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FTF's: How to?


EngMaxx
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Hopefully I am not stepping on toes or asking anyone to divulge any secrets.

 

How are people getting to the FTF's? I have the weekly email but posts are usually days before the email is sent. Do I have to become a Premium member? Are cachers checking the hides on a hourly basis? What do I do to be a FTF'r???

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How are people getting to the FTF's? I have the weekly email but posts are usually days before the email is sent. Do I have to become a Premium member? Are cachers checking the hides on a hourly basis? What do I do to be a FTF'r???

There are many techniques that the FTF hounds use to be first, but Premium Members have access to an 'Instant Notification' feature that some find useful.

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Ah, being a Premium member does have it's advantages...thanks.

 

Is there anything else that might help?

 

BTW, don't get me wrong, I am not in it for the FTF's as I am always out with the little ones; it doesn't matter if we are the 1st or the 25th, we always have fun. I am just interested in knowing how the FTF'rs are doing it.

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I often have internet access throughout the day and can use it at my leisure; it's fairly quick to search "x-amount of pages" from your home-cord's for newly placed caches. Daily PQs, listed by placement date is another option for seeing newly placed caches, quickly.

Edited by JeepinCalifornia
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It also helps if you can log on periodically to check for new caches. I know some who log from home before leaving for work, during lunch, and at work before leaving for home. He searches from his work and home zip codes excluding finds, scanning the first couple of pages of results for new caches.

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I have one FTF. I got it because it was a tough cache and was published late at night. Since I'm a night person, a few people weren't able to find and I was then able to grad FTF at 2am. I'm glad I have at least one just because they are so sought after, but I'm not sure what the allure of them is.

 

Someone once told me that some people can actually get the coords and such before a cache is even posted. I dont remember how though. For me, I just grab them if its convenient. I have 1 out of 465 finds so you can see the amount of effort I put in to it.

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I don't know how they do it either. My first 3 hides were found first by the same cacher, he must never sleep. My first (and so far only) FTF was easy, I got the e-mail notification around 10 in the morning, and it was only a few miles from work, so I grabbed it at lunch. Didn't even have my GPS with me that day, so that added a little challenge to it, but the clue was great and I knew the area.

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Now that you are a Premium Member sign up for Instant Notification of new caches listed in your area.

 

If you are serious about finding FTFs in an urban area you may want to have an alert sent to your cell phone!

 

Even the 'Instant' notification doesn't guarantee that you will have the information first, however... here in Birmingham those of us interested in FTFs have compared notes and discovered that we may receive 'Instant' notifications several hours apart! It's not unusual for me to get an 'Instant' notification via email about a new cache two miles from my home, jump in the car and find when I get there that, maybe thirty minutes after I got the email, two other cachers have beat me to it!

 

Still, you work with what you got, so the real answer is persistence and a willingness (flexibility) to jump when the notice comes in... the email gods may pick you to get the notice before others in your area on any given day!

 

When you do start getting notifications, watch their timing for a while. Your Reviewer might be one who has a life, and therefore does the new listing reviewing on a fairly predictable schedule. If after watching you see a pattern that your Reviewer generally publishes caches at 7 p.m. after work and dinner, then that's the time when you need to be ready to go FTF chasing!

 

In my area new caches rarely go more than a couple hours unfound, so you had better be ready to get out there!

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I have the instant notification feature enabled. I have my computer running at all times when I'm awake. I've enabled the "play a sound when you get new email" feature of my email program. The sound is turned up LOUD on my computer. When a new cache notification email comes in I can hear it throughout the house.

 

If the new cache is one I'm going to try to be FTF on I click on the GPX eXchange File button which sends the cache to GSAK. I right click on the cache in GSAK and send it to my GPSr. I now have the name, size, container, difficulty, terrain, and possibly part of the hint on my unit. Because I did it this way I'm certain that the coordinates are correct. I grab my caching bag, hat, etc. and leave. Immediately. I don't worry that I was in the middle of a move. I don't worry that it's 10:30 at night and I have to get up at 5:50 the next morning for work. I don't worry about the fact that the notification was for a series of 8 caches and it's late at night and I have to drive 3 hours at 7:00 AM and I'm finding the last of the caches at 1:00 AM.

