Man and machine


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Dear group;

I recently asked a question on another forum and I have yet to recieve any replies on opinions on it. I would therefore like to take this oppurtunity to present my question to the fine members of this forum in hopes of generating a gentlemanly discussion. My question is this:

"Which is biggest factor in successfully locating and gold nuggets, the detector or the operator?"

Let's take a hypothetical situation and determine which person has the better chance at finding nuggets.

Detectorist A:

He is a total newbie detectorist who has just purchased his first detector from Rob Allison, Bill Southern, Doc, or any number of other fine dealers. He has never handled a detector before and in fact, has no prospecting experience of any sort. He has never panned or dredged before. He purchases a GPX-4000 and armed only with the knowledge, experience and training he recieved from the dealer, he sets out.

Detectorist B:

He has 4 years of experience prospecting and he has recovered more than his fair share of nuggets using electronic means, ie, a Minelab PI detector. He has an SD series detector which has all of the enhancements and several additional coils. Additionally, he has good detecting habits and he also has very good prospecting habits. He looks for gold "signs" in the terrain and he is often successful.

Question: Who has the best chance of recovering a nugget, the newbie with the GPX-4000 or the old hand with the SD series.

Thank you for taking the time to read this topic and please feel free to post any opinions, responses, thoughts or ideas you have on the subject, even if it's a "I dunno."

your friend;

LAMAR

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Lamar,

The detector, like any other tool for prospecting is just that a tool. If subject A listened and practiced with his machine as he was told to do, his chances are as good as subject 2.

I know many think the detector is the only way to find gold anymore. I disagree. I have no college or formal training from any school of mines, although I wanted badly to go, Asia called first. Being trained by oldtimers who studied the hills & terrian first I believe they did very well with what they had to work with.

All this said, I believe that the one who has done his homework, is the better detectist. The machine is just a tool. Research and study, getting out and studying your terrian with a pair of binolars is a must.

My 2 cents.

O'29er

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Lamar, I'd have to go with Detectorist B.

I speak as a newbie....almost a Detectorist A, although my purchase was a Eureka Gold beeper. Note, I said "almost". LOLOL

IMHO, it's going to take an exceptional person (perhaps 1 out of 25 or maybe even 1 out of 100) as a Detectorist A to keep going out and actually find a nugget or 3, much less find gold regularly. As so many have said, it can take up to a year for a new detectorist to find a nugget with a beeper (I ought to be getting close since it's been about 8 months since my Eureka purchase). It's rather discouraging, to say the least, to spend $4+K on a detector, another $1K on extra coils and picks and other prospecting must-haves, then after a few hours with your dealer, find the gumption to head out time and again without finding "the mother of all nuggets". On top of that, factor in the expense of gas and supplies, the trouble of getting away from the wifey and kiddies and honey-do lists on a regular basis, learning how to research and then actually doing the research needed, and motel or campground costs. That's almost a guaranteed combination for discouragement, detector ending up in the closet gathering dust and then being sold cheap.

On the other hand, there's such a thing as beginner's luck, so who really knows?? It's just a matter of getting the beeper over a nugget, right??? LOL

As for myself (the only one I can actually speak for), I keep hitting the forums and reading the posts, head out when I can (which is only about once every month or 2), keep doing research, stay in touch with an experienced prospector who has become my mentor, buy a little paydirt once in a while, practice with my equipment whenever I can, do a bit of coin shooting locally about every week or so and try to stay positive. At times, yep, it's discouraging, but then every once in a while, I find a little something (like this week, I worked some dirt from a local river that ain't supposed to have gold and found 5 specs of it!) that reignites the fever and keeps the hope alive. So, I keep plugging along, dreaming, hoping and sometimes finding.

Hope this isn't too long a post from a greenhorn!

HH, ya'll!

Kajun

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This is a twist to an old topic. A guy with experience will find more gold with no detector at all than a newbie with no experience will. I don't care if the newbie has 4000's for arms and coils for fingers. Consider how many pounds of gold were taken off Rich Hill before detectors were even invented, compare that to how many have since. Look at the gold production in the Motherload from 1849 to present taken with out metal detectors and compare it to what has been taken with metal detectors. Technology is fantastic but it doesn't come close to what the human brain can do. Metal detectors are like pans and shovels. They help to recover the gold that you have to find. Other wise I would just turn the thing on and let it go by itself while I take a nap and when I wake up there would be gold all at my feet. I mean what the Hll if my detector is the one finding gold and not me what does it need me for? Sheesh.

-Joe

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Lamarr. Detectorist B has a huge advantage even if he uses the lousiest VLF made. He knows dozens of patches, has already done his research, already walked countless miles learning where gold is likely to be. Once in a while a newbie catches on remarkably fast though and armed with the latest stuff will soon be real competition.----Bob

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Perhaps there is another catergory of prospector Lamar. I would call them

Detectorist C:

These people fit the profile offered by kajun for the most part, (I thank Kajun for the detailed post).

C: has probably changed detectors and purchased new gear over a period of several years (as you mentioned) but for not much return at all. Until they get themselves around a PI detector, SD or GP, they remain behind the 8-ball by a huge technology gap.

I used to think it was 60% operator, 30% detector and 10% luck. . . more or less. Now I think, technology has given people the edge over all other factors except research. Here in Oz, patches are still found where they shouldn't be.

I think the younger folk are assimilating available knowledge and getting much faster at learning their gear than when I first started.

Back in the 1970's, you had to work everything out yourself. Now you go online, cutNpaste, download. . . then hit the forums. It's a wealth of learning 'with images,' we never had anything like that at all.

Research for me then was to take a week off, drive down to Perth, and spend days going through the archived microfisch files in the mines office. Good grief!

