Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

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incuhead2000
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Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 15th, 2012, 6:56 pm

I'm going to keep this simple folks. I have found several areas where trees have simply been felled to keep the forest from shading out rock dens. The Timber Rattlesnake has been challenged with this natural change for hundreds of years. Trees germinate on a rock pile, grow up into big trees, and the snakes move on. Whoever is out in the woods cutting down trees on public land needs to be stopped because this is illegal unless approved by the state. I get it, there are those of us who love snakes, I do too, but cutting down trees makes us all as herpers look bad. I don't want herpers to be known as the guys who cut trees for the love of snakes. I have saved these locations via gps and will revist them frequently and I encourage those other herpers out there who witness any illegal activity to catch those in the act. These people should not be your friends. Creating obvious hot spots like these not only could benefit the snakes but make these areas easy to visually locate by those who may also want to harvest or kill these snakes for their own personal benefit. I would like to make it clear that it is not someone cutting some saplings for deer hunting, this is clearly done for the sole purpose of preventing the forest from filling out and shading out snake dens.

I went out of my way to contact the state wildlife ecologist today and he was extremely helpful in answering the questions I had to ask.

First off I asked if the state was involved in any tree removing programs to protect these sites for timber rattlesnakes. The answer was no, the state is not maintaining these sites in any manner for snakes. So, if you see someone cutting healthy trees in Maryland on public land be sure to get video evidence of this person and contact the state as soon as possible!

Secondly, there may be those of you who remember several arguments about the laws of possession in regards to snakes. These questions were also asked and it turns out, ,not that I condone anyone doing this, is you can tong, hold, pose with a timber rattlesnake for a picture if you like, but the line is drawn at when the snake enters a bucket or a sack which equals possession.

Just for good measure, these pictures were taken today on a rocky site in Maryland. Last year I noticed this spot had good sun exposure and thought it would be a nice spot to revisit to look for snakes. This year I noticed it a bit more easily with the trees cut down.

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This one was so fresh, water was still coming out of the stump and there were buds on the fallen tree :x

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I'm so disgusted by this I'm even tempted to hand out the gps coordinates to whoever wants them to just completely spoil the spot all together for whoever did this.

I don't wanna start a war here folks, I just wanted to inform you that on Maryland public land you can touch the snakes, just don't cut down the trees!

-Mike

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KingCam
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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by KingCam » March 16th, 2012, 11:59 am

That's pretty weak.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by jimoo742 » March 16th, 2012, 12:55 pm

Interesting issue. I can't, of course, condone such illegal activity, though I am disturbed that while living in state further north where the Timbers are endangered (I don't know that status of them down where you are) that there still are not programs to open up the canopy in critical locations of the few remaining populations. The natural environmental processes being so very much stifled and habitat being so very fragmented it isn't enough to say they'll just move.

Again, not saying that vigilantism is okay, but I guess I do understand some of the sentiment.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by slowbow » March 16th, 2012, 1:31 pm

I was with incuhead2000 when he found this. He was more than agitated. It pretty much ruined his day.

He had mentioned this issue last year to me, and I wrote it off as perhaps hunters,I've seen that too. But this is obviously to open canopy over rock outcroppings, to promote the area for snakes. Not to create shooting lanes.There are multiple locations,and it looks like it's been going on here for several years from what we saw later in the morning.

This area was actually severely defoliated by gypsy moths a few decades back, and the State has worked hard to reforest it. It's a shame to see this done for whatever purpose, but to see 20-25 year old trees felled, left laying,with the stump sticking up knee to waist high is pretty disgusting. No respect for the resource at all.

Enjoying the outdoors is great, herping, hunting, fishing, but this detracts from the natural beauty in such a hideous fashion I find it reprehensible. Some of these spots are readily visible from the main hiking trails used frequently by equestrians, joggers,day-hikers, and mountain bikers. It makes everyone looking at it wonder what is wrong with a particular user group.

These particular fresh spots are obviously done very recently with a chain saw. Takes a pretty big set to stroll onto a public area with a chain saw and start lopping off mature trees at waist level. We saw older evidence that looked to be done with some form a hatchet from a year or two ago at some other outcroppings. Whatever the case, it was not done quietly.

