Gold recently found with the new Makro Gold Racer metal detector.
Is there a gold prospecting season? This is a common question across metal detecting forums. There is no hard and fast rule about when you can prospect in most states. However, in Alaska, gold prospecting season runs from June through September—only into October if the weather permits. In other known prospecting states: California, Nevada, North Carolina, New Mexico, there are no posted prospecting dates. It is important to note, though—many sites DO require permission to prospect if you plan to stake any claims.
Why the Rise in Gold Prospecting Recently?
Gold prospecting seems to be spiking again in recent years, and geologists theorize as to why. In California, droughts in recent years are cited as one of the reasons. California State University (Sacramento) geology department executive, Tim Horner, explained that amateur prospectors “have been able to get to places they couldn’t before” because the drought has shrunk many of the state’s rivers, “some down to a trickle.” Horner said that one of his students recently found about $900 worth of gold in a stream that had previously been too treacherous to explore. He added, “Looking for gold [the old-fashioned way] is a popular hobby, and some people are making a living doing it.”
The simplest way to get into prospecting is to comb through sediments along a riverbank. Gold is 19 times heavier than water and denser than other particles in a stream, so it quickly settles to the bottom or into cracks between rocks or grains. A park ranger who oversees the California Bear River Campground and Recreation Area has his own theory about why gold prospecting is gaining momentum. He suggests, “The relatively high price of gold and the relatively weak economy have brought out more prospectors in recent years. The fact that low water means they can wade further upstream and get to new areas is advantageous.”
Top-Rated Prospecting Metal Detectors
Since gold occurs in nature at different levels of purity and different levels of concentration, the phase shift for gold objects appears along a wide spectrum on the phase shift dial. “Phase shift” is the difference in timing between the transmitter coil’s frequency and the frequency of the target object. Basically, this means that an object with high inductance is going to have a larger phase shift, so it is highly beneficial to use a prospecting metal detector when hunting for gold. Some machines dedicated to gold prospecting eliminate coin identification features altogether, since you’re not looking for coins. Instead they rely on sounds alone, using a low tone for base metals, and a high-pitched signal for gold. Among some of the best detectors designed for finding gold: Garrett AT Gold, Fisher Gold Bug, the Tesoro Lobo SuperTRAQ and XP DEUS. For more units that are made to find gold, read our buyers guide article called Best Metal Detectors for Gold Prospecting.
Gold Nugget Hunting with a Metal Detector