I still prefer the SD2100 as a principle detector. Nothing against the GP range, but I like things simple.

lemons

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Dear group;

The reason why I posted the question is because I know some native Bolivian prospectors armed only with a pick, shovel, prybar and sledgehammer who are finding more gold than I am. :blink: What do they know that I don't? Are they more patient than me, or have they a better knowledge of the surrounding terrain than I do? Are they just lucky, or do they have a 6th sense about where gold is lurking at? It's pretty disheartening to see the contents of their pokes and then compare their haul to mine, my friend.

Your friend;

LAMAR

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Lamar,

Where your at I must assume that studying the terain is a little hard if not impossible. Maybe its the way certain vetgaetation grows that tips them off.

My father prospected the the pinion, goldpark and dale districts from 1927-1988. He started me in 1952 and the first tool I was allowed to use was a pair of bicnoculars. We climbed a hill and studyed another hill about a mile away. He made me tell him everything I saw. we spent 4 hours doing this. The next week we did the same thing. after 6 trips, my dad went over the notes with me and even at 6 years old I could not believe the difference. He had a Whites TR63 and just loved that machine. He did upgrade, he got a Whites 4900D Pro, man he had that bad boy down pat and found alot of gold.

Again, he never went into an area with out researching it by map(mostly old R/R maps) and studying it for a weekend or so with the bicnoculars.

The picture attached is of my father out with me about week or 2 before he passed away. It's so classic Ed Dunkin(1900-1988).

O'29er Bob B)

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ONE WORKS WITH THE TOOLS AND KNOWLEDGE THEY ARE MOPST FAMILIAR WITH.

If a detectorist knows the quirks of the rigs he owns, his chances are greater than use of the same, by someone who doesn't know the rig inside and out.

Likewise, the Bolivian miners know what payrock, potential formations, and strata leading to gold and silver look like, and they can prospect using that knowledge and basic tools. their success is through what they are most familiar with.

In the age of mechanized strip mining, where everything is taken up and processed, many modern 'miners' (more like heavy equipment operators) don't necessarily have the eye that miners from the 1930's had. Many modern prospectors look at maps and speed by formations at 70 mph, and are simply not acquainted well enough with the 'neighborhood' to follow up on a hunch or lead, that some bloke before could have caught.

Geology is the key, as well as rock types, faults, and ore deposition theory, and erosion. in spite of all that, it takes someone with hand tools and a desire to cover ground by the square mile, to gain a feel for what may be a possibility for payoff.

the key is to take what you already know, and build on it. read and study additional literature, and yes, get a pair of binoculars. develop your eye to see old pack trails, faults, rock changes, dirt and character, and hike to the tops of the hills to discover some old hidden prospect. a 4x4 is great to get you there, but don't expect to drive right up on the rich stockpile- that takes some walking, stamina, and observation, amybe swing a pick too.

I don't think the problem is technology or advances in prospecting theory. Rather, the problem lies in one's understanding of those subjects in order to take adavantage of old work that has already been done, as the key to finding future fortunes.

Personally, if I could gain association with the Bolivian prospectors, perhaps paying them with money or gifts as a mean of 'tuition compensation', learn about their means, and make their tried and true experiences with ore, part of your own experience. once you gain some insight from them, maybe your income with both that knowledge, and your own prowess with a detector, will bring better results.

You also have to realize that more small gold that is not readily discernable to a detector, is locked up inside of solid rock, perhaps the reason they have a bigger poke than the gold you are getting with a detector.

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Hello Lamar,

Great question! There's no doubt I would agree "Experience" is the key to successful prospecting. I know I could easily go back to a Minelab SD, even a VLF if I had to and find gold. The experience of knowing your detector, knowing the ground and where to search is very important. Most newbies have no clue where to search and even how to operate a detector, let alone try to find gold. There is always beginners luck, but for the most part an experienced detectorists will always be more successful.

Now when you put "Experience" with "The Best Tools/Equipment" you get even better results! :P

Take care,

Rob Allison

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by no means the only place to look, in AZ I tend to look for gold where the dirt is really red or primer red colored, with small rocks, and when it's hit with a pick, streaks out white.

Weathered volcanics as in greenstone, andesites, and schists seems to be decent indicators of mineralized ground. a lot of gold in az came along for the ride in pyrites, that have since weathered, rendering the red dirt.

Gold can be caught up in platy shale, and other paths, but as in CA, many of the really good spots are underground, below lava caps. Being able to recognize contact zones of different rock types or colors, or faults, may lead one to locate decent ground.

When you get up into NV, say near lovelock, the ground is mostly the dusty alkali color and light silts, and may defy sight recognition, yet some of the biggest detectable nuggets anywhere is found NNE of there. You really have to study local conditions and past producers to get a grasp of what to look for, even spending time at some old mine sites and look at the stuff on the dumps.

If you can identify common sources that may have contributed to gold deposition, such as faults, hot springs, or other quirks, you'll stand on better ground as far as testing out the area. It also helps to check out sources of all gems and metal ores, as one may lead you to valuable finds in specimen ore, though not necessarily to rocks that can be picked up using a detector.

You may want to check out Nevada Nugget Hunters as someone is posting a lot of information about past strikes that may be of interest to you, should you decide to look around, instead of following the tourist leads

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Dear group;

The reason why I posted the question is because I know some native Bolivian prospectors armed only with a pick, shovel, prybar and sledgehammer who are finding more gold than I am. :blink: What do they know that I don't? Are they more patient than me, or have they a better knowledge of the surrounding terrain than I do? Are they just lucky, or do they have a 6th sense about where gold is lurking at? It's pretty disheartening to see the contents of their pokes and then compare their haul to mine, my friend.

Your friend;

LAMAR

Lamar,you can get into sampling quartz veins very cheaply,you probably have most of the tools already.This can be a suppliment to your detecting......Dave
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