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Thanks West Texas! First Chase, First New Fall Find!


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We're back from West Texas now and after letting things slow down a bit and catching up on some much needed work I've finally got a moment to post some photos. I'd like to thank all you guys out there in meteorite land. My good friends, Mike Miller & Ruben Garcia (finally got to meet you Ruben after talking on the phone for 2 years!) Without you guys' help this trip might not have been a success.

A big hello and thank you also go out to our new friends Michael Cottingham and Christopher Cottingham for his first finds, congratulations to Christopher for his gorgeous 44 gram oriented West meteorite. It was a pleasure to be there to see it happen. And to Keith and Dana Jenkerson, we appreciate the advice! Jim Baxter, I didn't forget you... It was very good to meet you Jim!

I certainly can't forget Mike Farmer, Robert Ward, Shauna Russell, Greg Hupe, and their crew for their generosity in sharing the information. It was good to meet all you guys finally. A big hello also to Steve Arnold & Geoff Notkin. It was good to finally meet you Steve, I have a new found respect for you now. And to Geoff, glad to meet you again, this time in the field. Too bad we didn't get a chance to talk a bit.

I also want to thank all the people of West Texas for their Texas sized hearts and their overwhelming generosity. If it weren't for your hospitality the scientists and hunters wouldn't have had the opportunity to collect as many specimens and they would be plowed over or rotted away never to be seen again. Not only did you help us collect meteorites, you helped further science and the knowledge of our universe! I thank you very much for your kindness, and the meteorite world thanks you, sincerely.

As for Hopper, the meteorite finding dog... ;) Well all I can say is I have to chuckle a bit!. We got to spend two days with Hopper. No photos of the dog but I did somehow manage to get on the news in the Hopper segment New 8 Austin did. I'm only in the opening scenes but it was kind of exciting to see yourself on TV. Weird feeling really. Hopper liked everyone, well, everyone that might have food! She also loved to mess with the cows.

My first experience with Hopper was startling. Literally! I was out in the middle of a field minding my own meteorite hunting business and all of a sudden out of the middle of nowhere as I was staring at the ground searching intently for the elusive West Texas meteorite this black furry creature runs up to me and I about jump out of my boots!

You have to picture this, I'm concentrating so hard on the ground at finding a meteorite that I'm oblivious to my surroundings and out of nowhere a black hairy thing comes walking up within inches of my leg and I was staring into the eyes of the beast! ;) lol My heart leapt and I had to choke back a little noise. THAT was MY first experience with Hopper! Sweet dog really…

Another little tidbit of info for all you guys that went Gaa Gaa over Hopper. Since we did get a chance to hunt for two days with Hopper running around and frolicking in the fields of West Texas, we got to see a side of Hopper most didn’t have the good fortune to witness. They certainly experienced it, even if it was unknowingly. Dogs will be dogs, and we all know dogs like stinky stuff. Really stinky stuff! And what do dogs do when they find stinky stuff? That’s right, they roll in it!

Hopper came up to me and played and right off I noticed how nice a dog she was. She was so friendly she would walk up to anyone. I petted her and played a little with her in the field and went back to hunting. Then a couple hours later, I witnessed her rolling around on the ground about 20 feet or so away, and when I walked over to see what was going on, that’s when I noticed the nice big, ugly and very dead raccoon Hopper was rolling around in. Eew, Yuck! I promptly washed my hands. I tried to warn everyone I saw, but they were so caught up they didn’t care. You know the old saying “you don’t know where that’s been.” Well…

This in no way detracts from her meteorite hunting prowess, or her awesome personality! Hopper is a great dog. I wish I had a meteorite hunting dog like her. She was super and deserves every steak she’s fed. She truly is a one of a kind dog. She does need a bath though.

OK, OK… I know you guys are wanting to see some photos so here they are…

I was fortunate enough to find one stone. It’s not much but it made the trip all that more rewarding, and 10, 20, or 50 years from now I can say Feb 25th 2009 I went, hunted, and found a piece of the West Texas meteorite fall. A witnessed fall, and my first chased meteorite fall expedition.

6.9g West Meteorite (L6 S3 W0)

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We hunted all over West, and had help from some of the best hunters in the business, but it comes down to being able to spot them on the ground, and there's no substitute for experience in the field. It takes some luck, but mostly it's skill and certainly I needed more experience in the field. A good friend of mine says he makes his own luck, and he's surely one to listen to, as he seems to have a knack for finding main masses. First you need to know where to look in the first place, and then in knowing how to spot the meteorites on the ground. And from my experience and the discussions I've had with most hunters out there, this was not an easy one to hunt and I should count myself lucky I found even one piece. I do, and I am grateful for the help and excited I found one. I will not sell it, I might cut a piece off to sell, but the main piece goes in my small collection of first finds.

It was a wonderful experience to go on this trip, and worth every penny. I am proud to have gone out and braved the West. We met some great people and got to hunt with veteran hunters from all over. This is truly a great meteorite, and a trip to remember.

Regards,

Eric Wichman

Meteorites USA

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