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Where To: Nugget Hunting Nw Az Or Ut

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Hello, my father lives in SW Utah and I would love to take him nugget shooting somewhere. He is 100% disabled from Vietnam and he can use the shovel as a cane for a while and I am usually his “digger” and pinpointer guy 🙂

So I was hoping for some info on where I he and I could go nugget hunting, with my Orx in either Az or southern Utah, Nv.

So we can plan a trip together (researching and reading will give him something to do) 🙂

He doesn’t have many years left where he can even get around on his own, so any input would be great, thanks in advance

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45 minutes ago, Jzconcepts said:

Hello, my father lives in SW Utah and I would love to take him nugget shooting somewhere. He is 100% disabled from Vietnam and he can use the shovel as a cane for a while and I am usually his “digger” and pinpointer guy 🙂

So I was hoping for some info on where I he and I could go nugget hunting, with my Orx in either Az or southern Utah, Nv.

So we can plan a trip together (researching and reading will give him something to do) 🙂

He doesn’t have many years left where he can even get around on his own, so any input would be great, thanks in advance

It’s great you want to take your Dad out. My adult son and I are planning some times like that together, but I am the one who is going to show him how as its a more recent thing for me and he’s never been.

Northern Az has some good areas 3 hours from St. George like Gold Basin, but not knowing the area will require a lot of walking to be successful I would think.  If you want to really be able to find some, why not set up a tour with one of the pro’s in the area?  Lunk and Rob’s, and some other pros here offer gold prospecting classes in Az.  Just a thought.

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GPAA and GSSN both have claims out at gold basin with easy access as far as having to walk as most of the dirt roads can be navigated with 2 wheel drive there are plenty of areas to park near spots to detect. The gold however is going to require some work tiny pieces can be few and far between and will require some luck, there is the added benefit out there of the occasional meteorite.

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A quick search has yielded a document that tells where the placer gold is in Utah.


Another thought might be some places North of Las Vegas on US 95.

The suggestion about meeting up with Lunk would be a good one if you can travel that far south of Las Vegas but you need to decide quickly as Lunk will be in Northern Nevada soon.

Good luck.

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With the Orx in that area? Best chance of finding gold with easy access is working newly exposed (drywashed) stretches of caliche in wash bottoms at 30kHz or higher on the GSSN claims. Might as well try the GPAA and MPA claims too if there is new digging there exposing runs of open caliche. Pains me to say since I do not personally agree with clubs, nor does the law recognize purely recreational use as a valid reason to stake a claim, but the clubs have pretty much everything easy access claimed up out there and they leave all their holes open, so your dad would have an easy time detecting them versus other areas.

Most the gold is 0.15 grams or smaller. With a VLF you want to be able to hit stuff around 0.05 grams as that's the stuff people often miss there, so practice with a tiny test nugget. And the ground can be hot on a VLF. So the key is learn how to stay ground balanced and tell the difference between target sounds and hot rocks, and go slow and keep the coil to the ground so you can hear the tiny stuff. Try to find stretches people haven't detected already, probably 5-10% of what you will see walking around out there is unhit, or not very well detected. So consider that 9 out 10 stretches of caliche you try will have already been detected, as a rule of thumb. What I'm saying here is: be patient, believe the gold is there somewhere, and keep at it even when you want to stop.

Every time I've gone to those claims with a club member to help them learn to find gold, I've succeeded. The key really is to learn how to hear the very tiny stuff, as most people out there seem to just pass it over. I've found stretches with 15 or 20 tiny little pickers with my GB2 that a member swore he had detected and found nothing on. 

There are some stretches of caliche out there which can produce a little picker every couple feet, and some with a picker every 15 to 30 feet. If you go more with no finds, then it's likely to be previously worked with hand brooms in the depression or someone already detected it, so the key is to look for very recently exposed caliche where the gravels they dug show no signs of disturbing back in the 1930's. The last part requires a very keen eye for subtle layering and gradiational changes in caliche coatings on the gravel with depth - even most drywashers out there struggle to make this observation and end up often working old disturbed gravels without knowing it and those stretches of exposed but previously worked caliche produce very little.

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It probably goes without saying, but if you are going to be detecting/prospecting on a club claim then either join the club or at least go with someone who is a member.  That applies to any claim whether owned by a club, corporation, or private individual(s).  There is unclaimed public land from the Rockies and west (Bureau of Land Management = BLM or National Forest Service = NFS are the federal ones and some Western states have similar) but it takes effort (i.e. research) to figure out where it is.  Not finding claim markers unfortunately is far from sufficient evidence.  It seems (in my limited experience) there are more active claims without markers than those with....

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IMHO go where gold was found before, lots of research we’ll serve you best in doing this. USGS or state mines bureau’s publications are a good starting place for research.

USGS Bulletin’s 1355 Arizona Placer deposits, 1357 Utah Placer deposits, and 1348 New Mexico Placer deposits all by Maureen G. Johnson are pretty good, but remember these are well known by most detectorist, so look for more obsolete mining ⛏ publications to find those areas not so hunted. Wish you the best on your adventures.


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1 hour ago, NV-OR-ID-CAL-AU said:

...Maureen G. Johnson...

Find free downloads of her state placer location books thanks to Steve H.:


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