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Ground Rules and Search Etiquette


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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiousity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiousity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

 

just don't be so obvious that others realize you are doing what you are doing, and go to sniff out what you were fiddling with, that's all. 99% of the people ignore someone walking around with a GPS. However, about 15% of the people notice someone fumbling with an ammo box in the woods, or a lamp skirt at Walmart.

 

Just use common sense, and don't be BLATANTLY obvious, and things will generally work out well.

 

_most_ people note clearly in the caches when extra stealth will be required, for whatever reason.

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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiousity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

Non-cachers will muggle the cache if they see you, so take care in rehiding it so no one notices you.

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Stealth is especially important when the cache page says so. But occasionally you will find hides where the hider neglected to mention just how bad the muggles problem was at that hide. I've done it myself out of ignorance.

 

One of my first hides was a multistage where the second stage was a magnetic homemade micro located at a local public park behind the doggie doo-doo glove dispenser that was mounted on a chain link fence:

 

WasteFinal.jpg

 

I thought it was a great place when I hid it. The problem was, I hid it early in the morning and wasn't aware of just how many people lurked around that park all day and in the evening.

 

The cachers who searched for it were polite about that issue, saying things like "we had to come back later because of muggles", instead of blasting me with something like "Nice hide, NIMROD!! The place is crawling with muggles", which I fully deserved :ph34r:

 

The cache finally got muggled, and a nice cacher hid it in a pile of rocks and e-mailed me. I returned to it and discovered the place was absolute crawling with people. I had to do a play-acting routine, pretending to be searching for lost keys, in order to not arouse suspicion. I re-hid the cache and went home. Later I was thinking about it, and realized that it was a terrible spot for a cache. Something I hadn't realized when I hid it. The next morning I moved the final stage to a more secluded spot.

 

My point in this long-winded story is that sometimes the hider himself might not be aware of just how bad the muggle situation is, and would probably appreciate a log entry or an e-mail making him aware of that if you do come across a nearly impossible cache :)

 

You should be able to approach the cache site, search for it without being seen by too many people within a reasonable amount of time, and re-hide it, also in a reasonable amount of time. If that isn't possible, the cache is in a poorly chosen location.

 

I came across an absolutely terrible cache several weeks ago. It was an urban hide, a magnetic micro, and the location was so bad muggle-wise, I couldn't even approach within 50 feet of it. I just moved on.

 

The hide was on the exterior wall of a local motorcycle shop, right where they line up the bikes in the morning for display. When I arrived at the site, there were customers milling around as well as about 5 homeless guys sitting on the curb right where my GPSr said was ground zero. I couldn't have designed a worse place to hide a cache :laughing: I made the hider aware of it, and promptly added it to my "ignore" list :anibad:

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Best advice I can give is to boldly walk up to the cache, retrieve it, sign and trade and then replace it and walk away. Act like you know 100% for sure what you are doing. Behave as though you belong there and you are doing nothing wrong (mostly because you aren't - are you?). Such people are barely noticed in everyday life. Bring a hard hat and clipboard for added annominity. If you have any discomfort level with the cache - simply move on to another one.

 

Cachers that try to be stealthy end up attracting a lot more attention and get noticed easier.

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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiosity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

Non-cachers will muggle the cache if they see you, so take care in re hiding it so no one notices you.

Your comments are "right on"....Another thing we as cache owners do, is hide caches in the woods, in the winter and fall seasons and don't see all the poison plants, that is, until Summer...We certainly wouldn't hide a cache in the summer with all that PO around, right? As soon as late Fall and/or Winter arrives, I will move several of my wooded caches surrounded by PO plants...I'm very allergic to PO and I sure many cachers are also. Happy caching.

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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiousity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

Non-cachers will muggle the cache if they see you, so take care in rehiding it so no one notices you.

