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Hey guys, long time lurker around this particular forum!

All of Dark's awesome agate finds have really inspired me to go back to my childhood agate hunting ways. Lately, I've been seriously obsessing with finding agates anywhere and everywhere. I've wandered river banks, trails, dug through landscaping rock, construction areas etc with moderate success. Most of my nicer finds have been landscaping rock of course, and I plan on posting a few pictures here of my nicer ones if I can figure out how to do it!

Still though, I know that in order to really find nice agates I need to find a way to get into these gravel pits. Obviously some of you are finding many of your agates in these gravel pits and I'm DYING to get in there myself. I've asked permission to a handful of places and been shot down instantly at a couple and had no response from a couple more.

How do you guys do it? Are you actually getting permission from these places (I know Dark, you've said you have gotten permission from a place or two)? Are you sneaking in? I'd rather not have to sneak in of course, but knowing myself I couldn't completely eliminate it as a possibility either.

When asking permission, I've been emailing the best contact that I can find via the internet. I've been extremely polite, and explained that I would of course never attempt to enter during business hours (I told them it would be Sunday only, or whenever they preferred of course) or even go near any of their equipment. Is there something else I should be saying? Should I be calling instead? I feel bad calling, because I don't want to disrupt their normal business for something that is just a hobby for me. I could also mail them a letter with a SASE in it, but I don't know if I'd even get a response.

I could hunt for agates for 12 hours straight and not get bored - I'm that obsessed with this! Hunting agates is of course my only goal - I do want to respect these businesses and their equipment and property, and no ulterior motives are at work.

What's the secret? Any and all tips and advice greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Show up and talk to someone face to face.. These pit owners will want to be able to put a face to the person talking to them.. Show up looking professional and looking like you know what you're doing. ie: come sporting a hardhat.. your rock hammer.. rock pouch.. etc.. Your first impression to these people should be "I've done this before and I do it in a safe manner that minimizes any risk involved"

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The biggest thing keeping you out of the pit is liability. I do have permission to visit a few pits and I'm very grateful to the owners but most pits are heavily regulated now days and a lot of times, the owner is just going by the rules that are forced upon them.

I prefer to ask and I always start at the scale house face to face...."Hi, I'm considering buying a few tons of river rock but I want to see it first" lol!

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Like Dark said, show up at the scale house and ask permision, or find out who own the pit. Most are owned by large opperations like Knife River or C.S. Mc Crossen but some are ownd by private people and leased by the large company's. When dealing with land owners be honest, tell them what you are there for, the worst they can say is no.

Most of my biggest aggies have come from farm fields, obviously this is not an option at this time of year but is something to keep in mind come fall.

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