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Month: May 2010



Because gold hunting is taking on interest for so many recently, I’ve been posting some information here on the Gazette for avid new gold enthusiasts. It suddenly occurred to me, though, that I may have put the horse before the cart a little bit in some of my articles. I’m going to correct that now and let you in on exactly where the gold hunt really starts – and where it starts…is on paper.

Serious amounts of gold have been found in about 3 out of every 5 states in the US. While there is still untold amounts of gold to be found it’s not as easy as it was in the 1800’s to find open land to prospect. You can jump right in and start fishing through streams for a cache, but it can also be a risky and disappointing way to go about any serious prospecting. There are a few things to consider before loading up the mule and heading off to the mountains that will greatly increase your odds of success – and decrease your odds of ending up in court.

Just because a mine or claim is no longer worked does not mean that the gold is gone. That particular property might or might not be still be off limits to hunters. Public lands are not always free for all gold prospecting areas, either. Some public land contains claims and other places are off limits to hunting at all. Some areas are restricted hunting, meaning you can use a pan, but not a dredge, sluice, or other equipment. If you are thinking that you can just slip into off-limits areas and slip out without notice, you are taking one healthy risk to your wallet or freedom. By getting some research under your belt before diving into the creeks with your prospecting gear, you can avoid not only fines, arrests, or being shot for claim jumping, you can also get a pretty good idea where your best bet is to find a good productive placer. The search for records can be time consuming, but it is a “must” do for anyone serious about gold prospecting.

While you will want to know the ownership status of the land you wish to hunt, it’s not going to do you much good to hunt if there isn’t a decent amount of gold to be found in the area. You may have heard that gold can be found just about anywhere, but a few flakes dropped by glaciers aren’t really going to make a hunt worthwhile. You should start your search by studying mining records to find areas from which good amounts of gold have already been found. State Bureau of Mines offices will have information about mining in the areas you are researching. Remember, thousands of people already have searched the country for gold. You aren’t likely to make much headway in new and untouched territory. Your best bet is to stick with known territories. While some people believe that areas that contain mines are tapped out, this is rarely the case. Gold in these areas still works its way down into streams and forms placers downhill from the sources.

[sc name=”panner”]The BLM office in the area you are researching will have mining and mineralogy maps. Once you study these and are content with pursuing prospecting in an area, you will want to do another bit of study. The BLM also has maps containing land status plats that show the ownership of public lands. You will find there where you are free to prospect. You may also want to check for claims that have been abandoned.

Claims can become abandoned for many reasons. Some might be abandoned because the area had been worked until the claim quit producing. Others may just have never been fruitful in the first place. Others could be abandoned due to other difficulties that the owner encountered, such as inability to get to and from the claim, illness or death, and a myriad other reasons. If a claim is abandoned and the land is open to prospecting, you might be able to pick up the claim for a low price and continue work on it. If it has been a considerable amount of time since a claim has been worked, it may contain fresh gold which continues to wash down into placer areas over time.

Local assay offices are sometimes willing to provide information about their own records of gold assays from local area claims, although sometimes you will be charged for records searches. If the claim produced gold recently enough, someone in the office might just even remember if it produced well.

A bit of geological study about gold is always a good idea for those who are extremely serious about prospecting, too. What you learn may just help you identify “new” localities near the older, known ones.

While these studies can be time consuming, most areas have several months a year (in some places most of the year) which are not suitable for hunting in the field so these are excellent months to do your “indoor” prospecting.

Once you have the information you need about open land and available claims, you are then ready to go out into the field and try your luck in the 2010 Gold Rush.

For the latest in gold equipment to aid you in hunt Click Here

RHS1 Staff Note of Appreciation

RHS1 Staff Note of Appreciation

Sometimes it gets frustrating being webmaster. It’s a LOT of hard work to keep a site vital and valuable to its members and viewers. Many times the feedback and is next to nil from our side of the keyboard. Sometimes I wonder why I bother at all when I could just sit back and do my own research and continue becoming more informed on my own instead of spending endless days and nights doing the endless research, writing, creating, giving others a place to share, communicate, learn, and advertise their own related concerns.

Every now and then, however, a note arrives in my email box and let’s me know that my efforts are not in vain. Today I opened my email box to find this note:

Thank you for making it easy to use your site and all the info will keep me, the husband, and our 2 beautiful little ladies busy! We are so thankful for all the help you have given us. It was so easy to understand and so fun to learn all the history and search for all of these older not on the map places…it’s taught us more than to go get gold, but to learn our areas, our state history and how to really research what we are looking for. Links are great too!

