Valuable Lesson From an Experienced Placer Gold Miner

(The old Motherlode Region mining town of Jamestown is at the heart of Rick's story.)

An Experienced Placer Gold Miner

Before I get into the heart of the matter here, I'd like to introduce you to Rick Shelby ("HurtHawk") who's gained a very good reputation as both a generous-spirited person and an experienced small-scale placer gold miner. Rick hosts a website called (aptly) HurtHawk, that is filled with gold prospecting and mining tips, articles, product reviews, photos, and videos of his mining efforts. For those of you like to watch mining videos on YouTube, Rick has over 100 of his videos posted there, so take a look when you get the chance.

Rick has graciously allowed me to post the following material from his site and I think you would be wise to read it carefully because it may save you some pain and misery. At the same time, it'll probably raise your hackles too (and rightly so).

I myself have often told you to keep your mouths zipped about certain aspects of your mining activities, especially when what you're doing is giving you good gold. Like Rick, however, I sometimes forget that others around me may not be as trustworthy as I'd assumed.

Anyway, I'll let Rick tell you his story which he calls "Greed and the Miner:"

"I prospect two or three times per week. Every new spot has its challenges and rewards...some more golden than others."

"I was working a spot last Sunday and found an area with a seam of well-compacted gravels resting right on a bedrock shelf. The shelf was about 10 feet long. I started working on the right side moving toward the center of the streambed. The gold was getting progressively larger and chunkier as I dug to my left. I processed four half buckets and was amazed at the richness of my find. It was getting dark so I left three feet of the shelf undug, planning to return there at my next opportunity."

"I Was Surprised..."

"Monday my wife and I had errands in town so we stopped by the shop in Jamestown to check our inventory. A miner acquaintance of ours came by the shop and, of course, the conversation turned to prospecting. I showed him the vial from the small amount of material I processed at the new spot and he was duly impressed. I left him chatting with my wife and worked some inventory at the far end of the shop."

"Tuesday I had an appointment so I didn't get back to my spot until Wednesday morning. I was packing my equipment down to the creek when out of the woods stepped my mining acquaintance...the same one my wife and I talked to in the shop. Needless to say, I was surprised."

"To Add Insult to Injury..."

"I was even more surprised when I got to my hole and found it cleaned out to the end of the bedrock ledge. This weasel had 'wormed' the exact location of my find from my wife and then hit my spot for all the easy gold. I had done the surveying of the area, sampled many spots, and finally found the paystreak and this slimeball slithered in to high grade my spot. To add insult to injury, he pulled a vial out of his pocket with the two largest nuggets I have seen come from this area and then showed me the spot he recovered them from in my now expanded hole!"

"I am not one to anger easily, but this guy had me gritting my teeth and mentally lynching him for claim jumping. The entire way he went about getting the location, all the while not mentioning to me that he would like to come and work my area, and then actually working my hole goes against everything in the unwritten miner's code. I am more free than most in my willingness to share my knowledge and prospecting areas with others, but this sharing is based on mutual trust and respect."

"Silver Lining to a Dark Cloud"

"My wife was devastated when I asked her if she divulged the exact location to this guy and then I told her what had happened. Then SHE got mad... (this guy is lucky she couldn't get her hands on him that day...or he would be a gelding now). My wife's lips are now sealed so tight a Water-Pic couldn't get through them and a valuable lesson has been learned. I make it a habit now to only refer to my spots in general terms (i.e., Snakebite Creek, etc.). This prevents problems like the one above."

"For those of you in my viewing audience who are now chanting 'Get a rope!' do not fear...karma is already catching up with this guy. His prospecting partner dropped him cold and called me to see if I wanted to partner up with him on a huge private parcel of land with a good gold producing creek.(see...there is a silver lining to this dark cloud)."
Once Again...
Like I told Rick myself after reading this story, this lowlife piece of doggie doo-doo would've been strung up in the old days...or, at the very least, he'd have been tarred, feathered, and run out of the camps. So, once again: "Keep thy mouth shut and trust only those who won't betray that trust."
(Rick has lots of photos of his gold found at this location as well as others. However, I was not able to copy/place any of those here, so if you want to see that gold, take a look here.)
My thanks to Rick for sharing this info and for his support. I urge all of you out there to support him as well.
If you liked this post, you may want to read: "Where to Find Placer Gold (List B) Mining Ebook Now Available"
(c)  Jim Rocha (J.R.)  2012
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