It has to be a Hobby

desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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I've watched a lot of videos, read a lot, and come to the conclusion that our search for gold has to be just a hobby to 99 percent of the people.

Why would anyone think they will make money when them spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on recovery equipment like, drywashers, sluices, dredges, smelters, and all the other equipment necessary to get the gold out of the soil, rocks, etc.

One video showed a gentleman who crushed his rocks with a jaw crusher, then broke those pieces down into a powder with another machine. He then used a furnace with at least two different compounds, as well as other things to end up with a button of gold that at the time of this video was worth five dollars. I have to imagine the chemicals and propane gas cost more than that.

So my conclusion is that most people pursue the gold as a hobby, never expecting to pay for all the stuff used to get the gold.

I'm guilty as any other hobbyist, as I've spend a few thousand dollars, some of it wasted, to get a few grams of placer gold. And that doesn't count the cost of my fuel for the truck and the blower motor.

But, in the end, we are having fun, learning something, and have vials of gold powder/flakes, or have gotten lucky and found some nuggets, or rock specimens with gold attached.

I wonder what the average Jill or Joe would say about our obsession. But I think it is like any hobby, the pursuit of whatever has caught our fancy,

And for myself, besides having fun, I am getting in better shape, and have lost 10 pounds. Oh yeah! I've put on some muscle in the process. 8-)

What's your story about why you are into the yellow stuff?
 
Upvote 8

Jjweimar

Newbie
May 13, 2022
2
1
If you can, panning is easier if you classify the big stuff from the little stuff. Do the big stuff first, then work on the smaller one tablespoon at a time. I know that seems like it would take a lot of time, but doing the sizes separately keeps you from missing the real tiny pieces that the big stuff always seems to obscure.
Down to what classification 1/100 1/50? Also I don't pan the bigger stuff until at least 1/8 which is my "finer" and I know it should be further classified
 
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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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Down to what classification 1/100 1/50? Also I don't pan the bigger stuff until at least 1/8 which is my "finer" and I know it should be further classified
Lets see. I have four classifying screens, but never measured them. For myself I think I cut things off at around 1/12th to keeps the big stuff from hiding my finer gold. I think my four classifier sizes are mesh 4, 8, 12 and 20, though I don't use the mesh 4, as that size just clogs up my drywasher. The idea is just to make things easier when panning, and I would imagine that's personal preference. Good luck in your gold adventures.
 

Lanny in AB

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I got into gold prospecting to get me out into the wild places to save my sanity while I was in university getting my undergrad, and it has provided a long line of adventures since.

Due to being out in the wild places, I've met some very successful large-scale placer miners that have invited me to work on their mining leases, so it's a bit different for me now than when I started.

I started panning creeks and rivers, digging on inside bends, working exposed bedrock, and did not get a lot of returns.

Then I decided to head to Alaska and work on the beaches of Nome, and that was fun, lots of small flakes, but lots of them in the pan.

After that, I decided to really get off the beaten track due to an invitation to visit a large-scale placer operation in the wilds of the deep boreal forests of the north. The gold got bigger, the nuggets fatter, and the challenges (including the driving, wild animals, nasty bugs, remote camping, etc.) increased exponentially, including run-ins with nut-jobs as well that were living in the wilds for a variety of non-social or outright criminal situations. However, the gold was there and it was fat and sassy.

Dredging was the next adventure, and I truly loved that, but now it's almost impossible to get a permit.

Sometimes the gold recovery from detecting is quite rewarding, and at other times it's happily built a life-time of incredible adventure and memories, ones that will be with me as I ride off into my golden years (no pun intended).

Sometimes I've been lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to catch some nice gold, and at other times, like when I'm out with my sons, it wouldn't matter how much gold we got as the time spent together will always be priceless.

Hope you keep finding enough to keep it interesting, but I'd also like to add that I now have some incredible friends I've met in the goldfields and on the gold forums that have enriched my life far more than the gold metal, and I guess there's a lot of similarities there to any passion (like the friends I've made scuba diving or while working with horses).

Good luck, and if you find enough to enrich your wallet or purse, good on ya, if not, there are other riches that come from chasing the gold that remain true treasures in their own right.

All the best,

Lanny
 
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oneguy

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Aug 26, 2015
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Well said Lanny! As you know, my situation is much like yours. Fortunately, my "hobby" has more than paid for itself but in the end it's really about getting out in the brush, our church....jmo
 

beekbuster

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Jan 17, 2015
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I've watched a lot of videos, read a lot, and come to the conclusion that our search for gold has to be just a hobby to 99 percent of the people.

Why would anyone think they will make money when them spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on recovery equipment like, drywashers, sluices, dredges, smelters, and all the other equipment necessary to get the gold out of the soil, rocks, etc.

