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Now I'm Scared To Go Looking!

The Family Guys

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I don't understand this. I've been reading the forums here for a month or so, christmas finally came and I got my GPS, there are at least 10 caches within 2 miles of my house .. and now I'm afraid to go look! I just had this though of pulling off somewhere, getting out of my minivan with kids in tow, wondering around in some field and someone calling the police. Have any of you actually had the police called? How do I get over my case of nerves?

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Trying for a FTF (First To Find) on a new cache in my area recently, I went caching at 7pm, in the dark, in a city park. When I got to the cache area I looked around and noticed a police officer watching me; he must have followed me from the parking lot. I approached him and explained geocaching to him. He thought I was out of my mind looking for a camo tape covered baby food jar in a city park in the dark, but let me continue anyway.


Earlier this year I was surprised by a police officer who came up behind me and said: "Don't worry, I know what you're doing." Turns out he's a geocacher also, and saw my GPS.


Those are the only two encounters I can remember.

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Read the cache description and find one that says it's in a local park. Caches aren't allowed on private property unless the owner of the property gives permission, and most cache hiders follow this rule. If you're nervous about bringing the kids, try one or two on your own first until you get comfortable. I've found a lot of caches and haven't had the police called on me yet, that I know of... I usually don't stick around long enough to find out. B)

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Sure, I've had the police called a couple of times (out of 400 cache finds). They show up, we explain what we're doing, and in one case the responding officer helped search for a couple minutes.


The thing to remember is that you're not doing anything illegal, immoral, or fattening. Unless you're planning on jumping fences or using dynamite to blast holes in trees, you have nothing to worry about at all. If you're still anxious, just go hiking with the kids in one of the parks containing a cache - don't even bother looking for the cache the first time. That's all you're really doing... hiking with a purpose. B)

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Welcome to Geocaching. I am 80 years old and have over 1000 caches and have never been stopped by the police. I have explained to people what I was doing and they always seems interested. I don't know where you are located but I would suggest you look for 1 x 1 caches that are located in a nice neighborhood public park that has playground equipment nearby. You might also explain your hesitation

in your regional forum and maybe someone near you could go out with you the first time. Good Geocaching. Dick, W7WT

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B) It is really a good sport. I just started and really enjoy it. The kids will really enjoy it also. As for the police it really is nothing to worry about. You are doing nothing illegal and once you explian it you may start someone new in the sport. Police are peolpe too and will understand that a parent and kids are probably not out "casing the joint to hit". If it does happen and your kids are with you the officer will probably explain that he was there just to help. It would be a good public relations for the officer.
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I was nervous the first time I cached about getting lost. Get familiar with your equipment before you take the family out. Walk around your neighborhood with it. Set waypoints and find your way back to it. Try going yourself if that makes you more comfortable. The pick a cache in a local park. Good luck.

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Best story that involves a cop I have ever heard had to do with my friend Leadsinger and another cacher DocDitto.


They were searching for a cache about 300 feet from where they had parked. A cop rolls right up on them in the grass. Gets out of the car and then proceedes to grill them for awhile about what they were doing and then giving them a hard time about it. No amount of talking would make this cops ears perk up or even hint at this being enjoyable. After about 10 minutes of lecturing the cop got back in his car to leave. Only, he didn't leave. His tires spun like he wanted to but he was firmly stuck in the mud.B) Very sheepishly I heard, he had to get out and ask nicely of the 2 gentlemen he had just berated for a tow. (Leadsinger owns a 4x4) Reluctantly, they pulled him free....


Funny as he** to hear them tell it.

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Lots of cachers me included, have bumped into one flavor of law enforcement or other lately. In these post-911 days it has become a more common event and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. The police are just doing the job that we are very glad that they do. Not to worry, believe it or not the cops in most every case are really nice people perfroming a dificult task. Just do not over-react and if asked calmly explain what you are doing. In the unlikely event that they were to ask you to leave a specific area....just do it. Usually they, like regulation muggles that you might encounter, will become fascinated with the activity. It really is no big deal.