 

I don't worry that it's a dark and moonless night and the new caches are out by the river or up in the foothills and I'll be tromping around where there is probably going to be poison oak. I just GO.

 

If you are a FTF fanatic (idiot) you will do strange things. You will poke yourself in the eye with a branch in the dark. You will get poison oak. You will stumble around in the dark climbing a hillside. You will bleed. You will, at some point, be questioned by the police. You might go so far as to run out and snag a FTF when you are supposed to be working.............. More than once....... :D

 

First To Find Milestones:

 

1st FTF: 9/21/05 - Grandma's Schoolhouse - GCQJKZ

5th FTF: 10/16/05 - Scooter's Cross Country Cache - GCQZM4

10th FTF: 10/21/05 - Oh, P(N.U.T.S.)!Charlie Brown - GCR130

15th FTF: 11/23/05 - N.U.T.S. for Xmas: Blitzen - GCRDDK

20th FTF: 11/27/05 - Chico flood again? - GCRFAG

25th FTF: 2/10/06 - Tire Swing Teddy - GCTBVG - Cooperative effort with retiredprof and 2Dee2Dee

30th FTF: 3/27/06 - Humboldt driveup cache - GCV2Z5

35th FTF: 4/23/06 - Legendary1 #5 - GCVKHX

40th FTF: 4/23/06 - Legendary1 #11 - GCVKJ5

45th FTF: 5/15/06 - Skipper - GCW08V

50th FTF: 5/29/06 - Plunk's Aloha Cache - GCWA3R

55th FTF: 5/30/06 - Cracker Jack - GCWWJ1

60th FTF: 8/18/06 - Fun & Games I - GCXTFW

65th FTF: 10/1/06 - 10 of Spades "Pine Creek" - GCYKKV

70th FTF: 10/20/06 - Wildcat Geography - Butte Hall - GCYVF8

75th FTF: 10/22/06 - USS Houston - GCZF22

80th FTF: 2/12/07 - Hard "Landing" - GC10XZV

85th FTF: 3/2/07 - River Cache #2 - GC116R3

90th FTF: 3/24/07 - Pedal Hard - GC11N09

95th FTF: 4/8/07 - Jellyfish Fields - GC120FY

100th FTF: 4/10/07 - Plunk's Banana - GC1234F

105th FTF: 4/21/07 - Barnacles - GC12APR

110th FTF: 4/21/07 - Gary - GC12APA

115th FTF: 4/28/07 - ???A Puzzle Cache??? - GC12FWP

120th FTF: 5/20/07 - Cruz Cache - GC1321C

125th FTF: 6/24/07 - BMX??? - GC13W5M

130th FTF: 7/21/07 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - GC14H0A

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Now that you are a Premium Member sign up for Instant Notification of new caches listed in your area.

 

<snip>

Also, now that you are a Premium Member, set up a PQ for caches that have not been found yet.

 

You can Preview that PQ all day long whenever you feel the competitive urge. Sometimes the Notifications don't go out for one reason or another, but you'll see the new caches in the PQ Preview. :D

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It's all about location and when that notification pops up. If it's close to home and the notification just popped up then I have a good chance. If it's been an hour or so, forget it. If it's out in the country it's a good chance depending on which side of town it is on and what the distance is. Not too many people will want to make the drive during the week. Then weekend is another story.

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This kind of hurts the novices, like myself, since most of us work almost the entire day, internet access is next to impossible.

 

The only times I can check, is immediately after I get out, and to my car, then hitting the local library for WIFI access. By then, a good 98% of the new listings are already *TODAY , and usually by people who have premium access. (and, not to slight anyone, Nothing else like stick to work. I have a car to pay for!)

 

I came VERY close to one FTF.. Only, others had already tried, couldn't find on the 1st try.. Upon all three of us finding it, all three were disappointed, by two others who've been pretty ravenous on the FTF's.

 

I'd pull a few, if they weren't (a) so far away, (:D Night cache friendly.. (read: POLICE! HANDS UP! WHAT'RE YOU DOING HERE?)

 

All three caches I've placed, were FTF's within mere minutes of POFE publishing them. So, is there some kind of advance notice the premium members are getting?

