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How Long Do You Look?


crockett3663
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How long do you spend looking for the container before you give up and consider it a DNF?

 

I'm assuming that a large part of that time frame is dependant on the idividual circumstances of each hide. If it's a micro, do you spend more time looking for it, simply because it's tiny size makes it much harder to locate that an ammo box, for instance?

 

I liken this situation to searching for a lost ball on a golf course. In that sport, the general rule of thumb is that once you reach what is believed to be ground zero for the ball, you don't spend more than 60 to 90 seconds looking for your ball before dropping a replacement.

 

Obviously there is no time limits in looking for cache, but realistically how long do you usually spend before you give up? My son Drew and I recently went looking for Creek View (GCYAD3). We looked on both sides of the creek and probably spent a good 15 minutes there before we gave up the fight.

 

So again, how long do you look, and what kind of criteria determines the time you'll invest before giving up?

Edited by crockett3663
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How long do you spend looking for the container before you give up and consider it a DNF?

 

So again, how long do you look, and what kind of criteria determines the time you'll invest before giving up?

 

First, in my opinion, if you go and can not find it you should log a DNF.

Second you look until you decide you can not find it. Than can be 5 min or 30 min.

Third, come back again. Many times the second look will make a big difference.

Forth, since you are fairly new at this give the owner an email and ask for a bit of help. After a while you will be able to notice some "cache hiding places" that you would not think of before you started caching.

 

There is a hint on the page that looks like a really good hint.

 

Good luck to you and the boys.

 

:laughing:

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...since you are fairly new at this give the owner an email and ask for a bit of help.

 

Really??? I would think that would be a form of cheating, especially if the owner had already left an encrypted hint on the cache page to start with. Maybe that's just my pride showing through. I'll welcome a hint I did not ask for, but I think I'd kind of feel like a failure if I asked for any more help.

 

Are there others out there who've approached cache owners for additional help?

Edited by crockett3663
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I have had to ask the owner for additional hints before, never felt it was cheating.

 

As to how long I will look, a lot will depend on where I'm looking and how I feel on any given day.

 

In a remote spot with no one around I have spent over an hour looking for a cache. In a somewhat more public place, I most likely would not spend a lot of time.

 

Also if I know the cache is suppose to be well cammoed or well hidden I will look harder. If the logs indicated it should be a quick simple find, I may spend less time before giving up.

 

If I look, and do not find it, I log it as a DNF. Even if I plan to come back and look again sometime.

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I usually will visit and DNF the cache a couple of times before asking for an owner hint, but if I have given it a good look and not found it a couple of time, I am glad to try to get a hint from the owner... sometimes they give me a mysterious hint, and sometimes it is better than that, but they are usually very glad to give a hint. I have hunted for up to 45 minutes at one spot when I knew that it was a very difficult hide. If I get to GZ and actually look for the cache, I log a DNF every time that I visit and look. If I get nearby, but decide that the cover is too much for what I am wearing, or too many muggles or in the area, etc. I will post a note to indicate I was in the area, but I will not log a DNF since I didn't hunt for the cache at GZ. I clearly think that the location, size and difficulty of the cache, and the available time that I have for caching on a given day are HUGE factors in how long I will search.

Edited by bluemustangpride
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It's like asking "how long do you scratch?" Until it don't itch no more.

 

Don't worry about asking for a hint. As cache owners we generally want or caches to be found. If a particular owner thinks otherwise he/she will let you know.

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.

 

In my experience the cache is always in the last place I look.

 

Have not figured out how to look in the last place first.

 

Therefore 30 minute minimum before giving up, an hour if I have the time.

 

Now I have a new question ... how long should you search for your own cache before giving up and assuming it's gone?

 

I have replaced a cache I thought was missing only to learn later it had been moved to the other side of the the trail. In the time that followed, most people found the original cache which was in the wrong place, while few found the replacement that was in the correct spot.

 

.

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I look until I stop having fun. Then I log a DNF.

 

Bingo!!!

 

I've also stopped looking when I spotted diapers, used condoms, or other unmentionables. There is no shame in asking for a hint, especially if there are multiple hints. A hint from the owner will often confirm a cache is actually missing.

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I look until I stop having fun. Then I log a DNF.

Same here.

