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How Often Do Travel Bugs Go Missing ?


ManD
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We were just starting to get into this whole GeoCaching thing, so we thought we would try a TB. We set one up, a pretty cool little story... Elliot Moose...TBKNGQ. We placed him in a Cache in Chicago, and he was picked up, apparetntly that day (it's hard to figure out based on the log).

 

It's been almost a month now, and the person that picked him up hasn't logged anything, or even responded to a question I sent in email.

 

Here's my question...

 

How often does this kind of thing happen ? Can we consider him "Bugnapped" ?

 

I realize that it's all fun and games here, but we were really hoping to se some activity with our first bug, and it has kind of left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole thing.

 

Are we over reacting ? Is this common ?

 

Please advise...

 

Thanks.

ManD

Edited by ManD
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It is depressingly common. I travel from time to time so I love finding bugs to move around. Sometimes when I check for caches with TB's in a particular area, 70 or 80 percent of the ones listed are gone. In a few cases they've been gone for over a year, yet they remain listed in the cache.

I guess there are many reasons why bugs disappear. A common belief is that anything cool gets kept for someone's private collection. I suspect a more common reason is that people try geocaching, pick up a bug, and then get bored with the whole thing and are too inconsiderate to even drop the bug off somewhere. I've even read log entries where someone says they took a bug, but they never log it online and soon disappear from the game. I am so passionate about the hobby (after only a year) that I forget that for many it is just a passing fancy and they don't care if they spoil the game for others when their interest fades.

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Thanks for the replies !! (and the advice !!)

 

The person that picked up th TB has been a member since Jan. 05 and hasn't been on since Nov 16. We are patient and hopeful, but getting more doubtful each day. I just wondered how often this happens, and if anyone has maybe had one go missing, and it returned (or not ). We are, after all, collecting stories here right... not just little green army men and jacks. :)

 

Thanks for your posts.

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I suspect a more common reason is that people try geocaching, pick up a bug, and then get bored with the whole thing and are too inconsiderate to even drop the bug off somewhere. I've even read log entries where someone says they took a bug, but they never log it online and soon disappear from the game. I am so passionate about the hobby (after only a year) that I forget that for many it is just a passing fancy and they don't care if they spoil the game for others when their interest fades.

Correctamundo! The average new cacher loses interest before they reach 25 finds.

 

ManD,

 

Some folks are going to post on this thread that event caches are the great travel bug evil and that TBs fall through rips in space never to return at them.

 

In fact TBs disappear with far greater frequency from caches every day as more new people discover geocaching through ever increasing media coverage.

 

They run right out and grab a TB certainly planning to place it and in many cases never take the time to hunt again. :) I know this, because my sister in Santa Fe has a yellow jeep and she hasn't found a cache since 2004. She won't send me the tb either stating plans to place it herself. Ummmm, whatever. :D I suspect that this mindset is common among noobs that haven't taken the time to consider the responsibility.

 

Because of recent experience, (and a tipoff to look for this activity) I suspect some cachers who wish to rid themselves of the electronic baggage of a TB they have lost or stolen will post a note on an event page dropping their lost/stolen bug. It's easy to follow if the cacher then doesn't attend the event.

 

I place watches on bugs placed in events by cachers who then don't log a find on that event.

 

I have been LTF on bugs I've placed in events (usually coins) as well, but I attended the event and in most cases traded that bug for another usually off of a TB table/box. I try to trade hand to hand at events now and I will only trade hand to hand on coins, since the last FOUR coins I've dropped in TB hotels are MIA.

Edited by Snoogans
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It's been almost a month now, and the person that picked him up hasn't logged anything, or even responded to a question I sent in email.

 

Here's my question...

 

How often does this kind of thing happen ? Can we consider him "Bugnapped" ?

Actually, your bug may be okay. If you look at the history of the people who picked it up, you will see that they are somewhat sporadic cachers -- a couple of finds one month, one the next, and then nothing for three more months, followed by another find. And at least twice they have held a bug for more than a month and then dropped it off somewhere.

 

So there is still hope for your Elliot Moose. (Take sept1c_tank's advice. :))

Edited by the hermit crabs
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Thanks everyone ! We are trying to be patient. This IS our first bug !

 

It seems that Bugs gone missing is a common situation here. It also seems to us, that people hanging on to TB's has the potential to squash this aspect of the game.

