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ZeppelinDT

Legit hide or rule violation?

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So I came across this placement recently.  Looks to me like the hole was created specifically for this cache and container, especially given the size and proportions of the cache hole and the fact that it in no way resembles any of the much smaller holes in this tree and in the surrounding trees.  But of course unless there happened to be a security camera set up randomly in the middle of the woods that also happened to be running when the cache was placed, there's no way to really "prove" that the hole was created specifically for the cache, and the CO can very easily just claim that the hole was already there.

So really I'm just curious as to what people think about hides like this and how they should be handled.  Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

 

akjFYwF.jpg"

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You should trust the CO. This is a hobby and not a CSI deal.

Hans

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By the others around it, looks like a smoothed-out woodpecker hole to me.

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28 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

So really I'm just curious as to what people think about hides like this and how they should be handled.  Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

So many questions. So little information.

It wouldn't be the first cache I'd seen that was placed in an existing hole in a tree. And if I myself were hiding such a cache, then I'd look around a bit to find the largest existing hole in any of the trees in the area, so it doesn't surprise me that this hole is bigger than the others around it. And it doesn't surprise me that it looks different from the smaller holes in the same tree. Different holes are created through different mechanisms, and different mechanisms create holes of different sizes/appearances.

Do you have any evidence that the CO didn't happen to discover an existing hole that was useful for his cache design? If not, then there's nothing to report, and nothing to be done.

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38 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

 

So really I'm just curious as to what people think about hides like this and how they should be handled.  Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

 

 

 

From what I see it's a woodpecker hole in a dead tree. Sorry, but these "what should I do" posts turn me against being a cache owner.:(

You found it, signed it, logged it online and now you want to report them? :ph34r: I don't get it.

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1 hour ago, cerberus1 said:

By the others around it, looks like a smoothed-out woodpecker hole to me.

 

It looks like the CO used a knife to carve out an existing woodpecker hole.  Or in the case of a very rotted tree, to make that hole with the knife.  It's all full of bugs, too! How long has this one been there?  I'd never make one like that, and would not be to thrilled to find it, guidelines or not.  For one thing, the hole can only continue to get larger and more bug-filled from here on out.  It's a cool idea in theory (find, not drill a suitable hole, hide a container behind bark.  In this case, it doesn't even look all that concealed to me.

I have a cache in a hole in a tree, it's an almost vertical tunnel.  There seems to be a network of tunnels inside.  One issue is that animals claim such holes.  Another, with a living tree, is the hole can change as the tree grows over it.

Edited by kunarion
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The wood inside that hole is pretty dark, indicating it's been there for a while.  When was the cache published?

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Is the hole dripping with sap? In my experience, those sorts of trees drip a lot of sap after being drilled, which I have encountered when caches have been drilled into trees.

More or less, from the photo you provided doesn't look to be a fresh drilled hole.

With what you've provided, just move on. Keep this hide in mind if you find other caches by the CO. That's where you can build your case from. It can be a tough road to go down though. I'm sure you already feel push back in this very thread about even considering the idea of reporting a cache.

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57 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

So really I'm just curious as to what people think about hides like this and how they should be handled.  Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

 

If you have concerns, you can ask in the Help Center:
https://www.geocaching.com/help/

They could check to be sure everything's in order.  There are "grandfathered" caches, that used questionable practices, but are allowed to this day.  Drilling other people's property to fit one's cache has gotten caches archived.  In this case, it's a time-limited deal, since it's gonna fall apart.  Looks like it already has.  :anicute:

It's good to remind everyone that drilling holes in stuff is a very rare and special situation in Geocaching.  People finding the one in the OP must not perform the monkey-see-monkey-do thing and drill all over the place.  That would be bad.  As mentioned, this hole might have been found like that, an exact fit for the bottle.  What luck! ;)

Edited by kunarion
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Seems like a lot of effort to make a hole that big when there are other holes they could use for a bison tube or something smaller than a pill bottle (or whatever that is).    For that reason alone, I'm inclined to say it was probably an existing hole that the CO took advantage of. 