 

I've looked for over two hours once. I used to get a thrill out of finding caches other folks couldn't. The problem with looking too long in the damage done to the area by all of that traffic. It wasn't until after I learned to use the quirk of the SporTrak to my advantage that I learned to be patient. As I reached ground zero I'd put the GPS down and let it start averaging. I'd then stand in one spot and scan the area. Most of the time observational skills kicked in right off the bat and the cache was found. If not the GPS would be zeroing in on the coords. I'd get the bearing and distance, whip out the compass and guesstimate the distance to get the now averaged ground zero. Many times this technique work very well and we didn't spend more than 15-20 minutes in the field before finding the cache. Of course, it doesn't help if the coords are off. Then you simply have to brute force the hide.

 

Anymore, I stop looking when I stop having fun. Sometimes that's before I even stop the vehicle.

 

Are there others out there who've approached cache owners for additional help?

Some will ask for spoilers before the first time they even look for the cache!

 

Some owners are more than thrilled to give additional hints. Others still won't give a hint until you log a DNF. Others loathe giving hints and will pretty much tell you that if you're not smart enough to figure it out then you don't get to the log it. So, it runs the entire range. It's really up to the owner. My problem with asking for hints is you don't know what kind of owner it is and by asking you put them in a spot where they either have to tell you no or compromise their position. The safest way to "ask" is log a DNF and hope the owner sends a hint your way. Ask for hints too often and you get a reputation as a beggar.

Edited by CoyoteRed
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Circumstances that affect my search length:

 

1. Distance from home: it's easier to clean up a DNF that's right on my way to work. It's harder to clean up DNF's in Louisville or Seattle or Las Vegas, but I've done that, too. The farther away from home, the longer I'll look.

 

2. Good Company and Environment: If we're in a cool spot and it's a group having fun, the cache becomes almost secondary. Recently I spent two hours looking for a nano hidden somewhere on a footbridge across a babbling brook. Four of us couldn't find it. We had a blast.

 

3. Bad Environment: I will give up much faster if I'm searching amongst trash, or if there is an employee of a business or a nearby resident eyeing me with suspicion. The other day I walked away from a maintenance trip to one of my own caches due to a guy sitting across the street staring at me.

 

4. Weather: If I'm tromping around the forest on a bright summer day, looking in each stump and hollow log, I can be happy for an hour, no problem. In the winter I might give up after 15 minutes.

 

5. Prior DNF's: If the last few finders couldn't find it, I won't waste too much time trying to prove them wrong.

 

6. Relative Importance: I'll walk away from a random tupperware cache in a random park if I can't find it within 10 minutes. But if it's cache #20 of a 25 cache series, or it's a targeted milestone find, or if I hiked 8 miles to get there, I will spend a lot more time looking.

 

I log a DNF pretty much every time I get out of the car and press "GO TO" on my GPS, but don't sign a log. You can see the results in the bookmark list linked in my signature line below.

Edited by The Leprechauns
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Circumstances that affect my search length:

 

1. Distance from home: it's easier to clean up a DNF that's right on my way to work. It's harder to clean up DNF's in Louisville or Seattle or Las Vegas, but I've done that, too. The farther away from home, the longer I'll look.

 

2. Good Company and Environment: If we're in a cool spot and it's a group having fun, the cache becomes almost secondary. Recently I spent two hours looking for a nano hidden somewhere on a footbridge across a babbling brook. Four of us couldn't find it. We had a blast.

 

3. Bad Environment: I will give up much faster if I'm searching amongst trash, or if there is an employee of a business or a nearby resident eyeing me with suspicion. The other day I walked away from a maintenance trip to one of my own caches due to a guy sitting across the street staring at me.

 

4. Weather: If I'm tromping around the forest on a bright summer day, looking in each stump and hollow log, I can be happy for an hour, no problem. In the winter I might give up after 15 minutes.

 

5. Prior DNF's: If the last few finders couldn't find it, I won't waste too much time trying to prove them wrong.

 

6. Relative Importance: I'll walk away from a random tupperware cache in a random park if I can't find it within 10 minutes. But if it's cache #20 of a 25 cache series, or it's a targeted milestone find, or if I hiked 8 miles to get there, I will spend a lot more time looking.

 

I log a DNF pretty much every time I get out of the car and press "GO TO" on my GPS, but don't sign a log. You can see the results in the bookmark list linked in my signature line below.

 

The above pretty much sums up my protocol as well.

 

I usually look for about 20 minutes on the first visit, then log the DNF if it turns out that way.

I will normally (unless there is something VERY special about the cache) make two more visits of roughly 20 minutes each. I usually don't post additional DNFs after the first one, but there have been exceptions. If it's still a DNF after three visits, it goes on the ignore list. I may or may not make additional return visits after that.