Edited by Team Cotati
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We were looking for a cache in another town after an event. It was early in the evening, but it was a clever hide, and we were having trouble finding it. The next thing we knew, a local policeman pulled up and asked us what we were doing. My husband explained geocaching and the hide in particular. The policeman turned on his flashlight, looked around for about 15 seconds and pulled out the cache. He wouldn't sign the logbook, although he did seem pleased with himself for having found it--maybe he will start caching someday.


Another policeman pulled up to meet the first one, who explained that we were playing some GPS game--The second officer didn't sound too interested, he just asked the first one if he wanted to go get dinner. We told them that we would be looking for some other caches nearby, and we knew of several other cachers who were out and about as well, and they thanked us for letting them know, in case they got calls about people searching for things. All in all, it was a pleasant encounter.


As others have suggested, just choose caches that are away from businesses and busy corners until you feel more comfortable. I would guess that a family with children would attract even less attention than a 40-something couple. People expect kids to look at anything and everything anyway!

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Whatever you do don't look suspicious while doing it. It's easy to spot someone when they act suspicious, just act like you own the place, and usually no one will bother you.


Kids are their own camo, if you got kids with you, for all people know there is a critter under that bush that their after.


I still get nervous at times when caching in a public area, but no body's bothered me yet.

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We are a family of six so it's very hard for us to do ANYTHING without someone noticing. B)B) Although we try to be stealth, we aren't very successful.


I'm sure we have gotten strange looks when six people walk out of forested area looking really happy and shouting "I found it, I found it." B) But we have never been stopped by any officer of the law that I know of!


I'm in Oklahoma City and most of the caches we have found are around a lake which has a well used bike path. I fear getting hit by someone riding 100mph on a bike more than a cop. And some of the wrong places we have searched have been quite full of poison ivy, sticker bushes and straight drop offs.


Isn't it AMAZING how simple it is to get out from the cache site once you know where it is????


So just like everyone else said...find an easy one that you can get to from a parking lot. Or better still...find someone who geocaches in your area and have them go with you on your first find.


Good luck and let us know when you get your first find!




Edited by geoshelley
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Having kids along is definitely a plus. If you have a dog, bring that too. Nobody thinks twice about kids going off trail or a guy with a dog going off trail in the woods.


But I can see the policy blotter in the local paper now:

"A 30-50 white male, stocky build, holding some kind of eletronic device was seen going off the trail in the woods. When he emerged back on trail, he had a large smile on his face, looked both ways down the trail, and retreated to the parking area. Police are searching the woods now..."


A friend of mine and I went caching once, and there was a young family on the trail. We laughed as we thought of seeing two middle-aged men going off the trail into the forest together, and coming back smiling and laughing.


Neither of those instances above would have aroused ANY suspicion if you take kids and/or a dog along. B)


Welcome! Now get out there and enjoy the nature!

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Looks like it has been pretty well covered, but here is my take. I have been approached numerous times by LEO's while caching and have always simply explained the activity to them. Most have left shaking their heads in disbelief that a grown man would actually spend his free time doing such a thing and a few have actually helped search. A good friend of mine is a cop and we cache together whenever we get the oppertunity. I even have a cache hidden at the local police headquarters. (with permission). Bottom line is that as long as you are not doing anything illegal or immoral then don't worry about it.

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How do I get over my case of nerves?


Remind yourself over and over I'm not doing anything illegal. I'm parked legally, I'm not tresspassing, I'm just out for a 'treasure hunt' using a multibillion government satellite system to help me find the 'prize'. Since that is the truth, it should be easy. Would you feel like you are doing something wrong if you were playing catch or tag with your kids in the same location? Of course not.


I have had several encounters with LEO's while on a cache hunt. Only once have I been told to cease and desist, as the parks (and it seems the whole town) closed at 10 PM and out merry little caravan of vehicles was in violation of the anti-cruising law as well. So we just went to the next town over where they were much nicer.