 

...(just realized how that last part sounds... :blink: )

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Woodpeckers make cavities this big and larger to use as nests. There is no reason to think this was artificially created or substantially modified (kunarion, check out photos of woodpecker nests, they often have those beveled edges) 

And the OP has now posted spoiler pics.

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I would not suggest for one moment that if the hole was drilled that it is ok. But I am more alarmed by one going out of there way with so little evidence to publicly call someone to the carpet. I mean what's next, harassment accusations 40 years after the fact? :ph34r:

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13 minutes ago, Michaelcycle said:

Woodpeckers make cavities this big and larger to use as nests. There is no reason to think this was artificially created or substantially modified (kunarion, check out photos of woodpecker nests, they often have those beveled edges)

 

Sure it could be a woodpecker nest.  In which case, do not attempt to place a cache in a woodpecker nest.  Or most any hole made by animals.  You're gonna spend a lot of CO time fighting animals.

I noticed cut marks in the wood and bark, and frayed edges inside the hole.  Made with a knife.  That's what it looks like.  If you have woodpecker hole photos like that, I'll check them out.  Even if we definitively prove it's a human-drilled hole, then we're back to all the "Meh, why are you making a big deal out of people drilling holes for cool caches?!" posts. B)

But, yeah, huge spoiler.

Edited by kunarion
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23 minutes ago, fbingha said:

Is the hole dripping with sap? In my experience, those sorts of trees drip a lot of sap after being drilled, which I have encountered when caches have been drilled into trees.

 

The tree in the photo looks dead.  No sap.

But the hole is reeealy full of bugs and bug droppings.  :anicute:

Edited by kunarion
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23 minutes ago, J Grouchy said:

I'm inclined to say it was probably an existing hole that the CO took advantage of. 

 

...(just realized how that last part sounds... :blink: )

 

Yeah.  I saw that photo and thought, "What artistic vision is the Cache Owner trying to convey?" :P

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21 minutes ago, kunarion said:

 

Sure it could be a woodpecker nest.  In which case, do not attempt to place a cache in a woodpecker nest.  Or most any hole made by animals.  You're gonna spend a lot of CO time fighting animals.

I noticed cut marks in the wood and bark, and frayed edges inside the hole.  Made with a knife.  That's what it looks like.  If you have woodpecker hole photos like that, I'll check them out.  Even if we definitively prove it's a human-drilled hole, then we're back to all the "Meh, why are you making a big deal out of people drilling holes for cool caches?!" posts. B)

But, yeah, huge spoiler.

I would post photos I saw from a simple Google images search but I don't want to get into copyright issues. I suggest you can find many examples quite easily. 

Some species reuse a nesting cavity, some don't. Starlings are notorious for evicting woodpeckers from nests so if this was an empty nest hole I would have no problem using it. Anything that reduces the number of those invasive monsters is OK with me.

As for the long term stability of the tree, I pedal past long dead pine trees on a regular basis that have changed very little in the past decade.

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

So many questions. So little information.

I didn't want to put too much information out there publicly to avoid making the CO too easily identifiable, and this is more about my curiosity than about trying to "get" somebody.  Also my lack of understanding what information is needed is kind of the whole point of this post (if I knew all of that already I wouldn't really need to ask the question here).

1 hour ago, niraD said:

Do you have any evidence that the CO didn't happen to discover an existing hole that was useful for his cache design? If not, then there's nothing to report, and nothing to be done.

No hard evidence, no.  Just seems suspicious since there are many, many similar trees around it and none of the other trees have anything close to resembling a hole of this size.  It seems likely that if there's one natural hole like this, there would be more in the vicinity, but I'm not really sure about that, which is why I'm asking here.

1 hour ago, Manville Possum said:

Sorry, but these "what should I do" posts turn me against being a cache owner.:(

You found it, signed it, logged it online and now you want to report them? :ph34r: I don't get it.

If that's your attitude then what is even the point of having hiding guidelines?  Would it be better if people just reported caches with no information rather than actually asking the question to get some insight from people who might have a better understanding of how nature works than I do?  Responses like this turn me against asking the Geocaching community for their additional insight and perspectives. I'm starting to remember now why I usually just avoid these forums.

