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medoug

Muggle-proof ammo can

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Hi. I've been geocaching for several years now and enjoy hiding clever caches in cool places even more than finding geocaches. I've hidden a few ammo cans in my time. Until recently, I've only lost one to muggles, and had another vandalized but fixable, but within the last year I've now lost two. I have only a limited supply of these and don't feel like continuing to supply these to thieves. Does anyone have any practical suggestions for making an ammo can muggle-proof or at least muggle-resistant yet still remain functional (watertight) and still hideable as a geocache. Keep in mind that hunting, trapping, foraging, hiking, and mushroom hunting are common activities in the area so seldom can an ammo can be made invisible to all but fellow geocachers playing the game.

 

Let me add that I had spent considerable amount of time and expense modifying one of the ammo cans and it's contents so I was out much more than just the cost of simply an ammo can. I can't really go into too much detail but it had to do with the clever nature of the cache.

 

I have received a lot of praise and favorites points for this particular hide so I DO want to ultimately replace it (several feet away from the original hide) with a new container, but don't want to risk another loss of my time, cost, and effort again. Part of the problem is that I'm not sure how determined the original thief will be to return to the area (possibly with tools) to steal another can.

 

Thanks,

medoug.

Edited by medoug

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A few thoughts...

 

Some folks have had success with making their valuable caches PMOs. Whilst this won't help against either a true muggle who has no clue what this game is about, or a thief who is committed enough to spend $30 just so they can steal ammo cans, it will oft give protection against those folks who pop into the hobby just to check it out, then realize that they can satisfy their inner need for thievery by following the arrow on their iPhone app.

 

Not a true solution, but it's a start.

 

I've had some degree of success by placing my caches way off trail. Since one of the factors which leads a person to thievery is laziness, requiring a great deal of effort to get to ground zero will stop many of them.

 

Another thing I've had success with is using tethers. A tether accomplishes a couple things. First, it keeps critters from wandering off with your cache. This is a good thing, in itself. Second, a tether tells anyone who stumbles across a cache that it belongs there, and wasn't simply plopped out at a random spot. I like to use about a 6' piece of lightweight chain, and connectors, which I tighten down as best I can. A buddy of mine has a better solution. He welds a bolt to the backside of his ammo cans and runs a cable through it.

 

None of these steps will foil a thief who has decided they are going to steal your cache.

 

But combine them, and you should better your odds significantly.

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Made one for another once.

Steel ring bolt (not a cheapy eye) drilled in the back with rubber washers and a dab a silicone caulk (jic).

If I remember correctly, someone used an axe (or similar) to cut their 1/4" cable.

 

I like CR's "tether" idea. Lets folks know that it belongs there and keeps it from migrating.

 

We don't bother, though our "regular" hides are ammo cans.

We figure if someone wants it bad enough to hassle with 1/4" cable...

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I'm 99% certain that 1 of the 2 ammo cans taken in the last year was NOT done by a fellow geocacher. It's difficult to explain how I know this, but it would involve giving away the "trick" involved with the clever hide. So, I don't think changing the cache to a premium membership would have made any difference.

 

In both cases, the cache was hidden off the main trail. The location chosen really didn't lend itself to a hide a considerable distance (long hike) from the parking area. So, making these remote caches really wasn't an option.

 

Originally, the hiding spots required trekking off the main trail through considerable brush and brambles. One factor that probably contributed to the containers disappearing is that in both cases, a pretty visible geotrail had formed from geocachers looking for the container. This made for a convenient route for non-cachers to explore.

 

I think ideas for tethering might be the most practical solution in light of what I have explained above. Any examples (photos or descriptions) of what you have done or seen other do would be most appreciated.

 

Thanks again,

medoug.

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I once saw one that was filled with cement except for a small area inside for log and trade items. Makes the can less attractive to thieves.

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Does anyone remember the large ammo box that sat for years in plain sight on a sidewalk in Reno, NV.? It lasted a long time with a chain and combo lock. Well until somebody after all that time calls in a bomb scare and they had to blow it up. But hey it lasted a long time. I do the same thing. I make it a puzzle, PMO with a cable and combo lock. So far they lasted.

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The tether idea is a good one but will only help keep the can itself from disappearing. Won't keep someone from trashing the contents and defiling the container, though. But it's better than nothing, I guess.

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Thanks for the ideas. Keep them coming.

