Deleting a DNF Log: Yes or No?

Any geocacher worth their salt has a bunch of DNF (did not find) caches under their belt. (And those that don’t are either brand new or lying!) Often times, those DNF will just nag and nag at a cacher until they go back and find the cache.

Like my most famous ‘did not find’: ‘Summer Lovin” Not only did I not find the geocache, I lost a $40 piece of equipment, the whole adventure is on YouTube! That cache will bother me and keep me awake at night until I go back and get it.

But once I go find it, what is the etiquette around changing the DNF into a found?

A Piece of Caching History

When a cacher logs a DNF on a cache, that log becomes part of the cache’s history. It can signal to the cache owner and future cachers that the cache might have been muggled. In some cases, the ‘did not find’ log entry shows that the cache owner is one-cool-dude for placing such a hard to find cache.


This is the cammo for a regular sized geocache.

For example, Crooks Grand TB Hotel is an example of a cache that had logged 7 DFN by the time I found it in December 2009. It had nothing to do with a cache being missing or muggled, just a well-hid cache.

did not find list

Take a look at that! 4 DNF in a row. It was a tough cache to find, but well worth it.

A Piece of YOUR Caching History

Don’t look at a DNF as a failure, but look at it as a badge of honor. Every time you can’t find a cache and log it, you’re joining the ranks of distinguished cachers who aren’t afraid to say that the cache got the best of them. This time!

If you don’t log the DNF you’re doing yourself and other cachers a disservice by not being honest that either the cache is really hard to find OR that it just isn’t there!

Did Not Find Tells A Lot About The Cache

If I’m heading after a cache and I see 100 finds and 30 DNF entries, it’s a clue to me that this is a tough hide. It might take a few tries, a lot of time, and I may need to read the logs for clues.

A DNF is a part of a #geocache history! Share on X

Taking a look at the DNF to find “ratio” is especially important because difficulty ratings are often inaccurate. Plus, the number of ‘did not find’ entries on a cache can let the cache owner know that they need to change the difficulty rating of their cache OR go out and look to make sure it’s still there!

Now I’ve Found It!

Once you go back and find the geocache, for heaven’s sake don’t edit the DNF listing! (See caching history, above)

Besides skewing the data for finds to DNF logs, when you edit an entry, the cache owner doesn’t get a message that says the cache has now been found. This is especially important when it is back-to-back DNF, I found it logs because the cache owner might be planning a trip to check on the cache and wouldn’t know that it’s now been found without checking the cache page.

If you convert a DNF into a found then post a new log on the cache.

DNF on Extreme Caches

As somebody who occasionally DOES go after extreme caches, I really hate the type of logs that say:

Well I thought about it but decided not to.

That log really doesn’t tell me anything and it is really frustrating having to sort through 5 or six of those logs before I get to one that actually lets me know more about the cache. If you are thinking of going after an extreme cache but decide against it, post a Note on the cache rather than logging a DNF.

After all, you didn’t look for it and not find it; you THOUGHT about looking and decided not to! (Can you tell I’m a bit passionate about this?)

How Can I Keep Track Of Caches I Want To Look For Again?

A lot of caches will keep looking for a DNF until they are successful in locating it. Of course, when you start to rack up the DNF logs it can be a trick to sort through them and decide if they are STILL a ‘did not find’ or if you have found them now.


Once you’re logged in to you can add any cache to your watch list. The link is on the upper right side.

The easiest thing to do is to add each DNF to your watch list. Once you’ve found the cache, remove it from your watch list. That way you have a running total of the ‘did not find’ caches that you want to go after again.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you edit or delete your DNF entries once you’ve found the cache?
  • How do you keep track of the DNF caches that you’d like to try again?
  • Do you keep trying a cache until you find it? Or is it a “one-time-shot” philosophy?