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Is it ever okay to take a cache?


Bamilbis
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So I'm steadying myself for a tongue lashing here...or I guess a keyboard lashing.

 

I found a cache today ZELIG which was placed by another local cacher, Fuzbil. He has many many caches hidden around my town and they are without exception alway stealthily hidden. Cleaver hides that make you look and I have quite a few DNFs for him.

 

So today I found one of his just laying on the ground by a tree along a path. I figure this couldn't be the proper hiding spot but I had no idea where the right spot was. I emailed the CO and also the previous finder and am waiting to hear back from them. I also logged my find and the fact that I ...took it. There it is. I took the guys cache.

 

That's my question, was it wrong? I really didn't want to but I couldn't bring myself to just throw it back down on the ground where anybody walking by could see it.

 

So, what do you all think? I'm really curious what y'all think...

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I think you were just trying to be conscientious, if I were the CO I wouldn't be upset provided you'd take it back to where you found it on the outside chance that was the hiding spot.

 

But if the cache was improperly placed, I'd be happy you have it for me to put back correctly.

 

I'm sure that others will have a different take but that is how I would see it.

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Never take a cache without permission. Tell the owner of the problem. I have had to take one only once but I was uneasy about it:

 

It was on somebody's fence and he questioned me when he saw me looking. He said if I didn't take it he would throw it away and continue to do so if replaced. I contacted the owner to inform them & give them their cache so they could move it or talk to him.

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Cleaver hides that make you look and I have quite a few DNFs for him.

Oh, those cleaver hides! They can be so evil!

104dd__meat_cleaver__31LVIc22BMtL.jpg

 

Seriously... your intentions were obviously the best. And if you can get the container to the cache owner, so much the better. But odds are good that it may have been easier for the cache owner to go to the cache site, retrieve the container from where you told him you re-hid it, and put it where it is supposed to be, than for the two of you to somehow meet up somewhere so he can get it from you, and then go to the cache site to rehide it.

 

[checking to be sure I didn't typo anything!]

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If you find a cache and feel it is not as it should be (namely, laying in the open) I would suggest leaving it but in a less conspicious place. But do email the CO ASAP and let him know where you found it and where you moved it to; photos help.

 

Note: I would never move it just because I found it at the "wrong" coords (though I would notify the CO if the coords appeared off by more than 20-30 ft; might be bad coords or someone else might've moved the cache).

 

I would stress only moving a cache because it is very exposed and unattached (such as your situation of finding it in the middle of the trail). If the cache was exposed, but attached to a tree/fence/etc I would leave it exactly as I found it but alert the CO the cache was no longer hidden.

 

The only time I think I would remove the cache entirely is if I could not replace it at all. Early this year I found a storm drain cache, but when I went to replace it as found the small chain the bison tube was hanging from broke (it was old and rusted). It was impossible to put the cache back so I took it but immediately notified the owner AND left a cache log that the cache had been removed (so other searchers knew was well in case there was a delay in the CO disabling the cache). I met with the CO a few days later to return the cache container to him and he got a new chain and replaced it. So there are times it is reasonable to remove a cache.

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Normally I would say rehide in a protected spot, snap a picture of where you put it and email the owner detailed instructions on where to find it.

 

But since you are both local and it should be easy for you to get the cache back to the owner, I don't see anything wrong with the way you handled this particular incident.

 

Looks like the CO has already disabled the cache and I assume has been in contact with you, so all is well in the world today. (or at least in your immediate vacinity) :)

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No lashing (just where is my cat-o-nine-tails, anyway?).

 

You did what you thought best. It was not wrong to take it, although most others would have just hidden it and left.

I do hope you can soon get ahold of the CO.

Or... just maybe now with the coords, you can go to GZ and locate the geotrail to the original hiding spot. Worth a try.

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Well, here's the ending...

 

Based on your responses I got in my car and drove back to just find a better place than the ground to hide it. On the way the CO emailed me and confirmed it was NOT supposed to be on the ground, told me where the proper hiding spot was and offered to send pictures (I never would have thought to take pictures of my caches) if needed. Also said if I didn't have time he'd just make a new container and place it himself. Thanked me for my effort too.

 

So, I got there and placed it no problem with his directions. All is well.

 

Thank you all for your inputs.

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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

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I'll offer my thoughts on both questions. As they are naught but the ramblings of an old, fat, crippled guy with a smelly hat, feel free to take them for what they are worth. (Rumor has it, that a Clan Riffster opinion and about $7 will get you a crappy cup of coffee at Starbucks...)

