I've seen a lot of refusals to attempt mining skeet fields since shot is spread over nearly 180 degrees of the field rather than concentrated on a trap field. But your answers above is the key; the miner will want to know how long since the last mining and how many shots of average trap loads have been fired. Concentration of shot should cause your club to focus on using the same field(s) whenever possible to decrease the area he'd have to deal with; practice and game days for example......breakemall......Bob Dodd
For a very rough calculation, a semi-truck load of targets is 1512 cases of targets, and each case has 135 targets. That's 204,120 targets per load. Not all those targets will be shot at (i.e. setting targets, "Let's see a bird", etc.), but say roughly 200,000 will be. Most of the shots will be between 1 oz and 1 1/8 oz of lead, so you should be depositing at least 200,000 oz of lead per truck load of targets. Divide by 16 and get 12,500 lbs per truck load of targets. Now the big unknown is what percentage of that you can recover when you mine it. That percentage will depend on terrain, type of ground cover, etc. At my club we average about three to four truck loads of targets per year. The shot fall zone is flat, with sparse weeds for cover, and some rocks but not too many. We mine about every four to five years, and recover about two semi loads of spent shot when we mine.If you figure 3.5 loads of targets times 12,500 pounds of lead deposited per load times 5 years, that's 218,750 lbs of lead put down, and we're recovering about 150,000 lbs, i.e. about 70% recovery (if my memory is correct). If your terrain/cover is not as favorable you probably will not do as well.
A call to Gene Sears or someone else who actually does the work would probably tell you whether I'm close to right, or just blowing smoke.
By the way, if you are shooting 800,000 targets a year at a three-trap club, you are doing very well. We throw more targets than most clubs in are region, and aren't reaching that number. We just completed our biggest registered shoot of the year this past weekend, and "only" threw 125,000 targets for it- ten events with 1,100 targets over four days. Two of those were doubles, and had 89 and 92 shooters respectively. Every other event had at least 100 shooters, with a max of 133. We have fourteen trap fields and one skeet field. 800,000 targets in a year is a very busy club, especially for three fields.
Thank you as that was the type of info i was looking for. Your five year time frame is a good starting point. We have six fields (3 trap, 3 skeet). maybe I was not clear on that. We throw about 1,750,000 total targets with half sporting clays and half are trap/skeet. that was how i came up with the 800,000 figure. the sporting is not feasible for mining at this point. but the trap/skeet is in an open field and was mined about three years ago. i was looking for a way to calulate when the next mining would be practical..thanks
the miner would be able to know if it's worth while. 25 tons is not a lot as far as I can see.
Since 1992 we have mined 3 times. The first time there were something in the hundreds of tons, and just a little less the other 2 times. The second time he said he thought there was some he didn't get the first go round.
We have been throwing a million or more targets a year during this period.
Using our club as an example my guess would be somehwere around 7-8 years or so between harvests.
Our shot falls into water, and modified gold mining equipment gets it out.
A larger haul may get your club a better split, since the cost per ton would be lower for the miner.
Also the frequency may be dictated by environmental P.R. concerns. A big factor in the decision to do the last shot was to show a continued environmental responsibility on our part.
Smith47, it depends on a number of things. One is the type of equipment and the crew size the mining firm uses. Another is the topology of your land. A third is what condition you keep it in.
We are a trap club with four fields. Our shot fall area is only a few acres in area. Up until last year, the club shot ATA events 2 weeks per month and shot practice on every Tuesday 9 months of the year. That is still the bulk of our participation, but we are now open every Sunday and every Tuesday.
Our field was mined approximately 8 years ago. We hired the firm that had mined our fields at least 7 times in the past. We allowed the downslope that is our main shot fall zone to become overgrown, and we pushed our broken clays over the edge and onto the slope so they could not be seen from the shooting posts. This combination of circumstances prevented the mining firm from operating in this area, because their equipment was not suited to it.
This firm mined the flat, lower area of our fall zone. They were a father son team until the son returned to college in the fall. After that, there was only one man working the equipment. It took 3 1/2 months to recover 158,000 lbs. of lead. Our soil is a combination of dirt, clay and shale. It was an unusually wet summer, and his equipment had a very hard time coping with it. He and his wife liven in their trailer parked on our property. We gave them AC and water hookups and allowed them to use the club restrooms at will.
