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Jack H

Advise please

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My wife and I just moved to AZ. This will be our first season prospecting here as fall and winter settle in. Just wondering what the most popular method of prospecting is here in AZ. Be it drywashing- highbanking, dredging or metal detecting. I'm aware we all have preferences. Please do share and if you would - explain why. Much appreciated. Thank you.

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You will most likely get as many opinions as you do answers....

There are many that drywash only, then there re those that detect (nugget shoot) then ya got the ones that do both..

I like to drywash, I try to detect, and I even have a recirculating sluice to use....kind of  "do as ya want"   and what ever makes YOU happy is the right way to go.

My opinion  .   :Just_Cuz_06:

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I kinda figured that. Thanks for the reply though. I'm not sure about the amount of available water during winter is why I ask. I'm used to drywashing and detecting.

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I am in Golden Valley , so any water I use when out prospecting has to be brought in.

I go to Gold Basin most of the time when I hunt as it is close to me

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2 hours ago, Jack H said:

wondering what the most popular method of prospecting is here in AZ.

You may be better off asking what the most successful method of gold recovery is in Arizona.

The popular vote will likely be the vote of people whom do not even know what they are doing. 

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2 hours ago, Jack H said:

My wife and I just moved to AZ. This will be our first season prospecting here as fall and winter settle in. Just wondering what the most popular method of prospecting is here in AZ. Be it drywashing- highbanking, dredging or metal detecting. I'm aware we all have preferences. Please do share and if you would - explain why. Much appreciated. Thank you.

Preferences matter much less than the geology of a given area.  The condition of your spine is a deciding factor, too (for an example, watch some of the YouTube videos filmed by whippersnappers like Adam and Boulderdash, who dig, vacuum and carry 3,792 five-gallon buckets of material a day to feed their drywasher -- that kind of labor would kill an old geezer like me, so even if their method works very well for them, it ain't for me).  I'd advise you to prospect an area that best fits your existing skills, and then expand as you learn more.  I mean, a fellow could spend a century detecting an area with boatloads of micro gold, and come up empty handed every day forever, so matching your tools to a particular area is important. 

And research, research, research.  The more you know, the better your odds of finding enough gold to cover the cost of tire repairs.

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I used to drywash like an animal. I will still drywash, but have been detecting more. I had back surgery a couple years ago for a crushed disc. In California the desert is super dry in the winter. I suppose my big question came about because of all the rain we've had lately. Does it continue to rain through fall and winter here? Not new to prospecting, just new to AZ

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After this one not much till December/January.  I've seen 100 year floods back in Dec. of 66' an 67'.  A couple back to back in the 70's in the summer months.  Usually no rain after Jan. for about six months or so.  You can't really figure it out though because the rain is pretty local and if it rains one place the other gold field is dry.  It's a large area between Black Canyon, Lake Pleasant, Wickenburg, Prescott, and Q.  

   Old Tom

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Thanks Tom. I appreciate the reply. I've got a lot to learn about AZ, but see its like most states. Different weather in different areas, and not entirely predictable.

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Jim Straight said, "Follow the Dry Washers", not be a dry washer. If you do it right, the dry washing method is usually hot and hard, dusty, dirty work, but it does find gold, as we know. I passed on back surgery long ago in favor of another method which works for me. I'm a wand waver. And when it comes down to it, and things happen to look right or sound right, I will dig, shovel, scrape, rake and poke into whatever cran and nookie that it takes to avoid the dreaded, smelly striped beast that we wand wavers, all dread at the end of the day . . .

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I don't mind drywashing. Especially in good ground. I posted this pic when I first joined earlier this year. I'd dug down to bedrock which was about two feet of over burden. Ran all the material through my washer. Then metal detected. I picked three small nuggets out of the hard pack and grabbed all the small gold to boot. It was a 2.8 gram day. I wont complain about that. Also, my detector would have never scanned that deep... its a little guy- Tesoro Lobo. The 3 biggest pieces in the pic were detected.

Bloodnugget_jpg_b99d398918ec74b69a3a472e2365f198.jpg

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Beautiful gold!  Kudos for the effort that went into the recovery. If that remains your preferred method, you will have quite a few hot dry days each summer to ply your trade. 

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Drywasher when it's dry, small recirc- sluice when it's wet, metal detector when I'm not feeling old and fat. My answer is, the method that brings you the most pleasure! :thumbsupanim

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Panning is obviously the best thing ever for Arizona. Also a Garrett 11inch makes for a nice frisbee, in case you need a break from panning.