 

Is it ever okay to take a cache?

Contrary to what I've read in this thread, there are times when it is perfectly OK to take a cache, even without the owner's permission. One example that happened to me involved a caching trip in a public natural area. As I was signing the log, I was approached by a staff member, who contacted the land manager. The land manager was a bit miffed because no one had asked permission to place a cache on their land, and demanded I remove it immediately. (There was no established geocaching policy for this property, so the assumption from Groundspeak was that permission was implied.) We talked for quite some time, as I explained the reviewing process, and all the subtle intracasies of the game. The land manager was glad that I took the time to educate them about this game, but still wanted the cache removed. I took it with me and contacted the owner. Later discussions with the same land manager have led to them embracing geocaching, though they never did create a formal policy.

 

That's my question, was it wrong?

No, it wasn't wrong. It's not what I would've done, but it's not wrong.

I would've hidden it as close to where I found it as possible, and sent the owner the coords.

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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

 

New log proposal: "Took It"

 

poke - poke :lol::blink::)

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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

 

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm simply playing devil's advocate. If the cache was laying on the ground and not in the true hiding spot, was it a legitimate find? Again, I would say yes and as a CO I would of course allow the find, no problem. But technically....and since this CO has tricky hides that the OP has struggled with finding....it wasn't a true find in the sense that it wasn't in the correct hiding spot. The difficulty of the find had been inadvertently changed, in other words, for the OP.

 

Again, I'm not saying it is in any way wrong to log the find. I'm suggesting that some people on this board, may argue otherwise based on past threads I've read.

Edited by ThePetersTrio
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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

 

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm simply playing devil's advocate. If the cache was laying on the ground and not in the true hiding spot, was it a legitimate find? Again, I would say yes and as a CO I would of course allow the find, no problem. But technically....and since this CO has tricky hides that the OP has struggled with finding....it wasn't a true find in the sense that it wasn't in the correct hiding spot. The difficulty of the find had been inadvertently changed, in other words, for the OP.

 

Again, I'm not saying it is in any way wrong to log the find. I'm suggesting that some people on this board, may argue otherwise based on past threads I've read.

Of course he found it. It was "lost", by deductive reasoning, he "found" it. What was once lost, is now found.... :ph34r:

 

EDIT TO ADD: Sorry, the devil made me do it

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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In all honesty, this one I would have found. I'd tell you if I wasn't sure about it or I doubted if I would have. I'm gonna keep the smiley. I do see your point that it technically wasn't a true "find". But like I said, despite having troubles with some of his other hides, this one wouldn't have stumped me. I'm 100% sure about that.

 

If it HAD been a more challenging hide then I'd have a conundrum. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

 

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm simply playing devil's advocate. If the cache was laying on the ground and not in the true hiding spot, was it a legitimate find? Again, I would say yes and as a CO I would of course allow the find, no problem. But technically....and since this CO has tricky hides that the OP has struggled with finding....it wasn't a true find in the sense that it wasn't in the correct hiding spot. The difficulty of the find had been inadvertently changed, in other words, for the OP.

 

Again, I'm not saying it is in any way wrong to log the find. I'm suggesting that some people on this board, may argue otherwise based on past threads I've read.

Of course he found it. It was "lost", by deductive reasoning, he "found" it. What was once lost, is now found.... :ph34r:

 

EDIT TO ADD: Sorry, the devil made me do it

 

LoL - Now I have Amazing Grace stuck in my head.

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I'll offer my thoughts on both questions. As they are naught but the ramblings of an old, fat, crippled guy with a smelly hat, feel free to take them for what they are worth. (Rumor has it, that a Clan Riffster opinion and about $7 will get you a crappy cup of coffee at Starbucks...)

 

Is it ever okay to take a cache?

Contrary to what I've read in this thread, there are times when it is perfectly OK to take a cache, even without the owner's permission. One example that happened to me involved a caching trip in a public natural area. As I was signing the log, I was approached by a staff member, who contacted the land manager. The land manager was a bit miffed because no one had asked permission to place a cache on their land, and demanded I remove it immediately. (There was no established geocaching policy for this property, so the assumption from Groundspeak was that permission was implied.) We talked for quite some time, as I explained the reviewing process, and all the subtle intracasies of the game. The land manager was glad that I took the time to educate them about this game, but still wanted the cache removed. I took it with me and contacted the owner. Later discussions with the same land manager have led to them embracing geocaching, though they never did create a formal policy.

