"Shootout" Update, Fighting the Good Fight, and a Schist Bedrock Tidbit

In this post I'll be clarifying some facts about the Chariot Canyon "shootout," updating you on the new court battle concerning dredging in California, and throw in a tidbit about Schist Bedrock. All of this should provide interesting reading, so let's get to it.

The "Other Side" of the Story

When I wrote the post series titled "Shootout at Chariot Canyon" a while back I found facts to be in short supply. Most of what I wrote was gleaned from Southern California print media and I have to admit that was quite a vague source for determining what really went down that Memorial Day weekend in 1989 near the old gold mining town of Julian, California. This morning I received some comments about the "shootout" from someone who is apparently the son of Gustav Hudson, one of the two parties involved in the shooting. So, without risking further confusion on my part, I'll let this individual tell his side of the story via his own comments exactly as they were written:

"My father was mining in the sixty's, he was no "newbie." And if you mean to say defending your family is antagonistic then he and I are very antagonistic. Also dead men tell no tales rings true here but hard facts and evidence do."

"First of all my father does not drink, second we saw beer cans from the back of our motor home as we passed Zerebes blue Mazda truck. We only encountered Zerebe that day he was extremely belligerent to my brother and friends after nearly ramming them off the road. When we arrived at the gate Zerebe was screaming at my brother, my father Gustav tried calming him down which he did, it took a while. Zerebe realized he had no right to stop us after he went over our claim and boundary markers and let us pass. We had are own key to our lock on the gate so we could lock up when we left. Zerebe and lopes threatened us multiple times before they left. There were no shots in the motorhome because Zerebe shot from the south side of the canyon at elevation. His field of vision was blocked by all the trees. He only saw my mother and father in or near the stream from where he shot. I know because I tried to render first aid to both men and could see from that location. My father yelled to the men to leave multiple times before Zerebe fired again. My father was not panicked, infact he was too patient, waited for the second shot. Zerebe went to town retrieved his four weapons from his sister, got drunk returned hours later. He could have come to his senses or someone could have stopped him, maybe not given him weapons. We/I did not start this we/I only reacted. This was a tragedy that Zerebe and lopes started. A gunfight and lost due to there own bad decisions. We still pray for their souls, and for their family's suffering."

So there you have it, the other side of the story in the writer's own words. Now allow me to clarify a few things here. I don't believe I ever alluded to Gustav Hudson being drunk or drinking in my post series. However, if that was how what I wrote was construed, my apologies to one and all. Secondly, the surnames of the two men who were killed at Chariot Canyon were Zerbe and Lopes, capital "L". Despite whatever happened they deserve having their correct names put out there. Note also that the writer of these comments states his family had a key to the locked gate at Chariot Canyon, something I was unsure of in my telling of this incident. Finally, I may be a bit "antagonistic" here, but as to "hard facts and evidence," we still have too few of those and the commenter provides none really. But what we do have is, again, the "other" side of the story as it relates to this tragic incident.

That said, I do want to thank the writer of these comments for his willingness to step forward and give his family's side of the story.

(Image courtesy of C. Layne.)

Update on Fighting the Good Fight

Our own Gary Thomas ("Muskrat" of Muskrat Outdoors) provided the grist for the following mill, so a shout out to him and a big "Thank You!" The following is a message sent to Gary from Dave McCracken, head of the New 49ers Prospecting organization. As many of you already know, Dave Mac has been fighting the good fight for suction dredgers and small scale gold miner' rights for quite a few years now:

Dear Muskrat,

Many of you will recall that we made the final cut in the previous session of the High Court in Rinehart v. California just this past year. The Rinehart case was challenging California’s authority to prohibit mining on the federal lands. Ultimately Rinehart was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court largely because of the Solicitor General, who has the authority to provide “yes” or “no” advice to the High Court as to which of the final cases should be reviewed. The Solicitor General advised the Court to reject Rinehart largely on the grounds that this Bohmker case would soon be along, and it frames the very same arguments in a more straightforward manner than Rinehart. (Bohmker v. Oregon, 903 F.3d 1029 (9th Cir. 2018).