 

Not always. Last weekend I was heading down a trail towards a cache that was a 1/4 of a mile from the road. I didn't see anyone else around until I turned a corner and saw a man jumping rope in the middle of the trail about 200' away (which put him almost exactly where the cache was). I walked down the trail past him, said hello, then kept going down the trail aways. I didn't appear that he was going anywhere soon so I went back and stopped and told him exactly what I was doing, found the cache, then explained what the hobby was all about. He thought it was very interesting and sounded like a good way to get some exercise.

 

Sometimes you have to judge each situation based on what seems the most appropriate.

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And sometimes people intentionally hide caches in busy areas. Sometimes they have names like "Stealth Throwdown" or "Muggle Challenge". They think it's fun to frustrate seekers, and it's really easy to hide a micro cache in that situation. Personally, in situations like that, I usually just walk away; but I've been known to just walk up, grab the cache, sign the log, replace it, and walk away.

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And sometimes people intentionally hide caches in busy areas. Sometimes they have names like "Stealth Throwdown" or "Muggle Challenge". They think it's fun to frustrate seekers, and it's really easy to hide a micro cache in that situation. Personally, in situations like that, I usually just walk away; but I've been known to just walk up, grab the cache, sign the log, replace it, and walk away.

 

So my idea of placing a nano on the reception window of the local state trooper barricks isn't a good idea :)

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Stealth is especially important when the cache page says so. But occasionally you will find hides where the hider neglected to mention just how bad the muggles problem was at that hide. I've done it myself out of ignorance.

 

One of my first hides was a multistage where the second stage was a magnetic homemade micro located at a local public park behind the doggie doo-doo glove dispenser that was mounted on a chain link fence:

 

WasteFinal.jpg

 

I thought it was a great place when I hid it. The problem was, I hid it early in the morning and wasn't aware of just how many people lurked around that park all day and in the evening.

 

The cachers who searched for it were polite about that issue, saying things like "we had to come back later because of muggles", instead of blasting me with something like "Nice hide, NIMROD!! The place is crawling with muggles", which I fully deserved :lol:

 

The cache finally got muggled, and a nice cacher hid it in a pile of rocks and e-mailed me. I returned to it and discovered the place was absolute crawling with people. I had to do a play-acting routine, pretending to be searching for lost keys, in order to not arouse suspicion. I re-hid the cache and went home. Later I was thinking about it, and realized that it was a terrible spot for a cache. Something I hadn't realized when I hid it. The next morning I moved the final stage to a more secluded spot.

 

My point in this long-winded story is that sometimes the hider himself might not be aware of just how bad the muggle situation is, and would probably appreciate a log entry or an e-mail making him aware of that if you do come across a nearly impossible cache :D

 

You should be able to approach the cache site, search for it without being seen by too many people within a reasonable amount of time, and re-hide it, also in a reasonable amount of time. If that isn't possible, the cache is in a poorly chosen location.

 

I came across an absolutely terrible cache several weeks ago. It was an urban hide, a magnetic micro, and the location was so bad muggle-wise, I couldn't even approach within 50 feet of it. I just moved on.

 

The hide was on the exterior wall of a local motorcycle shop, right where they line up the bikes in the morning for display. When I arrived at the site, there were customers milling around as well as about 5 homeless guys sitting on the curb right where my GPSr said was ground zero. I couldn't have designed a worse place to hide a cache B) I made the hider aware of it, and promptly added it to my "ignore" list :lol:

 

I bottled out of my first cache attempt earlier this week, it was in a churchyard but unfortunately I rocked up there at lunch hour where every man and his dog had stopped for a sandwich :laughing:

 

I quoted you because I am very impressed that where you live there are actually doggie doo glove dispensers :D

 

Genius :D

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Hi, guys. I'm new to geocaching. We (as a family) found our first cache yesterday, which was a lot of fun. But I've been reviewing the logs of various caches out of curiosity and it appears there are rules about stealth and secrecy that I wasn't aware of. Just how discrete are we supposed to be when we search for and find caches? Not a difficult thing for those caches off the beaten track, so to speak, but what about those that are in more populated areas?

