Sniping for Gold

All gold prospectors love finding gold. There are many different methods to find gold, whether it is panning alongside a mountain stream, dry washing in the desert, or metal detecting some old placer diggings in search of gold nuggets. One simple, yet extremely effective method is known as sniping, and it can be a really enjoyable way to add some gold to your collection.

One thing that I have noticed about gold prospectors over the years, is that it isnít just the thrill of finding gold that keeps us motivated, but the thrill of the hunt. Doing the research to discover lost mines long forgotten, reading the lay of the land to anticipate where that big nugget may be hiding, and all the steps between just sitting at home and actually getting out in the wilds and pulling that gold nugget out of the earth!

If you truly enjoy the process of reading the lay of the land and water to evaluate the best places to hunt for gold, then sniping is one of those prospecting methods that will really appeal to you. Basically, sniping is throwing on a mask and snorkel and visually searching for high grade pockets where gold may be hiding in a stream. A good sniper must evaluate the area that they are working in, thinking about all the areas that gold might be hiding, and then recover that gold using a few simple tools. No heavy equipment or motorized suction dredges needed, just some skill and knowledge about gold, and how it acts in itís natural environment.

In addition to a mask and snorkel, you need to have a few basic tools to help out. Basically what you are looking for is areas that have the potential to trap and retain gold. These are the cracks and crevices in bedrock that gold can work itís way into and sit for millions of years untouched. These cracks will be all different sizes, so the more varied your tools, the better chance you have of being able to reach the gold. Essentially you want to be able to clean the crevice out completely, leaving nothing when you are done. To have any chance of doing this, bring along a chisel and hammer, a few screwdrivers of various sizes, a small garden trowel, crevice wires, and a couple spoons. Since these are all fairly small tools, it isnít hard to have a nice assortment without too much effort. You probably have everything you need in your garage right now. You should also bring along a pair of tweezers, magnet, a snuffer bottle and gold pan.

The main idea here is to ďthink smallĒ. Unlike most other mining methods, we are not trying to process the biggest amount of material that we can. We are looking for the very best material and high-grading, collecting just the very richest material in the stream. Locate a promising crevice in the bedrock. Try to think of areas that have not been searched before, maybe an area that would be too difficult to access with a suction dredge. The beauty of sniping is that with so little equipment required, it is simple to put everything you need in a small day pack and hike a mile or two to get away from the crowds. Once you have found a nice crack in the bedrock that holds potential, it is simply a matter of cleaning it out. Of course, this is usually easier said than done. You rarely have much room to work, but it is very important to do a thorough job cleaning out the crack, because the very richest material will be found at the bottom. This is where you will be glad that you have a good variety of tools at your disposal, because no two cracks are ever the same. Use all the tools that you need, and take your time to really do it right. Often times as you are underwater cleaning out a crevice, you will get the pleasure and thrill of seeing a nugget uncovered. There is nothing quite like taking a pair of tweezers and plucking a nugget from its resting place. Clean out all the high grade material from those cracks and pan it out. It doesnít get much more basic than that, but you will be amazed at the results if you take the time to do it right.

One of the most pleasurable thing about sniping is its simplicity. You can hike in and get away from the crowds, there are no motors humming or metal detectors making noise in your ear. I think many prospectors hear about this method and doubt itís effectiveness. It is human nature to think that bigger is better, and certainly that is often the case when it comes to gold mining. However, there is no doubt that sniping can be a great and effective way to recover more gold. It is a fantastic way to spend a hot summer day, and if you have patience and really learn to read the stream and what it is telling you, you will find gold using this method.