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Hitchinamerica24

Full time prospecting?

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My partner Coyote Bill is a New Mexico legend. He has been prospecting professionally since 1978. He is a hardrock ore finding fool. He found a 17 oz pocket one day in Hillsboro that led to a decade of comedy/drama/tragedy. He is still at it today and can be found with his head poking out of various small holes in the Hillsboro area. He has been at it now for 40 years.

Embree Hale of Hillsboro worked his silver mine near Kingston for 10 years and dug 500 feet of tunnel. His wife mined and mucked right next to him for most of them. He worked placer in the late 80's on the Snake Gulch as well as hardrock when they removed the cut and fill from the old Rattlesnake Mine. He was a small prospector/miner for 20 years.

Embree has been a powder man and a dirt man in Hillsboro since he got back from the army in the seventies. His dad was the same before him. He has always dug and blasted professionally whether it was gold, silver, backhoe work, graves or water tanks. He blasted rock for the railroad a lot as well as built roads for the Forest Service. He has worked on every mining project in the Black Range in some capacity. He was at it for about 40 years total before he finally got rid of the mine and stopped driving equipment.

 

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3 hours ago, nugget108 said:

Heck give it a try. As long as you can go back to doing what you were doing or have something to fall back on. I would try it. Its a year, so a lot can happen in that year. Good or bad. 

Have fun

Yup...if you don't do it, you will always look back and wish you did. If you do it, you will have memories to last a life time. Good, bad, happy, sad....just like any year   :) Go for it if you can.

Tom H.

 

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I agree with everyone here, its tough going, but if you feel inclined toward the adventure then go for it!   Iv done a good bit of traveling up and down the coast and the western states, exploring the hinterlands, camping, prospecting, etc...   The beauty and expanse of the Western US is just stunning!   If you have the means AND time, which is so rare these days, get after it!  Tom said it all....

Heres a few of my suggestions since you asked:

1. Since the seasons are so important in prospecting and camping, plan out a basic route to your target goldfields based on the time of year.  Its possible to plan a route that follows the endless summer/fall from south to north -North to south, iv done it, its awesome.  I love this country....  High desert in the spring, rivers in the fall....low desert in the winter..  perfect.

2.  Join a bunch of clubs that have claims in the areas your interested in.  Having a place to start in each area will help in so many ways.   Iv gotten pointy fingers to great areas just by calling the president of local clubs and introducing myself as a new member.  And dont let anyone tell you the GPAA claims are worked out, they are not, ill leave it at that. 

3.   Minimal gear:  Heres whats in my truck kit:     Gold pan, custom small shovel, crevice tools, small sluice,  rock hammer, crow bar, sucker tube, 1/4 inch classifier, hand lens, snuffer bottle, etc.  not much more..   Detectors:   SDC,  GPX 4500, Falcon MD 20.    I always wish I had an Equinox when i arrive at some remote swimming hole or beach, or old homesite though..  I wouldnt carry around the big guns like a dredge/highbanker etc, until i prospected out a good concentration.... add to the kit on a need to basis.

4.   Find someone to show you how to use the gear.   Big learning curve, If id had just one person show me what little i know now id been years ahead!  But this forum is what got me over the 1st nugget hump and beyond,

5. expect to have fun!

This adventure of finding gold and traveling up north each season, looking for crystals, fishing, camping in amazing places, soaking in remote hot springs, meeting all kinds of characters,  and just being out away from the city- grind has been so rewarding.    

Oh and if you do decide to go for it, please keep in touch here on the forum and share your experiences, im sure people would love to hear about your adventure!

 

                                 

  

 

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When I was running AGA full time, I used to buy gold at Les Bender's office. I became friends with a fellow that was living off the grid, out by Antelope Creek. He averaged about 6-grams of gold per week, and moved a lot of buckets every day to get it. He was always desperate for gas money, and looked skinnier every month. I gave him 85-percent of spot and he was always happy to get it.

Ditch diggers make more money than most placer gold miners. Once you have the gold, then you have to sell it. It is NEVER worth what you believe it's worth. Buyers are not your friend, and will pay you as little for your gold as they can - especially in small amounts. Why not take an extended vacation in the goldfields and get a taste?

gtrewq.jpg

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85% used to be considered generous, unless it was from a jeweler or someone who wanted nugs pretty bad. 80% was about standard for average looking stuff.