 

I hadn't thought of filling the ammo can mostly with cement to make it less attactive to thieves. I've been thinking of how cement could be used to further deter theft. Here's what I'm now leaning toward:

 

  1. Drill holes in opposite sides of the can near its bottom.
  2. Run threaded rod with fasteners and rubber seals through the can through those holes with plenty of length extending out each side of the can.
  3. Fill the can with enough cement to cover the rod and fasteners.
  4. Go to the hiding site and screw one of those large corkscrew rods used for anchoring dog leashes into the ground. Leave part of it exposed.
  5. Now, mix up some cement mix with water and pour a small pad onto the exposed portion of the leash anchor and push the bottom of the ammo can into the pad so the threaded rods are also submerged in the cement. Use plenty of the cement mix along with heavy wire or rebar to reinforce so it can't be easily broken up.

 

What do you think? The biggest problem with this idea is that the cache container becomes a permanent fixture and can't be moved or modified by even myself if needed. I'm open to other suggestions or improvements to this idea.

 

Unfortunately, it's probably too cold this time of the year for cement to properly set so this might need to wait until Spring to actually incorporate. My biggest regret now is that I didn't do this with my originally container. Perhaps I had too much trust in others seeing that the ammo can was clearly marked as being part of a game and would be left alone by others.

 

medoug.

Edited by medoug

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Nothing is muggle proof. If they want it bad enough, they'll get it. I've had an ammo can cabled to a tree, and was emailed a picture- a local cacher found the cable. I've seen an ammo can completely destroyed. At least 500 feet off the trail, rough terrain. The can was bolted into the rock. Bolted as in 5 inch ones for concrete. Lid was stolen. One side kicked in, and another side broken off. I've also had small and micros muggles multiple times before they have been found.

 

Nothing will stop them, best you can do is inconvenience them.

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[...]

Go to the hiding site and screw one of those large corkscrew rods used for anchoring dog leashes into the ground. Leave part of it exposed.

[...]

What do you think? The biggest problem with this idea is that the cache container becomes a permanent fixture and can't be moved or modified by even myself if needed.

[...]

Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

 

Geocache placements do not damage, deface or destroy public or private property.

Caches are placed so that the surrounding environment, whether natural or human-made, is safe from intentional or unintentional harm. Property must not be damaged or altered to provide a hiding place, clue, or means of logging a find.

 

----

 

Personally, I think you need to decide from whom you're protecting the cache. If it's people stealing ammo cans, then make the cache container less valuable to them. Fill most of the ammo can with concrete, or permanently bond camouflage material to it, or use a less valuable container in the first place.

 

But if someone is determined to trash the cache, then there isn't much you can do to stop them. Sometimes, the best thing to do with a vandalized container is to throw it away, wait 2-3 months for the vandals to forget about it, and replace it with a different container hidden nearby.

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Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

 

I've seen many containers pushed/pounded into the soil (some a few feet). I've also seen the dog leash anchors used with a chain or cable to deter theft or the elements from removing a container. Screwing an anchor into the soil isn't the same as digging a hole. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I think there is some interpretation to the "thou does not bury" rule.

 

Geocache placements do not damage, deface or destroy public or private property.

Caches are placed so that the surrounding environment, whether natural or human-made, is safe from intentional or unintentional harm. Property must not be damaged or altered to provide a hiding place, clue, or means of logging a find.

 

I don't really see a random slab of cement poured into a small pile in the woods much different than placing a geocaching container or small boulder there. None of which actually damages or modifies what is originally in the area. I would feel a little funny having it anchored as I mentioned as a permanent fixture though.

 

Maybe a big enough glob of cement attached to the outside of the ammo can (in addition to it being partially filled) would be sufficient to deter thieves. It could still be constructed in the woods with a few trips of cement to result in a container weighing more than a thieve could easily carry out.

 

One thing that I hadn't mentioned until now is that part of the trick to the cache is that the ammo box would be padlocked closed. Hopefully that would help deter the casual muggle or minor vandal.

 

medoug.

Edited by medoug

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Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

 

I've seen many containers pushed/pounded into the soil (some a few feet). I've also seen the dog leash anchors used with a chain or cable to deter theft or the elements from removing a container. Screwing an anchor into the soil isn't the same as digging a hole. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I think there is some interpretation to the "thou does not bury" rule.

 

So what you're saying is that since others have gone against the guidelines and broken the rules, it should be okay for you as well?

 

Geocache placements do not damage, deface or destroy public or private property.

Caches are placed so that the surrounding environment, whether natural or human-made, is safe from intentional or unintentional harm. Property must not be damaged or altered to provide a hiding place, clue, or means of logging a find.

 

I don't really see a random slab of cement poured into a small pile in the woods much different than placing a geocaching container or small boulder there. None of which actually damages or modifies what is originally in the area. I would feel a little funny having it anchored as I mentioned as a permanent fixture though.

So....a glob of cement doesn't destroy the grass you pour it on? Let's be realistic, when the cache eventually runs it's course, are you going to physically go out there with tools and remove the cement you laid on the woods? Not a good idea at all.

