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Knowing When To Move On

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As I stating in Gerry's Topic "Does Size and or Success Matter?" I have a follow up question for folks. Again there is no right or wrong answer, more just an open discussion on what you do.

When do you consider a patch played out? Do you keep expanding the area even though you've been skunked several times? If so how far do you keep going? How often do you go back to "played out" patches in hopes for finding the ones left behind? Will you scrape a whole are searching for deeper bits? I could keep going on with more questions but I think you are getting my point. When do YOU finally say "I'm done here". 

I am slightly expecting different answers between those who are hobbyist and those who do this for a living. I would expect those who do this for a living to move on once it does not make financial sense to stay there, but it also might not be as much fun to pick up your scraps when there could be more virgin patches near by. I think this is an interesting topic to discuss and I am curious to see what the more experienced members here have to say!

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That's a very good question and I look forward to seeing the feedback you get. On my last trip Einstein's definition of insanity ( "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results") kept going through my mind.

But to answer your question, personally I'd say move on after a) about 3 attempts with no success at all or b) when you've run out of different things to do on the same patch. I attach my score sheet so far and this is for bone dry, very rocky, low mineralization ground with thin soil all done with a GB2. I have an ATX but it mostly stays in the truck. Also I don't do this for a living; it has to be the world's worst business model!

As you can see the law of diminishing returns generally applies in both size and number of nuggets. In my case keeping a patch alive has been mostly due to moving rocks, switching from a 10" to 6" coil and sheer bloody mindedness. But that only delays the inevitable. There are exceptions. I'd kinda given too much credit to the "old timers", stayed out of worked dry washes and so I didn't find patch 6 until my third attempt. It took me six attempts to find the Patch 2 channel extension (eat your heart out Einstein)!. But, 3 dry runs or when plumb out of ideas seems sane.


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48 minutes ago, Jonathan Porter said:

as such none of my areas are truly played out.

Aye, I suspect that is true of all our backyards, I just shake my head in resignation/disbelief each time another close in patch is found, when to move on??????😉 

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    Just to state up front, this may belong in a different category!  I'm not a nugget or dink hunter, due mostly to my location in Florida!

   That being said, I like the questions asked for two reasons!

   **Firstly, I find all you nugget hunters experiences interesting, and feel like I learn alot from you all!

   **And secondly; and more applicable to me, and others here, I think there are some parallels in the questions asked, with other types of detecting!

   Are any places where people have congregated ever played out? Like gold; do coins, jewelry, artifacts, etc... every really run out in an area, or are they just waiting to be exposed by various events, or more sophisticated equipment and/or techniques?

    Being that many of you may also hunt other items in the same areas, I just thought some of the answers here may serve us all in that respect!!👍👍


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1 When the season is over.

2 When the wife says not there again.

3 When I have to go over the same ground twice.

4 When I get sick of the area.

5 When I think I'm being followed. 

6 When I feel like looking for a new virgin. 😀

7 Forget all above, ...... When I upgrade my Detector and I have to justify it's purchase. 

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When is it time to move on?

The right question should be Have I really covered every inch of this place to justify moving on.

The reason I say that is when I was detecting an old church for the 4th time, I realized that there was just one place that I had not covered. When I did detect there the tones just rang out. That was where the out house and fire pit was located and it had a lot of trash still there. I had found dimes and trimes when I checked those places and then it hit me, check everything and every inch more than once.

Gold fields are the same and have to be the hardest areas to detect for sure, but move some rock a little dirt, and listen for the tones. They will still produce gold but maybe not as much as you would like.

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Not a gold hunter here, but I would think that if you have a lot of free time, then hunting old patches is not a bad thing. It can also be therapeutic to visit places of fond memories. But if you are limited on time, then hunting new patches seems a better bet, even though you may strike out a lot. But hunting new ground also has a sense of adventure and can recharge you so detecting doesn't get stale after a while. I hunt my same areas a lot because they can renew themselves, where gold hunting can produce again generally only if you physically remove layers of dirt (discounting new technology). So to stay or move would be a choice that involves how you think and feel internally and not so much if the area is still producing gold. The is no logical reason to keep reworking the same patch just to get scraps, yet a lot of people still do that. So maybe it's more of a philosophical question than a logical one. I say this because I will be detecting the same beach I always do next time out 😆

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On 10/13/2021 at 7:24 AM, GoldPanDan said:

When do you consider a patch played out?

When there is not a single beep left. If I spend a solid day on a location, and can’t find a single target, including trash, I’d call it done. As long as a bit of trash remains, I figure there is still gold. I’ve never had a location go completely target free yet though, so at this point there’s not one of them I’d not give another go. New detectors has a lot to do with that. As soon as I have a new machine, all the old places just got a new lease on life. :smile:

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