Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

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Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby Stumpy75 » Sat 2009-02-28, 18:14:58

Ok, here it is... Remember, this is just a draft. Nothing it written in stone. Please comment at will. After things settle down, I'll take all the comments and put out the next version, and so on, until we kind of all agree on it(at least as much as possible!). :wink:

I wrote this in Word, so if anyone wants a copy that way, let me know.



***********************************************
Caching Guidelines for the beginner.

I have tried to put together several different ideas in 3 basic sections.

The first section is a compressed version of a set of things to know when hiding a cache that was originally written by GoodDog, and can be found at http://nwogeo.org/Forums/viewtopic/t=1236.html in it’s entire version.

The second section is guidelines for hunting caches without getting into trouble.

The third section is parts of the guidelines on how to hide caches from Geocaching.com. The full set of these guidelines can be found at http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx.


SECTION 1 Thoughts, lessons and ideas on hiding good caches(originally by GoodDog)

There are many other tips that others might want to add, but these are most of the basics and you will learn from experience. If you don’t like tips, disregard all of the following, and just have fun.

1. Try to find an interesting location or area to put the cache. We are somewhat limited in Northwest Ohio, but there are areas that many people will still enjoy. Often it will be an area that they have driven by many times but have never taken the time to stop, or an area that were in years ago, but forgot about. One of the most frequent comments that I get on my page logs is “I have driven by here many times, but didn’t even know this was here.�

2. Just because you have found an area you think is interesting, it doesn’t mean you should put a cache box there. I have been in a number of potential areas, but I couldn’t find a good or appropriate spot for the hide. I have sometimes walked around for a couple of hours and then given up on placing a cache there. Experience in hiding caches will help with this problem, but don’t put a box there just to do it. You can come back at another time and try to find a hiding spot with a fresh perspective.

3. Don’t hide any boxes until you have a fair number of “finds� to your credit. Maybe 25 or more. The more you are exposed to other cache ideas the more success you will have at establishing your own. You could up the timetable if you know another more experienced geocacher who can give you sound advice.

4. When you hunt your first 20 or so caches, note the type of container they use. How well is it holding up? Can you get your big paws in it to get the stuff out? Is it water proof and reasonably animal proof? Pesky raccoons can get into the oddest places. Is it camouflaged in any way and how well is it hidden from casual passerby’s? Is it hidden well, but fair? Were you able to hunt it without being seen? The idea of hiding a cache is to make it interesting and challenging, but you do want people to find it.

5. Things to consider when placing a cache:

a. Can you hunt it in private? This means not having to battle 100s of muggles so as not to be seen!

b. Is it on private land?

c. Don’t place a cache that is commercial (such as your favorite restaurant).

d. Would the park/location people be pissed if you put one there? If in doubt, ask permission, check park regulations at the park office, check geocaching web pages for posted guidelines, email others cachers who have caches there and ask if they had any issues when they hid theirs.

6. Stated in number 4 is that you want the cache to be found, but there are varying degrees of difficulty you can apply. The terrain is one, but type of hunt is another. Some people only want to hunt your straight forward relatively easy box in the woods. Others like more of a challenge and like multi caches, more cleverly hidden caches, puzzle caches and other intricate hides. Not every cache has to be designed to be found by a family of four, or us old farts who don’t get around as well as we use to. I try to make a variety of caches and don’t expect everyone to hunt them. When you list your caches put the degree of difficulty on it, and also tell people why. If it’s a mile walk, tell them. If the terrain in rough, trails (or lack there of) are rough tell them. Let them decide if they want to hunt it. If they leave a criticism on the web log page, consider if it is valid and if you need to adjust something, or if they are the type who crab at everything.

7. The cache site doesn’t have to be a park. It can be a historical site, gardens, maybe just some place interesting, or just a great view. Don’t confuse the general area you want to put the cache in with the actual hiding spot. Once you have identified the general area, look for a hiding spot.