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I sure am glad I was able to keep most of mine. I stuck pretty tight to $400 an ounce. If I could not get that I would use it myself at the panning booth or just keep it. I am glad I did not undersell myself back then because it was all worth $1504 in the end.

I told guys that if they wanted to buy gold at spot price they would have to buy gold coins. A lump of refined gold was worth whatever the market said it was worth. But real Hillsboro placer gold was a rare and precious commodity and I set the price on it. They could either pay the price or go dig some up themselves. The strategy worked just peachy for my purposes.

Back then there were lots of guys buying detectors and hitting the placers around here. There would be several in the S bar X saloon every weekend. Most of them had been out for weekends on end and had yet to find a nugget. I could always throw a few out on the bar and get a lot more than spot price for them. I often could sell a $5 piece of gold for $20. And I carved little mesquite hearts and would glue a little thin flake in the middle and sell the heck out of them. Lots of those guys had wives that had not seen them enough and the hearts were really popular. It sure beat 80% of a $325 per ounce spot price from a "gold buyer".

I used to say that no matter how much gold I found I could always come back from Hillsboro richer than I went. Even a little dust in a vial fascinated the touristas and could generally be sold at a nice profit for a novelty item. If I stumbled into the saloon with a gold pan, a story to tell and a little gold to show for it I could always wrangle a meal and a beer and a few bucks for gas. I tried to hit a completely different angle than selling it by the ounce to a buyer and I think that turned out to be a good move.

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Hitchhiker....About 20 years ago I owned the prospecting shop in Wickenburg ... I had two total greenhorns come to the store separately and outfitted their unrelated quests to prospect full time....I tried to dissuade them from walking away from their lives to try something they knew nothing about but both had the worst cases of the fever I've seen ... They both bought detectors from me and I took them out to train them ... Neither one wanted to slow down and follow my training and after a full day with each one, I pretty much threw up my hands... They couldn't find a buried pickup truck racing through the goldfields, swinging in a big arch with the coil only near the ground about10% of each swing...Anyhow, my parting advice to each one was, "Don't try to do this full time because you are not being sensible" in the way they approached it... A couple months later, one of them came back to the store wanting to sell their gear to me to buy groceries ... The other one seemed to have lost his mind and was barely capable of regular functioning ... Neither found any gold in a month or so and they both just disappeared... On the other hand, I know of many folks who approach it with a degree of reservation about throwing the whole hog in the fire who did quite well and continue to do so to this day...Nugget detecting is the most difficult form of detecting ... Unlike coin detecting in which all you have to do is find a park or a beach, etc., gold detecting requires the acquisition of geology, mineralogy, etc... I did it for a living from about 1979 to 1985 and did make a bunch of money until our mine collapsed due to investors ... But it was fun!  Hayfork is a very interesting area and I think with good prospecting it could be a good producing area ... Whatever you decide to do, a good conservative approach could be an amazing adventure and maybe a little golden too!  Good luck! and have fun!

Cheers, Unc

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On 11/5/2018 at 6:49 PM, Hitchinamerica24 said:

we live in a ten by twelve right now with out 2 daughters dog and cat lol.

Hmmm...I would use the money to get my family into a bigger home!

 You say you don't gamble but your about to gamble a years salary on prospecting fulltime and sounds like your a novice at that, the odds are very highly NOT in your favor. Invest that money more wisely and learn prospecting as a hobby, not stressing daily looking for gold to survive. Take your daughters out prospecting for fun and make memories with them.

If you didn't have kids though, I would say go for it. If you do try it, listen to some of the great advice the guys have shared and good luck!

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Do it part time until you learn the ropes.    Successful  prospecting is a trade like any other.  It takes time, a lot of research, fails, and days of disappointment before you  get the golden results.  And even when you think you know what your doing, the gold always dries up and you are starting all over. If you're up in the Trinity area, you're probably in one of the best places in CA to do it full time, once you learn the trade.

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There's a big difference between prospecting and mining....both require perseverance, long hours and a lot of physical effort....

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Read  the book Bacon and Beans from a gold pan by James Coffey. Its about a young couple from the Bay area  making ends meet prospecting in the Southern Motherlode during the depression. An inspirational story of hard times, and overcoming it in the true spirit of American " never give up" attitude, there is always a way. 

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Yeh,Fred. look how rich you got doing that! Grubstake

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Gold is getting harder and harder to come by. The cost of everything is going up. Wear and tear on equipment is a big factor. The days of a prospector and his burro living off the land are over. Having said that, I have lived off the grid for 15 years in a motor home with solar power and spent most of that time camped in the gold fields. It can be done but you need dependable vehicles and an additional source of income or a savings account. The internet helps. A lot. 

