Meet The Team
It all started as a young kid back in 1972. My family had just moved to Idaho looking for new adventures. With plenty of gold mines, ghost towns and mountain trails to explore, we needed a family hobby. My dad purchased a White’s metal detector and that was the first time I had ever seen such a money finding machine. All of 3 1/2 feet tall, 7 years old and I had an imagination full of Spanish doubloons, silver dollars, and gold nuggets.
Knowing how much I enjoyed detecting, Santa was gracious that next Christmas as I unwrapped a brand new shiny Bounty Hunter metal detector. This All Metal detector was fun as heck for a summer, and I dug more targets than one could imagine. The only problem with the All Metal detector was exactly that – and so most of my targets were trash. I was determined to step up to a discrimination detector, so that winter was spent shoveling sidewalks of snow. The Spring and Summer was spent behind a mower cutting the grass and saving the cash. As a young entrepreneur I was learning the hard ways to make a buck, but at the same time I knew my discrimination detector was getting closer with each lawn cutting and eventually I was swinging a green monster Garrett TR Discriminator. The green (Garrett) money machine was soon in my hands and finds were coming is as fast as the weekends arrived.
That was over 35 years ago. Now the small, skinny blonde haired kid with blues eyes and a dream has turned his hobby into business; one of the Northwest’s premier multiline dealers. I use, sell, test, compare,and train new customers on how to be a successful detectorists. Yes, I am a detector Junkie and what limited spare time I have is reading old books, comparing outdated maps, and traveling the back roads with detector by my side…still looking for a lost coin, artifact or gold nugget. I have spent the last 15 years specializing in gold nugget detectors and own most of them. On the side, I help organize and put together detecting trips to England, Alaska, and the occasional Civil War hunt back east.
Many people like to ask me what my favorite find of all time is. Here is how I prefer to answer: it is not always the find itself, but sometimes the people, place and/or research leading to the find that is most memorable.
- Digging my first Roman Coin 200-400AD in the farm fields of England with my wife by my side and then to have her outdo me when she unearthed a rare silver Roman coin dated 4645 BC (before Christ).
- Watching my dad dig a Civil War US Breast plate while on a trip to South Carolina.
- I dug the rarest US Wheat back cent ever minted for circulation (1909-S VDB) right here in Boise.
- Having my younger brother hand over a ¾ solid gold nugget he just dug on a trip we took to Oregon, which was his largest at the time.
- Being with customer turned great friend (almost brother like) and we both dig rare 1896-S Barber dimes the same day.
- Having a good friend and now partner hold still (he was shaking like a leaf) while I try and take photos of him and his 1 pound nugget, from our Alaska Adventures.
- Digging a gold nugget in the outback of Australia on the other side of the world and the only one I can share with is a curious Kangaroo as I do a crazy Yankee dance.
- Trying to take a photo of a friend turned partner after he just dug an 1863-S Seated Liberty Half Dollar. Yes there was snow on the ground at the time, but that is not what he was shaking from.
The adrenaline rush of a fantastic find is hard to beat and sometimes it is the person making the discovery that is more memorable than the loot itself. For treasure is not always in a metal object that needs to be found with a metal detector, they may be standing right next to you? Just look around.
My hunt for gold… beginning to present.
It all began in the late 1970’s when my dad and I started recreational prospecting the back country of Idaho on weekends. We did OK at times but it was mainly for having fun and spending time together. I can still remember an old timer stopping by our claim one day to shoot the breeze. He told us that we should try a metal detector for gold prospecting instead of the traditional pan and sluice. At the time we thought that was just a dumb idea so we never even tried it.
Years later in 2002. I was into flint knapping (making arrowheads) and had stopped at a local rock shop to get some obsidian. There against the wall were some metal detectors, so I started talking to the owner a bit and heard the word “gold” come up during the conversation. So I started to look into it a bit more and later on I purchased two machines to hunt gold (didn’t do so good). Later on I found out there are different detectors made for different uses. I realized the two previous ones I had purchased were Coin Detectors and not designed for Gold. A short time later
I had a Minelab XT 18000(VLF) as my first gold detector. It worked, as I did find some small gold nuggets, but boy was I struggling. So later on I purchased a Garrett Infinium LS (pulse induction). This machine was more money so I thought for certain it would find more gold and it did, but not to the amount that I was expecting. Also, I realized with this machine that I struggled to understand it, just like I did with the Minelab, and realized gold detectors are pretty hard to understand.