One video showed a gentleman who crushed his rocks with a jaw crusher, then broke those pieces down into a powder with another machine. He then used a furnace with at least two different compounds, as well as other things to end up with a button of gold that at the time of this video was worth five dollars. I have to imagine the chemicals and propane gas cost more than that.

So my conclusion is that most people pursue the gold as a hobby, never expecting to pay for all the stuff used to get the gold.

I'm guilty as any other hobbyist, as I've spend a few thousand dollars, some of it wasted, to get a few grams of placer gold. And that doesn't count the cost of my fuel for the truck and the blower motor.

But, in the end, we are having fun, learning something, and have vials of gold powder/flakes, or have gotten lucky and found some nuggets, or rock specimens with gold attached.

I wonder what the average Jill or Joe would say about our obsession. But I think it is like any hobby, the pursuit of whatever has caught our fancy,

And for myself, besides having fun, I am getting in better shape, and have lost 10 pounds. Oh yeah! I've put on some muscle in the process. 8-)

What's your story about why you are into the yellow stuff?
Many variables involved. It can be done, but then it would be work, and that takes all the fun out of it. If I knew what I know now back in 2009, Id have been swinging a metal detector instead of swinging my chainsaw during the great recession.
 

russau

Gold Member
May 29, 2005
6,772
5,979
St. Louis, missouri
Words (and how you use them ) can make the difference when on public land and prospecting / mining ! We have the "right" to be on public land to prospect for precious metals according to the mining laws . It's EZ to just say (hobby , recreational ,) BUT if you drop these words in a conversation or worse yet ,on your paper work , you could be /would be refused a mining claim or lose your claim that you have. Also these forums have been trolled by the wacoevirometalterriorist's and have used "our" words in courts to stop us in our attempt's to utilize our "RIGHT'S " on our public lands ! WHY give them ammo to fight our "right's " , it is hard enough to do the task of mining as it is ! WHY MAKE IT HARDER ????
 

Reed Lukens

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Jan 1, 2013
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For me, I've had over $100,000.00 in mining equipment in my lifetime and everything had paid for itself many times over until dredging was outlawed in Northern Cal back in 2009. I still have a few dredges and I have my old 4" Proline with me here in Arizona. I made a good living for many decades gold mining in the American River and I can show you plenty of places right now that will still pay in ounces a day... but... a lot of it has been taken over by the ASRA and they have turned that river into a pay to park area, where you can't even use any tools. I still have plans of opening up and cleaning out some of the gold deposits that I know are still there, but I was forced into retirement from dredging in 2009 and life has moved me on in a different direction. I still make good wages from my mining, it still pays my retirement income monthly and I do still run gold dredges every year for fun. But I sure miss running my old homebuilt 6" & 8" dredges on the American and Yuba Rivers in California, where I grew up.
And I'll never forget all of the gold nuggets that I've shot out of my slingshot as a kid that we piled up and buried as our buried treasure...
I did go back and I did dig them up :icon_thumright:
 

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Mountaineer2020

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Jul 5, 2020
62
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Oregon
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Adventure! And the hopes of finding the big one. You read the 1900 records of small pockets that only had $30,000 of gold at $20 an ounce. That's $3,000,000 in todays numbers. One pocket would cover my expenses for alot of years. Got out last weekend with a buddy and my father-in-law and found an old abandoned claim on a remote creek. Had an aerial trolley on a cable strung between 2 trees but it was on the opposite side of the creek. Forded the creek, swift knee high water about 40 degrees, got on the trolley and went over suspended 30 foot above the creek picked up the father-in-law and hauled back to the other side. Found us an old trommel set up looked like they were doing some high bank prospecting. There were quite a few other discoveries including an old concrete slab they must have had finishing equipment on. That concrete sure sparkled! Father-in-law licked his finger stuck it on the concrete and had a tiny gold flake stuck to it! Ran back home and claimed it. Best weekend I've had in quite awhile. Nothing really big to show for it yet but someday, hoping to make a living mining.

On a side note access to the best remaining gold bearing streams as well as lode deposits has been cut off from vehicles and mineral entry. Making a living mining as the small operator would be easy if these areas were open. In Oregon If a fella overlays designated "wilderness areas" with known gold bearing areas you will find they coincide very well. Same with rivers, the "wild" portion of the scenic rivers act always seems to fall where the best gold is. I get the environmentalists problem with mining, past practices were destructive and ripped the land. But these were usually from the big operations where the dividend controlled decisions and not the conscience of the miner.
 
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desertgolddigger

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May 31, 2015
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I've watched gold dredging videos. The people who go underwater have my respect, as it is a very dangerous job, in my opinion. And that's with every safeguard you can think of used.