 

Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks!

adelleg

Well stated CBT69....Just please don't compromise cache and it's location, if possible...It is OK if you must come back another day....As a cache owner, I appreciate a searchers stealth and not giving up the cache location...I have had many caches vandalized and destroyed by careless cachers not being stealthy...But, that is one part of this great game that happens...Happy hunting.

 

just don't be so obvious that others realize you are doing what you are doing, and go to sniff out what you were fiddling with, that's all. 99% of the people ignore someone walking around with a GPS. However, about 15% of the people notice someone fumbling with an ammo box in the woods, or a lamp skirt at Walmart.

 

Just use common sense, and don't be BLATANTLY obvious, and things will generally work out well.

 

_most_ people note clearly in the caches when extra stealth will be required, for whatever reason.

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I know that some caches list "stealth required" and give no reason to why (whether it is a case of "muggle problems" or something else) and also list a very vague clue in the cache's info. In that case, what is the best way. I am sure if one is looking for it for a good 5 minutes, they will attract attention. Since most people like to find new caches that they have never looked for before, I can imagine where they might lose the balance between finding it successfully and keeping from attracting muggle attention.

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Part of the fun sometimes is trying to invent ways of being sneaky.

 

Your GPS can be used as a "camera" to take photos while a muggle strolls by. If you need to stall a bit longer, use the GPS as a "cell phone" and wait the muggle out. Bending over to tie your shoes for a quick grab is a standard trick.

 

The possibilities are endless if your creative. If I have the time to be stealthy, I will do it. If I'm in a hurry I'll evanuate the situation and either walk away of make a quick grab casually if I can get away with it. Really each situation has to be judged on the spot for the best way to handle it.

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These replies are outstanding, everyone! I seriously appreciate your insight and observations. I didn't realize when we started this how excitingly sly it could be, but I'm really looking forward to trying this in other jurisdictions when I travel (not soon, unfortunately, but oh well). In the meantime there seem to be several in my area that I can keep looking for, including those with muggle potential to be careful around.

 

Another question I have though is with the acronyms I've seen others use. I figured out that FTFC means First To Find Cache, but what does TFTC, TFTH, TNLN, and SL mean?

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For me, when I read "Stealth Required" I think no problem. Either we do this on at night when there is no muggles around (turns a 3/1 in to a 1/1) or my wife and I work as a team during the daytime. One will block the view to the cache while the other one grabes and walks off with it. Then we do it in reverse to put it back.

 

I don't want to be the last one to sign the log. I see it as keeping the game a live. If it gets muggled and its my fault becaues I was spotted taking it then I killed the game for others.

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We only just started but I find the cell phone to be an automatic reason to be wandering just about anywhere. We were looking for a micro in a busy parking lot when it dawned on my that to security cameras, I probably look like I'm stalking cars to break into. I popped out the cell-phone while wandering between light posts and, presto... I'm just some guy killing time while talking on the phone.

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If I arrive at a cache site and feel uncomfortable about it's location, or I'm overlooked by house windows or security cameras, then I leave immediately and that cache goes straight onto my ignore list. It's just not necessary to place caches in such locations and shows a lack of imagination by the setter. This game is supposed to be fun, not to turn us in to paranoids looking over our shoulders!

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Whenever this subject comes up I always think ... "Just why are we being so secretive?"

Obviously, if it is in a location where you are going to be observed remotely where those watching you can't know what you are doing, then of course, stealth is required. There is the chance that they will come to the cache after you leave to see what you are doing, and possibly interfere with the cache.

If it is the case of someone right at GZ that don't seem inclined to leave, then why not just tell them what you are doing and even involve them in finding it and let them watch you sign the log, etc. There is very little chance of them bothering the cache after you leave, and a good chance that you might get a new convert to geocaching! In my area we could certainly use more cachers, and I take every opportunity I can to spread the word about the hobby!