 

Like webscouter says, when the fun is over it's time to move on. :laughing:

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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

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How long do we look? Well, that depends on who is with us and how difficult the cache is rated among other things. Usually we spend about a half hour unless there are biting bugs then it is much less. One thing I have to admit that I'm bad at is logging a "did not find". I always plan on going back and that is the time I add it to the watch list to see if others are finding it. Then I go back with a vengeance.

 

Chuck

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I did a cache recently that was a six point multi in very difficult terrain. Most of the waypoints were tough to spot, and the final was even more so. I would have stayed until the Search and Rescue people dragged me away, but not before asking them to help me look. :laughing:

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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

My record is 3 days (~16 hours) looking for one very challenging multi! It was a blast! :laughing:
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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

My record is 3 days (~16 hours) looking for one very challenging multi! It was a blast! :D

This is a good example of why you should always carry extra food, water and survival gear when hunting challenging caches! :laughing:

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I log a DNF if I began to look for a cache at all. I rarely look long, especially for micros that might take a while (e.g. a bison tube in a pine tree). I lack patience for those and often would rather just leave and move on to something else. So those get maybe 5 minutes from me and that's it. I'll look much longer for a full size cache that I had to hike to. But I have likely given up on some of those quicker than many too.

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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

My record is 3 days (~16 hours) looking for one very challenging multi! It was a blast! :laughing:

 

i meant six hours without coming in for a break.

 

eight or nine for a multi.

 

any time you leave the site for supplies or rest, the clock starts over.

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Hey crocket3663:

 

Great question and it looks like you're already getting some equally great answers. I've only searched for about a dozen caches so far and have yet to be stumped. Several times, they were quite a challenge and I looked for longer than I had expected, but was thrilled when I finally did find them. I haven't hit that "no longer fun" point yet for a DNF, but probably would after an hour. Most people would probably give up well before then, assuming that the cache had been muggled, but I never said I was too bright. It really comes down to a personal decision. How much time do you have that day? Are you just hitting one or are you trying to chalk up numbers and doing a bunch? Is it getting dark? I'm not into numbers yet, I'd rather look and look and look until I was certain the darned thing wasn't there.

 

Good luck.

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Considering we're still newbies, the longest we've looked is 30-45 minutes (until I thought my brain would ooze from frustration) - we've had to make a second trip on a few, to look again with fresh eyes.

 

As long as everyone's having a good time, and not overly frustrated, we don't mind the search effort.

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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

My record is 3 days (~16 hours) looking for one very challenging multi! It was a blast! :laughing:

 

i meant six hours without coming in for a break.

 

eight or nine for a multi.

 

any time you leave the site for supplies or rest, the clock starts over.

 

Six hours...fantastic...literally.

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I just started, and have only looked for two caches so far. I looked 'til I looked everywhere I could think of, and was starting to get heatstroke . It's around 85 here in the middle of the MORNING! much less afternoon. And in the low to mid 70's in the middle of the NIGHT! I logged those two as a DNF, and plan on going back when I have more experience. They were both micros, which I didn't know what that meant when I first went to look, and didn't know what I supposed to be looking for (35mm containers). I was just trying to find the closest caches to where I was paying bills. lol

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until you have looked for the same cache for six hours, you are a piker.

 

how long i look depends on how important it is for me to find the blasted thing.

 

i was just going to say i look until i stop having fun, but i have been known to look way past that point. i think for me it comes down to redeeming value. if i'm not having fun but i'm going to get to write an interesting story, or if i'm chasing a sig item or trackable, or if i just feel like exerting force of will, i'll keep hunting.

My record is 3 days (~16 hours) looking for one very challenging multi! It was a blast! :laughing:

 

i meant six hours without coming in for a break.

 

eight or nine for a multi.

 

any time you leave the site for supplies or rest, the clock starts over.

 

The first day we spent six hours until we got stuck. Then we left and found out something we had missed from the cache owner (we were going for FTF). The second day we spent eight hours until we got stuck again. Again the owner gave us a gentle nudge again. The last day was only two hours but we were very stoked to complete the mission! :D
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When caching alone, I have a 10 minute rule. After that, I move on to the next cache. If I'm with others, I'll call uncle after 15 minutes but defer to the group. At about 30 minutes, I begin to protest more loudly.

 

Depends on the cache and what I am trying to accomplish.

If we are on a RECON mission, its just a stop and look (if we find it, we take it, if not we move on)

If we are after the cache and won't be back, then 20-30 minutes

If we can get back to the location and there are muggles or weather, then not long.

If we can get back and the location is good, no muggles and no weather, then its as long as we want.

