Man I hear this said allot about everything from whole placer districts to club claims and it makes me shake my head. I wonder if the folks that are saying this realize that it is perhaps their lack of education or skills that is really the problem. For instance have you ever looked at the coil on a metal detector then looked around you at the land and tried to estimate how long it would take to hunt every square inch with that detector? I mean even a 20 acre claim would take years to cover efficiently, many years.
I am not trying to hurt anyone’s ego here and I am just trying to make a point that may get you over some gold. You see the thing is I have never heard a truly successful nugget hunter say that anywhere is hunted out and though it may be harder to tag a couple nuggets they are still there. There are many factors that are involved here such as new erosion, inexperienced hunters before you, new technology, etc.
I have many small washes in Arizona that I can return to after a couple years or after a unusually heavy series of downpours and squeak out a few more precious nuggets due to new material being eroded into the small drainage’s and big ones as well. Also as this material is moving it leaves the ground around it a inch or more shallower than the last time I visited in some cases.
On top of that how in the world can someone know an area is “hunted out” without even going there? Folks if you are serious enough about nugget shooting to buy a $800.00+ metal detector why would you not be serious about hunting with it? Follow your own trail and hunt like you mean it. If you get to an area and already think you will be unsuccessful guess what? You will likely not score if your heart is not into it….
Good hunting and be careful out there.