Digging a little deeper into your research will result in more gold if you implement these tips
Spend much time with other gold prospectors and you will probably have someone tell you the importance of “doing your research” when it comes to gold prospecting.
This is good advice, but it’s also pretty vague. And often the person saying it too you doesn’t really know how to do it properly either…
Mistakes that Gold Prospectors Make
Picking areas to prospect based on common knowledge
I often talk with excited beginners to gold prospecting. They don’t know a whole lot yet, but they are eager to start digging for their fortune!
When I ask them if they have any good areas to go prospecting, they will often say something like, “Yeah, there’s an old gold mine in the draw above my house.” Or they will be even more vague and say “Oh yeah, there’s gold all over where I live.”
The places they have in mind are so general and well-known that they surely aren’t secrets. Everybody in town probably knows about that “old gold mine” up above your house.
Only prospecting the popular areas
In gold country, there are lots of really well-known areas that have gold. There might be a famous river where gold was discovered. Maybe it was mined with an old bucket-line dredge, or maybe there’s an old hydraulic mine that you often see people prospecting at.
Obviously these places have some gold since the old-timers mined there, but these spots are definitely not secret. You can probably find a little bit of gold here from time to time, but in general they have been prospected hard, and there isn’t a whole lot left.
One big mistake that beginners often make is prospecting in areas where they aren’t supposed to.
Some of the time this is by accident simply because they don’t understand how mining claims work. They haven’t done their research on mining law.
This isn’t the way to be successful at gold mining. By learning how to properly research, you can still find your own secret spot without trespassing on someone else’s claim.
What’s to Gain from Researching Mining Areas?
More Successful Prospecting Trips
Well for one thing… you’ll find more gold!
I would assume that if you are out there hunting for gold, then eventually you would like to find some, right?
And as long as you’re out there, you’d rather find more gold rather than less gold, right?
Research will help you find places that haven’t been hit by hundreds of prospectors before you…
Also Read: 3 Reasons You Never Find Any Gold
Get away from the Crowds
Not only will you find more gold, but you will also enjoy the solitude of nature by getting away from the crowded spots where everybody else already goes.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t start gold prospecting to get rich. I was (and still am) more interested in having a fun outdoor activity where I could get away from people and enjoy some solitude.
Trust me, you can find places that other people rarely go. Let everybody else go to the same hammered-out locations to dig for a few specks of gold. Go the extra mile and locate a spot where others don’t bother to learn about. They are out there.
Skill over Luck!
Lots of people thing that finding gold comes down to luck, but hopefully you know better. There is a reason that some people find gold just about every time they go out, while others get skunked most of the time.
Learning proper gold prospecting techniques is certainly important, but more often than not, it is WHERE the are prospecting that makes the big difference.
Some Research Tips that Will Lead you to a “Secret Spot”
Mining Books on your Area
The very first thing you should do is get a book specific to the area that you mine. This can be a general book covering your state.
It’s good to get a more broad overview of the gold prospecting opportunities in your area. If you have been hunting the same spot over and over, then what you will probably learn is that there are a lot more gold producing areas than you may have realized!
It wasn’t just the big rivers and large gold mines that produced gold. Many places have hundreds of smaller gold-bearing creeks and gulches, and perhaps even more old abandoned gold mines that still have gold. You just have to find them.
(Check out our series of eBooks about gold mining in all 50 states)
State Mining Reports
If you happen to live in a particularly rich gold mining area, then there are probably some really good reports out there with much more detailed information than you will find in most books. These were often written by State Geologists and may have covered specific mining districts or smaller regions within the state.
Not only will these old reports list specific creeks, rivers, and mines where gold was discovered, but they will sometimes even tell you how many ounces of gold the mines produced, and how rich the ore was.
Also Read: Online Research Tools for Gold Prospectors
Every gold prospector needs to become familiar with the BLM’s LR2000. This is the agencies online program that will help you figure out if an area is already claimed or not.
I won’t lie… the LR2000 is not very user-friendly and can be very confusing for the beginner. They do have a good guide to help explain how to properly use it though, and it is your responsibility to make sure you aren’t on somebody else mining claim.
One handy thing about the LR2000 is that you can identify clusters of active mining claims, and this can lead you to general areas (just outside of the active claims that are open to prospecting) that you might want to try sampling for gold. You can also identify recently closed mining claims that are now open and available for a prospector like yourself to explore.
If you can find old newspapers that were dated back during the gold rush in your particular area, these can be a true “gold mine” of information. Newspapers would often report new mines that were opening up and new discoveries that were made.
They will sometimes have information on specific gold-bearing areas that you can’t find anywhere else. Newspapers have lead me to some great prospecting spots over the years.
Time for Boots on the Ground!
Once you’ve done everything here, you should have no shortage of areas to explore! Now its time to get out there and start prospecting.
Trust me, sometimes you will do everything right, find an area that seems like it’s going to be awesome, and it ends up being a dud.
Keep at it. This is all part of prospecting. Keep exploring new areas, use your prospecting skills and I guarantee that sooner or later you will find a spot that is loaded with gold that other people are missing!
Sooner or later you will find your own secret spot that will result in way more gold than you would ever find if you just keep hitting the same ol’ spots that everybody else does.