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Caches In (or very near) People's Yards

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What are your thoughts about caches located in their owners' yards?  Or caches that are ridiculously close to someone's home?


I'm very self-conscious, so I avoid these like the plague.  Even though I know these CO's are clearly inviting people to search in their yard, I can't help but feel very weird doing so.  I'd prefer people not be watching me while I search, or running into nosy neighbors who might be unaware of the cache.


One time I came across a cache that was supposedly hidden on a street corner mere inches from someone's front yard.  A guy was working with a weedwhacker about 50 feet from GZ, so I took a very quick look and scampered.


What about everyone else?



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Nope, don't like them, don't do them.


Here's just one reason why (besides the fact that they make me feel very uncomfortable):


I one time went searching for a cache (it was just published), where the CO explicitly stated that permission for placement had been granted. OK, maybe it's OK to go look since they got permission. After several of us searched and someone got yelled out, turns out the coords were bad, and we did NOT have permission to search where we did. It could have ended much worse!! 


edit: this cache was not at someone's house, but a business

Edited by Max and 99
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I often cache in urban areas, so I can't really avoid caches near businesses or small parks. I don't mind these. But I dislike caches hidden very close to front yards. I once DNF'd a cache very close to someone's front yard. It was on a busy street corner in a residential neighborhood. It certainly wasn't a super easy cache, and would require some good searching. I didn't want to search for long, as in this area houses are close to the street, and I was about 15 or 20 feet from someone's front porch. After a quick search of the street corner, I DNF'd the cache and left. According to several logs after I looked for it, the cache was still there. However, I just didn't feel comfortable looking for it.


Caches in front yards I almost always avoid. I just don't like searching for them in someone's front yard. In my area there are plenty of other caches, so I avoid these types of caches.

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I've found a number of them, some of which have been done well. One was a TB hotel that told you right where to search in the cache description. Another was right next to the sidewalk under a stepping stone that had the public-domain geocaching logo on it. Others have been hidden in/on Little Free Libraries. And so on.

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1 hour ago, MysteryGuy1 said:

I avoid these like the plague.  Even though I know these CO's are clearly inviting people to search in their yard, I can't help but feel very weird doing so.  I'd prefer people not be watching me while I search, or running into nosy neighbors who might be unaware of the cache.


The first yard cache I ever tried was a fake sprinkler head right next to the curb, in front of a house in my parents' neighborhood. I sat on the curb as if it's normal to chill on the curb in front of someone's house, and “tested” the cache container and sure enough, fake sprinkler head. The hint was about not getting wet, so, yeah, gotta be a fake sprinkler.  The Cache Owner came out to greet me. We had a nice chat.  It was a cool hide.


HOWEVER, a few minutes before that, I arrived at the wrong house. An elderly man out front was watering his lawn. There was a length of PVC pipe with a “sprinkler” attached, leaning against a tree. That's sooo obviously fake. That cannot have a useful function. It's beside the road, but you must take a step onto his lawn to get it. So I did. People with their yard caches, am I right?!


He came over and he chatted with me. Friendly guy, talking about his lawn and stuff. He asked what I was up to, and I said, “as a matter of fact, I'm Geocaching”.




(Man, this guy is kidder. Likes to see people sweat, I guess.) “Yep, I'm Geocaching, looking for items that people hid for folks to find.  Maybe like this 'sprinkler' right here, who knows!"




(Is he gonna ever let me off the hook?)


Eventually, I took another look at the GPS, and yeah, it must be that other house. The one next door... :unsure:




Edited by kunarion
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I found one in the front yard of one of the premier cachers in our area. Fun hide. The cache description page did lay out some rules (don't come at night, don't get too close to front door because our dogs will start yapping).

In this instance, at about 8:30 in the morning, after me and my kid found it right before I was to drop him off at school, I noticed that a neighbor across the street was watching us intently. Once we made eye contact, she waved and called out, "Geocaching?" I said, "Yep." She nodded, "I thought so." A few more remarks and she went inside.


The #1 most favorited cache in our area is in a front yard.


My thoughts: it's fine, especially with certain reassurances from the CO in the description. A few ground rules given (such as "don't check the sprinklers" "you don't need to get too deep into the property" etc) can boost the confidence and making a cache on private property, I've seen, can allow for some greater flexibility for something fun.

Edited by Korichnovui
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I avoid those caches like the plague!! They give me the heebeejeebies. Make me fee so uncomfortable.


