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View Full Version : I have a question about metal detecting.

02-23-2012, 05:22 PM
Please excuse me for my ignorance but i'm new to this forum and also new to metal detecting. But I have used a metal detector before here in east texas for coins, jewerly, and junk. But that's about it as there are no gold nugget's here.

I have read several post, not only on this forum but other detecting forums as well, about I found this nugget here or there or everywhere. So I begin to wonder how does one know if it's legal to hunt the nugget's they found.

So I guess my question is this. Is there a way to know it's legal to hunt?

Someday after my mom passes away, I have dreams of going to either New Mexico or Arizona to nugget hunt with a metal detector. And I sure don't want to hunt metal in my butt if you know what I mean. hehe!!

TY for any help!

02-24-2012, 08:13 AM
Join a local metal detecting or gold prospecting club and you will find out where you can legally hunt. You will also learn a lot from other members of the clubs.

Steve Herschbach
02-24-2012, 08:22 AM
The previous answer is the best. The bottom line in prospecting is you have to contact the land manager. Lands generally open to prospecting with a metal detector include BLM, Forest Service, and un-designated state lands. In any given instance you have to determine who has jurisdiction in a particular and either contact then or otherwise know the rules. Mining claims are off limits without permission of the claim holder.

02-24-2012, 01:02 PM
Thank you both for the info.

I was already aware of the various prospecting clubs and the BLM. But was kinda hoping one of you would say that most of the open land now is marked with signs stating it was open to metal detecting. Or maybe a sign up saying it's BLM land.

You see, the last time I went into New Mexico and Arizona I couldn't have been much more then 7 or 8 years old on a family vacation in the 1950's. About all that I remember about the trip was the scenery was very nice.

I have just two more questions for you guys.

A) Are the BLM maps on line?

B) And in your opinions are the BLM lands still productive?

Thank's again!

Reno Chris
02-24-2012, 02:52 PM
you would say that most of the open land now is marked with signs stating it was open to metal detecting.

First thing, BLM is not encouraging metal detecting - just the opposite. There is actually a NFS area in Arizona where the Forrest manager claims you need a fully approved plan of operation to metal detect in the Coronado National Forrest. Such plans can take a year or more of effort to acquire.

Gold is not easy to find with a detector. I often say - If it were easy to find, it wouldn't be selling for nearly $1800 an ounce. A while back Steve posted a thread on "Can I strike it rich looking for gold in Alaska?" - I think you might find it eye opening. Check it out:
Can I strike it rich looking for gold in Alaska? (http://www.akmining.com/forums/showthread.php/1297-Can-I-strike-it-rich-looking-for-gold-in-Alaska)

Steve Herschbach
02-24-2012, 03:43 PM
First thing, BLM is not encouraging metal detecting - just the opposite. There is actually a NFS area in Arizona where the Forrest manager claims you need a fully approved plan of operation to metal detect in the Coronado National Forrest. Such plans can take a year or more of effort to acquire. [/URL]

Hi Chris,

I do agree about Forest Service but they are not BLM. I know you know that but sounds different the way you stated it.

02-24-2012, 05:34 PM
Before I read these last 2 post, with the price of gold now days, I would have thought I could make $500 a week full time (40 hrs). But now this dream waits until it hits $3000 a for one troy ounce.

TY both for your honesty and good luck in whatever you do!!!

Great info here!!!

Reno Chris
02-25-2012, 10:26 PM
Steve - Agreed that there is a difference and that BLM is much better to deal with overall that the Forrest Service - no question. Still none of them are really promoting or encouraging detecting. It does come down also to the individual in question. I've met level headed and reasonable NFS folks and also had friends challenged and questioned by BLM staff.

Dreamer - just a point - it often takes a long time (many months) for new detector operators to find their first nugget, but if you stick with it you will succeed.

02-27-2012, 05:20 PM

You are a very smart person when it comes down to mining and do it all kinda guy IMO. I have combed over your web site with a fine tooth comb and see absolutely no weakness in your knowledge at all.

So with this said, just how much money can a beginner make in his first year of metal detecting after expenses vs. a seasoned pro like yourself?

You see, there is a difference between you and I, in that I have never made very much money from working for some company. But obviously you have done very well for yourself IMO.

So in other words, if you said I (a beginner) could make 15k a year after expenses, I might think that's cool. Being that I am a beginner and never have made much money in my life.

I would be very interested in knowing how much a seasoned pro, like yourself, can make in a year just from metal detecting alone after expenses.

Please base your answer on a 40 hr week.

A wild guess will do bro.:cool:

PS- I'm not sure how many months out of the year one can metal detect in Arizona so deduct a couple of months.

Steve Herschbach
02-27-2012, 05:51 PM
Seriously, that is like asking how high is high. My honest answer is that as a beginner you will make nothing at all. You will spend more than you make. I do ok targeting specific areas for short periods of time in Alaska. What do you do for the half the year the ground is frozen? People like me or retirees make a few bucks on the side metal detecting but virtually nobody in the United States makes a genuine living doing it. By that I mean no other income and only detecting paying the bills. There are some real pros in Australia making a living prospecting but again, those doing it full time with no other means of support are rare indeed.

It takes good money to make money detecting. It is all about putting yourself on prime ground, and that is not cheap. If all you do is frequent public sites, good luck with that. You and ten thousand other people. This summer I will probably spend around $10,000 metal detecting hoping I will turn a profit. I have an excellent chance of breaking even. If I do well I might end up making $10,000 or more for a few weeks work. I may also lose my bet and spend more than I make. It is hardly a way to make a living.

02-27-2012, 07:35 PM
Dang Steve!

I'm going to my doctor tomorrow and get her to give me some gold fever pills. lmao!

Wow! I really expected you to say something closer to 50k a year.

I remember watching a tv show about 25 years ago where a guy and his wife and kids lived on a stream in Colorado. This guy told the reporter he makes 60 to 70k a year and they pan their gold. Gold was way cheap back in those days.

Maybe i'm looking at this picture wrong Steve. Is the real dollars in the fines?

Steve Herschbach
02-27-2012, 07:56 PM
Metal detecting is metal detecting. Mining is mining. If you have a rather large amount of money to invest in acquiring good ground and equipment it is possible to make a living mining. So yes,the money is in the small stuff if you have the means to move the volume.

If you want solid, factual information regarding gold mining the television is last on the list of places to look.

Sorry, not trying to be a bummer but facts are facts.

02-29-2012, 01:00 PM
Welcome to the forum! I started reading the posts on this board years before i bought a detector. I took what guys said, and stored them in my skull. I'd been searching and dredging for gold since i was 8y/o and it still was a very tough adventure using a detector for gold. I'm so tired of guys asking me about the alaska gold show, they all think that it's that easy for a bunch of idiots to get gold, then what i do is no big deal! ha ha I'm not saying anything about your questions, but it is a lot harder than it looks. Not too many people even pay for thier detector! I got lucky, but am still learning more every day. Especially on this forum. Many people on here have so many great things to say. I say start small, get in a club and have a blast. Don't think you can just make a living doing it. I think i could but i would maybe get 8 bucks and hour doing it. No joke. Gas, food, wear and tear on my rigs, geez. I just like doing it i guess.