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Dnf = Dnexist?


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I'm just curious how many of you log DNFs and find out later that the cache really wasn't there at all? I have had several DNFs that I figured were my own fault. I only started caching in January and have only 45 finds. But at least three of my DNFs were followed by several other DNFs... then the cache is disabled or archived or replaced because it really wasn't there. Ah, sweet vindication!


Now if I can get some of these evil micros in Raleigh, NC to disappear so I don't feel like such a fool... :o



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I'm just curious how many of you log DNFs and find out later that the cache really wasn't there at all?

I remember the very first cache on the Breakneck Ridge/Hudson Highlands in NY was a long, difficult hike for a 3 stage multicache. Over a period of a few months, maybe half a year, two or three cachers found the first stage, but nobody ever found stages 2 or 3. The cache was eventually archived. Remarkably, something like a dozen caches cover that route now. I always get a chuckle out of that.

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I have had a total of 4 DNF's (logged 3 of them as DNF's online)


2 of them were definitely missing and the cache was quickly archived


1 of them I logged as DNF and received an e-mail from the owner that I had not pursued far enough (it was rated 1.5 stars so I didn't go 15' down the steep hill where the GPS was pointing because I thought the terrain rating said I shouldn't) We went back to the cache another time and got it.


1 of them we went back to a week later and found it. Just looked in wrong place the first time.

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I'm even newer to gc than YodaDoe, and haven't (yet) had a DNF that later turned to be missing entirely. But YD raises a question:


When that happens (i.e. you log a DNF and later turns out it was missing), can you/how do you - eliminate the DNF from your record?


I presume that if the cache is later reinstated, you can log it as a find after all (presuming you can prove to the owner that you were actually at the precise spot), but will that also eliminate the earlier DNF from your record? And/or must you return to physically find the cache and sign the log book - and again, what about the DNF on your record?


Bearing in mind of course - it's not about the numbers... :o

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I find it's a function of my original cache rating. If people were finding the cache then suddenly DNF's appear, the cache is virtuall always gone.


If DNFs were a part of the cache due to difficutly then when I accumulate enough to cause me concern I normally find the cache is still there.


I tend to rate cache difficulty based on my hunch using Clayjars system. In general I've been pretty accurate.

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When that happens (i.e. you log a DNF and later turns out it was missing), can you/how do you - eliminate the DNF from your record?


You can eliminate it, but why would you want to? It's part of the history of the cache and your personal history. A DNF is not a black mark on your record, or anything to be ashamed of....heck, as I mentioned earlier, I have 66 of them.



I find it's a function of my original cache rating. If people were finding the cache then suddenly DNF's appear, the cache is virtuall always gone.


I frequently find that when this happens, someone came along and hid it a lot better than the owner originally did. This has happened with quite a few of my caches.

Edited by briansnat
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When that happens (i.e. you log a DNF and later turns out it was missing), can you/how do you - eliminate the DNF from your record?

When you think about it, it's not really on your record in any meaningful way. It's not like it's on your stats graphic or profile page or anything, and only you can see the frownies. It certainly doesn't affect your find count. Only the notes are visible to others, and you want to leave those as part of the history of the cache. Think of DNF's as a sign you're an honest cacher :o


And, for the record, none of my DNF's have turned out to be missing. Every one of 'em was me just being thick.


Oh, wait...there's one the jury's still out on. I think that one really might be gone.

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There have been several. The bad part is that at least 4, if not 5 of them, were on the SAME DAY! I was so frustrated. I thought I was the worst cacher in the world. I was about to hang up my GPS and take up croquet instead. It wasn't until a few days later when DNF"s started showing up on these caches and the owners confirmed that they were missing. I felt so much better about my caching abilities after that. But boy, what are the odds of hitting that many muggled caches in one day.

Of the other DNF's on my record, there are a few that I won't even bother to hunt again.....just nothing compelling about the cache or location on those. There are others that I returned to, determined to come out victorious.

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In the beginning... I think I had more DNFs that were there and I couldn't locate them. Lately though, The last 5 DNFs I logged (up until this past weekend) when the 5 caches were all confirmed missing by the cache owner.


The last DNF logged just this past Sunday is still there but myself and another cacher couldn't locate it.

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I track my geocaching activity in a spreadsheet.


