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Ammo cans in the woods

July 29, 2008 @ 23:32 By: gordon Category: Geocaching

ammo_can_croppedIf you are wandering through the woods and come across a metal box painted army green with a handle on top and bright yellow letters stencilled on it with the words "cartridge", "26.5mm", "10 round clips" and so on and maybe even an orange warning sticker with the universal explosive pictogram on it, what would you do?

If you’re a geocacher, you’d probably open the container without second thought, sign the logbook inside and trade some trinkets.

image

But if you’re like most of the non-geocaching people in the world, you would probably look at the box with all those markings and leave it alone.

Or you might call the police and report a suspicious object and the police would probably send out the bomb squad to defuse the thing, only to find that it’s "harmless".

Sound familiar?  It should because something like this has happened at least once or twice in Ottawa and similar incidents are in the news somewhere every few weeks.

I’ve written about the use of opaque containers such as ammo cans as geocache containers once or twice in the past.  A recent post in the Ottawa geocaching forums that included a picture of a local cache in which the container still has all its military markings intact.  At least it doesn’t appear to have an orange explosive warning symbol on it, unlike some I’ve seen, but that’s really not saying much.  It’s still a prime candidate for being reported to the police as "suspicious", which would almost certainly trigger another incident like the one last week.  (Granted, last week’s incident wasn’t an ammo can, but the end result was the same.)

It won’t take many more incidents like last week’s before there are serious limitations imposed on geocaching.  We members of the geocaching community need to start exercising a little more common sense when choosing containers for our geocaches.  For example, it should go without saying that we shouldn’t be using containers marked like the one in the picture at the top of this entry, but apparently it does need to be said, so here it is:

IF YOU INSIST UPON USING AN AMMO CAN AS A GEOCACHE CONTAINER, DO NOT LEAVE THE MILITARY MARKINGS ON IT.

Better yet, forego the ammo can in favour of something transparent, such as a Lock ‘n’ Lock.  They’re watertight, fairly durable, and easy to open and close.

And they are much less likely to be blown up by the bomb squad, according to a police officer I spoke to earlier this evening who works closely with them.

Darin has an entry in his blog that every geocacher should read.

2 Responses to “Ammo cans in the woods”


  1. Chuck says:

    They definitely look suspicious with the military stenciling on them.

  2. Jesus Jefferson says:

    Don’t look suspicious, but I use ammo cans all the time for other purposes. They’re extremely useful. I guess it could cause some unease among the geo-cache crowd. Fair enough, leaves more ammo cans for the rest of us.



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