

  2. #2
    us
    Aug 2012
    SO CAL
    WhitesTDI SL, GMT, GMZ, Gold Bug, Gold Bug 2, Gold Bug Pro and the Falcon
    422
    320 times
    Prospecting
    I know of 2 guys that have been doing it full time for several years and making a good living at it(at least $60,000.00 plus a year) and it took them a while to get that accomplished. They are young ,tough, dedicated, have no family and few financial obligations. Lots of driving, hiking and living out of the back of their 4x4 trucks. Its a life I often think about but a wife, 2 daughters and a mortgage demand a steady job with benefits. I'd have to give it a "7"
    Last edited by Hard Prospector; Jun 15, 2013 at 06:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    TerrySoloman.com

    May 2010
    Congress, AZ - White Plains, NY
    Tesoro Cult Member - Tejon; Sand Shark; Lobo Super Traq; Vaquero; Cibola; Compadre - Minelab GPX 5000
    6,109
    3344 times
    Metal Detecting
    It's a "10." All the easy detectable gold was gone by 1997. Now you need to go where others can't, and that means hiking, horses, and helicopters, making it even harder to break even - much less profit. The "beans and bacon" are still bought with dredges, drywashers and highbankers. 99.9-percent of people that buy a Minelab GPX 5000, will NEVER make their money back in gold nuggets recovered with it. Every now and then though, somebody hits an eight-ouncer, so the dream is still alive!

  4. #4
    us
    Jun 2013
    Redding, CA
    Gold Bug Pro
    63
    123 times
    Metal Detecting for Gold
    I'd say it's a 2 for me. I spend a lot of time traveling on a bike and living in a tent so the gold would only need to pay for my food... maybe $5 a day.
    goldentruth likes this.

  5. #5

    May 2012
    nevada
    1,930
    1479 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I put an ad on craigslist last fall. A bunch of maps, duplicate copies of Nevada mining bulletins, placer deposits of nevada, etc. Nice young man spent a couple
    hours buying the stuff and picking my brain. He showed me a handful of nuggets he'd got in Ca., said he was heading out on his own to parts unknown in
    Nevada. Said he would keep in touch. Never heard from him again. He is probably out there struggling for food and gas money, or he struck it rich, or he's
    dead.
    TerryC, goldentruth and EagleDown like this.

  6. #6
    us
    May 2009
    Garden Valley, ca.
    Gold Bug Pro
    1,333
    1689 times
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Soloman View Post
    It's a "10." All the easy detectable gold was gone by 1997. Now you need to go where others can't, and that means hiking, horses, and helicopters, making it even harder to break even - much less profit. The "beans and bacon" are still bought with dredges, drywashers and highbankers. 99.9-percent of people that buy a Minelab GPX 5000, will NEVER make their money back in gold nuggets recovered with it. Every now and then though, somebody hits an eight-ouncer, so the dream is still alive!
    like and unlike...

  7. #7
    us
    May 2009
    Garden Valley, ca.
    Gold Bug Pro
    1,333
    1689 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by Fullpan View Post
    I put an ad on craigslist last fall. A bunch of maps, duplicate copies of Nevada mining bulletins, placer deposits of nevada, etc. Nice young man spent a couple
    hours buying the stuff and picking my brain. He showed me a handful of nuggets he'd got in Ca., said he was heading out on his own to parts unknown in
    Nevada. Said he would keep in touch. Never heard from him again. He is probably out there struggling for food and gas money, or he struck it rich, or he's
    dead.
    or he never went? if you have any info on the areas around Topaz Lake and down towards Bodie i would llove to hear about it..

  8. #8

    May 2012
    nevada
    1,930
    1479 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Quote Originally Posted by pvillehunter View Post
    or he never went? if you have any info on the areas around Topaz Lake and down towards Bodie i would llove to hear about it..
    Oh, he had gold fever bad! I'm sure he went lol. Give me a few days, i'll blow the dust off some stuff and PM you.
    Goldwasher likes this.

  9. #9
    au
    Mar 2013
    Batemans Bay
    Currently: White's GMT, Fisher Gold Bug 2. Fisher Gold Bug Pro, Fisher Gold Bug SE, Fisher F70, Garrett AT Gold, Minelab X-Terra 705, Minelab Eureka Gold, Whites GMZ, Minelab GP Extreme, GP 3000, Mine
    217
    115 times
    Prospecting
    Quote Originally Posted by Terry Soloman View Post
    It's a "10." All the easy detectable gold was gone by 1997. Now you need to go where others can't, and that means hiking, horses, and helicopters, making it even harder to break even - much less profit. The "beans and bacon" are still bought with dredges, drywashers and highbankers. 99.9-percent of people that buy a Minelab GPX 5000, will NEVER make their money back in gold nuggets recovered with it. Every now and then though, somebody hits an eight-ouncer, so the dream is still alive!