I had been working on a puzzle cache (I’m NOT a puzzler!). I was shocked and proud when I actually figured it out!! Wow! THEN it turned out the cache was in the owners yard. :-( I was crushed. But I decided “I solved it!—I’m going for it dammit!!!” So I went...and hit their mailbox (UGH,,,but no damage!). While I was molesting their shrubbery UGH this little old lady came out on her porch and started calling over “HEY LADY—-have you lost your caaaaaat?? Have you lost your caaaaasaatttt???!!” I shook my head, found cache, signed log and FLED!!

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Hard to give a general statement on the topic. Sometimes owners make very good use the fact, that they can effectively do what the want on their own real estate, without needing anyone's permission. Excellent caches are the result. OTOH, some owners just like to watch cachers searching, sometimes to have a laugh at their expense when the hide is difficult and the search takes longer. Needless to say, I don't like that at all ;) .

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I did one. Didn't know was in a persons yard. I looked outside the perimeter all around then stood on the corner of the house by the fence and still said it was 10 feet closer to the yard. I felt kind of weird doing so, I had my Gopro recording so I just kept recording and see what happened. I was very cautious about going in their yard. At the end, yes the cache was 10 feet from the fence on the inside.

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I tend to avoid them, however.....

It all depends on the description and how it looks on streetview (for traditionals and mysteries). Many of the caches on private property (mostly the CO or friends/family) tend to be high favorite ones.

Some examples we did and enjoyed:

Old HD/DVD recorder in a carport.

Safe next to the front door (kids jumped outside when they noticed someone at the cache.

Letterbox in Norway 10m away from the house but with a bell that rang when the door to the cache was opened (We always try to be as stealth and quiet as possible).

Cache hidden at the back of an "insect hotel" in a CO's garden that could be accessed from the outside.

Cache (large) hidden in front of a house under a steel cover, like where a heatingfuel tank can be filled.


Just this weekend we got to GZ 10m inside private property at 2 houses without a clue which one (we knew it was on private proprty). We were still on the sidewalk checking for mistakes in the calculation (no checker) and found none when the people living there came home. The guy asked if we were looking for something and it was clear he didn't know about geocaching but other have been searching there as well. He pointed us to something others told him they were after. We went there too but found no clues. We recalculated again (values had to be found from codes) and then noticed a comma. The projection we made was 10 times further off than it needed to be. Once at the correct coordinates we quickly found the cache.


In all, mixed feelings. It helps to keep out of view, there's a hint that's clear enough so you don't enter the wrong property.


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12 hours ago, Korichnovui said:

I found one in the front yard of one of the premier cachers in our area.


This makes a big difference for me.  I've found a few caches in the yards (even on the front porch) of geocachers but I had met those geocachers previously and it was clearly obvious where the container was located.   For the first one I found near a geocachers house the CO came out and we had a really nice chat.  He subsequently moved out of the area to Kansas City.  When I was in KC last year we met up again, did a bit of geocaching, and had some really good BBQ for lunch.   I'd be far less inclined to search in the yard for a geocache if I didn't know the owner at all, though I still would make an exception for a cache in a Little Free Library.

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Not all front-yard geocaches are built the same.

One of the nicest caches I have found was in private flower garden behind a fence. The cache container was nothing special (lock&lock in a postbox on the gate) but the cache itself was meant as invitation to drop by and admire the flowers. We were lucky to get there when the flowers were in full bloom. The cache description clearly mentioned it was a private garden, months when you get the best experience, and please DO enter the garden, just keep on the paths.


Another one was an old big trunk in front of the house, easily accessible from the sidewalk. Again, very obvious due to the container size.


Unless the description is very clear (you can be sure you are looking in the correct yard) and it is fairly obvious where the cache is located (clear hint / geocaching logo  / cache size leaving no doubts), I tend to avoid such caches. The main problem for me is that often the best way to be stealthy is to go in with a purpose, check the most obvious location and be gone. In some places, you can be sure that there are people watching every move of unknown people in the neighbourhood - and not just the house owners but all their neighbours. These are not places where you can/should be searching for the cache. Such search is iffy on public property in a village but much more if you have to enter private property - that's just asking for trouble from well meaning housewives, retirees and every busybody out there.

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Nowadays, these kinds of caches almost always go immediately onto my Ignore List. 


When I first started caching I would try to find these types of caches but never really felt comfortable doing it.   I figured I didn't go geocaching to feel that way so I stopped looking for them. 