 

That's my question, was it wrong?

No, it wasn't wrong. It's not what I would've done, but it's not wrong.

I would've hidden it as close to where I found it as possible, and sent the owner the coords.

 

Did you try to explain to that land manager that there would be more damage done by cachers trying to find a missing container than there would have been by cachers finding the container before the owner has a chance to archive the cache?

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So is that a "found it" log then?

 

(I'm just anticipating the drama this question might unleash.) :anibad:

 

Frankly, I'd be logging a smiley on it. You went above and beyond what most people would do. I think it deserves a smiley just for that alone. B)

 

Absolutely this would be a Found It. It was a Found It even before he brought the container home. But he can't log a Hid It until it is back in place.

 

I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm simply playing devil's advocate. If the cache was laying on the ground and not in the true hiding spot, was it a legitimate find? Again, I would say yes and as a CO I would of course allow the find, no problem. But technically....and since this CO has tricky hides that the OP has struggled with finding....it wasn't a true find in the sense that it wasn't in the correct hiding spot. The difficulty of the find had been inadvertently changed, in other words, for the OP.

 

Again, I'm not saying it is in any way wrong to log the find. I'm suggesting that some people on this board, may argue otherwise based on past threads I've read.

 

I guess I can see your point, particularly on a high-difficulty cache. But I'm sure the consensus is almost universal that it would be a find, nevertheless.

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Is it ever okay to take a cache?
Contrary to what I've read in this thread, there are times when it is perfectly OK to take a cache, even without the owner's permission. One example that happened to me involved a caching trip in a public natural area. As I was signing the log, I was approached by a staff member, who contacted the land manager. The land manager was a bit miffed because no one had asked permission to place a cache on their land, and demanded I remove it immediately.
Yep. I know people who have been in that situation. In one case, the land manager also left a note at the site explaining that the geocache had been placed without permission, and had been removed. (Thus avoiding damage from eager geocachers using day-old PQ data.)

 

I've encountered a couple other situations where I took the cache with me. In one case, while I was in the car signing the log, private security responded to an incident right on top of GZ. I waited, but had to leave before they were done. I took the cache with me and returned later to replace it, after my meeting and after the incident had been resolved. In another case, the camouflage broke as I was replacing it, and I couldn't figure out how to re-hide the cache with the camouflage broken the way it was. I immediately posted a NM log and sent the owner email, and took the cache and broken camouflage with me.

 

But situations like this are rare exceptions. In situations like the one the OP described, I've hidden the exposed cache as well as I could (based on the description, hint, and any photos I had access to in the field), explained what happened in my online log, and sent specific details to the owner via email.

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I once took a cache (am friends with the CO, but did not talk to him til after) because when I was out caching with another friend, the neighbor came out and said he was going to call the cops on us saying its a police drug crackdown zone and was getting really hostile. We did calm him down but we removed the cache to prevent future cachers from being shot or yelled at by this guy and we told him we would take it. There was a sign saying no trespassing in those woods but we figured, as others did (mentioned in the logs), it was a fake sign made by that neighbor to deter folks....it was not his land but obviously close enough that he feels he can kick folks out.

 

Anyway, we took the cache and CO archived it soon after.

 

Felt it was appropriate under those circumstances.

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Once I didn't take a cache, and later felt maybe I should have. I was a newbie at the time. The cache location had been totally "flattened" - tress cut down and all evidence of the removed. The area was being totally re-landscaped. Seems like the muggle landscapers found it, and thinking it was someone's lost lunch box, they left it in the open. There was no place to re-hide it - not even any rocks or sticks around. I left it where I found it, and contacted the owner. I was then worried if it might get taken before the owner was able to retrieve it; but as it was they went out immediately and found it (and immediately archived it; as indeed there was no good place to hide it).

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My puzzle cache 'slope distance' was found this summer about 50' downhill from where I hid it. It had been smashed and played with by a bear. The geocoin that had been in the cache for more than 3 years was recovered. The finders removed the cache from the woods and disposed of it for me. I will replace the puzzle cache in the same area with a better cache container next spring. I'm hoping the new cache gets found more than 2 times in 3 years.

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I think you did right. I would appreciate it for a cache of mine.

It makes no sense to just re-hide it when you have no idea where it should be.