I have also had the police and a mall security guard stop and help find the cache. B)


Welcome to geocaching; have lots of FUN-that's what it's all about (or is the hokey pokey, I get so confused sometimes.... B) )

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This made me feel better...reading all these stories. LOL


I'm a newbie too (8 finds) and I've already had a run in with a security guard. LOL. I didn't tell him why I was really there and I'm sure I acted suspicious because he was rude & making me nervous...but now I see I should probably have just TOLD him about the game.


I was being overly cautious when it comes to letting muggles know what you're up to. LOL Live & learn. I will follow the advice here in case it ever happens to me again.


After my caching adventure in the California desert on Christmas day with my hubby, I'm more worried about encounters with creepy crawlies than with law enforcement anyway! LOL

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Myself and a chickpal went caching and one of our stops was a cache behind a supermarket. Sure enough, we get back there and a couple of local cops are parked right near where we have to look.


I told her, "Pull right on up there and park." She goes, "Are ya gonna just start looking?" and I go, "Yup. And if they want to know why I'm looking through the bushes, they can ask!" They never did.

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3 cops, 2 cars, and a LOT of light. Picking up a micro behind a business about 10 PM. I laughed and told them what I was doing. They asked if I had found it and watched me put it back in place. No big deal. I wasn't breaking any laws.


I figure the only reason there were 2 cars and 3 cops right there is that I was about half a block from a good local doughnut shop. :o

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I haven't had that many finds so I know how you feel. Start with a local park (a bigger more rural park is better) where you can walk around and hunt without running into anybody. No one will call the cops if you're in a legitimate park with your kids.


BTW - I passed up two caches this weekend because I was not comfortable with the location. One was a light-pole cache in the parking lot of an abandoned Burger King. I actually walked right up to the cache (or I believe that's where it is) but did not stay around to retrieve it.


The other was in a city park that was "closed" for the winter and I did not want to walk in there while leaving my car on the side of the road.


So... what I guess I'm trying to add is that you don't have to go for every cache posted. Choose the ones you are comfortable with and then once you run out of caches in your area you'll have had enough confidence to go for some of the ones you skipped earlier.

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900+ caches and the police have said hello twice. Not to me, to the people who were slower than me. :o


Once the geocachers behind me whipped out that brochure that Lil Devil mentioned and no problem. The other time they were just thankful that we were not caravaning to a kegger (we were on a night cache hunt).


Geocaching can look suspicious and the police will stop and ask. That's their job. As was said earlier, you are out geocaching, not out busting kneecaps for your local enforcer.

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Your "case of nerves" can be alleviated in part by proper diet and in part by developing a positive confident attitude in life. There are many sources of help if you need to boost your self esteem and eliminate stress and worry. .. Phobias can be overcome if you have a strong will by engaging in the frightening activity over and over again, until it becomes automatic and even enjoyable-- Fear of Heights, fear of public speaking, fear of police--these can all be overcome. Just Buck up and go out and Geocache as much as you can--often. Soon your confidence will build and your fears will melt away. Just do it.

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I have been hauling my kids around for almost two years now and have not once in countered a Police Officer. I had to explain geocaching to a security quard one time because I was seeking a cache where they were filming the "Dukes Of Hazard" with Jessica Simpson and Jonny Knocksville. He let me through whici was awesome because we got to see the set and everything.


One time I got a little wierded out in a park. It just felt creepy and so I left, I'll go back one day with my husband.


Don't worry. Just carry something on you that explains the sport (like the cache rules or something) that's what I do.


Have fun!

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Have any of you actually had the police called? How do I get over my case of nerves?

No I never have. Got questioned a control freek of a campground host, but thats because none camping people spent more than 20 minutes in the park...(and not realated to this)

I'd say go to a cache that is in a wooded area, and out of view of places theres actually likely to be people. In theory noone can will call the police since noone knows you're there. And even if they do show up just explain what your doing, if possiable take a print out about geocaching with you.

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Doing this since August and only 1 run in with a cop as he was locking the park gates and we were coming out while waiting for the other 3 cachers with us to come. In this instance I didn't tell him what we were doing because of his attitude but it's a call by call situation.


I carry this brochure and wallet card with me as added insurance.