And what makes you think I "want to" report them?  I see blatant guideline violations all the time and I never ever report anything.  I'm posting this out of curiosity and out of an attempt to get a better understanding of how rule enforcement works.  Seems like you're making quite a few unjustified assumptions.

53 minutes ago, hzoi said:

The wood inside that hole is pretty dark, indicating it's been there for a while.  When was the cache published?

The photo was taken about 10 months after the cache was placed.

46 minutes ago, Michaelcycle said:

Woodpeckers make cavities this big and larger to use as nests. There is no reason to think this was artificially created or substantially modified (kunarion, check out photos of woodpecker nests, they often have those beveled edges) 

And the OP has now posted spoiler pics.

I've seen woodpeckers creating holes this size, but in my experience there are usually several of them in one place.  Is it was done by a woodpecker, would it be typical to only see a single hole like this in an area with lots of similar trees, or would one expect to see more holes?

As for the spoiler pic, I guess that's true.  I intentionally left out any identifying information as to when and where I found it, but I guess if this post is viewed by somebody who happens to live in my area, who really wants to find this, and who feels like scrolling though my 5,000+ plus logs to piece together enough clues to figure out exactly which one this is, then I'm guess they could do that, although imo I would think it would be quicker and easier just to find the cache.

51 minutes ago, bflentje said:

I would not suggest for one moment that if the hole was drilled that it is ok. But I am more alarmed by one going out of there way with so little evidence to publicly call someone to the carpet. I mean what's next, harassment accusations 40 years after the fact? :ph34r:

How am I calling anybody out?  I didn't name anybody, didn't post a GC code, and I even explicitly said that I wasn't even sure the hole was manually created and that there is no evidence either way.  You can relax and put down your pitchfork, I'm not trying to get anybody in trouble here.

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Similar to Michaelcycle, I've seen woodpecker holes beveled, with "notches" on the edges, and only one in a tree.  Some on my own property.

We had an ant problem in some hemlocks, and the local WP population took care of that quick.  Pileated often live in their excavation work (holes), and I'm kinda surprised one tree's still standing by the size.  A little screech owl's living in one now.  No more worries of mice in the rest...   :)

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1 hour ago, fbingha said:

With what you've provided, just move on. Keep this hide in mind if you find other caches by the CO. That's where you can build your case from. It can be a tough road to go down though. I'm sure you already feel push back in this very thread about even considering the idea of reporting a cache.

 

When these possible guideline situations arise, the OP could ask the reviewer for that area.  Rather than posting it here, I mean :anicute:

If I submitted a cache, in my reviewer note I'd mention that I'm using an existing woodpecker nest.  And that this particular nest is now for starlings which nobody wants (or whatever makes the case that I'm not harming endangered animals by occupying the nest).  The reviewer can access this info if there's a question later.

The cache publication policies have changed over the years.  And even today, it could be possible to get a cache published if a hole is drilled into a tree for it (for example).  It requires permission, but I'm guessing it could happen.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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9 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

 

And what makes you think I "want to" report them?  I see blatant guideline violations all the time and I never ever report anything.  I'm posting this out of curiosity and out of an attempt to get a better understanding of how rule enforcement works.  Seems like you're making quite a few unjustified assumptions.

 

 

It's exactly what you posted and how you worded it. 

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4 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

 

It's exactly what you posted and how you worded it. 

The title of my post is literally "legit hide or rule violation"?  As in, "Is this cache a legit hide, or is it a rule violation"?  What I posted was that when I saw this it looked TO ME like it was manually created.  I have no idea if it really was manually created or if it was naturally created, and I was curious as to what people do in these situations.  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you've had issues in the past with people unjustly reporting your own hides?

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13 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Similar to Michaelcycle, I've seen woodpecker holes beveled, with "notches" on the edges, and only one in a tree.  Some on my own property.

We had an ant problem in some hemlocks, and the local WP population took care of that quick.  Pileated often live in their excavation work (holes), and I'm kinda surprised one tree's still standing by the size.  A little screech owl's living in one now.  No more worries of mice in the rest...   :)

Interesting.  Thanks... this provides some useful context.