This spring we had another firm mine all of our shot fall zone, including the areas mined the previous summer and fall. They use heavy earth moving equipment and a very sophisticated (and effective) sifter. Their 6 man team processes an amazing amount of dirt in a day. Their sifter is not fazed by broken targets and bits of shale, although the small shale fragments do slow up the sorting. They removed an additional 120,000 lbs. in slightly less than four work weeks.
This second firm is mostly interested in throughput. A lot of their equipment is leased and their help stays in a nearby motel. So they are not interested in dawdling around. When their recovery rate goes below 3 barrels of lead a day, they start thinking about finishing up. In the last few days the recovery at out club dropped to 2 barrels a day. They had covered the area thoroughly, but decided to dig deeper in an attempt to extract move lead. When the output dropped below 2 bbls/day, they decided it was not economical to continue. We were very happy with the results.
Another firm we talked to uses a wet process the sort and clean the recovered shot. They are not as affected by weather as the dry sorters are. They assayed our grounds and told us they could recover 250,000 lbs. in approximately 5 weeks. That is very close to what we actually did recover. We decided not to use them, because they were booked solid for two years with two unsigned contracts waiting in line ahead of us.
So there you have three different scenarios. One firm has minimal living and equipment expenses, so they are willing to stay along time, even when recovery rates are really low. The big earth movers want to recover lead at a faster rate and are ready to move on when recovery falls below 4,000 lb/day. The wet miner says he stays until ALL the lead is recovered.
Another thing to consider is the commission the club gets. Often the club will get a lower commission on the first 100,000 lbs (20%) so the mining firm recovers it's moving and setup expenses. The second firm we used said it costs them $10,000+ to move their equipment from one site to another nearby.
Birchwood in Anchorage threw almost 2 million last year, according to Dave Cross - he used to manage Red Mountain, years ago. We have 5 dedicated trap fields, 4 more skeet / trap combos and two 5 stand fields.
We also have 60 or so 5 man teams for each of two 16 week leagues (spring and fall). Mostly its 3 legged team - 75 birds, so 350 per team per league times 2...I come up with us throwing almost 700k league targets. Then registered skeet, registered trap and a whole lot of practic shooting. Guess we could be doing that.
No wonder White Flyer sat up and took notice...we were having trouble getting enough birds, but they say now we're one of their biggest clubs.
Markham Park in S. Florida has been throwing targets for 25 years. With 5 combo fields, a five stand field and a SC course. Last I heard they throw about 1,000,000 targets a year combined. The county that operates the range has been collecting a $.25 per round "Lead Removal Fee" for about 7-8 years. and by all estimates has collected about $500,000 give or take.
The point is there's a lot of lead out there that has never been mined and probably never will be as the major shotfall zone is on a slope with Malaluca trees that require special procedures for cutting & removal and supervision by various enviro agencys.
Two million targets is a lot! It's almost ten semi loads. I don't have the 2009 Average Book here, but the 2008 Average Book lists the residents of California as shooting 4.2 million ATA targets for the whole year, Colorado at 1.9 million, and Alaska at 362 thousand. Birchwood is throwing almost half as many targets as Californians are shooting in ATA in a year, and six times as many as all Alaskans shoot? That's impressive, if true.
we get a semi load every four or five weeks from August to May, and about every 5 or 6 weeks over the summer. I do know that.
I'm sorta suprised at 362k registered...I thought we were a little lower than that, and I was president for 4 years. But far and away most of the birds shot are NOT registered...leagues are huge, like I said.
On the weekends its not uncommon to have all five traps full - or at least in use by 3-5 guys, hour after hour. Ditto the skeet fields.
Pocatello...weren't you on the CRUISE thread I have going? Come on up!!!! You'll see we have a helluva time up here.
In assessing clubs for yield potential I try to find clubs with at least 100K lbs. of lead that is harvestable. Other determining factors are complexity of harvest (close treelines, difficult terrain, etc) as well as distance to clubs.
We try to set up 'routes' in all the geographic areas we serve where we can reclaim a number of clubs in a given state(s). This helps us spread equipment transportation costs (a biggie) over clubs somewhat close to one another.
Every situation is different and unique. We personally visit each club beforehand to evaluate potential, meet management and respond to any questions.
Oddly enough, it's the smaller 2 to 6 trap clubs that generate far greater harvests than clubs far larger.
Yes, I was on the cruise thread. My wife and I are very interested, and will look forward to seeing the information article slated to appear in Trap & Field soon. I see you have landings scheduled in Vancouver. We have never had passports, but intend to remedy that in a few weeks after a Labor Day family reunion in Oregon. If at all possible, we intend to come. Thanks for your efforts in arranging this great trip.