But like somebody said earlier in the thread, not all caches in peoples yards are created equal.  I've found a few little library caches in front of peoples houses. And my favorite cache in somebodies yard was one near the Des Moines airport that was literally a pirate treasure chest in front of their house in plain view. 

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I'm of mixed feelings about caches in people's yards. For me, it really boils down to the cache description. A good description that let's me get straight to the cache helps. I have actually driven considerable distance to do a couple of really well done yard caches. But the description, along with gallery images, is what compelled me to do those yard caches.


Generally, I find the actual containers for yard caches to be a bit more interesting. For example, I did a yard cache where the theme was Doctor Who. They had a scene with a Weeping Angel and a Dalek. The TARDIS was a blue painted filing cabinet. The cache was in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet.


Another cache was inside a giant (about 4' across) spider hanging in a tree. This cache was featured in one of the Geocaching newsletter. Another one featured in the newsletter was a walk-in cache that looked like a giant ammo can. 7' tall, 4' wide, and 12' long. They even had 'smiley' symbols posted on the long shared driveway so you wouldn't wind up in the neighbors yard.


So basically, reassure me that it is OK, make it interesting, and make it straight forward to find, and I will do them.

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I'd be happy to find a "yard" cache if one of the examples by WPTC.  So far, we haven't been that lucky.


One, explaining to the neighbor that the lady  (the other 2/3rds) isn't a burglar and I'm not the getaway either wasn't fun.

 - Turned out to be two houses over.  That's what she gets for beta testing newbs (that FTF thing...). 

The kid who put one in her lonely grandma's yard was okay ... if you had the rest of the afternoon off for "snacks, and meet my doggy".  

The last straw for me (and kinda lucky was there) was watching the snarling dogs running straight for the other 2/3rds from the house 400' up.  The curtain moving, and seeing what looked like a rifle scope flash got me to leave the truck, and pitch her in quick.

 -  Turned out to be another newb who thought "right of way" meant he could place on that cul-de-sac roadside,  but well into the guy's yard.

She did a few more with her friends and finally gave that up too.

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I was leaning over somebody's garden wall the other day and rummaging in their bush to try and grab the cache and my next-door neighbour (who I'm sure always thinks I'm a bit weird anyway (and he's probably right)) walked past and looked at me as though he thought I looked very dodgy and that I was clearly up to no good.  I was actually in a hurry and was only grabbing the cache as I passed that way so I found myself standing there with just one minute to spare trying to explain the whole concept of geocaching to my neighbour.  I'm sure he didn't believe me!

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1 hour ago, EmzyJanezy said:

I was leaning over somebody's garden wall the other day and rummaging in their bush to try and grab the cache and my next-door neighbour (who I'm sure always thinks I'm a bit weird anyway (and he's probably right)) walked past and looked at me as though he thought I looked very dodgy and that I was clearly up to no good.  I was actually in a hurry and was only grabbing the cache as I passed that way so I found myself standing there with just one minute to spare trying to explain the whole concept of geocaching to my neighbour.  I'm sure he didn't believe me! 


I wasn't stealing anything! Its a new game, where you look for stuff in peoples houses! Yea thats it! A game!




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Don't like them and won't do them.  We initially had this one on our list but when we drove by it was at someone's house.  Nothing around the location appeared to relate to the name of the cache.  We did find a location 1/4 mile away that related to the cache name but without accurate coordinates we couldn't look in the 2nd location.  I posted our belief there were bad coords as a note and sent the CO a PM explaining why we thought the coords were off.  Don't know if the cache owner ignored my PM and note or hadn't seen it yet but 3 days later another cacher posted this after he attempted to locate the cache:



Read the log dated 06/20/09 on GC1TQ3G .

"Super bad coords!!!

Farmer chased us off with a shot gun, looked like he was going nuts about people walking around his yard."


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I tend to ignore these, but have found a few.  What I won't do is go after them when I'm in my car--only when biking around.  Nothing attracts attention more than parking your car in a neighborhood to look around.  For sure, someone on Nextdoor.com is going to remark on the strange car and weird person wandering around like in a drunken stupor:o

And, I always look at the location on the map first to get a good idea what the area looks like.  Pathways aren't too bad, as long as the fence is high enough.

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I'm generally cautious of urban cache in general. Although I do trust that our fellow geocachers follows our creed.

