BONE 28, 2021 – Day 5

All things must come to an end and today was the last day of BONE 28 natural hunts. Steve from Long Island was kind enough to give Tim and I a ride this morning because our rental car wouldn’t start last night and we had to get it towed. When we got to the fields for sign-in, we met up with Jim. He was very lucky and yesterday, on day 4, found an awesome militia button!

Jim B’s Awesome Militia Button

There were two large fields available to hunt today on day 5. The first area was a grassy knoll whereas the 2nd was an alfalfa field that had huge clumps of of grass that made it very difficult to detect.

Alfalfa Field – BONE 28 Natural Hunt Saturday April 24, 2021.

I started on the grassy knoll, where I found a round ball and a prize token. The prize was a Minelab backpack! I didn’t stay on the grass that long though and ventured off to the alfalfa field. Around half past noon, I found my first good target. It had a 26 target ID on my Equinox 800 showing at a depth of max bars. Tim scanned it with his GTI 2500 but didn’t pick up the signal. I started digging a big hole and scanned again. The ID went up to 30! The sweet sound and high number had us thinking silver and we were right! It is marked sterling with a hallmark of IHD or IMD and appears to be a suspender adjustment loop.

It was a great feeling to find silver and about 5 feet away I was surprised to have another nice little tone. This one was reading as an 11 on the Nox; It was a nice little button that still had the shank fully attached.

Mike’s Equinox 800 finds – BONE 28 Day 5 – April 24, 2021.

I detected until 5pm today with only a short break for lunch but I didn’t dig up anything else worth mentioning. I met a guy named Dean out in the field and he had a spectacular day! He was showing me about 5 or 6 buttons he had dug and not one but two draped large cents – plus a barber dime. The BONE 28 event was a success if you ask me and I had a blast! There are talks of a fall 2021 BONE mini 2 day hunt and I’m seriously contemplating heading back to attend.

One of Dean’s draped bust large cents

BONE 28, 2021 -Days 3 & 4

Wow, BONE is such a cool event. Tim and I haven’t been unearthing excellent targets but we have been meeting great people who have been. Jim from TX was one of the those folks; on Day 3 he dug up a Vermont Copper!

Jim’s Vermont Copper

Tim hasn’t been too lucky at this event. On day 3 Tim’s best find was 1834’s – 1913 Mallory Wheeler padlock. He also found a cool set of old pliers. I was able to dig up an old flat button.

Mallory Wheeler Padlock found by Tim using a Garrett GTI 2500
BONE 28, Day 3 – Mike’s finds using an Equinox 800 include a buckle and flat button

Since the fields weren’t being too fruitful we decided to leave an hour early and go door knocking across the Connecticut river in Vermont. At our first stop we gained permission from a very nice lady at an old house but the owner’s weren’t sure how old exactly. She thought it was 100 years old, though it looked older. About 5 minutes after we started hunting, I was startled by a super nice gentlemen that had rolled up in his motorized wheelchair. He followed me around the huge property vicariously metal detecting through me as we both discovered each target. Tim found quite a bit of clad. I didn’t find any coins but did get a cool bell.

Old bell about 4″ tall found door knocking in Vermont

Since the finds weren’t all that great after about an hour we decided to try our luck at one more spot. While the next location was the site of an old wealthy estate, it had been picked over numerous times before us and we didn’t get any thing great from this stop. That didn’t stop us from having a blast though – I’d love to go back to Vermont to give it another go sometime.

On Day 4 of BONE 28 there were several fields available to hunt. Tim and I began the day at a field off Wentworth Rd. My best finds here were a Tombac button and two pocket knives. After an hour or two at this first field, Tim and I went to another field also off Wentworth Rd, where I found yet another flat button and a newer pocket knife. This flat button, however, had some of the gold gilt still on the back side.

Pocket Knife, pocket knife blade and Tombac Button – BONE 28, Day 4
BONE 28, 2021 – Day 4 Mike’s flat gold gilded flat button

We then ate lunch and tried another new corn field that was available to us. It didn’t seem all that great so we decided to again go door knocking, but this time in NH. We gained permission at an 1840’s mansion but it must have been hunted out because we struck out here. Either way, it was a great 4th day and we can’t wait for day 5!

BONE 28 – day 2

Great 2nd day attending bone 28 in Keene NH! It rained almost all day, but that didn’t stop us from hitting the fields all day.