70 DNF's with 5 yet unconfirmed as missing.


44 DNF's with container in place total 6.25% of my finds after deducting locationless, virtual and event caches. (the 5 included here)


26 DNF's where container was found to be missing total 3.69%.

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In September of 2002, I cached home from my Grandmother's funeral North of Dayton. I thought I'd found more than 5 caches on the way home, but a recent review shows only 2 finds. I had about 6 DNFs because the day before Datyon Metro Parks enforced a policy and had land managers remove all of the caches on their properties. I had a lot of confirmed missing notes following my DNFs. Talk about a bad day.

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I have had several.


FWIW, just because you didn't find it before others didn't find it, and the owner confirmed it missing does not mean that it was not there when you were looking for it...


We had a case locally where an owner could not find his own cache and archived it. Another cacher who did not know it was "missing" went and found the darn thing when the owner could not!

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We had a case locally where an owner could not find his own cache and archived it. Another cacher who did not know it was "missing" went and found the darn thing when the owner could not!

That happened to me. I went for a maint visit and couldn't find the cache. I went home to disable it and there was a find the same day I was there. Turns out someone moved it 30 feet for who knows what reason.

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8 total DNF logged (Can remember if there were any I didn't log)


2 Were found on the second attempt

4 Confirmed Missing

1 Too far away to try again (3500+ miles)

1 Waiting till i'm in the area again (Coordinates were off)


About 3 I couldn't get close enough to GZ to search (no apparent access)


Not too bad

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43 DNFs (compared to 1211 finds) That's about a 3.5% DNF rate. I got atleast 1 DNF every month in the 22 months that I have been caching, except for a 3 month period last year.


Of the 43 DNFs, 14 of those were missing, 10 I didn't find because of other reasons, such as bad or old coordinates/printout, and only 19 of them I just couldn't find.

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>>How many of your DNF were actually gone?


At the point when I log the DNF, it's gone. Yessir, someone has stolen that sucker.


At the point when the cache maintainer goes to check: about one in six are gone. The rest turn out to be me being arrogant, pessimistic, in a hurry, lazy, or distracted.


However, if I get a return comment after a DNF saying "yup, still there", I always try to go back: (a) as a compliment to the owner for checking, and (B) because otherwise it becomes a monkey on my back. In some cases, this involves swallowing a lot of pride, and/or appearing rather obsessed - see my adventures earlier this week at GCJ0E9.

Edited by sTeamTraen
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I treat my DNFs oddly perhaps, but since it's not a competition I do it like this.


Before I log a DNF, I'll spend at least 30 minutes on-site looking. I won't count a DNF if I just pop in and out, didn't finish the waypoints of a multi, etc. It has to be a fair effort to find the cache in the area where the GPS is zeroed out. I don't log those "showed up on my GPS while I was driving by, looked for 5 minutes and didn't see it so got back on my way" type no-finds.


Most of my dozen or so DNFs were just me not looking hard enough. I've had 2 where the cache was actually gone.


When I DNF I always watch the cache listing, if it's found after I DNF, I schedule it for a revisit sometime in the future.


If it's confirmed missing, I consider that I have found it - I was there, I made the effort/did the hunt/whatever and due to circumstances beyond my control I got burned. To me, that's as good as a find, and I count it as such.


So far, it's only happened twice out of 80 finds. Without a doubt, my DNFs are mostly "need to look better/harder"

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From the math I just did, the D M.MMM coordinate system can only place a cache within 6 feet (worst case). Placing coordinates are critical, especally for micro caches. If the person placing the cache is off by just one thousandths of a minute, then it could be 12 feet away from you when you reach a zero feet reading on your GPSr with perfect reception.


But your reading isn't going to be perfect. On my first trial run with my new GPSr, I got 7 ft accuracy at the cache site. The location wasn't impressive and the cache was a micro (log only). For the game's sake, I could spend 30 minutes looking, sign the log and post a 'TNLNSL' and bumped up a point.


But for my personal enjoyment of finding a unique and interesting location and participating in sharing that experience with others, many caches do not seem worth the time or effort to even log a "Did Not Find" there. If given the option, I'd choose "Not Worth Finding" for several of the caches I've visited. Having this opinion so early on, I think to contine enjoying geocache hunting, I'll have to be picky about which finds I attempt.