 

Something I've seen done quite a few times is chaining the ammo can to a large tree. Also, if your ammo can is continuously getting muggled, perhaps your location is not remote enough, or you're not hiding the cache well enough. I recently found a cache that had not been found in two years. It was a puzzle (not even a difficult one) and it was a mile and a half hike out in the woods. The ammo can was attached to a large chain that was locked around a tree. Everything was in perfect condition and I'm sure the owner wasn't worried one bit about the cache going missing even though it has been two years since it had been found.

 

The guidelines are there for a reason, perhaps you should pitch your idea to your local reviewer and I'm sure they will tell you the same thing about your "stake the ground and lay cement" idea.

Edited by billdavidsaurus

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Does anyone have any practical suggestions for making an ammo can muggle-proof or at least muggle-resistant yet still remain functional (watertight) and still hideable as a geocache.

Hide it aggressively in an out-of-the way spot that is extra work to hike to, and make it an Unknown Cache (which I'd suppose yours is), or a Multi. My Unknown Cache is so inconvenient to access, nomuggle goes there. And local cachers pick Regular Caches. The disadvantage is the cache is rarely hunted. But the advantage is the cache is rarely hunted. B)

 

A determined muggle can seriously mess up your securely attached ammo can. How often would you like to move your pile of concrete? :anicute:

Edited by kunarion

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pitch your idea to your local reviewer and I'm sure they will tell you the same thing about your "stake the ground and lay cement" idea.

+1

 

If the idea is to create a cache that remains, be sure the reviewer knows exactly how the cables are attached.

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...a pretty visible geotrail... This made for a convenient route for non-cachers to explore.

I've found that the closer your cache is to an established trail, the greater the likelihood that you'll have a visible geotrail leading to it. It seems that folks tend to take the easiest path to ground zero. If they are able to hike established trails to within 20' or so of the cache, once they get to that point, they'll all take the same route from the trail to the cache, thereby creating a geotrail. If your cache is 500' or more off trail, folks will take various routes to get there, reducing the formation of geotrails.

 

Drill holes in opposite sides of the can near its bottom.

I've seen a lot of formerly waterproof containers made less so by the judicious application of drill bits. It seems, no matter how much silicon and rubber seals the hider added, the hole allowed moisture in, possibly due to the varying expansion/contraction rates of the added materials? This effect is why I'm such a fan of welding as opposed to drilling.

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Does anyone remember the large ammo box that sat for years in plain sight on a sidewalk in Reno, NV.? It lasted a long time with a chain and combo lock. Well until somebody after all that time calls in a bomb scare and they had to blow it up. But hey it lasted a long time. I do the same thing. I make it a puzzle, PMO with a cable and combo lock. So far they lasted.

 

Sounds like the "official" Atlanta Braves cache...basically sitting out at the Hank Aaron monument wall in the middle of the parking lot, tethered to the fence and painted bright blue.

 

http://coord.info/GC2JCYA

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Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

 

I've seen many containers pushed/pounded into the soil (some a few feet). I've also seen the dog leash anchors used with a chain or cable to deter theft or the elements from removing a container. Screwing an anchor into the soil isn't the same as digging a hole. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I think there is some interpretation to the "thou does not bury" rule.

 

 

One thing that I hadn't mentioned until now is that part of the trick to the cache is that the ammo box would be padlocked closed. Hopefully that would help deter the casual muggle or minor vandal.

 

medoug.

 

Padlock it closed so one could steal it and cut the lock off at home....I think it's a waste of a good lock.

 

As for the hole, well the part I've bolded seems pretty set-geocaches are NEVER buried. Not shouldn't be, or they can be if it's on your property. Never seems pretty cut and dry. You even get an explanation of what they mean, by including that you can't create a hole. This has come after many, many people argued the definition of buried and digging. If you have to try to interpret the rule to side with what you want to do, it's against the reason for the rule. And this is in place for a very good reason; image. When you go ask the city, or a landowner to place a cache on their property, they don't care how you define buried. All they will know is that geocaches are allowed to be buried, and then we don't get permission to place any geocaches, because someone doesn't want their land to be dug up by the placer, or the finders. Possibly a city or county will ban all geocaches on their land.

 

Or there's the newb that sees a geocache partly buried. He doesn't read the guidelines and completely buries a caches.

 

If you have to go to these lengths, maybe that's just not a good spot for a geocache.

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Make it ugly. Dent it, have someone with a welder scar it, use strong glue to put stuff on it (like carpeting) etc. If people really, really want to steal your can, they will. But the casual thief is probably looking for something to take home and show to friends or keep their junk in.

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Geocaches are never buried, neither partially nor completely.

If one has to dig or create a hole in the ground when placing or finding a geocache, it is not allowed.