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12 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

Interesting.  Thanks... this provides some useful context.

 

I was surprised at how low that "woodpecker nest" is.  I've always seen them far up a tree, never at cache-accessible height.  But I just now did a little google and see that four out of five common woodpeckers build nests as low as 5 feet off the ground (the low extreme of nest height).  You learn something new every day!

Edited by kunarion
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25 minutes ago, ZeppelinDT said:

The title of my post is literally "legit hide or rule violation"?  As in, "Is this cache a legit hide, or is it a rule violation"?  What I posted was that when I saw this it looked TO ME like it was manually created.  I have no idea if it really was manually created or if it was naturally created, and I was curious as to what people do in these situations.  I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you've had issues in the past with people unjustly reporting your own hides?

 

No, I have not had any problems with people reporting my hides for violations. So come back off that limb.:(

I don't care if the CO used a .12 gauge to make that hole, it's not that interesting.;)

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3 hours ago, ZeppelinDT said:

Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

I'll admit I've looked the other way at times, generally in the case of a minor guideline violation like using a nail or something.

I don't think I've come across anything like this in the last few years.  I've come across a fair share of buried caches, though, and I err on the side of reporting them versus not.

As far as how to report, I do it differently if I'm on the road versus local if it's debatable whether the hide violates guidelines.  On the road, I don't know who the local reviewer is and don't really have to care about my local reputation, so I log NA, caveat that this may just need reviewer attention and not outright archiving, and get on with life.  But it's never fun at events to be labeled as a cache cop, so when I've seen local issues, I normally email our reviewer if I come across a questionable hide.

You could of course contact the CO directly, but it's hard not to come across as a cache cop and trigger someone's defenses.  Right or wrong, I usually don't bother direct contact if it's not someone I know.

Edited by hzoi
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Okay, then keeping with the topic. Legit, or guidelines violation? The 2x4 is attached to the pine tree, the birdhouse type container is attached to the 2x4.

I stumbled upon a few of these in a park and surrounding area where geocaching events are hosted.

I signed my user name to the log, but did not log online that I found it.

Flag Rock cache.jpg

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47 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:

Okay, then keeping with the topic. Legit, or guidelines violation? The 2x4 is attached to the pine tree, the birdhouse type container is attached to the 2x4.

I'd say not legit.  But as I've been guilty in the past of putting a nail in a tree, I tend not to call these out.

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24 minutes ago, hzoi said:

I'd say not legit.  But as I've been guilty in the past of putting a nail in a tree, I tend not to call these out.

I do believe the land manager is aware.:)

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8 minutes ago, Manville Possum said:
29 minutes ago, hzoi said:

I'd say not legit.  But as I've been guilty in the past of putting a nail in a tree, I tend not to call these out.

I do believe the land manager is aware.:)

OK, then what's the point of bringing it up if this was done with land manager awareness/permission?

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7 minutes ago, hzoi said:

OK, then what's the point of bringing it up if this was done with land manager awareness/permission?

Simply keeping on topic with the OP.  I could be wrong. Some are on NFS property, so I'm not sure. I did not mean to upset you.:P

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1 hour ago, hzoi said:

I normally email our reviewer if I come across a questionable hide.

This is the best way when you have any concern about legitimity. Reviewer will communicate with the CO and help to fix the possible problem.

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1 hour ago, Manville Possum said:

Legit, or guidelines violation? The 2x4 is attached to the pine tree, the birdhouse type container is attached to the 2x4.

Was there a statement on the cache page (and presumably, in a reviewer note) explaining that the property owner gave explicit permission to for that hide style?

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25 minutes ago, niraD said:

Was there a statement on the cache page (and presumably, in a reviewer note) explaining that the property owner gave explicit permission to for that hide style?

I was not exactly sure about these type hides, but now looking closer these are part of a 20 cache reward geotrail that contains a passport stamp. 

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3 hours ago, niraD said:

Was there a statement on the cache page (and presumably, in a reviewer note) explaining that the property owner gave explicit permission to for that hide style?

This. ^

As a finder I would like to know via the cache description that the hole was not drilled into the tree or carved out to fit the cache, and that if it was then permission was given by the property owner/managers. 