More research and time finds me speaking on the phone with Gerry’s Detectors and with a GP 3000. But as a much needed bonus, he offered field training. Long story short, what a big difference it made, as my gold take tripled after his training. Anyway, I became pretty good at running the different gold machines and have specialized with a few of them. Finding sub grain pieces of gold with the Fisher Gold Bug 2 and the new Whites V3i are capable if you know how to use them properly. The Minelab GP and GPX series are steps ahead in certain situations, as I found a monster 6.25 oz. solid nugget with my GPX-4500, and they are great tools when used to their fullest capabilities. I have spent thousands of hours using these machines and digging my share of gold. Now, I have advanced my gold hunt to help others in the pursuit of yellow metal. If you wish to advance your knowledge and speed up your gold recovery, I assure you a “hands on training” is a must for most and will save you many expensive trips in the long run.
This has become a wonderful hobby that I share with my wife (she enjoys it as much as I do) and we are looking forward to the day when detecting is all we do.
I started gold mining with a suction dredge in 1998 after knee surgery put my motocross adventures on hold for a year while my leg healed. It took only a few trips up to the mountains looking for gold before I was hooked and the motorcycles were put in the shed where they remain to this day.
After a couple of successful years of gold dredging, I needed to find a way to keep my gold adventures going during the winter months when the rivers were frozen. One day while waiting for a meeting of the local gold prospecting club to start, I saw Gerry McMullen sitting at a table with some of largest gold nuggets I had ever seen. After talking to Gerry for a few minutes, I learned that he had found the nuggets down in Nevada with a metal detector. I knew I had found my new gold related winter pastime.
My metal detecting adventures started with the purchase of a Fisher Gold Bug 2. After a few months of finding small nuggets in the Boise Basin, I decided to head to Northern Nevada for a weekend to look for larger nuggets like the ones Gerry had shown to the prospecting club. I made several trips to Rye Patch, Nevada and found a few very small nuggets similar to the size I was accustomed to finding in the Boise Basin. While down at Rye Patch, I started noticing that most of the prospectors who were finding the large deep nuggets all seemed to be using Minelab pulse induction detectors.
Once I convinced my wife to let me purchase a pulse induction Minelab, I went over to Gerry’s to look for a good deal on a Minelab SD 2200. While working a deal out with Gerry, I decided not to take advantage of the training trips he offered in Nevada. My reasoning behind the decision was that I thought I had a pretty good understanding of metal detecting basics and had watched other detector users with the same equipment dig many large nuggets. I also figured I’d be able to save a few dollars, after all, how hard could it be? Well, after driving to Northern Nevada from Boise every weekend for close to 6 months without finding a single nugget, I was starting to regret my decision on the training. I happened to be in the area while Gerry had a training trip and watched a few people with only a couple of hours on the Minelab machines find nuggets larger than I had ever found. My goal was to find one nugget with the Minelab, then sell the machine and concentrate on dredging. I was pretty discouraged.
My lucky day finally came almost 6 months to the day after I purchased the Minelab. I found a nice 4 and half gram nugget. Once I had the nugget in my hand I knew I was hooked; I still consider that nugget to be my favorite. It took a few more trips before the nuggets started to come out of the ground regularly. I finally started to understand and listen to what the machine was telling me. Looking back, I would have been months ahead if I had taken the training that was offered. I guess I’m one of those people who learns the hard way.