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Nice gold!  I dont know...a PI may have heard that big nugget if it was laying flat.

Good luck to ya.

Come to the outing and learn some more from all the guys and gals.

Tom H.

 

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6 hours ago, boulder dash said:

Panning is obviously the best thing ever for Arizona. Also a Garrett 11inch makes for a nice frisbee, in case you need a break from panning.

Yes, panning is good.  I'd also recommend scuba dive sniping, especially in the deeper arroyos.

Jack H, in an earlier post I mentioned Adam and Boulderdash's YouTube videos, but I neglected to mention the name of their YouTube channel. It is We Break Our Glockenspiels. Rumor has it they suffered a difficult prospecting trip in the Alps some years ago.

Edited by Saul R W
Just because I think I can get away with it.
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In most places where I prospect the gold is at or just below frost line. This puts it from 6"=12" deep at the shallowest point. In many places it is 24-36" down. 

A good metal detector is fine but it simply will not tell you what is down there. It only gets the big ones. In most areas where I prospect 99% of the gold is too darn small to detect at depth. Using only a detector you often leave the real goodies behind in favor of a couple of nice chunks. In many places a detector is worthless and leaves ALL the gold behind.

Gulches in the desert are often de-concentrated from the rich hillside and bench gravels. Gulches often create multiple thin horizons due to intermittent flows. The paying layer is not always in a single horizon on bedrock but sometimes in several smaller ones above bedrock. It often pays to run all the material rather than trying to isolate the specific horizons that are rich. Many will dig right past the gold assuming it is always on bedrock. That is generally not the case in intermittent arroyos. In larger gulches that get strong water flow the bedrock has a much larger percentage of the total gold.

If I am going to have to dig a foot or 18" to uncover a paying horizon I am going to toss that material through a machine rather than toss it on the spoil pile. I see no reason to do otherwise. It does not take much longer to process the material than it does to break it up and muck it out. So you may as well get the gold you have dug up.

If I find two or three chunks with the detector at the same depth in a small area I know there is one of those horizons down there that probably has a lot of fine gold I am not hearing. So I drywash that horizon. For me a combination of drywashing/detecting  yields a whole lot more gold than just one or the other. 

If I find a good spot drywashing I always use the detector to run over the screened header material as well as the bottom and boundaries of the hole. If it is really rich I also use a GB2 to scan the tailings. The strategy has always paid off well. Rarely do I find a rich horizon that the few extra minutes of detecting goes unrewarded.

IMHO the detector and the drywasher are a perfect combination and should be used together. Especially when the majority of the gold in the area is too small to detect. It makes no sense to dig down to the big ones without getting the little stuff nor does it make sense to excavate a strip without scanning the hole for nuggets. I always use both in combination once I locate an area that produces. Each method gets some and leaves the rest. If you use both in conjunction your take will be much better for your time invested.

It sounds like you already have that figured out. 

Just my two centavos.

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3 hours ago, Saul R W said:

Yes, panning is good.  I'd also recommend scuba dive sniping, especially in the deeper arroyos.

Jack H, in an earlier post I mentioned Adam and Boulderdash's YouTube videos, but I neglected to mention the name of their YouTube channel. It is We Break Our Glockenspiels. Rumor has it they suffered a difficult prospecting trip in the Alps some years ago.

I always keep a sharp eye out for nuggets when we are snorkeling for oysters in the Gulf of New Mexico. I have found a few whoppers like that.

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10 hours ago, TomH said:

Nice gold!  I dont know...a PI may have heard that big nugget if it was laying flat.

Good luck to ya.

Come to the outing and learn some more from all the guys and gals.

Tom H.

 

Thanks, we’re planning on attending. Already blocked off the dates on my calendar. I ran my old chev 4x4 into the ground. In a moment of zero foresight I bought a 2 wheel gmc. Fresh after back surgery- the leather seats were just so comfortable. I’m regretting it now. Hopefully I can sell it to car max at blue book and find myself another 4x4 before the outing and other trips.

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Jack H. ,  I've been prospecting Az. and Nv. with a 2WD for 13 years.
You just have to be reasonable with expectations of capability and safety.
Got stuck in "sugar sand" once in all those years did very well finding gold and meteorites and still do.
A quad or sidexside may be in your future if you stick with prospecting, UNLESS you have a Mule.:knight-horse:

Good Luck an Hapy Huntn, theres a lot of "memories" out there that need to be made, and some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the land you can imagine. Enjoy.

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