Also I do a quick recon of the area trying to be discreet as possible. Then stand in the GZ for a while and looking at the map using the satellite view to have an idea of where to look so that I will not spend too much time looking. I also try to do the search at "off peak" hours.

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On ‎6‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 2:57 AM, redsox_mark said:

I don't mind them as long as the description gives enough information that I'm sure I'm in the right yard.    


The same, i'm fine if the description gives me a good idea that I'm in the right place. I also don't mind searching if there are lots of finds before me.


We have a cache hanging in a tree in our front yard. On it, i made sure to include that there is an easily spotted landmark in its description. It's a puzzle cache that requires reading so there's no excuse for walking onto the wrong property. ;)

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My basic rule that has never let me down: just check the favorite points count before going for one of these. Here in the Netherlands, there's not a whole lot of wilderness, so placing a costly cache in your frontyard could be a thought-out thing to do.


That said, there are those who hide a film cannister or petling in their yard, and make it tricky to find them as well. Those caches make for exactly 0% fun.

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I've done a lot of these. Generally I avoid them, but there can be some instances where they work.


If it's a really special cache that they want to keep an eye on that's good, but I want the address on the cache page. I want other information to let me know I'm at the right spot.

I hate showing up and being afraid my coords are off and I'm at the wrong house digging through someone's bushes. Not good.


One house I arrived at, and stood on the sidewalk with GPS in hand, about ready to flee, and the cache owner walked out and said, "Yes it's here. Come on up".  It was on the porch. I never would have gone onto someone's front porch if they hadn't been there to say that. BUT an address and other information on the cache page (such as "blue rock" or "on porch, look for the red rocking chair" etc.) makes them doable.

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My rule for caches on private property is the need for BOTH the Private Property attribute AND a mention in the description of who lives in the house and they are familiar with the cache.


Then I make sure where it is, by going forth and back while trying to figure out where GZ is. Then I try to spot the cache from the public area if possible. When I have a good idea of the location, I sneak in a check for it.


We made an instant DNF on a cache recently. We could see the geotrack along the outside of the fence of a house, clearly a lot of people had been searching there. The residents were in the garden 15 meters away, and their dog was barking like mad. No Attribute, nothing in description. Wrote the DNF stating we didn't even look, and without the attribute and description we had no idea if they knew about the cache. The description has since been updated, so next time we are in the area, we will give it another go.


Yard caches are among my least favorite caches, and that is living in Denmark. In the US where you have to assume the residents are armed, I would probably not go into a yard, without the specific address in the cache description or a hint that allows me to verify the right house from a public area.


But actually the cache I have found that gave me the worst feeling of trespassing was a cache in an old abandoned house. At least 100 meters to the nearest neighbor, and the house had been abandoned for at least a decade. Inside there was still some furniture, and loads of trash, clearly someone had used the house as a hangout sometime since it was abandoned.


The cache was hidden in the hole where the electricity meter had been. Right in the corner of the house, so we searched outside for a LONG time to make sure it wasn't outside before going in. Entering that house has never made me feel more uneasy geocaching, you feel like a trespasser (which technically we were) and like you are violating the last owner in some way.

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I too am very uncomfortable looking for caches close to homes ... HOWEVER ... I actually own one in my front yard (GC7R0B1).  The container is a large bird house and in the description, I make it VERY clear that it is VERY easy to find.  It is so easy, it pushes the boundaries of even qualifying as a "hidden" cache.  It is immediately visibly obvious from the street but unless you are a Geocacher, you wouldn't know it to be anything other than a well decorated bird house.  The description also spells out the house number in BOLD so that cachers are not uncomfortable.  Also, all of my neighbors know that it is a cache and gets visited on occasion.


Now, having said that, I again side with all of you in that it is very awkward and uncomfortable to go to close to homes to search for caches.

Edited by TheUtahGardener
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Early in my caching career, I too was very hesitant about entering private property. Nowadays, I'll go straight to GZ to make the grab. Usually its well maintained and highly favored. Occasionally you get the hides in which the original CO moved and I had to explain my presence. Awkward!

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I've had wrong coordinates which led me to the wrong house. Embarrassing! I don't know how the CO could get the coordinates so wrong. A quick check on Google maps before they published would have prevented this.:rolleyes:


However, sometimes having a cache at home might allow for more creative caches. The best TB hotel I ever saw was at the COs house. Individual rooms for the TBs with wallpaper, fireplaces and the like. Just a plastic box shoved in the front yard. Nah  <_<.

Edited by Goldenwattle
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