Stupid is as Stupid Does – Test Before you Run

Did you ever find yourself SCREAMING at the TV?

Have you ever been watching something that just drives you crazy, because it’s just STUPID?

Well, I encountered this the past week watching the latest Gold Rush episode. During this episode, as well as many others before this, they constantly ran dirt NOT knowing what it would yield.  They often will run a full day, or even days on end, not knowing if the pay (dirt) has good gold.  I can just hear myself in the background screaming, “OH MY GOD… stop it.”   They’ll shut down, spend all day doing a cleanup, and then scratch their heads at the poor results.  Again… “OH MY GOD… Stop it”

They put a crew of 8 to work, running massive equipment, all week long based on a ONE PAN test?
“OH MY GOD… Stop it.”

GOOD ops take samplings and run the samples through small sized “prospecting equipment”.  Again, I find myself SCREAMING when I hear, “let’s run a 1000 yard test.”  Really?  Just the sample run and cleanup alone will cost you $2000 – $5000. WHY… would you do testing through your PLANT?
“OH MY GOD… Stop it.”

Every GOOD mining operation can pretty much tell you what the results will be from their run BEFORE they actually run.  They know what their capture rates are and they THOROUGHLY test the dirt before and DURING the run.  (How else do you know if you’ve moved off the gold during a 5 day run?)

Even if you don’t run “testing equipment” during the run, for the love of God… take a sample pan every hour or two of the pay.

It just drives me crazy… yes… “OH MY GOD… Stop it.”

I think most of us would agree with the above… but are we, as prospectors / small scale miners, applying that same RULE? Are we guilty of the same crime while throwing rocks at others?  Prospectors and small scale miners should play by the same rules and heed the same advice.  TEST… TEST… TEST…

Don’t spend all day digging never stopping to test.  In fact, the FIRST thing you should do when you arrive is… everyone together now… TEST.  Find the areas that will pay off BEFORE you spend the entire day digging and dredging.

One of the boys hard at work.

Last year, early spring, I made my crew spend an ENTIRE two weeks testing and mapping a lease we had.  They punched a whole every 30 – 50 yards on the ½ mile long creek.  They recorded results. It was a HARD TWO WEEKS and they weren’t thrilled about it. But guess what?  By the end of the weeks, we knew EVERYTHING about that land. We now knew where to put our efforts for the next 5 months and more importantly… WHERE NOT to spend it.

I swear to you… if I hear someone say again, “let’s run a 1000 yard test run through the plant.” I’m going to grab a rock and throw it through the TV.  Don’t be “that guy”.




The below is a good testing video.

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7 Comments on "Stupid is as Stupid Does – Test Before you Run"

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Michael Judd
Agreed. Time spent testing is never wasted. Better start saving for a tv. Docudrama seems to be the norm for these shows. That and the fact it has turned into a show about “monster” equipment. Has very little to do with actual true to life mining. Silly as they are,… Read more »

Doc, I really like the pan you were using: large riffles, small riffles, deep groove in bottom, plus smooth side in bottom. what was it, please?

I have watched this video more than once and try to imagine the area I started working last year. I’m alone and classifing so I like the idea of zip locking w/ number and bringing it home. Steep area getting in so equipment to make it faster is to tough… Read more »
I’ve seen many an episode where they do that very bad thing ,, in general it’s always todds crew, I’m no pro not even close but if I had to pay the fuel bill , I’d make dam sure I wasn’t just turning topsoil. Every time I see todds crew… Read more »

Great advice!

I run a sluice box from gold hog I use it to test lots of places I run 15 to 20 buckets at a time to see if its worth my time there I can tell from that run if its some place I want to work we dig a… Read more »