For myself, I've always, just doing it once, wanted to try my luck sluicing in a creek or other small moving body of water. But I doubt my old body could last but an hour or so. Even sluicing looks like very hard work. I've some basic equipment, but I doubt I will ever get to use it.

So I watch videos of other doing this, and gawk at their finds, of just a few hours of work.
 

et1955

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Jan 10, 2015
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Adventure! And the hopes of finding the big one. You read the 1900 records of small pockets that only had $30,000 of gold at $20 an ounce. That's $3,000,000 in todays numbers. One pocket would cover my expenses for alot of years. Got out last weekend with a buddy and my father-in-law and found an old abandoned claim on a remote creek. Had an aerial trolley on a cable strung between 2 trees but it was on the opposite side of the creek. Forded the creek, swift knee high water about 40 degrees, got on the trolley and went over suspended 30 foot above the creek picked up the father-in-law and hauled back to the other side. Found us an old trommel set up looked like they were doing some high bank prospecting. There were quite a few other discoveries including an old concrete slab they must have had finishing equipment on. That concrete sure sparkled! Father-in-law licked his finger stuck it on the concrete and had a tiny gold flake stuck to it! Ran back home and claimed it. Best weekend I've had in quite awhile. Nothing really big to show for it yet but someday, hoping to make a living mining.

On a side note access to the best remaining gold bearing streams as well as lode deposits has been cut off from vehicles and mineral entry. Making a living mining as the small operator would be easy if these areas were open. In Oregon If a fella overlays designated "wilderness areas" with known gold bearing areas you will find they coincide very well. Same with rivers, the "wild" portion of the scenic rivers act always seems to fall where the best gold is. I get the environmentalists problem with mining, past practices were destructive and ripped the land. But these were usually from the big operations where the dividend controlled decisions and not the conscience of the miner.
Same up here in Wahington state but it is still possible to get in with an electric bike, you just have be more creative when dealing with restrictions. First I will say this as one that has followed all the laws of present day mining and did very well I am not responsible for what was done in the past and neither are you. It is a waste of time to focus on what was done rather we need to focus on the future. You blame big operations but at least today they monitored, no offence but even the most conscientious gold miner when they hit a major gold deposit all things change, gold fever takes over, maybe you have not experienced it but I have and it is overwhelming to say the least.
 

Lanny in AB

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Apr 2, 2003
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Well said Lanny! As you know, my situation is much like yours. Fortunately, my "hobby" has more than paid for itself but in the end it's really about getting out in the brush, our church....jmo
Yes, our situations are similar, and my outings have more than paid for whatever I've invested, but I'm with you on the value of getting out into the brush as I've come to realize that the gold itself is now far secondary to the people I've found with common interests and the wonderful memories gained while being in the cathedrals that are the mountains and the deserts.

All the best, and good luck with the rest of your season,

Lanny
 

Lanny in AB

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For me, I've had over $100,000.00 in mining equipment in my lifetime and everything had paid for itself many times over until dredging was outlawed in Northern Cal back in 2009. I still have a few dredges and I have my old 4" Proline with me here in Arizona. I made a good living for many decades gold mining in the American River and I can show you plenty of places right now that will still pay in ounces a day... but... a lot of it has been taken over by the ASRA and they have turned that river into a pay to park area, where you can't even use any tools. I still have plans of opening up and cleaning out some of the gold deposits that I know are still there, but I was forced into retirement from dredging in 2009 and life has moved me on in a different direction. I still make good wages from my mining, it still pays my retirement income monthly and I do still run gold dredges every year for fun. But I sure miss running my old homebuilt 6" & 8" dredges on the American and Yuba Rivers in California, where I grew up.
And I'll never forget all of the gold nuggets that I've shot out of my slingshot as a kid that we piled up and buried as our buried treasure...
I did go back and I did dig them up :icon_thumright:
Reed, I too miss dredging a lot as it allowed me to sort of combine my love for scuba with the love of being out in the wilds chasing the gold underwater. Nothing else quite like it in all of the different types of placer mining I've tried.

You sir have had an incredible life while chasing the gold, and I'm glad to see that you're still at it.

Thanks for all of the pictures as well, and all the best,

Lanny
 

nuggetshooter323

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Jul 22, 2005
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I sometimes have wondered about those people who try, and try, and try to throw roadblocks in the way of not only the recreational miner, but in some cases, those individuals who actually try to make a living mining gold.

In the area I dig for gold, there have been attempts to close land to both individuals and clubs, but it seems, not companies involved in gold recovery. One attempt by a high profile politician trying to close land just happened to be married to a member of a board that does commercial mining. I'm guessing that the little guys who mine got involved to save our rights to prospect and mine for gold.