All that does is makes sure no one can find it ... even the CO, if it is any distance from it's original spot.

You could have hidden it and marked the coords for the new location and emailed that to the CO, but if you're willing to go out and replace it for the CO, or to meet somewhere and give it to them, then no harm done.

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Did you try to explain to that land manager that there would be more damage done by cachers trying to find a missing container than there would have been by cachers finding the container before the owner has a chance to archive the cache?

I touched on it lightly, though quite frankly, the area was not particularly sensitive, so I wasn't too worried. Apparently, neither was the land manager. His bottom line, at the end of our talks was to make it go away till he had a chance to study up on this 'geocaching thing' a bit more. Later discussions focused on the potential positive impact of having caches on a property, including pictures of folks doing CITO and printouts from cache logs showing our hobby in a favorable light, which seemed to be effective.

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OK, here's a related scenario that happened to me once. Say that you found a cache a while ago. Later on it gets archived because the owner no longer wanted to cache or maintain their caches. The owner has since stopped logging in on the site. No one will ever find it except previous finders who still know where it was. You go for a hike nearby and just take a quick look. There it is, still where it was. Can you take it then since it's not a published cache anymore, and the owner is not likely to come get it months after their last login.

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OK, here's a related scenario that happened to me once. Say that you found a cache a while ago. Later on it gets archived because the owner no longer wanted to cache or maintain their caches. The owner has since stopped logging in on the site. No one will ever find it except previous finders who still know where it was. You go for a hike nearby and just take a quick look. There it is, still where it was. Can you take it then since it's not a published cache anymore, and the owner is not likely to come get it months after their last login.

Yeah. It comes down to personal morals. I wouldn't give two craps personally. Some people think, "Well, maybe we should let it sit here another 5 years, the owner might come back ya know..." There is no right or wrong in this case. Do what you think is right.

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OK, here's a related scenario that happened to me once. Say that you found a cache a while ago. Later on it gets archived because the owner no longer wanted to cache or maintain their caches. The owner has since stopped logging in on the site. No one will ever find it except previous finders who still know where it was. You go for a hike nearby and just take a quick look. There it is, still where it was. Can you take it then since it's not a published cache anymore, and the owner is not likely to come get it months after their last login.

Yeah. It comes down to personal morals. I wouldn't give two craps personally. Some people think, "Well, maybe we should let it sit here another 5 years, the owner might come back ya know..." There is no right or wrong in this case. Do what you think is right.

 

If the CO has left the game I would consider it abandoned and treat it like any other trash left by thoughtless litterbugs. However, it is important to remember that this site is not the only place to play this game. It is reasonable to think that someone may be playing on one of the other sites. To be honest with myself and fair to others I would make a reasonable attempt to make sure that the cache was, in fact, abandoned.

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I have taken a couple of containers for caches that were archived. I have taken a couple of containers when confronted by land owners/managers. I have taken a couple of containers, later to be returned, when there were simply too many muggles in the area.

 

I took one container home in order to open it. Did maintenance and replaced it the next day after posting a note to the cache:

icon_note.gif Write note10/23/2006George found WP#2 this afternoon but the info was "welded" to the container. George took the container home and was finally able to extract the info (without damage) and then did some maintenance on the lid. It appears the info has disintegrated a bit since it was last found (in May?) and had bonded with the lid. Separation required two pairs of pliers and a fair amount of elbow grease! A few minutes of scraping rendered the lid much more receptive and the info is once again easily removed.

 

The container should be back in place on Tuesday, the 24th.

 

And just for those who might be interested, our final log for the cache that took a month to find:

 

icon_smile.gif Found it11/17/2006#1200!! icon_smile_big.gif</IMG>icon_smile_big.gif</IMG>icon_smile_big.gif</IMG>

 

Oh, this feels very good indeed...

 

As is our practice, we did not plan on this particular cache as a milestone find. We just let them happen. In this case we are doubly happy to achieve a milestone and to finally finish this cache! By George's count we had about 123 finds when we started working on this cache about 3 years ago(ok, not quite that bad). This cache alone could have put us over 2,000 if we could count every outing to hunt the many and varied waypoints.

 

The sun and the moon and the stars all seemed to be aligned this afternoon for George when he returned to finish up WP5. The info was in hand in about 2 seconds and it was off to the next adventure. And it was an adventure since George did not quite inerpret the information at WP5 correctly. What a surprise!? After a solid 30 minutes of searching many places that George would rather not think about, the container was located and it was off to the "almost" final.