I would ask that anyone out in the field keep an ear open. If you hear a chainsaw, chopping, or sawing, report it immediately. Keep this number handy in your speed dial 1-800-635-6124 ,the Maryland DNR Natural Resource Police, and use it if you hear something like that. An officer will respond at once. All cutting is illegal, if it is a State approved activity, then having an officer respond is no harm, they will have credentials.

It would not be advisable to approach a violator, but if you can get a video clip or a few quick pictures on your cell phone from a distance without putting yourself in a confrontational situation it would help. So would descriptions of the perps and vehicle tag numbers if you can get them. Do not approach violators yourself, no matter how angry you may be. Get what info you can gather-safely- then leave the area.

Lets take care of the resource. Remember, we are not the only ones who use it.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by withalligators » March 16th, 2012, 4:58 pm

ethics aside, that's some terrible felling. leaving trees still on the stump and hung up like that is also pretty damn dangerous. A setup like that is referred to as a bear trap in some forestry circles, because a bear scratching his ass on one is likely to bring the whole thing down on himself. But really, it could kill anything, including the snakes taking refuge in that pile of rocks.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 17th, 2012, 3:44 am

I can not believe people would support this kind of illegal activity just for the love of snakes. I think I will go light some forest fires down south while I am in Florida this weekend so all the animals I like can benefit from it, regarless of how reckless it is, how many homes could be destroyed if the fire gets out of hand, how many people could die, and how many endangered species get wiped out because I thought the snakes would like it better. Get real.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Don Becker » March 17th, 2012, 5:12 am

incuhead2000 wrote:I can not believe people would support this kind of illegal activity just for the love of snakes. I think I will go light some forest fires down south while I am in Florida this weekend so all the animals I like can benefit from it, regarless of how reckless it is, how many homes could be destroyed if the fire gets out of hand, how many people could die, and how many endangered species get wiped out because I thought the snakes would like it better. Get real.
I think you are really jumping the gun on that one. Cutting down trees in an isolated area where there is no chance of harm to any person except the person cutting down the tree is a far cry from setting fire to a field where homes can be burned down. Burning is common practice in many areas though, for the benefit of wildlife and plants.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 17th, 2012, 5:47 am

psyon wrote: I think you are really jumping the gun on that one. Cutting down trees in an isolated area where there is no chance of harm to any person except the person cutting down the tree is a far cry from setting fire to a field where homes can be burned down. Burning is common practice in many areas though, for the benefit of wildlife and plants.
Yes this is very true and a very extreme example as I am also aware of prescribed burns in many areas. Do you think the average herper took into account any other endangered animals that could have been using the trees for nesting or any endangered plants, like many orchid species, that also rely on this same habitat?

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Don Becker » March 17th, 2012, 11:10 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Yes this is very true and a very extreme example as I am also aware of prescribed burns in many areas. Do you think the average herper took into account any other endangered animals that could have been using the trees for nesting or any endangered plants, like many orchid species, that also rely on this same habitat?
It looks like there are plenty more trees than there are open rocks, so I doubt a few trees will be missed in general. I know plenty of herpers that would think about other species using the trees, but I don't doubt there are some that would only worry about snakes with no regard for the other animals. There are plenty of conservation groups that work to help a single species though, and completely disregard the herp species they are hurting in the process.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by slowbow » March 17th, 2012, 12:22 pm

Yeah, incuhead2000, thats taking things a bit too far.

But there really is no defending this. Cutting those trees is really no different and every bit as illegal as walking in there and cutting the head off a rattlesnake.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 17th, 2012, 12:42 pm

Excuse what I said before, I would never go out in the woods and burn it to the ground. My compassion and anger sometimes cloud my judgement.
psyon wrote:There are plenty of conservation groups that work to help a single species though, and completely disregard the herp species they are hurting in the process.
This is true, as I am well aware of the intense compassion many groups of people have towards specific animals, primarily charismatic megafauna, but that doens't make it any more right.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by ugh » March 18th, 2012, 6:22 am

You ‘don’t condone anyone doing this’,tonging rattlers- but you do it yourself all the time? :? ….Ok fine, we know-you and your bro enjoy tonging rattlers. But what does this remotely have to do with your post here?