8. I have learned that the size and type of cache box does matter. I started off with shoe box size containers (some are still in place), but after awhile I learned that these can be hard to hide. I started placing smaller containers and eventually micros when appropriate. When I go out to hide a new cache now I take a pack full of various size containers. If it’s deep in the woods I try to put the larger boxes so people can drop off Travel Bugs and larger trade items. If the hiding area is more exposed or there are just no appropriate large trees, rocks etc. I place the largest container from my selection that fits the area. Sometimes a nifty container with a magnet is just the ticket, or maybe a smaller 3x5 in. box. Just don’t go with a preconceived box in mind, or you will find it difficult more times than not to hide it. Experience hunting other caches will give you lots of ideas. Remember stealing someone else’s idea is the highest form of flattery!

9. Put your log in a freezer type heavy bag and supply a couple of pencils. Pens are ok, but they freeze in the winter.

10. Put items that will get wrecked or dirty in a sandwich type bag. The cache will get groody after a few months.

11. Pay attention to where you put the box. Is it near a creek that is likely to flood? Look at the vegetation to see if it is the type that loves wet areas. Try to keep it off the ground in such cases, maybe even 5ft. or so up.

12. A cache doesn’t have to be on the ground, but shouldn’t be too high for the average person to find. Lots of my caches are in trees. This keeps them off the wet ground, makes it easier for winter cachers, and keeps a lot of the animals away.

13. Don’t put food of any type in caches. This includes mints, tic-tacs, gum, candy, dog bones, candles, incense, soap, steak and fish. In fact, nothing scented at all. These types of items will attract critters who have a much better sense of smell than you do, are curious, bored stiff and just looking to get into trouble (hmmm sounds like a lot of boys I know). Also, ask yourself, would you eat food that you found in a box in the woods placed there by who knows who? I won’t even let my dog eat such items and they think horse road apples are a delicacy. Too many wackos out there.

14. If you get comments that the coordinates are off, and more that one geocacher has said so, go check it out, but don’t run out there the first time. The hunters may just be having a bad GPS day. Same thing for “No Finds�. If you have a high difficulty rating expect more than average “No Finds�.

15. Expect to have to visit the cache occasionally to do routine maintenance.

16. If there is not adequate and obvious parking, put coordinates on the cache that will take the hunters to safe parking.

17. For micro containers, some pill bottles are NOT waterproof, and no 35mm film canisters are, although you would think they would be.

18. Don’t put caches where someone might get hurt or no-one in their right mind wants to go. Who wants to wade through 100 yards of blackberry prickers in shorts in the summer to get a cache? If you want to put it there, give it a high difficulty rating and tell people why. Some geocachers are nuts and thrive on this, which is cool, but others will get mad.



SECTION 2 - How to hunt a cache without getting into trouble(Common Sense?) (from posts on NWOGEO pages)

1. Watch out for muggles. If you arrive at the cache site to find the Thanksgiving Day parade going down the street in front of you, move on! Come back another day or time for that one.

2. If you arrive and find yourself uncomfortable with the situation for any reason, leave and come back another day or time.

3. Look around you, and if YOU would consider what you are doing suspicious, why would you expect others not to think the same thing? If you can get the cache without being seen, go for it. BUT.. realize that even if you get out of the area before the local law shows up(because someone DID see you), the next cacher might not be so lucky. Don’t compromise the cache for a smiley!

4. Consider the time that you are going to go after the cache. Maybe mid-day is not the best time on a particular cache because of muggles, but after 6pm in the summer, when there is still plenty of sunlight, might be fine. The opposite can also be true. Hunting some caches at 2am may draw a LOT of unwanted attention too. Timing can be everything!

5. Be careful of caches near businesses around closing time. Remember, those closing up may have the days receipts with them, and are VERY wary of anyone hanging around. They are usually trained to keep an eye out for that kind of thing. You are sure to have a run in with the local police in those situations.

6. Remember, there is usually another cache down the road somewhere, and you really don’t want to compromise the cache by trying to get it when you will be seen. Just move on, and you maybe can get it next time you’re in the area.