Not a lot of good finds from Mike and I, but others found some great finds.

Mike’s button found with a Equinox 800
Tim’s finds for day 2 using a Garrett GTI 2500

BONE 28 – 2021, Day 1

For the last 28 years, George Streeter has been sponsoring a metal detecting hunt called BONE, Best of New England or Best of North Eastern. He has a small metal detecting and gold prospecting store near Keene New Hampshire. This year, BONE 28, has a total of 5 natural hunts and one seeded hunt.

Tim and I signed up for the event around October 2020 and we were super excited to get here and start digging. The first location is a farm of roughly 183 acres. Today the weather was nice starting off at 36F but quickly warming into the low 60’s. We rendezvoused at the location about 7:30am for a 8 O’clock start. Unfortunately, we weren’t released for hunting until closer to 9am after a 8:30am raffle.

The farm crop is corn and the field we were in had old stalks which made swinging a pain. The signals were far and few between. After about a 30 or 40 mintues, I think i dug my first target -just trash though. Some where about 1 – 1.5 hours into the hunt I got a 17 tone on my MineLab Equinox 800. OH- coin size, but no, not a coin. It was a nice flat button with a design in the center.

Within another 30 minutes I again was digging up another 17 tone, and it too was a flat button. Shortly after or before I also dug up an old thimble and a neat relic.

We detected until 5pm but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any other nice finds. Tim had a lousy day all together and ended up not making the board today. We did ask around, and there were reports of some old coins, some large cents including a pretty early one circa 1808 -1811. We were close to a detectorist Brian who found a really nice button, possibly a revolutionary war button. I wish I had taken a picture, it was really nice. I had a blast and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Metal Detecting North GA — Bartow County GA

Mike and I returned to Bartow County in search of more 19th century coins and relics. Unfortunately, this time around we didn’t find anything definitive to the 19th. I did find a flat piece of lead that is highly oxidized, but it’s function is unknown. Here are my relics and coins found:

Relics and coins from metal detecting in North Georgia — Bartow County GA

Nothing special and only one wheatie (1957-D), but the first target was that toy gyroscope piece. Here’s what it would have looked like when it was brand new:

1933 Chicago Worlds Fair Century Of Progress Gyroscope
Vintage GYROSCOPE

The little boy who lost the gyroscope must have used the heck out of it, because it’s made pretty good and it sheared all six connection points in the center of the gyroscope when it broke and was discarded! It was a deep find, well over 6 inches, you just never know what you’ve found, until you dig it up!

Mike found four wheaties, one kids silver ring, one old miniature bottle and this Sterling silver US marksman badge:

WWII marksman badge — missing specialty hanger

Here’s what a complete badge might look like:

ANTIQUE WW 2 ARMY RIFLE MARKSMAN PROFICIENCY BADGE TN G.I. ON BACK

As always, we had a fun day metal detecting in North Georgia, we didn’t find anything earth shattering this time around, but we’re always grateful for what we do find. See you next time and get out there and get the gold!

How to choose between a gold pan, gold dredge or high banker

If you’re a amateur gold miner like me, you only gold mine on weekends.  On top of that, sometimes the good mining locations are pretty far away and by the time you get to the property you might only have a couple of hours to gold mine!  I would say it’s pretty common to hear this statement:

“The more material you move, the more gold you find!”

From this statement, it would seem pretty obvious that you should always use the gold mining equipment that moves the most material, right?  Well, before we examine this statement, let’s take a look at the different mining equipment:

I actually have all the above mining equipment available to me to use when I go gold mining.   Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages of each piece of equipment of mining equipment :

Gold Pans and classifier screens 

Advantages:  Light, cheap and very easy to take into the field.  If you have a very limited time or budget, this is your best bet.  Since it’s a great tool for cleanup or to prospect for gold, pretty much ever gold miner owns one.

Disadvantages:  A gold pan is the slowest method of gold mining and used together with picks and shovels can be back-breaking work.  On top of that, a gold miner using only a gold pan will only move a limited amount of gold bearing material.  There are approximately 400 standard gold pans to the yard, so I would say working a 1/4 yard of material a day with a gold pan would be working pretty hard!

Mini sluice box 

Advantages:  Light, cheap and very easy to take into the field (same benefits as a gold pan and classifier screens).  However, a sluice box does the work of washing the material for you.  Instead of constantly bending over in the river and swishing and swirling the pan, you let the river do the washing for you!  A sluice box works in conjunction with a creek or river and doesn’t work without a moving water source.