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If a guy gets creative about what he is looking for and how he markets it there is a lot of treasure out there to be found. The "new prospectors" look for items that may often seem to have little or no value but can be a real "gold mine". And there are minerals out there that are going to be the wave of the future just like gold was in the past. 

Sometimes it is best to look forward in the direction we are headed rather than back to the days of prospectors and burros. Those guys knew it would take a lot of gold and silver to fuel an expanding country and growing population. They looked forward and as a result they searched for precious metals. If you use that same logic and apply it to where this country is headed you can clearly see brand new opportunities and "rich deposits" just like the old time prospectors did.

They went for the gold not because of gold's sake. They searched because it was in demand and could offer a profit. Apply that very same logic to today's reality and you will find that the "new prospector" has a bright future and wide open horizons. Gold is an interesting hobby and an lesson in the way it used to be but it does not apply the forward looking vision that the old prospectors had. Use their lessons and apply them to today's realities and you will see there is plenty of wealth out there just laying around that no one has ever found or even thought about. Just like the old burro prospectors of yesterday. They simply focused on getting there first and the situation is no different today.

The "new prospectors" have their own unique adventure story complete with cowboys, Indians, and tales of adventure and tribulation. We can live in the past remembering the glory days that once was or we can take part in the new glory days. When you separate the word "gold" from the word "prospector" then it becomes a lot clearer.

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10 hours ago, grubstake said:

Yeh,Fred. look how rich you got doing that! Grubstake

Gary I owe it  all to you..:ya:and the 4500. It's early and the hills are a waiting. 

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Funny Fred! Grubstake

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By all means go for it if this is what you firmly believe you want to do -- until the day comes that your belief begins to wobble, looking for a balance between life's inner "want to" and "need to" gauges that all of us sooner or later become aware of.  That's when you will be in a position to make a knowing choice.  Good luck.

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The current fire conditions are the biggest problem you might face. I have friends in California that are thinking of moving because the wildfire threat. I think having a campfire today could be the end for so many like in Paradise outside of Chico. Don't mean to be a buzz kill, but today's fire climate out west is a dangerous fact of life.:sickbyc:

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No fires no where in california right now as they are enforcing all fines/penalities and jail time too. Whole state is trying to burn this year. John

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On 11/7/2018 at 8:22 PM, Alwaysdirty said:

Hmmm...I would use the money to get my family into a bigger home!

 You say you don't gamble but your about to gamble a years salary on prospecting fulltime and sounds like your a novice at that, the odds are very highly NOT in your favor. Invest that money more wisely and learn prospecting as a hobby, not stressing daily looking for gold to survive. Take your daughters out prospecting for fun and make memories with them.

If you didn't have kids though, I would say go for it. If you do try it, listen to some of the great advice the guys have shared and good luck!

Always dirty.

i appreciate the concern but why would we do that when we were already in a bigger home? We moved to the smaller home for the purpose of saving money, seeing what we could live with or without, and it’s perfect for the job we have been doing this year. We aren’t struggling and I’m not making this decision out of desperation. 

I do take my girls out prospecting and my 4 year old daughter actually puts work in. A lot more then I thought she would. She gets 25% of what we find because I believe it’s going to do her better in the future then it will do us now.

I know when to back off and if I notice my family suffering I WILL back off and adjust. 

So don’t worry brother my ladies will be fine. I won’t dig a hole too deep to climb out off.

 

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On 11/11/2018 at 7:32 AM, hardtimehermit said:

The current fire conditions are the biggest problem you might face. I have friends in California that are thinking of moving because the wildfire threat. I think having a campfire today could be the end for so many like in Paradise outside of Chico. Don't mean to be a buzz kill, but today's fire climate out west is a dangerous fact of life.:sickbyc:

Hard time hermit

i know all to well about the fire dangers . Just a week ago we have  3 planes fly over. One was pretty much a passenger jet. They were circling the valley ready to dump loads on a house fire. We were covered in smoke for months because of the Carr fire. I go into defense mode every time I come outside and smell someone’s fireplace burning. I’ve spent plenty of time on the pacific crest trail and I have had to alter routes due to fire.

im not concerned about the fires. 

Also I find that the biggest challenge in everything I’ve ever done have been the naysayers. 