– D’Anna

D’Anna – Thank YOU. It was awesome to hear that. You just picked a day that I really needed to hear it to write to us, too.

You see, RHS1 was becoming a vital resource for rockhounds. It took years to build and just after we really got into the swing of things with many contributors and members making friendships, sharing, having fun, and doing business here we were suddenly hit by a ruthless hacker, injected with some nasty virulent viruses, and generally had our whole php system wiped out…..for those that don’t know, that’s the system that allows us to build interactive programs such as our forums, photo gallery, and this gazette.

[sc name=”tumbler”]This all happened at a time we were losing our wonderful technician to real world concerns and health issues. It took major amounts of unpaid efforts and time to find another able and willing tech and to build this back to an interactive place again. Having to start all over with the slow process of building our community back, the frustrations sometimes become overwhelming. It’s very hard to be patient building the second time around.

All in all, an email like this one, a post in the forum, or a picture posted in the Gallery actually mean something to the staff here at RHS1. We enjoy our community and it makes all the time and effort worthwhile when we see others finding it a valuable and fun place to stop, learn, share, and make friends.

Your email just provided me with another month’s worth of patience for rebuilding our community, and we appreciate you, too, D’Anna. Thanks again. A further Thanks to all of our contributing members here at RHS1. After all – the bottom line is that RHS1 isn’t about us – it’s about YOU.

Panning Gold: Where the Heck is “Where You Find It” Located?

Panning Gold: Where the Heck is “Where You Find It” Located?

Sure gold is “where you find it”. Anyone even thinking about taking up prospecting has heard that one. It’s probably the most frustrating answer any beginning prospector ever hears when asking where to look for gold. Where the heck exactly is “where you find it” located and why do people keep telling you that?

While that answer is a bit frustrating for the beginner there is a lot of truth in it. Gold can turn up in some pretty unusual places. Sometimes it has been sprinkled through areas by ancient glaciers or waterways. There are stories of people finding gold and thinking they had found a place to stake a claim, to discover later that they had only found the remnants of some unfortunate prospector’s lost cache. Trains and carts being wrecked while hauling gold to smelters have spilled loads of ore which might be found later in the streams downhill.

While you might run into bits of gold scattered by such events, you might also appreciate a word of where you might be more statistically inclined to make an actual strike of some good concentrations of “color”. It’s really not as mysterious as it has been made to sound.

When you get to a gold bearing region you must choose a spot to hunt. Your main concern is that you are not hunting on someone else’s property or claim. There are places you can still be shot for this, and some places where the claim owners take this right very seriously, so always make sure you know you are not “claim jumping” before you dig in.

The best place for the beginner to start is where you know that there are mines or claims uphill and upstream from your chosen location. Gold will wash downhill into a stream over time. If you can find a spot where a stream flowing downhill from known gold localities converges with the stream you are going to hunt, this is a terrific place to start.

Gold is heavy. It can be carried by a rapid current, but when the current slows down, the gold will drop to the creek bed. Start by hunting down stream from a converging creek or area of color uphill from you. Look for spots in the creek where fast moving water is impeded or slows down. The base of a small waterfall is always worth checking as are areas where the current is diverted by large rocks. Bends of the creek where water rushes in the middle but slows along the shore of the bend are another good area. Don’t be afraid to be creative. I know a man that swept a year’s living expense worth of gold from an old corrugated pipe that ran under a road where a creek passed through. The grooves of the pipe had served as a sluice to catch the grains and nuggets.

When panning, you will want to dig a bit rather than just scoop from the top dirt. You might find some traces of color just scooping the top of the creek bed, but because of its weight, gold will work it’s way down until it eventually hits something that prevents it from going any further. The smaller the grain or the more recently it has been dropped, the closer to the surface you might find it. The deeper you dig, the more you will find if you are searching a good area. Cracks and crevices in rock are also a great place to find grains of gold, but you may need special suction equipment to get it out. There are items you can buy very inexpensively that will help you do that.

Just as there are the right places to look for gold, there are also the right times of year. You will want to wait until late summer or early autumn which is when the streams are at their lowest and slowest. A good plan is to go look the creek over during it’s high season and take notes of the currents when the water is high. Returning later during the low season, you will already have an idea of good places to look for gold that has been spilled by the full spring currents.

Through practice you will soon become able to size up good spots on a creek to pan. When you take your cache and proudly show it off, if someone asks you where you got it, you can just smile and say “it was right where I found it”.

Don’t forget folks — You can find everything you need for a successful gold season at: Black Cat Mining