 

If a person invests say $5 for the tag, and another $3-5 for a toy, and sees nothing but failures, or at the very least a 75% failure rate, they might be less inclined to partake in this.

 

Thoughts ?

 

We know, it is just a game.... :anitongue:

 

Still keeping a hopeful eye out for Elliot Moose though !

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I think it also comes from lack of TB and geoetiquette education, the more geocachers we have the more likely some will come along who don't bother to read rules (I can hear my wife saying something in the back here) and end up doing something they would not do otherwise, like taking a TB as a normal item, or the kid does and the parent did not bother to check to see what was taken.

 

But to come back here a bit, I have had 4 TBs stolen, but they are still active using the Copy tag, and considering the amount of fun I have watching them travel through pictures and reading coments, I think a little 7$ for all that is worth it.

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TB's do go off track or missing fairly often. Your particular problems one of the more common ones. It is also one for which I have posted a suggested solution many times. TPTB have a lot to do, so I guess making TB's more reliable is way down on the list. Too bad as it is a fun part of geocaching.

 

I don't know if the following is easily implemented. Many other cachers have agreed that it is a good idea, but until one of the programmers at Groundspeak weighs in on whether it can be done............

 

What happens is that a TB gets picked up and logged. The logger gets credit for the TB and thus has less incentive to move it on. The bug finds it's way to the bottom of a back pack, a closet or gets tossed to the kids in the back of the van and that's the end of it.

 

If you could not get credit for a TB UNTIL you log it a second time, (typically when you set it out on it's way), then this specific problem would be greatly reduced.

 

There are other reasons TB's go MIA, maybe solutions will eventually be found for some of those. A cacher has started an "International TB Rescue League", which should help get some stalled bugs moving.

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Yep, I joined the International Travel Bug Rescue League when I saw that !!

 

GOOD NEWS though !!!!!

 

The people that picked up Elliot, had some personal issues that, of course, take priority !! They have responded to an email we sent, and have informed us that he is happy and safe with them. They have let us know that they intend to drop him back off at the Hotel, Resort and Spa so he can continue his travels !!

 

Certainly, a VERY happy ending to that tale !!

 

Thanks everyone for all the great responces !

 

M an D

 

BTW... I think an SAR group for TB's is a GREAT idea !! Can't wait to help out ASAP !!

 

and yes, you think that some support from Groundspeak, or Geocaching.com would be helpful, and forthcoming. I am a DBA, and as such, would be VERY happy to assist !! :blink:

Edited by ManD
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I'm happy to hear that Elliot is back! My story follows yours almost exactly, including emailing the current holder (no response). My first travel bug "Mr. Frosty" was picked up about a month ago and has not been placed in a cache. So the wait continues and my feelings about putting my own bug out again is wary. One of my caches is a travel bug hotel and it has been very active, I hope Mr. Frosty will be able to continue on to some sort of hotel or cache. :unsure:

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My first travel bug "Mr. Frosty" was picked up about a month ago and has not been placed in a cache. So the wait continues and my feelings about putting my own bug out again is wary. One of my caches is a travel bug hotel and it has been very active, I hope Mr. Frosty will be able to continue on to some sort of hotel or cache. :unsure:

A month really isn't that unusual... We have more than fifty bugs, and fewer than half of them have been logged within the past month. When we don't hear from one for three or four months, then we start wondering what has happened to it.

 

Rather than putting all your bugs in one basket, you might try releasing a bunch of them; that way you should see more frequent activity even if one gets stalled somewhere.

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Glad to see it worked out.

 

I have a TB that's been travelling for almost 3 years now.

 

At one point, it made it into the hands of someone who was relatively new at geocaching and they said it would get dropped off in England when their relative went home from a vacation here in the US.

 

I thought that would be cool and waited...and waited...

 

But it never moved. A few e-mails were sent to nudge them along or at least inform me that the TB was lost/dead, but nothing. So, I tried one last e-mail before giving up and I got a reply. The bug had evidently been left by the relative in the infrequently used guest bedroom and forgotten. Months after the day they had taken it, they were kind enough to get out and place my TB back into circulation. It then bounced around a bit before randomly finding its way to my geocaching father (without any suggestive prodding or anything from either of us). Pretty amazing trip it's been for this TB. So, yes, it seems that sometimes things happen to TBs and they just disappear without further word..but sometimes, yes, sometimes, they find their way back around again.

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We're both upset that our Travel Bug, Pal, disappeared in Texas, a victim of an apparent "sniper" -- someone who takes pleasure in stealing travel bugs. This individual even left a note taunting us.

