What is a DNF?
DNF is shorthand used by geocachers when they Did Not Find the cache they were trying to locate. Although no geocacher wants to admit they couldn’t find the geocache, logging your story correctly on www.geocaching.com is important for several reasons:
- If no one ever logged a Did Not Find, the cache owner would never know their cache had possibly gone missing.
- By logging a DNF, the volunteer reviewer who published the cache is notified that a problem may exist and puts it on a watch list. After several geocachers post they were unable to find it, the reviewer will usually disable the cache until the owner checks on it.
- Correctly logging a cache helps other geocachers decide whether or not to attempt making the find or moving on to another cache.
- If the owner is no longer maintaining the cache, the publisher will archive the cache leaving space for a new geocache placement.
How do you know its a DNF?
The obvious answer is – If you didn’t find it, you should log a Did Not Find, but there seems to be some confusion about this! I have seen some really crazy logs from geocachers who did not find the cache.
Some geocachers will “replace” a cache they were unable to find. Then they are able to sign the log in the cache that they just replaced and count it as a find. (my opinion: only replace a cache you own or when you have direct communication and permission from the owner)
I have even seen a geocache hiding spot completely destroyed and flattened by road construction get logged as a find because the geocacher found where the cache use to be.
There are no hard and fast rules for logging a DNF so the following is mostly just what I think about it!
- If you did not find the cache, you did not find the cache!
- If you found the cache but cannot reach the cache or dislodge it from its hiding spot, you did not find the cache! I have had several occasions I found the cache, but had to return with a tool of some sort to actually get the cache in my hand.
- If you cannot open the cache and sign the log, you did not find the cache! There is one exception to this rule: If the log is too wet or damaged to retrieve from the container. Even in these case, I try to take a picture of the situation is to send to the owner.
The most important thing to remember Geocaching is just a game and no one will ever think badly of you for logging a DNF.