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Missed Nugget Just In Reach

by: Gus in Idaho

   It was a beautiful fall day in the deserts of Northern Nevada where my father and I could be found on another gold detecting adventure. We had returned to a gold bearing district that had produced a fair amount of gold in the past. On this hunt I decided to dedicate my time to exploring some new ground, and was swinging a larger search coil. I was detecting very rapidly, covering lots of country and moving across a number of small washes in hopes of locating a new nugget patch for us.
  Northern Nevada Gold Nugget Metal Detector After a few hours of searching I was working my way down from the top of a saddle to the bottom of a small drainage when I started noticing some signs of activity left by a previous detectorist. There were numerous scrapes and dig holes that had been filled in. I knew immediately that I had just stumbled across someone else's patch! Now most people would typically avoid an area like this knowing that the ground had been previously detected and is probably worked over. However I like to try and find the nuggets that others have left behind. There is an advantage to hunting in ground that I know has produced gold before. It gives me an added sense of confidence, and that is very helpful in finding gold. With the amount of dig sites that were present, I knew that this area had produced some nuggets, as nobody spends that much time and effort working over an area and walks away empty handed.
   So with that in mind, I decided to go through it with a fine tooth comb. First I tried to study the ground. As I walked through the patch, I pointed out the dig holes that looked most likely to have produced a nugget.
Gus holding a Nice Nevada Gold NuggetThe patch looked to me like it was in a "V" shape, heading into the deeper part of the wash. All the dig holes appeared to be rather shallow and on the side of the hill. In fact there wasn't any evidence of digging in the very bottom. So that is where I decided to focused.
   I was about 10 minutes into it swinging my GPX-4000, fitted with my 16" Nugget Finder coil. I was inching around the gut of the wash, listening for the tiniest variances in my threshold. My machine was running absolutely perfect, just a soft purr, when it paused for a sec. I swung the coil back over that spot and it produced the same result. It was kind of weird as it was not really even a signal, the threshold just paused when I swung it over this area but it would repeat every time. I figured it was worth investigating, so I broke out my pick and cleared an area about 2x2 feet, and about 5 inches deep. Then I stuck my coil in the hole... I started to chuckle a little. It was still very quiet but it had that deep repeatable low-high tone, which usually indicates a larger metallic object.
   I waved my father over and weNorthern Nevada Gold Nugget spent a wonderful half hour together digging what we knew was going to end up being a nice hunk of gold. We finally got the hole to a point where it was just too deep to continue digging productively with my pick, and I had to walk back to the truck to get a shovel.  
   Shortly after working on the hole with the shovel, and at what I would guess around 24-26 inches deep, we unearthed the gorgeous 38.5 gram nugget. I yelled at the top of my lungs, and then thanked the good lord as I usually do.  Anytime you can find a gold nugget that exceeds an ounce, it's a good day!
This dandy nugget had been missed by the previous detectorist, and was just barely in reach of my metal detector.
Best of luck to you on your next prospecting adventure!

Gus in Idaho-