SECTION 3 – Geocaching.com Hiding Guidelines (parts of them anyway)
Complete set of guidelines can be found at http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx

Guidelines that Apply to all Cache Types
For all physical caches and waypoints, think carefully about how your container and the actions of geocachers will be perceived by the public. For example, a cache hidden in full view of office or apartment building windows exposes a geocacher to being seen by someone who may think the cache search looks suspicious. Your cache may be hidden on public property, but there may be concerned residents on the other side of that property line. And, while an ammo box or PVC pipe may be a great container if hidden deep in the woods, it may cause alarm if discovered in an urban setting. A clear plastic container or a microcache may be a better choice. In busy areas, avoid containers that look suspicious, including attachment materials like wires or tape. To reduce confusion and alarm when a cache is discovered accidentally, clearly label your container on the outside with appropriate information to say it is a geocache. Cover over any military markings with paint or a geocache sticker. Include an explanatory "stash note" inside your cache. Common sense in selecting hiding spots and containers can reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those who are unaware of our sport.

Cache Contents
Use your common sense in most cases. Explosives, fireworks, ammo, lighters, knives (including pocket knives and multi-tools), drugs, alcohol or other illicit material shouldn't be placed in a cache. As always respect the local laws. Geocaching is a family activity and cache contents should be suitable for all ages.
Food items are ALWAYS a BAD IDEA. Animals have better noses than humans, and in some cases caches have been chewed through and destroyed because food items (or items that smell like food) are in the cache. Even the presence of mint flavored dental floss has led to destruction of one cache.
If the original cache contents list any of the above items or other questionable items, or if a cache is reported to have the questionable items, the cache may be disabled, and the owner of the cache will be contacted and asked to remove the questionable items before the cache is enabled.

Caches that Solicit
Solicitations are off-limits. For example, caches perceived to be posted for religious, political, charitable or social agendas are not permitted. Geocaching is supposed to be a light, fun activity, not a platform for an agenda.

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Re: Caching guidelines

Postby GeoFlint13 » Sat 2009-02-28, 18:58:44

Very good! At the moment I can't think of anything that I would add or delete from this.
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Good Luck & Happy Hunting!

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Re: Caching guidelines

Postby Mighty_Mo » Sun 2009-03-01, 01:50:58

I think the "Guidelines that Apply to all Cache Types" section miught be better placed at the beginning. Some people just read the beginning and skim the rest.
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Re: Caching guidelines

Postby Mighty_Mo » Sun 2009-03-01, 02:06:14

Section 1 - 5 - b
More details could be provided. i.e. Just because you can freely drive through a parking lot doesn't mean it is public property. Parking lots are private property and permission must be obtained.
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Re: Caching guidelines

Postby RustyNail09 » Sun 2009-03-01, 04:15:51

Section 2 additions.

- Think about how long it is going to take you to grab and return the cache to it's hiding spot. The longer you are searching, the more it look suspicious and possibility of a badged muggle arriving is high. Scout the area of the hide before trying to find it.

- If approached by an officer and ask what you are doing, be as honest as possible. Most police officers understand what geocaching is, but may have had no clue there was one where you are. If they understand that there is one there, the less likely they will be to ask the next Cacher that they see there doing the same thing.

Section 1-3
Up the suggested amount of caches from 25 to 50-75 due to the increased alert that is now needed with recent events.
Section 1-6
Suggest the use of Clayjar's rating system @ http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby TheBearclaws » Sun 2009-03-01, 11:15:11

This is all good stuff to link to on the site but I'm picturing a special one or two paragraph statement like the SQ Cemetery guideline that would make an attempt at steering people away from hiding potentially troublesome caches in NW Ohio. A general statement that we, as a group, discourage hides in view of businesses where the seeker is likely to attract attention as acting in a suspicious way and I would also include with or without permission because in most cases it's impossible for everyone to be aware that permission has been granted. There are exceptions of course, RustyNails may be one and I know there are others, thats why this would be a general recommendation. I think it would be good to include the Guideline for All Placements from GC.COM that we all agree to abide by when we set up a cache at the end of the statement as a reminder to consider how the placement can, or will be, perceived by others.

I agree with the idea that keeping this game low profile will aid in it's longevity.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby Mighty_Mo » Sun 2009-03-01, 14:19:37

Bearclaws has a good point, in that a short statement with links to other documents is a good idea. This is because some (many) people won't read a multi paragraph or page document. At best they will read the first paragraph or two and skim the rest for "juicy" bits of information.