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It depends. If it's an urban cache in a public place, not more than couple of minutes. If it's in a state park, maybe an hour. If there other caches nearby that I can move on to, I'll probably stop looking sooner. If I came a long way to find this one cache, I'll stay until the sun goes down on me (I keep forgetting to allow time to hike back!) or, as was the case this past Saturday, I'm about to keel over from heat exhaustion and I'm out of water.

 

I'm not at all embarassed to log DNF's (as you can see if you check my record!) as I feel the "saga" of the hunt is just as important as the find. I appreciate a find more if it took me six tries to get it!! That being said I am also not afraid to ask for a hint from the owner if I'm really stumped - it's their choice whether to give it to me or not.

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I look until I stop having fun. Then I log a DNF.

 

Yes the #1 answer.. and for me the amount of time will vary according to the environment the cache is in. Micro in a muggle zone... 10 minutes max; but last week, 2 miles from the road, near a stream and nice waterfall, I had a 90 minute DNF.

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Depends on the circumstances. "Until I stop having fun" is the best answer.

Are there still more places to search??? If I've run out of places to search, it might be fifteen minutes. Half hour is not unusual. Best timing is when my caching partner says: "Dolphin. Give it up."

Working on an evil, multistage mystery cache. "I know it's here somehwere!" Hey! I will find this one!!! No matter how long it takes! So far, it's two hours on three attempts at that stage! Three stages down! Six to go! Might take months! Did one that took us eleven months!!!!

It all depends. We spent twenty minutes on a guard rail micro that was missing. We ran out of places to search! Oh, well.

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There are always exceptions, especially FTFs but here are my norms:

 

Usually 30mins for first attempt (factor in difficulty).

Include at least two 'aww screw it' moments when I actually start walking towards the car.

- second moment usually is when I find stubborn caches.

- don't forget PAFs or calling owner.

 

If I actually leave - log DNF unless coming back that day.

 

Come back for attempt 2, 3 or 4 (factor in difficulty). Have had great success on number 2 attempt.

 

IF after you are completely sure cache is not there. PUT IN MAINTENANCE NOTICE to owner. Can't tell you how many times I have seen multiple DNF's and nobody puts in a notice.

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There's actually too many variables to even list. Unless we actually put some effort into it we don't log a DNF but will post a note. If we head to a cache but a thunderstorm rolls in fast and we head out quick, we didn't really look so don't feel just in posting a DNF. But it all depends on the location and the challenge (and who hid it as some of us locals put caches out to specifically challenge certain others).

 

As far as previous DNF's, that kind of a personal passion of mine now. I really get a big smile when finding a cache that has several DNF's, especially from experienced cachers. We went to a preserve and found a cache on the ground far away from it's hiding spot that had several DNF's and for good reason. But soon after we spent almost an hour searching an ammo can that had a half dozen DNF's and hadn't been found in almost a year. Kept starting to leave but like I said, I like finding caches that have eluded others. We stuck with it and found it and that was the most rewarding find of the day.

 

What's also fun is caches you 'find' but can't get to because of the muggles or some other reason, and you have to step back and plot your stealth moves to get it. Did a couple down in Key West like that which I even have pictures of me retrieving that were a total blast. 5 minutes to find the cache, 20 minutes figuring out how to get it and waiting for the opportunity. And the funniest part was in the toughest one I snagged a TB I saw on the listing but did it by feel. When we were away from the spot I looked at it and only part of the TB came out of the conatiner so we had to go back and do it again! ;)

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IF after you are completely sure cache is not there. PUT IN MAINTENANCE NOTICE to owner. Can't tell you how many times I have seen multiple DNF's and nobody puts in a notice.
I don't know how many times I've had multiple DNF's on a cache only to hike, bike or kayak out to it and find out it's still there and hidden as originally hidden. I have had caches that had more DNF's then finds, I've checked it a dozen times because of what people post only to find out it's still there. I think maintenance notices should be for what they are, when a cache needs maintenance. If someone can't find a cache they can email the owner and ask them to check it, but since they don't KNOW the cache needs maintenance they should refrain from posting that it DEFINITELY DOES. That's right up there with the logs stating "We looked all around and couldn't find it, this one is probably gone". Yeah, right....
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As most people have replied, I look until I am tired/bored of looking for it. Then I go a couple more times. If I still haven't found it yet, I will check the Cache Logs to see when it was discovered last. If it has been a long time ago, then I think it is fair to message the owner for another 'hint'. This helps both the owner and the geocacher. The owner can help in realizing if the cache is still there or not and the geocacher can finally find the cache (if it is still there). Otherwise, it can be a waste of time if your looking for something that is not there. Obviously, if there are recent 'Found it!' logs, then it is safe to assume that the cache is still there and you should just keep looking.