 

A frustrated novice.. Stephen (gelfling6)

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130th FTF: 7/21/07 - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - GC14H0A

 

Wow, Thrak - you're HARD CORE! I'm quickly becoming a FTF fiend - can't get enough of 'em (but I only have 7 to date). I get the instant notifications on my phone, and always take my GPSr everywhere I go. I memorize the coords as soon as I receive the notification, and enter them into my GPSr at red lights on the way (I don't advocate distracted driving!). My phone is also Internet enabled, so I use wap.geocaching.com while I'm on-site rather than printing pages or messing with GSAK. My caching bag is always at the ready, complete with retrieval tools, an LED flashlight, pen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, and poison ointment (among other things).

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My strategy is based upon where I live. I simply go after the longer hike and kayak caches. My most recent first to find was published July 29 and I MEFFEd it Sept 19. Two days BEFORE a person could drive in (for hunting season). I waited because it was at least 9 miles round trip and I didn't want to tackle it in the heat of July or August. But I figured no one else would get it until the day before archery season when the gates would open for vehicle access.

 

I have 230+ first to finds, most of them involving 5+ miles of hiking, or a combo of driving a ways (100 miles earlier this month for a kayak cache in the Gulf of Mexico) and hiking and 'yaking.

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My default internet browser 'Home' page is a search for nearest caches from my home coordinates with all my finds filtered out:

 

"My Account"

Under 'Search Options'

Search for nearest caches from your home coordinates (filter out finds)

"Filter out finds"

Copy the URL (Uniform Resource Locater) Link

Make it your 'Home Page' (Go into Options/Preferences of your browser and past this into the link to be your home page)

 

Check often! :laughing:

 

Cache On!

 

JohnTee

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I just started caching in March of this year and did not get my first FTF untill april, But since then I have gotten over 130 FTFs :laughing:. The best way I find is to know when your local reviewer typically publishes new caches. It also helps that I am usually awake before 5:00am. If you get up early enough you can beat almost anybody to an FTF.

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:laughing: This might be THE GC urban legend of the DA FTF CODE... please don't take this seriously! :laughing: There might be some invisible bugs in GC.com site that allows some people to use them to search and study caches that have not even been published yet. (I mean for those gcXXXXX codes that are reserved and under construction). Somehow some very serious hunters have access to those to get cache coordinates. Of course these very very serious FTF hunters keep these secret methods secret. They can automate these whole procedures and just wait until the cache is published coordinates already loaded with their gps and have just this couple of minutes lead to rest of us to grap the first to find honours ...So maybe this is just speculation of very paranoid geocacher but how else can you explain those very fast FTF:s? B)

 

We have total of six FTF's after about one and a half year of geocaching. Those FTF's all came with a luck of being at the right place at the right time. Most important thing was to leave at home as fast as you can after the new cache was published. Waiting until the next morning is almost doomed thing. Depends where you live. The worse weather the better chance you got. We are not really after FTF's. We just wait when they come to us...Just on last saturday night we grapped our first mystery cache FTF and that was very nice. :laughing: .

Edited by small oaks
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Personally, I think this hypothesis about the hounds getting advance notification is BS.

 

If you are serious about wanting to get a FTF, be willing to pay the price. Get a membership, notifications to phone, and then be ready to run out as soon as the phone goes off saying it's a cache.

 

If you aren't willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get a FTF, then don't whine about not getting any, or getting enough. Only 1 team out of 32 won the super bowl last year. And it wasn't handed to them either. So don't expect the FTF hounds to hand you a freebie just so everyone can feel warm and fuzzy.

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Personally, I think this hypothesis about the hounds getting advance notification is BS.

 

If you are serious about wanting to get a FTF, be willing to pay the price. Get a membership, notifications to phone, and then be ready to run out as soon as the phone goes off saying it's a cache.

 

If you aren't willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to get a FTF, then don't whine about not getting any, or getting enough. Only 1 team out of 32 won the super bowl last year. And it wasn't handed to them either. So don't expect the FTF hounds to hand you a freebie just so everyone can feel warm and fuzzy.

Wow. I don't hear anyone in here whining, or asking for freebies. Ya might wanna tone it down just a bit. :laughing::laughing:

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