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Exploring For New Areas to Detect

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I read threads on this forum and others where someone has done some driving/hiking to find a new spot to detect. Sometimes nuggets are found on these exploration trips. Sounds good. I, of course, wonder where these guys are going to find new areas that are not under claim, State lands, or private property. I have to assume they are exploring claims of clubs they are members of, their own claims, claims or private property they have permission to prospect, or unclaimed Federal public land. There are few maps available that accurately show current active claims, so what is the strategy used for determining whether one is exploring areas open for prospecting or detecting?

Edited by Dig It

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Research is about 90% of finding gold. You ask a mighty big question that has about a thousand answers.

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Bedrock, you are right about research. But, assume one has researched enough to know to be looking in areas where gold has been, and is being found. Has the knowledge base, through research and experience, to know what he/she is looking for. Knows that active claims cannot be prospected. So, either you determine what general area you want to explore and research the claim status of that area so you can explore unclaimed land, or explore an area and research the claim status of the area that looks good for future prospecting. Or you have the right to explore and prospect claimed lands. What strategy is being used by those who post about their exploration trips?

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You can not prospect or explore for minerals on claimed lands,nor can you file a claim,

over an existing claim. Go to the BLM office for the district that interests you,and they

have the plats showing claimed ,private,and withdrawn lands. Also go to the county recorders

office and get a plat of the area from them.

Better yet since you don't understand the bare basics of prospecting public land, join a club

until ,you know what you are doing.

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My strategy is to hunt open land and get permission to hunt spots that aren't open. I often ask forgiveness instead of permission but only when I know who I am dealing with.

Research is all about a location on the ground. It has a lot more to do with land ownership than geology.

Go through the old posts in these forums. Everything you need to know is there. It is a faiirly simple task to find gold bearing ground and then to find the land status of that ground. That is how we get these fantastic spots we go to. Sometimes it is claimed, sometimes it is private and sometimes it is open. You do your research, ask permission, find open ground, whatever it takes.

Then there are the club claims. Pay your dues and stay within the boundaries.

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When out and about, I use the Ol Mighty 6" pan Or Hub Cap to test anything that looks good.

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Start with a topo map, then make a list of sections ( township, section, range, meridian) your interested in take that info to the county assessors office and ask for a report of land ownership.

Then take that list to the county recorder and have a go at looking up the records, most offices have several public computers for this activity.

I start at the county level as BLM records can be way behind, anyone filing a claim normally files a location notice @ the county level first. Some paper hangers never record at the BLM, they just refile with the county every 89 days to keep the ground tied up and listed for sale. These are the claims you see on ebay/craigslist that charge a "document transfer fee" which is total BS.

WSPA is a great club PM me if you'd like more information on joining, we hold claims in AZ, NV, and CA

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Regardless of what "sawmill" thinks, I have a good understanding of what one must do to prospect on public land. I am also in several clubs. I know exactly what I would do to find new areas. I was merely asking what others do to find new detecting spots. Maybe that is how I should have asked the question in the first place. Thanks to all who tried to be helpful. To "sawmill", have a Snickers.

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After my visit to the BLM office in Phoenix today, I'm not sure how valid the verbal or written info is from them. Nice people but .IMHO got a lot of bs to go along with very little real information. They were more concerned about validating my parking than anything else.

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Boulder dash just uses his mind to find gold .... :head:

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Neither the BLM nor the County Recorder have plats of claims.

The individual location notices filed in the County Recorder's office should have maps attached that you can plot and aggregate onto a single map.

nvchris gave you the only answer that will give you anywhere near an accurate idea about where you can prospect. It's the same method we use to plot more than 1,500 claims a year. You've still got to watch for new stakes on the ground but you will at the least know what is not prospectable before you head out.

Here is the most efficient method I've found.

1. Study the geology and history of your area of interest. Books, maps and boots on the ground all help. Studying both of these will help you define where it might be productive to prospect.

2. Determine the land status of your refined areas of interest. If there are public lands that may be open to location in your target area draw them on a fairly detailed map - topo maps are a good choice.

3. Determine the actual location and extent of any claims in your target area and transfer those to your map showing land status.

You should now have a map that shows an area of potential gold mineralization with areas that are potentially claimable and a plot of existing claims. If you still have areas left open to prospecting that might be of interest to you go and explore those areas with a view to finding any new claims locations. If all looks good on the ground ...

4. prospect the open areas.

If your area of interest is unavailable or your prospecting shows no results rinse and repeat the above.