    Terry is 100% on the mark... Its a 10.. I've been swinging my Minelab / VLFs for the last 12 months and I've come up with a total of 17.6 grams.. (In small nuggets) little math at a current Australian gold price $1453Oz. Let's say buyer price $48
    $844.. lol not sure about you guys but $844 isn't going far, Now i tend to go out every weekend for at least 5-7 hours... Do a lot of walking and a lot of digging..

    Your results might be better covering more ground daily, but I've gone a 3 month stretch where I didn't find a damn thing.. Aside from a few .22 projectiles and a boatload of shells.

    I know a guy in Kalgoorli Western Australia, (Among some of the richest gold fields in the world) this guy runs with the GPX 5000, and barely makes a buck.
    As Terry said, all the big easy to find gold is long gone.

    I'm a bedrock scraper myself.. I do okay by hitting small washes/creeks/streams locating the drop zones and moving a butt-load of dirt, Sometimes it pays off in a gram or 2... Other times.. a few flakes.. (yay gold bug
    I've had a few larger nugget finds with my GP Extreme lately, a 1.77gram nugget a week ago.. And 1.36 gram nugget yesterday.
    and over 80 junk targets...

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  10. #10
    us
    Mar 2003
    Redding,Calif.
    3,933
    2245 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Who-what and where are the answer coupled with married,single,livn' like a animal in the boondocks. Not 1 in a million make a living with a detector. Fun for sure,will never stop, ifn' your lucky you'll stick with it for a few years,train hard and find some righteous specimens(my favorites all rough n' gnarly) but keep your day job and have golden dreams at night,weekend warrior it and you'll be all right-John

  11. #11

    Dec 2009
    Tesoro, White's
    182
    24 times
    Metal Detecting
    interesting thread

  12. #12
    us
    Northern California

    Aug 2007
    'South' Texas
    XLT, GMT, 6000D Coinmaster
    2,761
    1435 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Oye,
    7 to 10 for gold but #1 for beauty, adventure, being out and away from these stupid a$$ governmental control freaks and etc. Also a #1 for communing with the self and ones belief's, some awesome trout dinners (back when I was fishing), some unbelievably awesome sights that must have been made on "His" day off and just for fun!

    Its like you'd better enjoy being "out there" First and Foremost and then anything else is just added to the experience, IMHO.........................63bkpkr
    Out searching w/GMT & friend under my arm

  13. #13
    Reg
    Reg is offline

    Aug 2007
    Pueblo, CO
    White's TDI, TDI SL, GMT, GM 4, MXT, Tesoro LST, Lobo, Bandido, Vaquero, Sidewinder, Fisher GB 2, GB SE, F75 LTD Camo, Minelab SD 2200, XT18000, Discovery Goldtrax, Cointrax, and too many others
    125
    98 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Terry is correct, it is a 10, but much of the large gold was gone before 97. My guess would be before 90, but there was a jump in the finds once the PI's hit the market, which was in the mid 90's.

    I remember I had permission to hunt one of the most desirable locations by the name of Potato Patch which is located on top of Rich Hill in AZ. The owners at the time were Jack and Laura Culp gave my dad and me full permission to hunt it any time we were down in AZ.

    One trip I took Rod Hamilton to the top with me. Rod was marketing manager for Tesoro at that time. I can still remember him getting so excited as we approached the top and saying he couldn't believe he was really going to the Potato Patch to hunt gold. Well, we hunted alright but didn't find much . That area was private but a lot of people had hunted it anyway without permission and basically stole the the easy to find gold.

    Had they taken time to ask, It is almost certain Jack and Laura would have let them go up and hunt.

    Laura told us a story about a guy who a few years earlier bragged about going to the Potato Patch and finding pounds of gold. In fact he had several large nuggets and a bunch of smaller ones he was selling at some type of community event they were having in Congress, AZ. Anyway, Laura heard the guy was bragging about hunting the top of Rich Hill and that is where he found his gold. So, Laura approached the guy casually acting like a perspective buyer and began asking questions.

