So yes, I admit, I left a comment on Baking Cupcakes blog. And was immediately castigated for it, and the owner closed comments. I expected this--the castigation, not the closing of comments--and it's not a surprising move.
It did spur me to make additional comments on the topic, though, and especially from the comment I left on Miss Skinkie Winkler's post on the Nightflower Blooming blog.
There's so much controversy right now, in so many areas, on freebies. And hunts. And what I'm hearing, over and over again, is that the owners are wrong to prevent people from using cheat sheets, tip lists, hunt locations; that the owners just don't understand how hard it is not to be able to find things, or not to have that much time to spend on the grid.
For the first point, I just have to play the cold callous card--because there are ways to make people better hunters, and they're pretty simple, and if, after all that, you still can't find things...good gods, people, stop and find something else to do, it's obviously not in your skill set.
1. Hunt. A lot. That's the best way possible, it really is. Go on any hunt you find, you don't have to buy everything, you don't even have to find everything, especially if you're not interested in whatever the designers have put out to be hunted. But--and this is key--if you go on a lot of hunts, you start to see patterns.
Residents of the grid, first and foremost, are people--and most people will go to the same places to hide things, over and over. Tree roots, tree branches, behind bushes. In and around art objects. On the rims of fountains, in fountains, just behind or just in front of retaining walls. Rafters, rooflines, above doors, at the base of fencing. Behind sofas, in the sofa cushions, in the chandeliers, behind mirrors--get the idea? If you want into a sim, for a hunt, the first thing you want to do is check behind any large objects you see. Then start in on the walkthrough, looking for things.
2. Drop your prims. Look, lag kills on hunts, and I'm the first to admit, a lot of my avatars carry a lot of attachments. Strip down to Linden layers, count the prims in your hair (anything below sixty or so prims works for prim hair, and if you're really trying to cut down, remember Linden hair--for all of its depressing ugliness--can be retextured with actual hair textures, which makes it resemble wearable now and again). Take off prim shoes. Drop your Mystitool/radar gadget, and--if you're going to be mostly flying anyway, for instance--drop your AO. Anything that helps you move faster is a help for hunt objects to rez in, too.
3. Consider pack hunting. It may sound odd, but first, more bodies, more eyes on the prizes, so to speak. Also, I've noticed, most makers--including Mr. Azriel Demain, who loathes "cheaters" with a passion, and is very strict on his hunts--don't mind pack hunting. There's nothing specifically against the rules, and remember, you can pass what you found back and forth between the group in IM (or in voice), so you never have to touch main chat.
4. When all else fails, ask around. This may also sound odd, but look--if you're into scavenger hunts, likely your friends are, too. Ask them. Privately, in IM, or if you belong to any hunting/freebie groups, ask there--the worst that will happen is folks will say no; but if they've been on the hunt, generally they'll help.
The second point, unfortunately, isn't as easy. Because scavenger hunts do take time. And if you don't have time to be in world, you don't have time for hunts, really. That's what it comes down to. In that case, concentrate on the shorter hunts, get a feel for which makers hide things in easy places, and which don't.
For example, ::plod:: makes lovely things, quirky and original, but the maker is deviously tricky for hunts. She'll hide things underwater, in caverns, in heaps of similar objects, just under the floorboards...making things insanely difficult.
Conversely, the recent Magika hunt was a delight--yes, she had folks searching high and low, outside of her store, inside, in the mall, on the roof, by the railings--but everything was visible, out in the open, and fairly easily found.
That's all I can suggest for the latter problem--devote what time you can to the hunts you can solve in the time you're in world; and don't worry over the rest. Get a feel for which things will be easy, manage your time as wisely as you can.
Because, like as not, if you're one of those who can't be in world as often, you have other things to do beyond hunting.
So go do them. Hunt when you can. Just, for the love of all holy things, don't post hunt locations openly. That pisses nearly everyone off.