 

Oh yeah ... SerenityFound .... Our GPSr doubles great as a cell phone. No need to "whip out the phone". Just put the GPSr to your ear and presto! Instant camouflage! :D

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I'm really struggling with this issue. We just started on the 3rd of January and with kids we don't want to be driving for hours and doing major hikes for 1 or 2 finds. However many close by require stealth. We are having a hard time deciding how much stealth is enough and figuring out the difference between being stealth and looking like criminals. :lol:

 

I don't want people to lose their caches but I'd like to be able to participate with my kids. Or am I wrong and is this just not really a kid/family thing? :)

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I'm really struggling with this issue. We just started on the 3rd of January and with kids we don't want to be driving for hours and doing major hikes for 1 or 2 finds. However many close by require stealth. We are having a hard time deciding how much stealth is enough and figuring out the difference between being stealth and looking like criminals. :lol:

 

I don't want people to lose their caches but I'd like to be able to participate with my kids. Or am I wrong and is this just not really a kid/family thing? :)

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I'm really struggling with this issue. We just started on the 3rd of January and with kids we don't want to be driving for hours and doing major hikes for 1 or 2 finds. However many close by require stealth. We are having a hard time deciding how much stealth is enough and figuring out the difference between being stealth and looking like criminals. :lol:

 

I don't want people to lose their caches but I'd like to be able to participate with my kids. Or am I wrong and is this just not really a kid/family thing? :)

 

Kids are great camouflage. Anyone passing by who sees parents and kids going around in circles, picking up rocks, looking into the hedges will likely just figure out that the kids are being kids.

 

Happy hunting!

:)

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Best advice I can give is to boldly walk up to the cache, retrieve it, sign and trade and then replace it and walk away. Act like you know 100% for sure what you are doing. Behave as though you belong there and you are doing nothing wrong (mostly because you aren't - are you?). Such people are barely noticed in everyday life. Bring a hard hat and clipboard for added annominity. If you have any discomfort level with the cache - simply move on to another one.

 

Cachers that try to be stealthy end up attracting a lot more attention and get noticed easier.

 

I live in the heart of Washington, DC where muggs are always everywhere. I can't agree more with this post (above). It's confidence. That's all it takes. Walk in like you own the place.

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I've found over time that most people are too worried about what they are doing (or what other people think of what they're doing) to worry too much about what I'm doing.

 

I stroll up the cache area and do my best to just casually grab it. Not being sneaky or stealthy or trying "not to be seen" (which does look interesting to others) but just getting the cache. Then I open it, read it, sign it, glance around to see if anyone is really paying attention to me, and put it back.

 

One time that process took a bit longer than usual. We had already found the cache, but we were with somone who had not and he just wasn't seeing it. We got to watch what it looks like to search unobtrusively. And while we were doing that, an olderly gentleman came out and told our friend "I don't know where whatever it is you're looking for actually is, but most people stop looking for it after they are on that end" :lol:

 

The folks in the museum knew there was a cache there, but that was all they knew. We showed him the gps and explained how it worked. He was fascinated.

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I'm really struggling with this issue. We just started on the 3rd of January and with kids we don't want to be driving for hours and doing major hikes for 1 or 2 finds. However many close by require stealth. We are having a hard time deciding how much stealth is enough and figuring out the difference between being stealth and looking like criminals. :lol:

 

I don't want people to lose their caches but I'd like to be able to participate with my kids. Or am I wrong and is this just not really a kid/family thing? :)

 

I would have to say that having kids along is one of the best tools in the bag. I try to get some of my kids to come along just so that I don't look like a weirdo at the park. This is a great sport to get kids involved with. It works all the muscles including the brain. If you have kids along what harm could you really be doing? It helps to have kids in nearly every muggle situation that there is.

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