Wonder if those trying to block the little guys, are afraid they might actually get lucky, and make a real living. Never understood the selfishness of those who have power and money trying to destroy the happiness of the little guys.

Am I off in my view of the big and little entities, when it comes to our pastime?
This is part of the Authoritarian/Socialist agenda the government has. Make our public land inaccessible to us and illegal for us to be able to gather any resources from it. The government wants us beholden to them for everything.
 

Tesorodeoro

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Jan 21, 2018
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Words (and how you use them ) can make the difference when on public land and prospecting / mining ! We have the "right" to be on public land to prospect for precious metals according to the mining laws . It's EZ to just say (hobby , recreational ,) BUT if you drop these words in a conversation or worse yet ,on your paper work , you could be /would be refused a mining claim or lose your claim that you have. Also these forums have been trolled by the wacoevirometalterriorist's and have used "our" words in courts to stop us in our attempt's to utilize our "RIGHT'S " on our public lands ! WHY give them ammo to fight our "right's " , it is hard enough to do the task of mining as it is ! WHY MAKE IT HARDER ????
I’m curious about this. Are there any examples or court cases regarding a mining claim being voided in court for the term “hobby” or “recreation” being mistakenly used? I’m sure there are some related to people sitting on claims and only using it for a camping spot, but I’m interested in adjudications that void mineral rights. I’m also interested in examples where forum posts were used as evidence to void a mineral right. I’ve got some time to do some reading.
 
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Clay Diggins

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Nov 14, 2010
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I’m curious about this. Are there any examples or court cases regarding a mining claim being voided in court for the term “hobby” or “recreation” being mistakenly used? I’m sure there are some related to people sitting on claims and only using it for a camping spot, but I’m interested in adjudications that void mineral rights. I’m also interested in examples where forum posts were used as evidence to void a mineral right. I’ve got some time to do some reading.

Although words do matter in the law it's actions that are what the mining laws were written for.

Here is the Forest Services' take on the use of words like "hobby" or "recreational". This comes direct from the Federal Register and is a final published rule so it's legally Forest Service policy:
____________________
No distinction between persons conducting locatable mineral operations primarily for “recreational” versus “commercial” purposes nor a difference between the requirements applicable to operations conducted for these purposes is recognized by the United States mining laws, the Organic Administration Act, 36 CFR part 228, subpart A or 36 CFR part 261, subpart A.

Thus, to the extent that individuals or members of mining clubs are prospecting for or mining valuable deposits of locatable minerals, and making use of or occupying Forest Service lands for functions, work or activities which are reasonably incidental to such prospecting and mining, it does not matter whether those operations are described as “recreational” or “commercial.”

One thing which often is unique insofar as functions, work, or activities are proposed by individuals, members of mining clubs, or mining clubs themselves whose interest in locatable mineral operations is primarily recreational, is that they far exceed the scope of the United States mining laws. Such functions, work, or activities that are not authorized by the United States mining laws include educational seminars, treasure hunts, and use of mining claims as sites for hunting camps or summer homes.
____________________


Read More:

You will find that the BLM has the same approach. It's about whether your activities are related to mining. They could care less if you want to call it a hobby, join a club to mine together or why you mine.

It's important to remember that the agencies (BLM and Forest Service) only real interface with the actions of mining is their legal duty to protect the surface resources from unnecessary or undue degradation.

No one is going to lose their claim or be prosecuted for calling mining a hobby or recreational. :thumbsup:

Heavy Pans
 

russau

Gold Member
May 29, 2005
6,772
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St. Louis, missouri
Thank you Barry ! One thing I see way to often is the gubermints referral to "their " land...... and see it said that way on the net also is their reference to " their " land i.e. BLM land ,Forest service land ......it is public land ,our land that they maintain , NOT theirs ! They work for us to take care of our public land and I'm sure you completely understand and known this for many a moons! THANKS AGAIN Barry !
 

Tesorodeoro

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Jan 21, 2018
924
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Thank you Barry ! One thing I see way to often is the gubermints referral to "their " land...... and see it said that way on the net also is their reference to " their " land i.e. BLM land ,Forest service land ......it is public land ,our land that they maintain , NOT theirs ! They work for us to take care of our public land and I'm sure you completely understand and known this for many a moons! THANKS AGAIN Barry !
Yes, but no need for folks within the mining community to get hung up on those types of words. Commercial, recreational types, and everything in between need to be united. The mineral estate is a property protected by congressional acts.
 

Lanny in AB

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Apr 2, 2003
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Thanks for the clarification Barry, great information to know.

All the best,

Lanny
 

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