GPAA: Gold Fever Starts New Season with a Bang!

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Gold Prospectors Association of America: World renowned gold prospector and adventurer Tom Massie is all fired up and ready for the launch of his new season of Gold Fever set to air on Outdoor Channel in October.

It’s the best season ever — lots of entertainment, lots of education and lots of gold!

World renowned gold prospector and adventurer Tom Massie is all fired up and ready for the launch of his new season of Gold Fever set to air on Outdoor Channel in October.

Besides shooting all new episodes, Tom has been busy, well, just shooting!

“We invited some of the Alaska Gold Expedition participants to the first Alaska Great American Shootout,” Massie said.

“There were Smith & Wesson .500s, .50-cals, Raging Bulls and lots of .44 Magnums. Everybody lined up and when they started shooting all at once, the ground started moving like it was alive,” he said. “Bullets started flying off in different directions at all these different targets we set up. Propane bottles seemed to be one of the favorites.”

While Massie said he wasn’t sure one particular propane bottle was empty, it was definitely out of gas by the time the GPAA shooting gallery was finished with it.

“We didn’t know at the time, but it was empty when we were done. That’s for sure,” he said, with a chuckle.

“I’d never seen anything quite like that with everyone firing all those hand cannons at the same time — dust clouds just started billowing out of there,” he said. “That was a pretty crazy thing.”

While guns are no laughing matter, neither is being stuck out on the tundra without one. Massie said that hand guns and even rifles are No. 1 on a prospector’s list of gear when heading out across the tundra of Alaska to find gold.

Although rarely used for bear protection, hand guns — or hand cannons, as Tom likes to call ’em — are always carried for that just-in-case scenario in which a prospector could encounter a Grizzly — or worse, a protective mama bear and her cubs. In the remote parts of Alaska, humans do not rank as high on the food chain over bears, wolves, muskoxen and even the occasional bull moose.

In one episode, Gold Fever host Tom Massie talks to some of the participants about what kinds of hand guns they were packing. Kia Massie, his daughter, who makes frequent appearances on the Gold Fever, was also there to exercise her trigger finger.

“I was going around asking people what kinds of hand cannons they were using … When I got to Kia I asked her, ‘What kind of gun are you shooting?’ She said ‘I’m shooting your gun!’ ” Tom said. “It’s a .44 Magnum — Ruger. It was given to be by my dad back on Christmas in 1982.”

Massie said the pistol has come in handy a few times with close encounters with Grizzlies, but mostly for warning shots.

“A couple of times for warning shots,” he said “I haven’t had to shoot a bear with it for protection reasons,” he said.

“I have had to with a shotgun before, though. I talked about it on one of my past shows with my son, Kael,” he said. “I was raftin’ down the river with my dad and we startled a bear sleeping on the side of the river. It was gettin’ kinda and dusky at night … and the bear charged my dad and tore into his raft. He was out in the water. He was trying to shoot the bear, but his gun jammed and he started yellin’ at me to shoot. I had the shotgun and was aiming it and when he said shoot, I shot!”

With the menacing Grizzly only a few feet from his father, Massie said he has little choice but to fire.

“Probably saved his life. The bear was gettin’ him!”

This season, there will some scenes from this summer’s Alaska Gold Expedition at and around the Gold Prospectors Association of America’s Cripple River Mining Camp near Nome, Alaska.

“I’m always finding gold, always finding gold in new ways and always fining gold in places you wouldn’t expect to find gold,” he said.

Tom, of course, also revisited one of his favorite dredgin’ sports at Arctic Creek.

“The biggest piece was a little over a half-ounce. Nothing huge, but a nice nugget,” he said.

Gem mining:
Another episode will feature gem miner and Gold Prospectors magazine columnist Blue Sheppard at Stewart Mine near Pala, Calif. Sheppard is world renowned in the international gem community and Stewart Mine produces some of the best pink tourmaline crystals in the world.

“It’s a pretty interesting mine back in there,” Massie said.

Under the desert:
“In another episode, we went out into the desert and went underground into a large, large, large kind of a secret bunker built in 1962 when they had the big scare,” Massie said, referring to the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs naval standoff, when the world faced the threat of nuclear war from the Soviet Union.

That confrontation, under the watch of President John Kennedy, set the stage for the Cold War between Russia and the United States that would last for decades. The nuclear stalemate finally ended under President Ronald Reagan with the demise of the Communist regime, collapse of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“The government had gone out into the desert and packed all this water, survival gear and survival biscuits. They covered it up afterwards, but we found an access to it, went down in there and all the stuff is still there. That water is still good, but the biscuits went rancid,” he said.

Under the sea:
One of the highlights of the new season is when Tom and Kia go ocean dredging on the Bering Sea, with Spencer and Steve Phillips.

Massie said it’s well known that a lot of Gold Fever fans also watch recent reality shows, such as Bering Sea Gold and Gold Rush Alaska. And, one of the new episodes of Gold Fever will delve into the real reality of ocean dredging and finding gold in Alaska.

Although these new reality shows, might leave one with the impression that ocean dredging is some kind of new fad, it isn’t, Massie said.

“Dredging in the Bering Sea is not a new phenomenon,” he said. “There’s been guys doing it for more than 20 years.

In the episode, Kia dives into the ocean off the coast of Alaska in search of gold, says Gold Fever’s Supervising Producer Greg Miller.

“Kia dives down into the Bering Sea and spends some time underwater trying to find gold,” Miller said. “It’s an exciting show.”

“Steve (Phillips) is a commercial diver and runs a dive shop in Alabama,” Massie said. “Probably about 15 years ago, he came up to Alaska on the Alaska Gold Expedition trip. So he knows diving and he got into dredging by coming on the Alaska trip and getting into gold through the GPAA.”

“He started dredging and really took to it. About 10 years ago — maybe longer than that — he started dredging in the ocean. And, now he’s got six or seven dredges out there operating on the Bering Sea. And, that’s what they do now in the summer months,” Massie said.

Massie, who usually spends his summers in Alaska prospecting for gold, also writes of the golden lining last year’s storms left on the beaches of Nome in Gold Prospectors magazine.

“Oh man, and it’s all still there just waiting,” Massie said.

“It’s the best season ever — lots of entertainment, lots of education and lots of gold!” he said.

The season premiere is set to air on Outdoor Channel Saturday, Oct. 13. The show airs Saturdays at 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

For those who are not subscribed to Outdoor Channel, call your TV provider and ask for Outdoor Channel a la carte if you don’t want to subscribe to a channel bundle. It is usually available for less than $5 a month.

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