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Hello Everyone,

I grew up as a rock hound and also enjoyed metal detecting as a teenager. For the past few months I've really been considering jumping back into the hobby of detecting - specifically for gold nuggets. There are a few considerations that have kept me from already purchasing and I thought I'd get some additional perspective before starting.

1. I live in Portland, OR. As far as I know there aren't any places to detect for gold around here. I'd probably be able to make one trip a year to AZ for a week to enjoy the hobby.

2. How far apart are finds typically? Do you often come back from a hunt empty handed?

3. Since I'm not in an area where I'd be able to do this as a weekend hobby should I just rent or buy a detector? If so what one? Most places I've found recommend MineLab but I'm not sure if this is just marketing hype.

Thanks guys!

- Eric

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Eric; if you have read or do read many back posts you will realize that there is no absolute way to answer your questions...nonetheless;

Minelab makes the best and brightest PI detector available for nugget hunting...that is fact. BUt, do you want or need the 5000 for beginning? You do if you are the sort that wants the best regardless of cost. You don't live excessively far from nugget hunting ground...research will tell you where. there aren't alot of rental agencies for nugget detectors...find a friend to take you out for a few days.

Finds are few and far and then they can be fast and furious...depends...if you are hunting for the money keep your job...for fun and maybe some profit...maybe.

There are plenty of other great detectors, new and used...there is plenty of untouched country, if you search. Only you can decide what is the best thing to do...

Reading Chris Coffees posts might be a revelation to any newbie...

good luck


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You have an advantage on most folks, as a rock hound your grasp of geology will help to identify good ground.

Research will show areas in your state along with NorCal.

How often do you come home with a museum quality mineral specimen rockhounding?

As for which detector, used is a good way to start. Stick with name brands that hold their value.

Get what you can afford.

The Gold bug Pro is a great starter unit.

Just remember no detector will find gold where there is none....... research is the key to success.

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Download mine cache for Google Earth. You might be surprised at how close gold it to your location.

As mentioned, used detector is the best way to start. I purchased a Gold Bug 2 with recommendation from a neighbor who has been detecting for 30 years. Scored gold in the area. Great detector at about $500.00 used.

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I agree with all the above, renting a detector is not a good way to go if your are serious. It takes alot of time to learn your detector, a weekend is not enough time. You will want to know all the different settings and what they will and will not do.

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I just looked at mine cache and there is some great spots southeast of your location for gold.

Southeast of Culp Creek and Disston have a large gold area.

Don't know the area but a lot of mines there.

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Thanks for the information thus far guys.

  • Buy a detector - check. I found a MineLab 4500 on craigslist for $3200, does this seem like a fair price?
  • Do research... Besides MineCache what are some other good resources I should be using? I looked at some other boards today and discovered that Baker City might be a good area and only 6 hours away.
  • I don't have any friends in this hobby, should I join a club?
  • How do I make ensure I don't detect on someone's claim?

I don't know that I ever found anything worthy of a museum but several landed on shelves at my parents house.



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Go to D & K Detector sales and get a copy of " GOLD Mining in Oregon " by Bert Webber

there in Portland. Ph. 503-761-1521 13809 SE Division ST.

This is a reprint of Bulletin 61 from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries,

there is more information about places to detect for Gold than you will every be able to search

in your lifetime.

Go with any of the big Minelab Gold detectors if you have the money, if not buy a Fisher Gold

Bug, or Gold Bug 11, or the new Garrett Gold Pro

Any of these will serve you well.

Hunt any areas you can that are down slope from Gold mines that was mining ore with free Gold in it.

Hunt any areas that was a Hydrolic Mine if you can, ( to as much as a mile from these areas ) in every

direction and in any ground that drains water below these two types of mines.

Don.t give up because you don't find Gold every time you go out nor your not finding large nuggets.

There's far more small Gold you can find than there is large nuggets.

Make it a habit to check the soil depth where you are detecting, ( use a steel probe, shovel, or other )

to find how deep bedrock is. Any detector can only " see " Gold so far, so there is no use trying to

hunt in an area that the bedrock is to deep.

How deep is to deep ? That will depend a lot of things such as what detector is used, coil size, how

the detector is tuned, how fast or slow the coil is moved and how high above the ground it is used,

ground mineralization, your hearing, and LOTS more.

Large coil,s see deeper than small coils do but may not see some of the smaller flakes, the smaller coils

will find these smaller flakes but may not fine a larger nugget that is well within range of the larger

coil. No mater what detector you use you really need to have at least two coils for this reason.

Coil,s are not cheep so you need to really think about the SIZE of the Gold you are MOST LIKELY

to find in YOUR AREA not some place you read about thats 1000 mi.s away that you may or may not

ever get to go hunt. You can always buy a coil size for that area when you know for sure you are going

to get to go to it.

There,s a lot to learn about nugget hunting that is not listed here but this should help get you started in the

right direction. If you have a question about anything were all here to help so put up a post on it and I,m sure

someone can and will help you.

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BUY FROM YOUR LOCAL STORE. I can not,and will not ever, quit espoucing how important it is to BUY LOCAL. Books,mags,pin pointers(hahahaha) or whatever you need. Saving a couple a bucks will cost you righteously in the end. Local yokels have and always will supply not only great supplies,local knowledge,instant repairs to a lot of problems BUT also a great friend with knowledge and access to many places. Just my take as a retired dealer---John

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