 

My two cents.. ;)

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still being some what new with a few months and 35 finds to my credit, it still frustrates me to all heck. i can't believe some of these caches and the micro-nano's- are the worse. but again i'm new to this and have to get into the groove i guess.

 

15 minutes is what i use as a starting point for the first time. depnding on the cache location and muggles around. if i haven't found it by then i sum up the situation and use it for the second try. 15 minutes is what i limit myself on the second attempt. if i haven't found it, then i just left it be. at a time when i think i might find it in that 15 minute time frame it get's a dnf.

 

starting out i think i logged 3-4 dnf in a row. i didn't realise how these cache could look like, wow, some are just crazy. but still being new, i need to get into the the craziness mind set. before i looked for the cache i got every piece of info. from the hints and spoiler. altough reading some of those spoilers drive me insane, i give it my best attempt.

 

15 minutes is my 2 cents.

 

 

 

if this was in reply to a specific reply, sorry it was supposed to be for the community. sorry. others wish never mind.

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I'll spend upward of an hour looking Most I've ever spent is 3 hours... Usually after that the frustration sets in and i'll decide to come back another day.

 

I've always considered the DNF log the type where you've looked everywhere the cache should be (because of the hint, page detail, ect) and you are positive it is not at the location. If i've looked and looked and the place is say a highly wooded area, or somewhere with a ton of possible hiding spots and a smaller container, I will write a note on the page instead. Usually the cache is safe and sound and I just wasn't slick enough to find it. Maybe I've just misunderstood the DNF logtype..

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It depends on the cache and the likelyhood of future attempts at the cache. As my count goes up, the time searching goes down. Past DNFs posted from other cachers greatly reduce the amount of time spent searching. The amount and size of rocks in the area also greatly reduces the amount of time. Caches placed for no other reason but to place a cache (nothing remarkable about the cache site) get very little time. The size of the cache in relation to the possible hiding spots also reduces the search time.

I would say that when reaching the cache site that I spend about 15 minutes searching for the cache. In that time, I will consult my PDA searching for any clue from the owner or the past 5 loggers. If I've exausted all likely hiding spots, I will move on. That being said, I've searched more than an hour for cleverly hidden caches.

I've significantly reduced my searching time in respect to hiders who have so little skill that they resort to hiding tiny caches (micros and nanos) in areas that could hold a 50 cal ammo can only because they want to increase the difficulty.

I only post DNFs on caches when I have a story to tell.

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I've looked for over two hours once. I used to get a thrill out of finding caches other folks couldn't. The problem with looking too long in the damage done to the area by all of that traffic. It wasn't until after I learned to use the quirk of the SporTrak to my advantage that I learned to be patient. As I reached ground zero I'd put the GPS down and let it start averaging. I'd then stand in one spot and scan the area. Most of the time observational skills kicked in right off the bat and the cache was found. If not the GPS would be zeroing in on the coords.

I do this too, with my Lowrance. Works really well most of the time.

 

I look until I just can't possibly imagine anywhere else to look...then I'll look all the places I've already looked just to see if I missed it.

 

For me, a lot of the fun is in the FIND. Not necessarily the hike/walk out there or the search itself, but the FIND.

 

So, I will also look past when it's stopped being fun b/c I'm pretty stubborn. Doesn't stop me from DNFing 1/1s on occasion though!

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IF after you are completely sure cache is not there. PUT IN MAINTENANCE NOTICE to owner. Can't tell you how many times I have seen multiple DNF's and nobody puts in a notice.
I don't know how many times I've had multiple DNF's on a cache only to hike, bike or kayak out to it and find out it's still there and hidden as originally hidden. I have had caches that had more DNF's then finds, I've checked it a dozen times because of what people post only to find out it's still there. I think maintenance notices should be for what they are, when a cache needs maintenance. If someone can't find a cache they can email the owner and ask them to check it, but since they don't KNOW the cache needs maintenance they should refrain from posting that it DEFINITELY DOES. That's right up there with the logs stating "We looked all around and couldn't find it, this one is probably gone". Yeah, right....

Yah, I have a cache that receives the same wrong answer at times too. Once they have found it, they realize how deceptively easy it was and do the Homer Simpson slap. Sometimes a DNF simply indicates the seeker was over thinking the hide.

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