Welcome to the world of real prospecting. Figuring out where good mineralization might lead to gold is a skill. Doing the land status research on those potential areas and mapping your finds is a skill. Finding the gold (or other valuable minerals) on the ground is a skill. All these skills and more can be refined and improved over time to increase your chances of success. I'm sure you have most, if not all, of these skills in varying degrees already.

In the 70's I was really into #4 - boots on the ground. I probably highgraded a few claims or worked areas that weren't open to prospecting for various reasons. Ignorance was bliss but I wasted a lot of time and wasn't very efficient. I suspect most amateur prospectors today fit that description.

Ignoring any one of the four steps has proven to be counterproductive in my experience. Yours may be different.

There are many small placer deposits in the West that can be quite productive for the individual prospector. Mining companies have no real interest in these small scattered deposits so we as individual prospectors or small associations have a truly golden opportunity.

If all of this seems like too much trouble or time Chris' suggestion of a club like the WSPA can be a very good opportunity. Even a 20 acre claim can take years for a single prospector to explore the full potential of. Previously vetted claims can be a very good deal for a detectorist with limited time or interest in developing other prospecting related skills.

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Clay, thank you. Kudos to you.

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OK, this is killing me here...

I didnt think people still go to the gov offices anymore? I used to in the 80s and it was a pain in the neck.

Ive been using this program for 2 years and love it. Its 30 bucks a year and works with google earth.

Shows all the current claims, past claims, mines, prospects ect ect.

http://minecache.com/

The owner updates it about every 3 months.

This way you can tell exactly where the claims are, who owns them and wether its a lode or placer claim, date filed ect ects

Good luck!
Tom H.

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Updated with LR 2000 some of the worst info out there. I've been to county recorders offices in 5 states and never had a problem locating claims from them and the Tax Assessors office as usually most friendly folks. Go from big area map,copy ## info,then to bound plat books that show every single square inch in detail-take book/page and lot # to computer and viola who,what and where as ALL claims start and end there,along with annual filings, and info recorded-John

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OK, this is killing me here...

I didnt think people still go to the gov offices anymore? I used to in the 80s and it was a pain in the neck.

Ive been using this program for 2 years and love it. Its 30 bucks a year and works with google earth.

Shows all the current claims, past claims, mines, prospects ect ect.

http://minecache.com/

The owner updates it about every 3 months.

This way you can tell exactly where the claims are, who owns them and wether its a lode or placer claim, date filed ect ects

Good luck!

Tom H.

I am sure that's a good program Tom. I prefer Clay's Footprints programs for my research. However the updates can only be as accurate as the latest updates from the "gov office". And those as we all know are way late in getting updated and posted. I was attempting to find a way to access the raw data prior to it being published. But of course that's not gonna happen. Even a box of hot Krispy Kremes did not work :4chsmu1: .

Edited by SLNugget
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I do what Nvchris and Clay mentioned. First learn the gold bearing regions. Then use Google earth to find a spot you like. Then use a map with labeled Sections so you can research the claims within that section at the County Assessors to find out what is open.

I prospect in Yavapai county. Yavapai county assessors office has an awesome website that can really be used for each step. They have an interactive map with many options like satellite views, topography, hydrology and the Section, Township, and Range labels.

They also have all documents accessible on the website. So you can find a section you are interested in and then search there mining documents that have an attached PDF file that shows the actual paperwork filed by the claimant. Each claim filed has a map drawn by the claimant. Some are better than others but you get the idea when looking at it.

Like some of the other guys said don't even bother with the BLM. They don't really care and just want money. They will let people file a hundred placer claims on top of each other and let them work it out in court.

There is a ton of unclaimed land out there to hunt, you just gotta put in a lot of time doing the research. I find it very rewarding to do all that research, go to an area you found on your own and then score some gold!

Don't be mad at Sawmill he was trying to help. Your question did sound as if you are just a beginner at doing this type of research and had no idea to check out the County Assesor's office for claim filings. Joining a club is a good suggestion for someone like that.

I joined gold forums like this one and picked these guys brains for info. I have to thank Clay for giving me a link to the Yavapai County Assesors mining claim search.

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Question?

Isn't the BLM the be all end all regarding mining claims? If you don't pay your yearly maintenance fees to the BLM, then your claim is null and void even though it may still be on file with the country recorder. Am I correct? :idunno:

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Blackbird,

You are totally correct. Don't pay your fee by September than someone can jump in and claim your area. You would have to refile from scratch if you miss the deadline. If it comes down to a court thing than the filings from the BLM would be used to determine who filed first and so on. They just don't keep track of what is filed where and leave it to us individuals to sort through their paperwork and determine what is going on. I like the assessors to review claims because things seem to be a little more organized and they are much friendlier.