 

After a fair amount of "huh?" moments at WP6 the necessary info was AT LONG LAST in hand to hunt for the final. A few short minutes later George had the container in hand and all around was aglow with the light of George's beaming smile. icon_smile_tongue.gif</IMG>

 

Several hours later (really only a few minutes) George completed the task of returning the container to the correct location, then he returned to the ever trusty Geowagon and drove off into the sunset, ready and eager to challenge and find all geocaches, large or small, easy or hard, and to defend the American Way, Mom, Apple Pie, eating too much at Thanksgiving...well you get the idea.

 

This is a lengthy and complex cache to hunt and to administer and everyone should do it. Our profound thanks to The Jester for creating it, keeping it alive, and sharing it with the geocaching community. God bless us, every one... and to all, a good night.

 

We were the 21st finders and it has only been found 40 times in over seven years. B)

 

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Glad it all turned out well. We found a cache that didn't seem right. Both parts were tethered as per the cache description, but the bison was separate from the camo. I had the devil's own job getting the log back in the bison, so didn't investigate further, and replaced the cache as found. After I logged my find I emailed the CO and got a reply tonight - how we found it is not as it should be, so he will go and correct things. He thanked me for letting him know the cache's status.

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I have never taken a geocache, but I have taken a letterbox. I removed it from it's hiding spot and took it home with me. The purpose was to change out the log book. I had to create one specifically to fit in the container and I didn't carry log books like that at the time. I then mailed the old log book to the letterboxer in another country and rehid the letterbox a week or so later. The letterboxer was very happy that I did this for him.

 

As for geocaching. I like to sometimes trade up containers. Took: Altoids Tin Left: Lock and Lock

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I would never take a cache that was owned by another. I would attempt to place it as close to the original co ordinates as possible and notify the owner.

As a general rule, that's fine, but contacting the owner does not always lead to a productive resolution. If memory serves, the first cache I ever took was in 2006. I was wanting to build a night cache, and spoke with a land manager friend of mine for site suggestions. She pointed me to a conservation area just outside my normal stomping grounds, so I drove out to nab some coords, came home and commenced building the cache page.

 

A Reviewer noticed my activity and asked if I had noticed Reflection Cache, an archived night cache in the same area, sending me a link to the page. I thought it was really kewl that my posted coords were just a few feet away from Reflection's posted coords. Reading the cache page I saw that no one had found Reflection since BoonieMan found it in August, 2004, a few days after Hurricane Charlie flooded the area. Half the reflectors were missing, which he noted in his log. 6 months later, a Reviewer posted a note indicating it might need some TLC, and 3 months later the owner disabled it. A couple months went by, with a couple Reviewer notes getting posted, and in October 2005 the owner archived it.

 

My build started 4 months after it was archived. After the Reviewer clued me in to Reflection, I thought I'd see if I could find the trail laid out by the owner. This proved quite challenging, as so many reflectors were missing, but I was able to follow it to the end, finding an ammo can wedged under a log. Looking at the high water marks on the trees, it appears that this can sat under water for quite some time, yet the contents were dry as a bone.

 

I took the cache home with me, contacted the owner, and waited for a reply. I'm still waiting. The cache is still sitting on a shelf in my garage. At the time I took it I weighed my options. I knew I could have left it sitting there, contacting the owner to recover it, but I assumed that since the owner was no longer active, they might never respond, and the cache would quietly disintegrate. I see that as a bad thing. If I honestly believe that a cache has been abandoned in the wild, (inactive owner, not listed elsewhere, archived for an extended time, etc), I would rather risk the wrath of the owner than let it sit out there rotting away.

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I have a somewhat similar story to the Riffster's.

Found a fairly challenging multi in 2003 (I think).

Cache gets archived due to lack of maintenance on one of the stages. I'm not sure how I was aware of this, but it was almost certainly one of the first fifty caches I found, and those tend to stand out. So, I'm back in the area around 2005-6 (at night), and decide to see if the final container (an ammo can) is still in place. Although I can't remember what I had for diner two nights ago, I was able to locate the container! I brought it home, and posted a note on the cache page stating that I had retrieved the container, if the owner wants it back, etc, etc. The owner contacted me, and asked me to put it back! So I did. A couple of months later I was in the area again, checked the location, and it was gone.

 

So, my point is that if you feel the need to remove a container (for whatever reason) post a note on the cache page.