From my initial experiences, some people are better at placing caches than others - with the criteria being both in the ability to provide:accurate coordinates (It' should be possible to place a cache with coordinates down to the tens of thousandths of a minute (within a foot)), a geographically interesting location, and a logical geomuggle-proof container located within the smallest possible search radius that makes sense to a geocacher. I suspect that those caches with longevity and a low "Did Not Find" count and longer log entries and photos in its gallery are the most likely to be enjoyable. When I see entries for (or have experienced finds of) caches like this by a particular geocache placer, I'm immediately interested in other caches by that same person or team.


DNF's can occur from wild animal predation, inclimate weather, or geoactivty - such as cache eaten by a bear, floods, hurricanes or tornadoes, sinkholes, earthquakes, volcanoes, avalanches, erosion, etc. The expert geocache locator might actually find these, and the log entry would be of great interest and value.


The point is, with all geocachers being equal, DNF correlates to DNExist on higher quality geocaches, while honest DNF entries of lower quality caches can indicate one or more of several things: The rating is too low, the clues provided are not specific enough, the coordinates are inaccurate, the cache isn't well-maintained, or the original placement location isn't specific enough that a geocacher can't place it back in the exact place.


I will not exert my opinion upon individual geocaches or geocachers, but in general I think geocachers who look forward to DNF's being logged are too sadistic. Getting there is half the fun - the other half should be in finding a well-placed cache once you're within the smallest possible circle of placement.

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Wow. I'm amazed that you guys actually track and keep such detailed statistics of your DNFs which were and weren't due to caches missing.


On a slightly related topic, on caches I hid, about half the DNF's reported on them were not due to be plundered. So I've learned to wait awhile before I run out to do maintenance. One time, after a couple of DNF's I went out to check on it and couldn't find my own cache. There was a lot of vegetation. I felt like a real dummy because I wasn't convinced it was gone quite yet. Wouldn't you know that someone came along and found it, then another, but no I'm not going back to try find it myself. (Should I post a DNF on my own cache for the first time??)

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Oh happy day! I just re-read some of the logs from caches that I had logged DNF on, and found one that the owner says is indeed missing!

We spent 40 minutes or more hunting every inch of the area looking for that cache. It was late. We were tired. We had to work the next day. We had spent the entire day helping out daughter move into her first apartment (at college) and caching our way back home. We had a wonderful day, it was glorious weather. Then we came to that one cache that just couldn't be found. When I logged it, I saw that another cacher said that he had been there the same evening and found it with no problem...Hmmm...Must be me, then. (Sigh)

Or maybe not (yah!). He might have been there a different day, and just logged the wrong date, because the owner said that a storm blew down the tree that the cache was in, and the cache was nowhere to be found. There were no storms that night, and the tree was down when we were there.

So yes...it still says DNF, but that's OK with me...because I will always know (now) that it wasn't that I couldn't find it--it was that it wasn't there...

Important? Not really, it's just that (for me at least) it isn't about the numbers, but it is about the skills!

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one my my cut bank caches had a DNF log just a couple days after a find. I went out and searched for it two different times. Couldn't find the dadgum thing. Thogh it was missing so I replaced it. Adena...Cache Ahead comes out to visit me and finds the original cache!


As it turns out the first finder did not put it back where it was. Not a good thing since it's a micro!!! Needless to say I retrieved the replacement and put the original where it belonged.

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I have one DNF. On the 4th trip to the location (with the cache owner) we discovered that it was buried. I don't feel bad about missing it the first 3 times.


I cache blind (no sheets, downloaded PQ caches) and have on two occasions been unable to find a cache. When logging my cache finds online, I discovered that the caches (I could not find) were recently archived. I didn't bother posting a DNF on them.

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I might be wrong, but when I have a DNF that later turns out to be missing, I change the DNF to a note. I put EDIT: Changing the DNF to a note because the cache is MIA.


I have no problem doing that, because technically, a DNF indicates that you looked for the cache and you didn't find it. If the cache doesn't exist, you can't very well find it in the first place, can you?


Frownies don't bother me, but I don't think leaving a DNF as such, when the cache is missing, is entirely accurate either.


Oh, and I have 8 DNFs, which is 8% of our total cache count. Went back later, to two of them, and found them right away (amazing how that happens!). The others were in areas where we couldn't make a return visit (we were on a road trip/vacation).

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