I should have said in my last post, that when I check the assessors paperwork if a claim has been filed in the last couple years I just assume it is still valid because not many people go to all the trouble of filing for just one year. If an area was claimed more than a couple years ago and I want to prospect it. Then I will call the BLM or check LR2000 to see if the claim is still valid.

The last couple spots I have prospected were claimed in 2006, renewed for two years then let go. So it's cool to check them out.

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Minecache is a good general research program. You should understand though that it does not show you "exactly where the claims are" not even close. The BLM only classifies the locations within a quarter section. Minecache will, generally, get you a claim location within about 1/4 mile.

Hoser John is right that it's only as up to date as the BLM records - which is pretty bad. We see several "claims" a month that are filed with the BLM and never recorded and others that are recorded with the County but never filed with the BLM. In California last year the BLM didn't even start processing the small miner's filings until the first of August - 11 months after the September 2012 deadline. It's not uncommon for them to take 3-6 months to post new mining claims in most states.

We do map claims to their actual recorded locations. We also show private lands and patents as well as mineral withdrawals. Minecache and the other LR2000 based programs don't. What appears to be open ground on Minecache is often private mineral patents, private land, State or agency lands not open to prospecting. You would never know that with one of the Google Earth based overlay programs.

Minecache doesn't even try to define land status or the actual location of claims. If you understand that you might find it a useful start to your research. It is in no way a guide to where you may lawfully prospect.

Relying on Minecache or any other program (including FootPrints) to tell you where you can prospect is ignoring your positive legal duty to do your own due diligence before proceeding to prospect the public lands. There is no single source that can do that for you. We try to give you maps that include virtually all the research you need in a specific area. We can get you closer to your goal than any other single tool but it's still up to you to do the final status check before prospecting.

The method described by nvchris in his post above is the only way you can know where you can prospect. Doing any less than that with each of your excursions onto the public lands to prospect can lead to unpleasant experiences with claim owners, private property owners and law enforcement. To put it more bluntly - prospecting another man's claim or private land is theft no matter what a prospecting program showed you.

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Question?

Isn't the BLM the be all end all regarding mining claims? If you don't pay your yearly maintenance fees to the BLM, then your claim is null and void even though it may still be on file with the country recorder. Am I correct? :idunno:

The BLM will close your claims case files if you don't pay your annual fees or make your informational filings in a timely manner. If your case file is closed your claim is invalid per the 1976 FLPMA. The BLM also have a duty to check that the area you claimed is part of then public lands open to mineral entry. Beyond that they have no legal duties in relation to claims.

The courts do not recognize BLM claims filings as dispositive. BLM cannot certify claims documents nor can they attest to the record in a court. Although some courts will allow copies of BLM filings as evidence a certified County Recording of a location notice trumps BLM file copies every time. The public record of a claim is always certifiable by the recorder. The BLM filing is informational only - not a public record. All that being said a wise man when settling a claim dispute in a court will have both the County Records and the BLM filings on hand.

In most States the County Recorder keeps the certifiable public record. In at least one State the County Assessor and the County Recorder share an office. Generally the County Assessor can not provide you with claims information. In Arizona the County Assessor classifies private mineral patents as "claims". These are not current mining claims. You will have to contact the County Recorder to get copies of Mining Claim Location Notices.

Edited by clay
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There is a reason that i suggested to go to the district BLM office too.

They do have a land use plat,that is very important. It shows all withdrawn land,

and mineral ownership. Just because it is BLM land,does not mean that they own

the mineral rights, hence it is withdrawn form all mining. Also placer claims are

filed as a legal land sub-division in most cases. The ranger can show you where

these are located on the plat.

The County does not keep track of withdrawn land . I don't know what you guys are doing,

but I always talk to the BLM minerals officer,or geologist. He goes out of his way to help me.

I checked some land,and the geologist ,pulled all of their info in the office,then checked

with the State office . Then he called the County recorder just to be sure. Then he was kind

enough to point out several small withdrawn parts of various sections on the land use plat.

He also pulled up the GPS coords for the section parts that I was interested in,just so I didn't

get on any un claimable ground. The County and the BLM both have computers and phones,

and they do talk to each other.

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I just put on a white hard hat, reflective vest, and put a sign on the ground that says "survey crew ahead"...Never had a problem detecting anywhere :head:

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Adam you stole my method of access!

I really did this in Prescott Valley on some of the tract home sites during the underground utilities work.

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Holy schitt guys...I did this on the side of the road in Glorieta..Orange vest and white hard hat. Put orange cones behind the truck and everything.

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blocking off part of the road require's a city permit , just saying

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