The Prepared Idiot’s Guide to Prospecting for Gold

Eureka! In this episode Rich Barna “The Prepared Idiot” takes a look at how to start prospecting for gold! Who doesn’t dream as gold covera child of stumbling across a pile of gold, buried deep in your own backyard? Unfortunately, not many pirates have left treasure troves just under the surface in cities and towns, but you may be surprised to learn that gold prospecting still has a vast number of enthusiasts up and down the country. However, you may be sad to learn that the actual financial value of what you find could be very low indeed. It is the thrill of the chase and the wonder of being in the great outdoors that many people find so invigorating, and so why not give it a try?

here are three main ways to go prospecting for gold: suction dredging, mining, and panning. Suction dredging is now very difficult to do because of environmental laws, and there are few people with the resources to start their own mine! This means that the majority of people that indulge in gold prospecting are panning for gold. Be careful though – you don’t want to get involved in complicated land ownership laws, so if you are going to go panning for gold, make sure that you find out whether prospecting is allowed, and what restrictions you may be under.


Some of the most popular places to go panning for gold are in the wilder states: California, Alaska, Arizona, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming are just a couple that spring to mind. These states have a vast amount of unreserved, unappropriated public lands, and it should be easy to find out whether you are allowed to go panning for gold there.


When you think of panning for gold, you probably picture just a tiny little pan sifting through dirt, right? Wrong! When you go panning for gold, you are permitted to use a pick or a shovel, as well as a metal detector. Before you get started, quickly read the things you should and shouldn’t do when panning:


1. Leave trees and shrubs alone, and don’t dig up by their roots.

2. Use trash cans if you find them, and if you can’t, take all of your rubbish home with you.

3. Streams and creeks are not your showers! Leave your dirty dishes until you get home.

4. Any human waste should be buried about four to six inches down, and definitely at least one hundred feet from any running water.

5. Vehicles cannot wander wherever you want – keep to permitted tracks.

6. And lastly, fill in any excavations you make. You don’t want someone else falling into your hole!

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