While Oregon gold miners shouldered the cost of the litigation all the way through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, it has been an industry-wide effort to get the Petition to the U.S. Supreme Court drafted, finalized and submitted. We believe that the existing High Court will support mining rights on the federal lands. The challenge is to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review Bohmker. After 9+ years of painful and expensive litigation, this is the industry’s final ongoing attempt through litigation to win our mining rights back. The final Decision should affect mining rights across the west.

We have put together an Action Alert link that includes a sample letter which can be cut and pasted into a letter of your own – or you can just add in the correct date at the top, your name and address at the bottom, an original signature; and mail the letter to Mr. Trump. It would be very helpful if you copy your final letter and send it to each of the officials listed at thehttp://www.bedrockdreams.com/2019/02/shootout-update-fighting-good-fight-and.html bottom of the letter, especially the Solicitor General.

The Action Alert can be found inside our February Newsletter along with other important news right here:


This is, more or less, the end of the line for the foreseeable future, you guys.  It is also the best opportunity we have ever had to finally win our rights back once and for all! A positive outcome with the U.S. Supreme Court will turn the entire playing field upside down and hopefully get anti-mining State officials out of the way of our efforts to help make America great by providing the basic building blocks which are the foundation of a strong economy and individual freedom. Thank you in advance for all of you who will join with us in this effort!

Dave McCracken

The New 49'er Legal Fund

The New 49er's, 27 Davis Road, Happy Camp, California 96039, USA

My friend "Rattlesnake" Jim reminded me that Placer Creek in the Hopewell Mining District of New Mexico has quite a bit of schist bedrock to work, which Jim has done in the past. He also alluded to good gold being found when he worked that bedrock. Jim's comments triggered the dim light in my own brain because I've worked that same Hopewell schist bedrock a number of times in the past, although it's been many years since I've driven up to that area. In fact, if memory serves me well, the last time I was up there with my son we recovered a nice small nugget while sluicing. Anyway, those of you in the state or area who want to see a good example of schist bedrock and how rough surfaced it is should take a drive up to Hopewell sometime. I'm not certain of exactly how schist formations impacted the Hopewell District in terms of gold generation, but schist certainly provides a good deal of the bedrock in the District. Thanks for the reminder Jim!

Ya'll take care out there, hear?

(c) Jim Rocha 2019

Questions? E-mail me at jr872vt90@yahoo.com


  1. Thank you JR! Very interesting update on that shootout. As always, there's two sides to the story, but it's never easy to know exactly what happened. From this post and what I can remember from your other one on this, I don't see any good reason for an argument like this to ever have gotten bad enough for a shootout. Bad calls on both sides.....alcohol or not, it's just not worth it.

    1. Well said Gary. I agree totally.

    2. The Sheriff dept of San Digo has a complete report to Ed Miller DA of San Diego county . A foia act request is easily available to all party's interested. I was 20 years old at the time, children at the scene were eleven at the time. All of my party is still alive . M y father still mines in S D county and teaches at a PHD level .This is not the defining moment of our lives . This is not a point we need to contest . I /We live in the community and are active in mining community . There is no animosity to the writer of this blog . The media sells its stories to the public, we remain silent for safety. This is not the first or the last confrontation we encountered . The back lash was intense following the incident it only made us stronger. WHEN YOU COME ACROS A GROUP IN THE WILD ,THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. MY FAMILY AND YOURS ARE OUT THERE.

    3. Well said. My intent in writing about this incident was as an object lesson about what CAN happen out there in the mining community. When I was dredging earlier in the 1980s, a young man lost his life over a confrontation about an adjoining claim. Things should never go this far...

  2. Defender Matt, I just want to say thank you for telling your side. You hear about stuff like this all the time, but to hear it from someone who lived it first hand is a rare thing. Thank you. I hope this mess hasn't ruined life for you or your family.
    It's too bad it happened at all, but you can't go back and fix it now....

  3. Thanks for hearing my word. I came a cross this blog in a unrelated issue . We should all be wardens of our back country. As miners we have an obligation to protect wilderness areas . Teach our children well . And please be safe in your endeavors. God be with us all.

    1. It was good to hear from someone who was there and could provide their side of this tragic day. Thanks for speaking up.


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