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A little eye opener...

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Gold nugget hunting requires that you dig all targets and that means digging lots and lots and lots of trash. Face it, miners were very messy and they have littered most placer areas with every type of metal imaginable. They were not worried by the fits it may give us metal detecting in 100 years. Some people start finding to many bits of lead or iron in an area and they move on, they are missing gold! I have personally found more than one nugget in places or a hole where someone else was digging. Did they tire of digging trash? or did they just not work the spot as well as they should have? Either way they left gold.

I have learned over the years that the mood you are in directly affects whether or not you will find gold. On those days you go at it only half hearted and start passing up targets because your sure its just another bullet or bit of rusted tin you are leaving gold for the next feller that digs all his targets. This little fact I learned the hard way several years back at the cost of a three quarter ounce nugget!! It was in a trashy area I had been avoiding even though we had found gold on the same hillside. I sent a fellow I had recently met to the area to try out his new detector and the rest is history.

Shown is a few weeks hunting's worth of trash and there are even a few nice old buttons, old cap and ball slugs, buckles, etc,found while hunting. Sometimes the "trash" can turn out to be a valuable artifact and anything interesting or strange should be kept for later identification. Then there are the coins, jewelry, and trinkets of all kinds lost by miners of years past. Then sometimes there is the chance that loud "must be trash" signal is a long lost miners stash. that's been true more than once. I wonder how many walked on by sure that loud signal was another tin can?


Now we get to the hot rocks, or are they? when in gold country you are also will be dealing with hot rocks and most of what you read tells you to kick them aside. This is OK as long as you identify them first because what you are kicking aside may just be a meteorite. They are tough to identify if you are not an expert, so in most cases of a strange looking rock, keep it. there are places a person can get samples identified at no cost and some meteorites are worth much more than gold. Heck in the late 1980's many of us were throwing away those pesky hot rocks at Gold Basin and it turned out after being educated by John B. that we were tossing meteorites.... :tisk-tisk:

Most gold detectors VLF or PI now have a iron ID feature you can use to tell if your target "might" be iron. In most cases after you get to know your machine it can be 85% correct, what about the other 15%? This feature can be helpful in the identifying hot rocks and that is what I use it for the most with a VLF. in my opinion why in the heck would anyone trust anything but their own eyes to tell them if a target is gold or not? You can examine while a machine can only guess and alert you to a target...

Often folks think this hobby to be much easier than it is with all the nuggets being shown on forums and websites, but in truth there is allot of research, work, trash removal, and luck involved with pounds of metal objects of all types found. So to many of you new folks to the hobby all that trash metal you are digging along with occasional nuggets is what we all do, but those that have dug a couple pickup trucks full over the years have gotten used to it now :inocent:

So my advice to all interested in nugget hunting with a metal detector KEEP DIGGIN ALL TARGETS and be patient that next bullet or bit of iron may just be a nugget.

Just my :twocents:

Good hunting

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Bill, an excellent reminder and lesson for all...you don't know what it is until you dig it and identify it...for those that can't see close, carry a lense or your reading glasses...

Frank, that is actually a pretty good ratio of trash to gold...it could and often is much worse...


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A great reminder thanks.

I had that kind of experience yesterday in the El Paso's.

I had literally dug about fifty little tiny bits of shell casing, lead, boot tacks, wire.

I was getting alittle tired working on a steep hillside with lots of loose boulders.

The next to last target as the sun was going behind the hills

and temperature had suddenly dropped into the forties,

was a loud ratty blast in my headphones.

The tiny .1 gr. flake was one inch down and sounded exactly like all the junk.


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Great stuff Bill and isnt it the truth. I really like how you touched on attitude. It may sound silly, but taking a second to ground yourself, take in all your surroundings and feel the purity of the outdoors for all of its gifts and beauty can really put you in alignment for great success. Furthermore, if you get skunked, it doesnt even matter, to me its about being out of the chaotic mass energy fields of the fast pace city and in to peace and tranquility of the outdoors. A connection unfortunately most of the world may never experience.

Thanks again Bill,


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Hi Bill and All

If you had most of that in your pouch in the greaterville district and many other popular goldfields and ranger rick caught you :unsure: !! You would probably single handedly pay off the national debt :whaaaa: . By the fine you'ld get :angry: . Remember anything over 50 years old on public domain lands is a protected artifact :yikes: !! Coins, bullets and arrowheads even Mexican trash can be considered artifacts if ranger Rick woke up on the wrong side of the bed :shrug: !! Happy Huntin John B.

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So if anything over fifty years old is an artifact out in the goldfields and if nobody can mess with one of them, then the ranger can't mess with me....Right :rasberry::olddude: Cheers, Unc

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Uncle Ron that is funny.

Bill great reality check for the masses, They see the gold pics but dont see all the trash that is part of the program.

I guessed a average of 100 to 1 . Being 100 trash digs to one nugget, It is a hard thing to do ,But you must have a positive attitude, And believe you will find gold,The doubt waives heavy as in life and does no good out in the field.Dig it all.

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