We're pretty stealthy and always have a cover when looking for urban caches, i.e. talking on the cell phone, getting something out of trunk, hood up etc while one retrieves the cache the other is keeping an eye out for muggles.



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Well, we went out for our first hunt today, and no luck! We were in the right location, but as soon as we got under the trees my GPS got all weird. We looked all around, and didn't find the bottle. My daughter was so sad, she's only 5, but we have 5 to look for tomorrow and we are so looking forward to it. Thanks everyone for getting me "over the hump", I can't wait to find one:)

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I had caching get me out of a ticket once. Pulled of the side of a road 150' from a cache, got out of the truck, found the cache, signed the log, went back to my truck, there was a cop behind it. He told me to pay more attention to the road than my GPS, I asked him what he ment because my GPS was in my pocket. He said he noticed my geocaching liscense plate frame and window sticker, so I must have been watching my GPS because I did not see the no parking on the side of the road sign 20' behind me. Yep he was a cacher too, and let me off with a warning.


Why would one be nervous while cacheing?

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Well, we went out for our first hunt today, and no luck! We were in the right location, but as soon as we got under the trees my GPS got all weird. We looked all around, and didn't find the bottle. My daughter was so sad, she's only 5, but we have 5 to look for tomorrow and we are so looking forward to it. Thanks everyone for getting me "over the hump", I can't wait to find one:)

Glad you went out looking! What cache were you trying to find? Please post the GC number so we can look at the cache page, too.

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My only run-in with law enforcement was actually for a cache I hid. I work nights, so sleep during the day and being awakened by a phone call from the sheriff (not a deputy, the man himself) was not giving me warm fuzzies. Seems a neighbor near the cemetery where I have a cache hidden called 911 to report a suspicious person hiding drugs in a tree. First the sheriff asked me all about geocaching, so I explained and went on to say I would be happy to remove the cache and take it off the website if it was a problem. He said "No!! Tell me how to sign up!" Now there are a half dozen deputies, a couple of firefighters, and a court clerk that are cachers!

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After our monthly Columbia SC Geoholics Anonymous meetings, we (a group of around 20 cachers) regularly go for an evening cache rampage for caches that are night-accessible. We hid our cache, Ferocity, just for this purpose of after-meeting caching. Go to the first logs of this cache to see an example of how easy geocacher-police interaction is.


As 15 or 20 cachers probed this cache location with GPSRs and flashlights in hand, a deputy walked up, asked what we were doing, laughed and walked off. But before he left, he shined his flashlight right on the cache, and still nobody saw it!


My take on it is this: lots of law-enforcement folks are cachers, and many I know have become cachers as a result of talking to cachers-on-the-hunt. Very few of them are unaware of geocaching in our area, and most law-enforcement in this area also already have a GPS. Also, I sure would rather have law-enforcement around than not. We cachers go to some hidden and remote spots. It's nice to know the police are checking those spots also and keeping them safe. One thing to remember, law-enforcement officers develop a spectacular sense of knowing when someone's truthin or lyin. It's always smart to tell them 'what you're really up to' for several reasons. First, caching is legal. Second, the officer will trust you 'cuz he knows you're truthin and will trust other cachers. This is important since you represent all cachers whenever you talk to law enforcement while caching. Third, the officer will know what the next person who comes there with a GPS is doing and not feel the need to be as suspicious which lets the officer focus on real threats and suspicious activity. And finally, you sieze the opportunity to recruit a new geocacher who's a member of the law-enforcement community, and that's about the best thing there is for casting geocaching in a good light.


You may want to try contacting an active cacher in your area and asking if they or someone they know would like to come along with your clan on a couple of caches to give you a feel for how to go about things and also to answer any questions about caching conduct and ettiquette while you are on your first couple of hunts. If you lived near Columbia, SC, S and I would love to take your wild bunch to some super cool family-friendly hides we like.