If the owner is paying attention and wants it back, they'll tell you.

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The only cache I think I would ever take is one that is a hazard. If some Owner went nuts and used a weapon as a cache I'd take it and report it to someone at Geocaching.com and possibly the police. But I can't think of another instance that I would take one. I once removed a bullet from my own cache because there was a local guy who ignored the rules. I had heard about him. He put matches, smokes and bullets in caches. I have moved one replaced a container that had been crushed and left a few logs when logs were missing or turned to mush. It's just not protocol.

 

I'd do what I expect someone else to do for me!

 

I amend my statement. I had a cache at my dentists office with permission but the Owner of the property didn't give permission. So when a Geocacher was signing the log the manager of the properyt asked him to leave with the cache. He took the trouble to return it to me. I completely agreed. Plus he went way out of his way to get it to me. Cool guy. Never did get permission to put it back.

Edited by delanos
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Cleaver hides that make you look and I have quite a few DNFs for him.

Oh, those cleaver hides! They can be so evil!

104dd__meat_cleaver__31LVIc22BMtL.jpg

 

Seriously... your intentions were obviously the best. And if you can get the container to the cache owner, so much the better. But odds are good that it may have been easier for the cache owner to go to the cache site, retrieve the container from where you told him you re-hid it, and put it where it is supposed to be, than for the two of you to somehow meet up somewhere so he can get it from you, and then go to the cache site to rehide it.

 

[checking to be sure I didn't typo anything!]

Andrew Jackson said "It is a small mind who can't think of more than one way to spell a word". LOL

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I would never take a cache that was owned by another. I would attempt to place it as close to the original co ordinates as possible and notify the owner.

As a general rule, that's fine, but contacting the owner does not always lead to a productive resolution. If memory serves, the first cache I ever took was in 2006. I was wanting to build a night cache, and spoke with a land manager friend of mine for site suggestions. She pointed me to a conservation area just outside my normal stomping grounds, so I drove out to nab some coords, came home and commenced building the cache page.

 

A Reviewer noticed my activity and asked if I had noticed Reflection Cache, an archived night cache in the same area, sending me a link to the page. I thought it was really kewl that my posted coords were just a few feet away from Reflection's posted coords. Reading the cache page I saw that no one had found Reflection since BoonieMan found it in August, 2004, a few days after Hurricane Charlie flooded the area. Half the reflectors were missing, which he noted in his log. 6 months later, a Reviewer posted a note indicating it might need some TLC, and 3 months later the owner disabled it. A couple months went by, with a couple Reviewer notes getting posted, and in October 2005 the owner archived it.

 

My build started 4 months after it was archived. After the Reviewer clued me in to Reflection, I thought I'd see if I could find the trail laid out by the owner. This proved quite challenging, as so many reflectors were missing, but I was able to follow it to the end, finding an ammo can wedged under a log. Looking at the high water marks on the trees, it appears that this can sat under water for quite some time, yet the contents were dry as a bone.

 

I took the cache home with me, contacted the owner, and waited for a reply. I'm still waiting. The cache is still sitting on a shelf in my garage. At the time I took it I weighed my options. I knew I could have left it sitting there, contacting the owner to recover it, but I assumed that since the owner was no longer active, they might never respond, and the cache would quietly disintegrate. I see that as a bad thing. If I honestly believe that a cache has been abandoned in the wild, (inactive owner, not listed elsewhere, archived for an extended time, etc), I would rather risk the wrath of the owner than let it sit out there rotting away.

I think you did right in this instance. It's not as black and white as I first thought. But this is not an active cache so it may not count.

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Many things in life are dichotomies, where to virtuous principles collide and you have to pick one or the other.

 

On one hand, a container doesn't belong to geocaching.com, or to the caching community. No, it belongs only to the hider. So as a CACHER I really have no business taking a cache most of the time.

 

I may, as a member of the caching community, "act" on a cache in the hider's or community's best interest. For instance, picking it up on the request of a land owner, or picking up a container that is in certain peril. I have been in situations, like rising floodwater, where a cache was doomed if not picked up.

 

I also am a citizen--a member of the non-caching community at large, and I have moral responsibilities to my community that transcend caching. I can certainly pick up a cache that is morally inappropriate, dangerous to the non-caching public, ecologically unsafe... My responsibility to be a good steward of my town didn't stop once I took the "sacred cacher oath."

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