 

You can see it in the log:

 

http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...6c-cac8bdf154da

 

Our travel bug, Pal, traveled for two years and nearly 15,000 miles, to Hawaii, and back to the East Coast before ending up in Texas. We are both just sick with the idea that he is gone for good.

 

So yes, we do understand and sympathize with anyone who has had a TB go missing.

 

--Catnap.

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We're both upset that our Travel Bug, Pal, disappeared in Texas, a victim of an apparent "sniper" -- someone who takes pleasure in stealing travel bugs. This individual even left a note taunting us.

It's a sick individual who takes pleasure from destroying other people's things. I wonder what sort of reward they get from this behavior. I'm sorry for the loss of Pal.

 

Closer to the topic at hand, I think when it comes to TBs, it is important to remember a bug might only ever be one move away from disaster. A muggled cache, a stay of several months, a new cacher who doesn't understand the concept, or a cacher who helps the bug reach a goal -- as soon as you drop a bug in a cache you never know what fate will await it.

 

I remember the first bug we ever grabbed. It took us almost a month before we could place it again. I kept emailing the owners when our plans changed so they would know the bug was OK and just delayed. I made a special effort to place it in a cache that wasn't likely to be muggled and logged it as soon as I could. Me, being naive, just assumed everyone would take that same level of care when it came to the care and feeding of TBs.

 

Well, the bug was picked up the next day. Then it never got logged again for two months. I asked the cache owner if he had heard anything, but they hadn't. I even took the liberty of sending an email to the cacher who grabbed it to see if I could help -- I felt a sense of responsibility since I was the one who placed it before it went AWOL. It had been grabbed by a first time cacher so I assumed the person had problems with logging it or didn't understand the etiquette around bugs.

 

Nothing happened, the bug owner gave up on the bug and grabbed it back. I felt ill.

 

Three months after that, someone found the bug in another cache and it was basically given new life. What a relief.

 

My opinion is just like all coaches eventually get fired, all bugs go missing -- it is just a matter of when.

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I am just as guilty as the next guy at keeping TB's for extended periods of time. When it happens to mine, I fully understand. People are busy, or in my case...lazy. Emails really help too. Sometimes cachers just plain forget about them.

Guilty as well. :rolleyes: Sometimes I'm trying to find the right cache for the bug. We're finding too many micros, and too many really ugly caches. (Ain't putting no bug in THAT cache!) Move them, eventually, I do. If an owner e-mails us and asks why we're holding the bug so long, it goes into the next found cache. :D A few months or more sitting in a cache, or waiting to be put into a cache is nothing in the life of a bug. I got one that disappeared in the Netherlands, and resurfaced. (Can't do a Google Map on one that was put into 'unknown'. Oh, well. Maybe GC will set the location of 'unknown' to the last cache it was in?)

Now Harry goes on his high horse. (You ever seen a dophin riding a horse? It ain't pretty!) People do not seem to read the laminated card attached to the bug. If it's going from New Jersey to Maine, you really shouldn't take it to Tennessee! If it's trying to get from New York to Australia, New Hampshire does not seem to be along the road. Though who knows? England does not seem to be on the route from New Jersey to the Turks and Caicos Islands...

I despise people who take trael bugs without logging them out of the cache. A case in point is my caching cohort's Travel Bug Mommy Dearest. She was travelling from New Jersey to San Antonio, Texas, and then on to Hollywood. She arrived safely in San Antonio. Then, for some bizarre reason, she took a side trip to Minnesota. Minnesota is NOT on the way from Texas to California! She has not been seen since. A very nice cacher double checked the cache. She is not there. :lol: Oh, well. It was a fun adventure.

The other problem with bugs disappearing from caches without being logged out, is that (despite the new feature allowing cache owners to log the bug into 'unknown') the missing bugs seem to sit there forever. Neither the bug owner, nor the cache owner seem to care enoug to remove the bug to 'unknown'.

But, my pet peeve is people who grab bugs before the person who put it in the cache has had an opportunity to log it into that cache. There should be some 'Courtesy Rule' for this one. I ain't taking no more bugs on long trips!

(Harry gets off his high horse before he is thrown off.)

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My opinion is just like all coaches eventually get fired, all bugs go missing -- it is just a matter of when.