If it's in the description it should stop copy-cat hiders who think that since drilling (actual or perceived) is allowed on this tree, it's allowed on any tree (or fence post or trail marker post/sign, etc.)

Edited by L0ne.R
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8 hours ago, ZeppelinDT said:

How am I calling anybody out?  I didn't name anybody, didn't post a GC code, and I even explicitly said that I wasn't even sure the hole was manually created and that there is no evidence either way.  You can relax and put down your pitchfork, I'm not trying to get anybody in trouble here.

Many of the forum regulars are superstar cyber stalkers and I no doubt believe that if someone here is capable of digging up the CO in question then it will be posted.. and it will all fall on you when it does.

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12 hours ago, ZeppelinDT said:

So really I'm just curious as to what people think about hides like this and how they should be handled.  Do you just shrug and look the other way?  Is it worth reporting?  And even if it is reported, is there anything that can really even be done?

You should consider all fellow geocachers your friends. Talk to him about it. If he can explain, you'll have your explanation. If he did something wrong, you can explain to him what it was and why it's wrong. The least interesting and most useless option here is to anonymously call the authorities in so they can punish him.

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Back to the original question of what would I do.  Finding it at the point you did I wouldn't do anything.  From the picture the hole looks like it has been there for a while.  I don't see any drill shavings around or a clean drilled hole. Maybe if you had found it 10 months ago you might have a little bit more to go on. As of now I don't see anything to report because  it doesn't look like a fresh drilled hole to  me.

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4 hours ago, dprovan said:

The least interesting and most useless option here is to anonymously call the authorities in so they can punish him.

Reviewer's interest is not to punish but help to solve the problem.

Edited by arisoft
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Here we go again.. CO might or might not have followed guidelines and action should be taken, people log online without actually finding (let alone signing the log) and "every one plays the way they want".

Maybe I should post this in "what irks me most" thread. :ph34r:

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, arisoft said:

Reviewer's interest is not to punish but help to solve the problem.

The reviewers are as good as gold. But it isn't a problem at all until the OP declares the situation adversarial. It's certainly not worth the reviewer's time if it turns out the CO already talked all these issues over with his reviewer before submitting the cache.

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15 minutes ago, dprovan said:

It's certainly not worth the reviewer's time if it turns out the CO already talked all these issues over with his reviewer before submitting the cache.

If that were the case, why not include that information in the cache description? It would be beneficial for all.

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15 minutes ago, dprovan said:

 It's certainly not worth the reviewer's time if it turns out the CO already talked all these issues over with his reviewer before submitting the cache.

You logic is failing. Only reviewer would know all details about the reviewing process. Public disclosure of this type of information (as OP made) can be considered spoiling.

Example: I have cache which seems to be buried. Actually the cache is inside a hole in bedrock and there is a camouflaged plastic cap covering it. This cache is rated D4 because the camouflage is so unnoticeable. Sometimes geocachers interpret it as being buried instead of covered which is the case, I have no problems if the reviewer would ask about the implementation. Actually one reviewer questioned wether it is in line with the guideline after he found it. But, if such a thing is brought up in the log entry or forums, then I interpret it spoiling.You may talk directly with the cache owner but I suspect it is useless as it wont work even on minor problems like wrong cache size or terrain level.

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19 minutes ago, arisoft said:

You may talk directly with the cache owner but I suspect it is useless as it wont work even on minor problems like wrong cache size or terrain level.

That's been my experience too.

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2 hours ago, L0ne.R said:
3 hours ago, arisoft said:

You may talk directly with the cache owner but I suspect it is useless as it wont work even on minor problems like wrong cache size or terrain level.

That's been my experience too.

Hmm... My experience has been different. When I pointed out that the cache was listed as the wrong size and linked to the size rating information on the geocaching.com site, the owner thanked me and updated the listing.

For the record, it was a classic case of "I assumed that if a blinker or a Bison tube is a micro, then a film canister must be a small."