Over the last 11 years I’ve continued to primarily dredge in the summer and metal detect in the late fall through late spring. Despite the slow start, I have found thousands of nuggets and well over 150 ounces of gold with the detectors. My best day was close to 25 ounces detected from a small quartz pocket vein. I have continued to upgrade my detectors as new models are released. I have owned every Minelab pulse induction machine starting with the SD 2200 to the GP Extreme, GP 3000, and GP 3500. Those GP’s I thought were tops until the newer GPX series arrived. Gerry was always willing to take my older unit in trade so I could upgrade to the next level and thatallowed me to get into the GPX-4000 and then GPX-4500. One of my largest single nuggets was found with the GPX-4500 on one of Gerry’s trips to Alaska. Now I sport the new GPX 5000 and have already found my share of gold with it. I can easily see the difference in its capabilities over the GPX-4500. With thousands of hours in the gold fields, and the success I have earned, I consider myself to be extremely proficient in the use of all Minelab SD, GP and GPX detectors.
For the last 3 years I have been working part time with Gerry’s Detectors and helping his clients become more proficient with their machines. I help them get around the learning curve, I so easily got caught into, and not waste the time and trips that I myself did. When helping in the training, it allows me to go into much more details of the detectors, their timings and capabilities. I enjoy testing undug signals with different timings to learn what works best so I know I have the best chance at finding gold with my Pulse Induction Minelab.
I started metal detecting in the early 80’s with a White’s coin machine. Having never detected before but having a friend who had one, I wanted to be better and find more than he. So what does a man do? I bought the highest priced metal detector I could find. After all, it was all I needed to outdo him and dig all those old coins, gold jewelry and relics that I thought was around our area. As soon as detector arrived, I flipped through the manual had it figured out (so I thought) and was expecting to be rich in no time at all.
After a few long trips with attempts to recovery treasures and trinkets, I ended up going home with buckets of trash in the truck. I soon realized, this high end super coin detector was smarter than me, as I really had issues trying to make it work properly. Going back to the manual and re-reading things and trying to digest the words, left me even more perplexed and frustrated. After all what is Ground Balance and how do I set it properly? The manual never explained it in detail, no pictures, just some Engineering talk. The reality, I had NO IDEA what I was doing. For many trips I had wasted a lot of hours, vacation days and headache, but I eventually find a few good targets here and there. In reality, it was nothing like I had expected.
Fast forward a few years. I bought my first gold nugget detector and headed for the Idaho hills. I detected everywhere there was no gold but never hunted in areas with gold, so it seemed. My attitude was someone had been there and already found it all and that is why I found so little, NONE. Eventually after no success I gave up the hard hunt for gold except for the weekend here and there.
One rainy day I am surfing on the internet and come across another “Idaho guy” named Gerry’s Detectors in Boise. I read about Gerry and his statement of “buy a metal detector from me and get real field training”. Again, being the type of guy I am, I thought…just how much can Gerry know that I don’t? ANSWER: The only way to put it, Gerry knows just about EVERYTHING more than I did with his 35+ years of Success and Field Experience. The REALITY was: I knew nothing on how or why one does research, how to set up a detector properly, what signals to listen for and the sounds to ignore.
Some time ago I was very lucky to have met Gerry and get the training from the best. I put all the accumulated knowledge and education into field practice and I mean plenty of swinging detectors in the field for 1000’s of hours of practice while running both Pulse Induction and VLF detectors. I moved down to Nevada and hunted almost every day for a few years to fine tune my skill. I’ve learned many detectors since getting the training from Gerry. One point in particular I want share with you. I’ve learned how to make detectors work for me, instead of them working me.
Now, I work with the BEST and most knowledgeable nugget hunters/detector operators in the country. I have recovered 1000+ gold nuggets in ID, NV, OR, AZ, and even AK along with many old collectible coins, relics and some gold jewelry in my 30+ years of detecting. Most of all, I enjoy “the hunt” of metal detecting, sharing detector knowledge and helping other learn to become successful with their detectors.
My passion is metal detecting the warmer climate deserts of the southwest during the winter months in pursuit of gold nuggets and meteorites. I have no particular tool of choice, as my finds are made with a variety of metal detector brands and models. The rest of the year is spent enjoying coin/relic hunting on weekends and evenings while working a seasonal job in Idaho. My nickname is Lunk, (that is a story for another time) and I bring twenty years of detector experience and expertise to Team Nugget Busters. I hope to see you in the field where the real training takes place.