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Placer County CA Detecting


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My name is J.D. and I am brand new to metal detecting. Last summer I got myself a GMT and was able to swing it a couple of times, but with no luck (found lots of trash though).

I stumbled across this site about a month ago and have been trying to read as much as I can.

Being new to detecting I don't really know much about what I am doing and it makes locating a potential area difficult. Not sure what to look for etc.

I have an extensive understanding of the motherlode geology, but nothing on how to translate that into finding good ground.

I would love to hear any kind of advice and tips. If anybody else is in the Colfax/Dutch Flat area and would like to meet up that would be incredible too.

Thanks for your responses and I look forward to showing my finds here on this great forum.

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My advice -- patience. Get into the field a lot. Pay attention to what you are hearing in order to learn how to listen (there's a difference). Experiment with some actual gold targets of various sizes, including very, very small ones. Most beginning nugget shooters at first listen mostly to the loud ones and tend to ignore the whispers. Dig everything. Stay positive. Share your adventures with the rest of us. Good luck.

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Welcome JD. Digging trash is a big part of detecting. If you don't have any, get yourself some knee pads. Get a pick with a strong magnet on it. When you get a signal, scrape a bit of overburden off the target area with your pick and run the magnet over it. Then run your coil over the target area -- and if the target is not there -- it is on the magnet. If it's still there, scrape off some more overburden until the target is either on the magnet or out of the hole. At that point use your plastic scoop to isolate the target. Scoop some dirt and run it over your coil. If there is no sound, put that dirt aside and keep going until the target is in your scoop. Then dump part of the dirt into your hand and run the scoop over the coil again. Repeat until the target is in your hand.

Once you have the target in your hand, run your coil over the hole and surrounding area before you push the dirt back in the hole to make sure there are no more targets, then push the dirt back in the hole. Dig a target, fill your hole. Repeat until you start finding nuggets, then PM me with the GPS coordinates. :4chsmu1:

Bring a bag for the trash you dig. Many people who clean up an area are successful. Remember, one target is as good as the next. Be aware of the Antiquities Act. Joining a club is a good idea.

Edited by Dakota Slim
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Get access to one of the hydraulic pits in your area!! Hunt areas of shallow gravel on bedrock, and exposed bedrock.

Another good place to look is in small creeks. Also old ground sluice type placer or seam workings. Those are the 3 main areas to look for that have high nugget potential and are user freindly for detecting. Stay away from the rivers- too trashy.

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I agree join the Auburn goldhounds as I am also a member. We have a few outings a year. The last outing a few months ago some guys found 2 3 pennyweight nuggets on shirttail creek metal detecting as well a a few pennyweighters but I wasn`t able to go.

Hydralic pits are good but it gets more difficult to find pieces even for an experienced metal detectorist. Need to get off the beating track and research new places as we have been trying to do. Its hard but a great hobby and when you find your first nugget you will be happy, patience.

In Foresthill theres a hydraulic pit behind the refuse dump where locals take there trash. Have found ounces here and easy to work for the beginner. Gold is mostly small and lots of shotgun shot so expect lots of lead . I wont lie to you, it has been hammered to death by lots of people but I still seem to sqeak out a piece every trip. Some pretty decent. You have to dig or move rock piles to expose new ground. Surface hunting is difficult. Just look for a place that someone was digging and continue digging. Have found nice pockets of gold here also including 1/3 ounce pockets more than once. Once again that was a while ago but there still must be lots of gold there, it just isn't easy like it used to be to find.

Also Google earth is your friend :) look for white areas on the maps in the foothills around the forest as they may be hydraulic areas but a lot are private so be cool.

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Thank you all for the great advice. I would really like to join the Gold Hounds, but I do no live in CA full time, and only spend short periods out here. Still worth joining?

I have found a few places that look fun to detect as soon as this snow melts out.

Will post results and trip details when I get out.

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