    The guy openly admitted finding the gold on her property but said he had permission to hunt the area. By this time there was a crowd listening to the guy talk about his adventures to the top of the mountain. So, when the time was right, Laura asked the guy again about his having permission and the guy again said he did.

    Well, Laura then called her husband over and asked him. "Jack this guy says he had permission to hunt the Potato Patch, did you give it to him?" Well, Jack said he had not and he didn't even know the guy. Laura then turned to the guy and told him she was the owner of the property and she didn't give him permission either.

    Beet faced and embarrassed, the guy quickly packed up and left.

    Laura giggled as she told the story because she mentioned later, had the guy asked prior to that run in, she would have given him permission.

    Laura and Jack always had a story. I remember one where Jack took (I think) a D8 cat to the Potato Patch and cut several large swaths for some geologists to make evaluations. During one of he passes, Laura was casually watching her husband work when she noticed a pie plate nugget roll up and tumble in front of the heavy equipment her husband was running. She was stunned by the size of the gold and watched for it again. Well, it surfaced again and she realized what it was, she started yelling at her husband. He couldn't hear her and was looking the other way. By the time she got his attention, some time and distance had passed. Jack went back and tried to push the area carefully again but never did see the nugget again. They mentioned it to the geologist inspecting that area but never heard from him either. They often wondered if the nugget was still there or if the guy found it.

    Now, I hunted the top of Rich Hill on several occasions and maybe found a total of an ounce or so in all the trips I made. I offered the gold I found to Jack and Laura but they never seemed to be interested in any of it. She was just happy to hear people we were finding some.

    For those of you who have never heard of Rich Hill and the Potato Patch, it is something to look up. During this time, there was a club located on the Weaver side of Rich Hill and a mini gold rush happened there. A few people ran into one gulch called the Cadaver gulch that gave up quite a few nuggets in the oz to 5 oz range. The mini rush lasted several months but then it was over.

    Over the 20+ years I hunted across AZ on my vacations, I heard of a few places giving up some nice gold but overall, the big continuous finds were over early in that 20 years. We got in on the tail end of the easy gold found around Meadeview and Gold Basin, but in a few years even that area was tough to hunt.

    We were lucky enough to stumble into a location near Model Creek where we took out several oz's but that was a once in a lifetime event. A pic of three of the half oz nuggets found there can be seen sitting on the coil of a SD2200 which I field tested at the time for Lost Treasure. My dad found the largest on that trip, a 1 oz piece of gold.

    A friend told me recently he and another friend hunted that same general area recently and managed a gram nugget for their several days of time spent.

    So, in my opinion, it is definitely getting tougher to even find a piece of gold, let alone make a living doing it.

    Anyway, sorry to bore you with some of my adventures.

    One more thing, Jack and Laura finally sold the Potato Patch and shortly after Jack died of Cancer. Their dream was to sell the property and travel a lot but only part of that came true.

    Reg
    Last edited by Reg; Jun 17, 2013 at 12:11 AM.

  14. #14
    us
    Jan 2010
    Colorado Springs, Colorado USA
    Whites GMT, Goldmaster Vsat, 5900, Bounty Hunter Discovery 3300 and Falcon MD-20.
    294
    102 times
    Prospecting - Gold and Silver
    I am nowhere near breaking even on my detector costs (Whites GMT, Whites GMII (bought used) and Whites VSat (bought used)). Its a hobby for me. I don't sell the gold I find, so I have no requirements that it pays for itself or that I make a profit. I just enjoy the challenge.

    I have extra detectors that I let people use (usually the GMT) when I go out detecting with others. We do find gold, just not large amounts.
    Whites GMT, Whites GM Vsat, Whites 5900, Gold Mountain King Cobra, Bounty Hunter 3300

  15. #15
    us
    Cpt. Herb Bussell

    Dec 2012
    29 palms Calif
    fisher gold bug
    500
    648 times
    Prospecting
    I don't bleep much any more for the above reasons, I stopped bleepin fulltime 10 years back, as all the easy pickins were done, call me spoiled but if im not getting a few nuggs each trip out im not bleepin.
    just dig now,
    I geuss If someone gave me a minelab I would give it a honest year of swinging. I doubt I could do much better than I do hard rock mining ?

    Even diging Hard rock veins I still don't come close to making a profit.
    We have a hell of a good time if that counts!

    And then theres the guy across the valley from our dig, finds pounds!!!!

    Keep looking boys its out there!!!!
    Aufisher and Jim Hemmingway like this.

 

 
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