- T of TandS

Edited by tands
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I don't post often but I noticed you are from the Nashville area. February 4 is a little off in the future but I'd recommend attending this (GCQQ0E Geocaching Adventure) event at Warner Park. Bring the family as this is a kid friendly event. This is hosted periodically by Warner Parks who has been great supporting our sport / past time. Usually, folks from the local club, MTGC come and help new folks hunt a few caches in the park. Also, that brichure everyone talks about...well, that's the ticket. Especially if you are nervous about beginning an explanation into Geocaching. This thinge gets you through the worst of the initial intimidation and breaks the ice for further conversation. Hope to meet you out on the cachin trail sometime. Also check out some of the other MTGC events. Folks in the club are good folks and always looking to bring along new cachers.



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That sounds like a GREAT idea wild bill, I will bring the family along. I wanted to try and find a cache today so I loaded up the kids and went to try and find This One. I go there on the weekends with the kids, we feed the geese and ducks in the lake, never been during the weekday. When I got near the location, and unloaded the kids ready to follow the path, I noticed men going "into the woods" together if you know what I mean. :D


I'm not going to give up yet, Im determined to have some fun with this!!! :D

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Hi TeamBaltz, I read thru the forum and gave it some thought, and I followed the link to the cache site in your post for the general area you are in to see if I could suggest a cache in the same area that might be suitable. Basically, I looked for a non-micro, 1/1 so it would make a good start. So this is my suggestion, GCBE31, "Tight Squeeze !" . I am in Marietta, GA, so I have not been there myself, but from the description, it looks good. The rating is 1.5/1 , so it should be fun, and not too stressful with the kids. See what you think, I'm a bit of a newbie myself. Best of Luck, Broccoli King

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:lol: TeamBaltz


Go for it. We are visiting Va Beach from Richmond this weekend and were stopped when Geocaching by a Va Beach Policewomen. After she asked what we were doing we said Geocaching. She smiled and indicated that she had heard about it before. She pulled ahead 200 feet to do some paperwork and we went on to find the cache. Afterwards we walked by her and she wanted to know what we found. My 7 year old and her connected quickly and she is going to send a Va Beach police patch to her in the mail. Both daughters said all day "hey dad we made a new friend."

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We just about have 1000 caches. I've been stopped by cops, security, etc about 3 or 4 times. Most of those were at night or because I parked somewhere I shouldn't have. It was OK to park in these spots but they were so used to seeing certain vehicles parked there mine stood out like a sore thumb and just begged for attention I guess.


I have gone night caching about 20% of the time mainly because the sun decided to quit before I was ready to. I went caching for 24 hours straight one time and was actually disappointed that I didn't get some attention from local law enforcement. I was by myself and figured I'd get to explain geocaching to some officer during the course of the evening.


The more you go the less you'll worry about it. The Geocaching-U papers are what I carry. I keep the large ones in my computer case and the small ones in my wallet. They are also nice to have for people who are curious about the sport. The papers will direct them to the website and they can get started from there. I have given these out to people I bump into while hunting who "Catch me in the act".


Never lie about what you are doing to law enforcement. If you lie about one thing and the find out you'll look very suspicious and who knows what's going to happen from there. I have told muggles that I was looking for items such as watches glasses etc before but never lie to the cops.


That's just my 2 cents worth. Now get out there and have fun.


Team D & D

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I have just started cacheing and havent been stopped, yet. I am also a railfan and have been stopped a few times 1-2 try explaining that you are waiting for a train that doesnt stop where you are. My advise to all is if the LEO's ask you to leave, leave. Don't get angry at them as they are just doing their jobs. :unsure:

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We finally found some today!!!!  I wrote about it in my My Blog , and I have pictures of us with our first treasures here.  If the photo's don't work I've uploaded them to Groundspeak server (and became a paid member today) :ph34r:.

Congratulations TeamBaltz! Daughter is a real cutie. Lots of fun ahead.


I'm a senior citizen female, often caching alone and I've had a few LEO's stop to see if I was having car trouble or something. I've never had to give a real explanation of what I was doing. I'm a birder and The binoculars which are always around my neck are good camoflauge. I feel more conspicuous in parks when I'm down on my knees with my butt in the air peering under benches but I have found that muggles in general are VERY unobservant. If someone does ask what's going on I just given a quick explanation of the game. More and more I find they have heard of it.

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