People that think something isn’t possible because they haven’t done it. People are successful at things but tell you it isn’t possible because they don’t want you being successful at it. And people that see you are better at something then they are so they try to ruin it. 

Not saying anyone here is doing that. Just saying that people make things harder then they actually are. 

As bedrock bob says. There are many ways to make this work.

To be honest I know of plenty of gem stones that are worth waaaaaay more then gold. And I know where to get them. On occasion I do. I can make more money cutting opals and hitting the gem shows then I probably will looking for gold. Just this year I cut a rough piece of opal that cost 3 dollars. When finished the opal sold for 7000. Why would I go looking for gold when I could just cut opals? Because I want to. Because I dream about it. Because it takes me out into the wild where my heart and soul loves to be. 

By the way  your info is not a buzz kill. It’s a legitimate concern. Every direction I drive to get out of my mountains there are giant deaths of land that have been burned. I see it every day. 

Ill tell you though it’s never going to be fire that drives me out of this state. It’s the sick people with no morals that flood the wretched cities. The crap politicians and hippies trying to tell people what they can and can’t do. And the smell of the Central Valley. Kinda smells like Texas.

 

 

 

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Just Incase anyone else is wondering what I’ve decided lol. 

I have to finish up my responsibilities for this season then it is on. I have had a few folks message me with great advice and some good offers for help. I won’t be mentioning names. I am going for it and I’ll be writing things down  to share my experience. Any advice that has been given in this thread is being taken seriously. I understand the whys and why nots and I understand the potential hazards involved with working outdoors. 

The gold that I recover would only be sold to gold buyers at whatever %spot when needed. Otherwise I have other ways to get rid of it for more then spot. I make jewelry and I know many people take make and sell jewelry that need a supply that is cheaper then the internet. I work gem shows so I’m sure there is a way I can market it there as well. If I’m lucky I’ll keep as much of it as possible because that’s what I would rather do. But the bills will decide that. 

Worst comes to worst and I’m failing in  manner in which I don’t think I can recover prospecting wise I have the back up cash put away and I keep doing my normal “job”  that I’m doing now. 

Sure it hurts to fall on your butt. But I’m surprised there are so many people that are afraid to do it. Maybe I haven’t fallen hard enough yet to understand it yet.

 

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Spot on Mr. Hitchinamerica, 

I agree with you on your views, people tend to throw out fears of their own that can act as road blocks to what your going after. I would love to find a lot of gold, but i know inside when i go spend hours or days hunting for gold it's not just the nuggets i am searching for, it's the whole process that gives me the feeling i am after. 

I know what you mean about doing much better with gem stones too. This past season my wife and a buddy did pretty well here in Nevada with opals. They is big money there, but i still love the hunt and challenge most of all. I can really appreciate what you are getting ready to do and i wish you the best. I am sure you are aware of the fires, and just hope they stay far from you and your family prospecting team.:thumbsupanim

 

 

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18 minutes ago, hardtimehermit said:

Spot on Mr. Hitchinamerica, 

I agree with you on your views, people tend to throw out fears of their own that can act as road blocks to what your going after. I would love to find a lot of gold, but i know inside when i go spend hours or days hunting for gold it's not just the nuggets i am searching for, it's the whole process that gives me the feeling i am after. 

I know what you mean about doing much better with gem stones too. This past season my wife and a buddy did pretty well here in Nevada with opals. They is big money there, but i still love the hunt and challenge most of all. I can really appreciate what you are getting ready to do and i wish you the best. I am sure you are aware of the fires, and just hope they stay far from you and your family prospecting team.:thumbsupanim

 

 

Thanks for the good wishes. And the warnings as well. I don’t mean to make light of them. Along with the burnt treees and shrubs there are many burnt homes in the mix. I am much more mobile then most and I’m okay with packing up and leaving an area. I can’t imagine what people when when they lose everything they know and have worked for. 

I have a buddy from Australia that comes back and does the large gem shows around the U.s. every year. Tucson has one the the worlds biggest gem shows and I go there with him and I cut his opals and help him do sales. I leave there with cash and opals. I usually make more cash from the opals then I do there working. Overall I would like to mix in the prospecting with them gem hunting and cutting. I want to really get to know the ins and outs of prospecting and I know that will take more then a year but it will give me a good start. With what I already know plus what I will learn. 

A year isn’t a long time to lose in the grand scheme of things. 

Ill keep everyone posted 

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