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3 hours ago, arisoft said:

You logic is failing. Only reviewer would know all details about the reviewing process

The point is the OP is assuming that the reviewer was misled. If he's concerned, his first step should be to ask to CO instead of starting out assuming the CO is in the wrong and needs to be corrected. I shudder to realize that you think it's logical to assume the CO won't given an honest answer and the OP and CO can't have a friendly conversation about it.

Oh, never mind. I've only been at this for a few years, but I already miss the days when geocaching was a bunch of people having fun together with a reviewer hanging out in the background just in case two people couldn't work things out between themselves. I guess I have to just accept the current police state mentality as the way things are and recognize that it now makes perfect sense to anonymously tip off the cops whenever I think there might be a rule violation they need to crush.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:

The point is the OP is assuming that the reviewer was misled. If he's concerned, his first step should be to ask to CO instead of starting out assuming the CO is in the wrong and needs to be corrected. I shudder to realize that you think it's logical to assume the CO won't given an honest answer and the OP and CO can't have a friendly conversation about it.

Oh, never mind. I've only been at this for a few years, but I already miss the days when geocaching was a bunch of people having fun together with a reviewer hanging out in the background just in case two people couldn't work things out between themselves. I guess I have to just accept the current police state mentality as the way things are and recognize that it now makes perfect sense to anonymously tip off the cops whenever I think there might be a rule violation they need to crush.

I don't think you have to worry about cache cops. There are very few out there. Most will not post NMs, let alone post an NA on a guideline violator. In fact, most will give those a favorite point.

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1 hour ago, niraD said:

Hmm... My experience has been different. When I pointed out that the cache was listed as the wrong size and linked to the size rating information on the geocaching.com site, the owner thanked me and updated the listing.

For the record, it was a classic case of "I assumed that if a blinker or a Bison tube is a micro, then a film canister must be a small."

Wow. I'm impressed. I keep a bookmark list of the caches where I leave a note in my log saying the cache is actually a micro, not a small (and link to, or provide the size capacities). There are 30 on the list (I stopped bothering to add to the list after a while) and only one changed the size to a micro. 

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12 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

I don't think you have to worry about cache cops. There are very few out there. Most will not post NMs, let alone post an NA on a guideline violator. In fact, most will give those a favorite point.

I'm not worried about people complaining about a cache. I'm worried about people addressing problems by involving reviewers or GS instead of through personal interaction. Not posting NMs and NAs is actually another symptom of the same disease, since reviewers are now considered responsible for that, too.

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1 hour ago, dprovan said:

The point is the OP is assuming that the reviewer was misled. If he's concerned, his first step should be to ask to CO instead of starting out assuming the CO is in the wrong and needs to be corrected. I shudder to realize that you think it's logical to assume the CO won't given an honest answer and the OP and CO can't have a friendly conversation about it.

When you report a problem to reviewer, there is no need to assume anything. You just report what you see and that's all.

OK, I have one experience from one reviewer who directly claimed I lied to him. As far as I know I didn't. I was almost to send appeal about his behaviour to HQ since such behavior did not seem to be of Community interest and did no help to solve the actual problem. (Finally HQ made decision against the reviewer in that case)

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12 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:
1 hour ago, niraD said:

Hmm... My experience has been different. When I pointed out that the cache was listed as the wrong size and linked to the size rating information on the geocaching.com site, the owner thanked me and updated the listing.

For the record, it was a classic case of "I assumed that if a blinker or a Bison tube is a micro, then a film canister must be a small."

Wow. I'm impressed. I keep a bookmark list of the caches where I leave a note in my log saying the cache is actually a micro, not a small (and link to, or provide the size capacities). There are 30 on the list (I stopped bothering to add to the list after a while) and only one changed the size to a micro. 

niraD wasn't explicit, so I can't say what he's talking about, but the exchange he commented on specifically used the phrase, "talk directly with the cache owner" which I took to mean a personal note discussing the issue, not just dropping a quick comment in a log without a supporting argument.

I rarely care about such things because they are so often subjective, but if I run into something that seems objectively wrong and I send the CO a note explaining why I think it's wrong, I'd expect to either see it corrected or to get a counterargument explaining why the CO thinks it's right. niraD caches in the same area as I, so I assume he'd expect the same thing. Are the expectations different in your area?

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