 

I've seen many containers pushed/pounded into the soil (some a few feet). I've also seen the dog leash anchors used with a chain or cable to deter theft or the elements from removing a container. Screwing an anchor into the soil isn't the same as digging a hole. I'm not saying that makes it right, but I think there is some interpretation to the "thou does not bury" rule.

 

 

One thing that I hadn't mentioned until now is that part of the trick to the cache is that the ammo box would be padlocked closed. Hopefully that would help deter the casual muggle or minor vandal.

 

medoug.

 

Padlock it closed so one could steal it and cut the lock off at home....I think it's a waste of a good lock.

 

As for the hole, well the part I've bolded seems pretty set-geocaches are NEVER buried. Not shouldn't be, or they can be if it's on your property. Never seems pretty cut and dry. You even get an explanation of what they mean, by including that you can't create a hole. This has come after many, many people argued the definition of buried and digging. If you have to try to interpret the rule to side with what you want to do, it's against the reason for the rule. And this is in place for a very good reason; image. When you go ask the city, or a landowner to place a cache on their property, they don't care how you define buried. All they will know is that geocaches are allowed to be buried, and then we don't get permission to place any geocaches, because someone doesn't want their land to be dug up by the placer, or the finders. Possibly a city or county will ban all geocaches on their land.

 

Or there's the newb that sees a geocache partly buried. He doesn't read the guidelines and completely buries a caches.

 

If you have to go to these lengths, maybe that's just not a good spot for a geocache.

 

It's already been established in other threads that geocaches are sometimes buried. They also are featured on the geocaching blog despite this. Also some reviewers are known to ignore inquiries, as well as valid NA logs regarding being buried. If they don't ask and don't tell it may get published. If nobody complains it may last, and if someone does complain, it depends on the reviewer of that area for the response.

 

Yes, that answer is as cheesy as armchair logging an LPC nano at Walmart, but its the truth. :D

Edited by 4wheelin_fool

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Does anyone remember the large ammo box that sat for years in plain sight on a sidewalk in Reno, NV.? It lasted a long time with a chain and combo lock. Well until somebody after all that time calls in a bomb scare and they had to blow it up. But hey it lasted a long time. I do the same thing. I make it a puzzle, PMO with a cable and combo lock. So far they lasted.

 

Sounds like the "official" Atlanta Braves cache...basically sitting out at the Hank Aaron monument wall in the middle of the parking lot, tethered to the fence and painted bright blue.

 

http://coord.info/GC2JCYA

Nah this was in Reno,NV but nice to know there was another one out there.

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Does anyone remember the large ammo box that sat for years in plain sight on a sidewalk in Reno, NV.? It lasted a long time with a chain and combo lock. Well until somebody after all that time calls in a bomb scare and they had to blow it up. But hey it lasted a long time. I do the same thing. I make it a puzzle, PMO with a cable and combo lock. So far they lasted.

 

I would probably be more likely to call in the bomb squad if I spotted a suspicious locked container. And if I were a land manager, I might not want anything tethered that would be harder to remove if necessary. But perhaps I have been lucky so far. The noncachers who have found my ammo cans have simply left notes.

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Permanently marking the container with a mig-welder would make it less attractive to some theives. Maybe mark your username, the GC code and the word "geocache" on more than one side of the ammo can.

 

Unfortunately though you sometimes have to know when to give up on a location. If a location gets muggled more than once there's a chance someone will keep checking back there and you'll just lose more containers.

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Several good suggestions and insights. 

 

Haven't seen mention of good camouflage.  I mean more than a handful of leaves, here. Get a tube of good construction adhesive and go to town!

 

In addition to camouflage & tether, I explicitly ask that no photos of host (and sometimes location) be posted. 

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A few people have mentioned putting a padlock on. I would have thought that that would encourage the cache to be stolen and/or damaged. A curious passerby is more likely to leave it be if they open it and see nothing of any value, rather than think it may contain something worth stealing or reporting.

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2 hours ago, South_Stander said:

A few people have mentioned putting a padlock on. I would have thought that that would encourage the cache to be stolen and/or damaged. A curious passerby is more likely to leave it be if they open it and see nothing of any value, rather than think it may contain something worth stealing or reporting.

 

That's the way we see it as well.  If they really want to steal it, they'll simply take it padlock n all.  

 -  By a game cam in a large park once, at least one ammo can thief showed up with bolt cutters for chain n cable...

Looking inside and seeing kids toys puts the "curiosity" part at ease for those who chance upon it. 

Integrity (or lack of) then kicks in, and ... well, we just hope for the best.    :)

Edited by cerberus1

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:14 PM, South_Stander said:

A few people have mentioned putting a padlock on. I would have thought that that would encourage the cache to be stolen and/or damaged.

 

As my grandfather always used to say, locks are for honest people.

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