Rockhunting is defined as “allowing guests on your ranch to collect rocks of certain types for a fee.” If you own or manage a ranch in the Big Bend area and want to see whether rockhunting would work for you as an extra source of income, I can probably help you. This aspect of my trips has been written up in Western Cowman magazine (July/August 2010).
I have led more than 800 rockhunts in the Big Bend. On my field trips, there has never been a rockhunter injury, damage to a ranch, or a case of a rockhunter disobeying the rules. And during those field trips, rockhunters have helped repair fences and roads, clean up trash, remove brush, and generally leave the area in better shape than we found it.
The most important element of my program is that you retain control of every aspect of the field trips, yet you don’t have to spend time actually leading the trips. You set up the limits as to where and when we go, what we take, how many people may attend, etc.
Field Trip participants would be required to join the Rollin’ Rock Club and adhere to the club’s field trip rules, and those of the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies. They would all sign a rockhunt-specific Texas liability waiver provided by the Rollin’ Rock Club, as well as whatever release forms you wished them to sign. Rollin’ Rock Club sponsorship is important because the Rollin’ Rock Club provides insurance which covers your facilities, such as fences and corrals, in the very unlikely event they are damaged during the course of a field trip.
I do the guiding and fee collecting for you. You, as landowner, retain control and set guidelines. All the money goes to you. What I get out of it is the chance to be out on a ranch and go rockhunting for free.
Guided rockhunts can be set up using whatever schedule you wish so that the rockhunts won’t interfere with ranch operations. For example, you can allow rockhunts only during certain times of the year. You can choose a few days during the year when you wish to open your ranch to rockhounds, or you can keep the ranch open for rockhounds anytime except when it is inconvenient. Generally rockhounds are aware that they cannot expect to go rock hunting during deer season. And I do not lead field trips in the summer because it’s too hot for people who aren’t used to the altitude and lack of humidity here.
Rockhunters want access to the land to be able to harvest rocks. We understand that it is a privilege for us to be on your land. We don’t want your land to be closed off to us, so we will ensure that we leave the land in good condition. I will personally ensure that the rockhounds on your ranch follow the American Federation of Mineralogical Societies code of ethics that requires that we fill in any holes that we dig, pick up all trash, whether we dropped it ourselves or not, and be good stewards of your land.
I have been leading guided rockhunts on Big Bend area ranches for over 15 years now. I believe that I have developed a good relationship with the ranchers for whom I work, and with the rockhounds who go on the trips. The rockhunts I offer are educational, safe and fun.
In the past, rockhunting has brought ranchers in the area many thousands of dollars per year. While the amount you could make at your ranch would depend upon many different factors, if you have collectible rocks on your ranch I can help you make money from them.
Please contact me for a copy of my business case for rockhunting. I will be glad to answer any questions you have. I can also provide you with references if desired. I will be glad to work with you to determine whether rockhunting will work for your ranch, and if so, to make allowing rockhunting on your ranch a safe, pleasant and profitable experience.