Well, this seems to be the resignation that lots of people have. (That nothing can be done to improve the life span of the average TB). While it may be true that most TB's die before achieving their goal, there are some things that can be done to reduce the number of missing TB's or at least to increase the time in circulation before the TB dies. I suggested one change in an earlier post. I have seen a couple of others suggested on this forum. None of these changes have been made, and TB's still die with alarming frequency.

 

Maybe TPTB share the idea that nothing can really be done and this early death is just the fate most TB's are destined to fulfill. Or maybe the suggested changes are just too hard to make.

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imagine my surprise when i checked my email this morning and found that my first travel bug, "packy the travel rat" has resurfaced after 2 years. i dropped this bug in a popular key west cache in sept. '03 and it immediatley dissappeared w/o a trace-no logs and no mention of it anywhere.

 

i logged it into the great missing tb unknown and never thought about it. the guy who grabbed it logged it in this morning and sent me an email apologizing and explaining the circumstances.

 

so if someone in florida finds the tag for "packy the travel rat" please affix something to it and send it on.

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I have had 9 of my 22 TB's go missing. I recently grabbed 'em all and will be re-releasing them with copy tags. For kicks I threw together some stats:

 

Zack's Mustang went missing after 143 days and 3296 miles

 

Whirlybird went missing after 261 days and 7563 miles

 

Race Home - D went missing after 112 days and 275 miles

 

Lost my Drive went missing after 3 days and 11 miles

 

Knee Puck went missing after 19 days and 877 miles

 

Bill the Car Nut went missing after 31 days and 0 miles

 

Bicycle Dude went missing after 16 days and 334 miles

 

Beach Gator went missing after 108 days and 4597 miles

 

Andrews's Mustang went missing after 4 days and 0 miles

 

On the flip side my You Are Not Forgotten TB has traveled 9187 miles in just over a year and met its primary goal and is being tracked by 7 other users.

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It's been almost a month now, and the person that picked him up hasn't logged anything, or even responded to a question I sent in email.

 

How often does this kind of thing happen ? Can we consider him "Bugnapped" ?

 

I realize that it's all fun and games here, but we were really hoping to se some activity with our first bug, and it has kind of left a bad taste in my mouth for the whole thing.

 

Are we over reacting ? Is this common ?

 

Please advise...

 

Thanks.

ManD

Unfortunately it does happen fairly often.

 

I love travel bugs and I obsessed and worried over my first ones. But I came to realize that they lead precarious lives and my solution to enjoy them is have a lot of them. I have launched 25 bugs in my three years of caching. One is officially dead, 3 have been marked missing and four more are in trouble and if I have no replies after another round of e-mails to the last logger they will marked missing.

 

But that leaves 17 bugs that currently appear to be alive, well and traveling. I just tallied up 2005 (I keep track of them all in a spreadsheet) and last year, collectively, my bugs visited 150 caches located in 30 different states plus, Australia, New Zealand, Hungary and the UK (England, Scotland and Ireland). I usually get several reports of logs every week.

 

So if you find you enjoy TB’s, budget to buy tags in quantity packs and get a bunch of them out on the road. That way you worry less about individual ones.

 

Happy New Year and good luck to all TBs

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Don't give up hope. A TB of mine has just been re-released after a cacher had it for 4 months. They replied to my first mail and then ignored all subsequent ones. It seems that although the fate of my TB may have been dear to my heart, it was just not a big deal for them, and they frankly got fed up with my nagging. I had just got hold of a replacement and was going to release this with the copy tag when the bug was put back into circulation. Mind you, it's a ting bug that is meant to go in micros, so I reckon it may well have a short life in any case. <_<

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I am just as guilty as the next guy at keeping TB's for extended periods of time. When it happens to mine, I fully understand. People are busy, or in my case...lazy. Emails really help too. Sometimes cachers just plain forget about them.

Although I have over 70 TBs now, I am just as guilty about holding onto them. I haven't been able to cache in December due to personal illness and much busy-ness with the holidays. We have our month of January ready to go, and will be able to release more of my own as well as the 2 of other cachers that I am holding.

 

My only advice, I email the owners of the TB's and tell them I have them. That I'm a good cacher, and that I know all about TB manners and their TB's are entrusted in good hands. I've gotten to know some very fine people around the world due to email contact about TBs (mine and others) and have found that the quick courtesy email (or post a note on the TB page) is very welcome indeed.

 

But, have had some of my own go missing, turn up, end up in caches that weren't logged. Go figure, it's a game.........

 

Happy New Year! Happy Caching!

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