Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pointers, as in "go that way"

Pointers that you find in treasure hunting can be easy, they can seem easy but really not be or they can be down right confusing. One of the simplest pointers you can find is just that, a pointer. It won’t impart any other information other than “go that way”.

No matter whom you are dealing with as far as the maker of the pointer goes, some pointers are made to only take you short distances. Most pointers I have found are intended to be used that way. I have yet to find a pointer that would take me more than a quarter mile without running into another marker or pointer along that line.

The problem with pointers is that some people try to apply things to them that shouldn’t be used. The most used misconception is the use of a compass. Yes, there are markers out there that give a very specific compass heading but you shouldn’t try to apply a compass heading to something that can’t give you a precise number. Being off even one degree can screw you up, especially if the marker/pointer is the last one before the cache.

What I am referring to is something like what is pictured in the photo above. This is a very nice pointer and it’s very obvious that it is pointing in a direction but what it’s not doing is giving you a specific compass heading. Some people will try to lay a compass on the rock and get a heading from the point. When I first started out I was guilty of this myself. The thing I learned, mostly from hunting with a partner, is that the direction a point is aiming is subjective depending on who is looking at it.

To get a specific compass heading from something you need a straight edge or two points that form a straight line you can shoot across with the compass. If you don’t have these on a pointer then the pointer is most likely intended to only take you a short distance. This distance will vary depending on who left the pointer.

In my experience with hunting Spanish treasure a Spanish pointer generally won’t take you more than a quarter of a mile unless it has a specific compass heading it gives you. In my experience hunting outlaw treasure this type of pointer (one without a specific compass heading) won’t take you more than 50-100 feet and it will take you to something that is obvious based on a map.

I know this seems like bad logic that you can’t get a compass heading from a pointer such as the one in the photo but it is true. Try it with your hunting partner sometime. The compass heading will change from one to three degrees minimum depending on whether you are right or left eye dominant and how you perceive shapes and your ability to pick the center of something without measuring.

Since a “regular” pointer (as if there is such a thing) can’t give you a precise compass heading then the distance you will travel will be short so that you won’t get off course following the given direction. The people leaving this stuff behind were tricky about how they did it but they were also logical and in some cases very methodical.

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