Also when a hide IS in full view of the staff and they are aware. This needs to be noted in the cache description.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby TeamMina » Mon 2009-03-02, 00:34:16

Is there a place where there's a subject like "Tips to finding caches" or "Cache etiquette"? We would like somewhere about what gets us as mad as hatters: "Rehide as well or better than you found it."
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby McCombRef » Mon 2009-03-02, 02:48:17

My biggest peeve lately is that my last two hides have had pictures of the cache locations posted in the logs by a certain member.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby GrizzFlyer » Mon 2009-03-02, 22:27:19

As mentioned by others, we might want to shorten it up a bit. Maybe a lot. The longer it is, the less likely its going to be read. The majority of the info is already covered by Groundspeak. Maybe provide a link to the appropriate section of their guidelines.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby Stumpy75 » Tue 2009-03-03, 00:53:05

I agree with shortening it up a lot too. Down to probably a couple of paragraphs with links to the other stuff that's more wordy.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby TheBearclaws » Thu 2009-03-05, 01:14:47

Tonight I looked for the Spirit Quest statement on the website and I didn't find it easily. It's on the left of the screen at the bottom of the Menu under Information. If Gizmoguy says it's to much work to create a new Home page perhaps what we are proposing could be included in this menu also. Anyways, I took a shot at writing something and here it is:

[align=center]Think Before You Hide[/align]

In order to minimize the possibility of a Northwest Ohio geocache placement attracting negative publicity by becoming the target of a bomb squad or police investigation, we strongly recommend that cache hiders be very aware and alert when considering the following guidelines that are a part of our agreement with Groundspeak when we submit a cache for publication.

[align=center]Guidelines that Apply to all Cache Types[/align]

For all physical caches and waypoints, think carefully about how your container and the actions of geocachers will be perceived by the public. For example, a cache hidden in full view of office or apartment building windows exposes a geocacher to being seen by someone who may think the cache search looks suspicious. Your cache may be hidden on public property, but there may be concerned residents on the other side of that property line. And, while an ammo box or PVC pipe may be a great container if hidden deep in the woods, it may cause alarm if discovered in an urban setting. A clear plastic container or a microcache may be a better choice. In busy areas, avoid containers that look suspicious, including attachment materials like wires or tape. To reduce confusion and alarm when a cache is discovered accidentally, clearly label your container on the outside with appropriate information to say it is a geocache. Cover over any military markings with paint or a geocache sticker. Include an explanatory "stash note" inside your cache. Common sense in selecting hiding spots and containers can reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those who are unaware of our sport.

Some of our members have had police encounters while hunting caches in private parking lots and around businesses. We want to remind everyone that parking lots of businesses are private property and that with or without permission to hide a cache, the actions of geocachers may be enough to prompt suspicion and a call to the police.

We believe that playing our game is best kept at a low profile and that negative publicity resulting from poor cache placement choices may ultimately spoil our fun. We also do not want to see one of our caching friends questioned or placed in an embarrassing situation, so please think before you hide.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby Stumpy75 » Thu 2009-03-05, 14:13:03

Now that I'm able to function a bit more(after getting over a bad flu bug), I just had the chance to catch up on what's been happening. I think that statement sounds good. A LOT better than the really long one, which probably nobody would bother to read! :wink:
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby GizmoGuy411 » Thu 2009-03-05, 17:01:43

That is a great summary TheBearclaws! I will comment more after I read it a few more times, and see other comments.

Actually there is also a post regarding the SQ which is tagged as "Sticky" so that is remains at the top. It is called {Geocaching in Cemeteries - "SQ" for "Spirit Quest"} and is located at the very of the forum category we are in right now.

Forum: General Geocache Related

Maybe we need a new Forum Category, that relates to various Guidelines.
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Re: Caching guidelines (NWOGEO statement developement)

Postby cheechgang » Thu 2009-03-05, 17:12:39

I second rthe niomination of Bearclaws for Mayor.
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