Disadvantages:  Since you need a pretty good stream of water to operate a sluice box, it limits you to working directly in a creek or stream.  You also still need to shovel the gold bearing material into the sluice box, so the amount of material moved per day is probably limited to about a 1/2 to 1 full yard a day.   Still back-breaking work, but a step up from only a gold pan!  If you have a very limited budget and want to move the most gold possible, a good sluice box will set you back about $100 dollars.

high banker or power sluice 

Advantages:  High bankers start around $400 dollars, so they’re not cheap.  However, gold mining equipment is notoriously expensive so high bankers are one of the lower cost options.  You still need a water source, like a sluice box, but since you pump the water a significant distance from the stream or river, a high banker would allow you to get closer to the gold gold or work material not directly in a creek.  The flexibility of directly working old timer tailings and low cost makes a high banker a great choice for beginner gold miners.

Disadvantages:  You still need to shovel the gold bearing material into the high banker hopper, so the amount of material moved per day is probably about the same as a regular sluice box or about 1/2 to 1 full yard a day.   On top of that, the hopper of the high banker is usually pretty high off the ground so the digging is more difficult than a sluice box sitting directly in the stream.

2″-3″ gold dredge 

Advantages:  You can’t beat a 2″ dredge for portability!   At a total weight of 65lbs, a 2″ back-pack dredge is one of the lightest pieces of mining equipment you can find!  They start at around $1500-1800 dollars, so I wouldn’t call a 2″ dredge inexpensive, but still within some budgets.  A 3″ dredge weighs around 85-177 lbs, so it adds significant weight and cost (a 3″ dredge costs between $2000-3000 dollars)

Disadvantages:  A 2″ dredge is rated at 2 yards per hour, but almost every rock is larger than 2″ so you have to manually throw a lot of rocks!!  I swear I’ve used a 2″ dredge and thought to myself, “man I could move more material panning”.  I think when you factor in manually throwing all the 2″+ rocks and nozzle clogs, clogged intake filter and other problems, processing a yard yer hour would be pretty good rate with a 2″ gold dredge.

4+” gold dredge 

Advantages:  Wow, a 4″ gold dredge moves a LOT of material!  I’ve never used a 5″ or 6″ dredge, but I can imagine they’re monster gold getting machines!   Anything over a 6″ and you’re talking a commercial gold mining operation.  As far as processing power, a 4″ gold dredge is rated at 5 yards per hour, but so many factors can effect that rate (loose or compact material, cobble size, operator, etc)  it’s probably closer to 2 or 3 yards per hour.

Disadvantages:  A 4″+ dredge is $3000+, so that’s a negative!  Another disadvantage is the weight.   The lowest weight 4″ dredge is probably around 160 lbs, so they’re not light.  I’ve gone 4″ gold dredging by myself, but I was a lot younger and wouldn’t attempt now at 45 years old.  If you afford the cost and handle the “beast”.  One final thought about a large gold dredge, it takes substantial time to transport and set-up a gold dredge.  After you drive to your site, unload your gold dredge, set it up in your chosen location, you can loose hours in a day!  So the final disadvantage to a large gold dredge is set-up time, you need at least an hour, maybe 2 hours to set it up at your location.

TRUE STORY

On the way to the gold mining fields of north GA, I was attempting to explain the benefits and disadvantages of the different types of mining equipment to my brother, Mike.  We only had a couple of hours to gold mine once we reached the property, so I thought we should just work old timer tailings with a gold pan and sample, sample sample.  The stream in this area has been well worked many, many times over the years and I never thought we found what we should be finding directly in the creek. Plus, Like I said above, with a 2″ dredge you have to throw a lot of cobble! In fact, this particular creek has very large rocks.  Well, Mike called me an “idiot” and said it would be stupid to think we’d find more gold with a gold pan and shovels versus a 2″ gold dredge (we had both pieces of mining equipment in the truck that day).  Well, I challenged Mike to prove it!   We both had 3 hours, Mike would use the 2″ gold dredge directly in the stream and I would only use gold pans, buckets and a shovel.  When the challenge was over, we’d both take our gold concentrates back to the clean-up shack and see who got more gold!  Here’s a video of our challenge, who do you think won the challenge?