But while on this topic-for the record I 've spoken to several MD state employees-at the managerial level-that say to do so is not legal.
Unfortunatey there's real inconsistency in the answers provided to me when I asked about this.I got some no's,I got some 'I don't know's, and some you're askin' the wrong guy's.....But NO ONE told me 'yes,you can handle rattlers on state/public lands'.....So don't celebrate just yet, keep your tongs at home for now, lol.

Anyway yeh, that’s WAY ballsy for someone to go doing that, cutting trees down. Just curious- how big of an area was opened up? How many sites are we talking here?

If this got you so lathered up, I’d hate to see your reaction to a typical logging site, you know, the kind typically seen,for maximum financal gain with little to no real consideration of the ecological impact…..
Seriously may I ask you- what are you so upset about this for- is it just the illegality of it?
If that's the case, do you volunteer with your local municipal law enforcement writing speeding tickets in your neighborhood and other types of volunteering with local law enforcement? I could point out plenty of local LE that could use some help if you're up for it.



The trees pictured appear to be fairly young maple and birch, so at least there was no loss of mast….
What are these endangered species of plant and animal that host/use these young birch and maple trees in MD? Is there a shortage of young birch and maples in the immediate area?
Why are you so concerned about them but show total disregard for the (albeit more subtle) adverse affects of tonging rattlers at denning and/or gestation sites?

Aren’t you a fan of ectotherms? I don't condone the activity at all, don't get me wrong- but I won't deny the benefits of a reduced canopy, pretty much for all wildlife in the area and I'm frankly surprised you don't as well.

Also I may start a list of illegal things I come across in the woods on public land...

cheap light beer cans, tires, old furniture, appliances, other dumping/littering
deer stands
Bike jumps made from dead/down trees and/or rock
homemade gravesites(a little spooky!)
spray painted rock outcrops and trees
fire/campsites
messing with/destroying/disturbing/dissasembling natural rock formations for paintball/game-shooting sites/stands
dudes with whores
recreational enjoying of illicit substances

do these bother you as well? I haven't seen you make a post about any of these yet-or do you just not see this other stuff
Does the legal stuff like destructive/encroaching residential development not bother you, since it's legal and all?
What about when you see a car in front of you run over a herp? Do you do anything like confront/report them?

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 18th, 2012, 7:07 pm

All illegal activity on state lands bothers me, including leaving ac for snakes, and all other illegal activity. You have some very good points ugh and the tongs are in florida with me now. I have found 3 sites on my own where the canopy has been opened, who knows how many more there are.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Bobbleton » March 18th, 2012, 7:39 pm

So handling timbers for no reason is good, but improving timber habitat is bad?

Sure you don't actually hate snakes?
incuhead2000 wrote:Whoever is out in the woods cutting down trees on public land needs to be stopped because this is illegal unless approved by the state.
You should make sure you kill any excess numbers of snakes you see there as a result . . . those are ILLEGAL timbers now.
I get it, there are those of us who love snakes, I do too, but cutting down trees makes us all as herpers look bad.
Yeah also irresponsibly handling venomous snakes just for kicks. That could do it too.
I have saved these locations via gps and will revist them frequently and I encourage those other herpers out there who witness any illegal activity to catch those in the act.
Good plan. Force the snakes to abandon the sites as if the trees had never been cut!
First off I asked if the state was involved in any tree removing programs to protect these sites for timber rattlesnakes. The answer was no, the state is not maintaining these sites in any manner for snakes. So, if you see someone cutting healthy trees in Maryland on public land be sure to get video evidence of this person and contact the state as soon as possible!
Yes lets work together and bring in this vigilante snake-habitat-improver! This criminal is determined to have our mountains crawling with snakes!
I'm so disgusted by this I'm even tempted to hand out the gps coordinates to whoever wants them to just completely spoil the spot all together for whoever did this.
Best plan yet by far! Sacrifice that critical habitat and those populations of snakes because of rage born from your inept understanding of the ecology of the area and species you so righteously speak of. Yeah - f_ck that guy and f_ck those snakes!
I don't wanna start a war here folks, I just wanted to inform you that on Maryland public land you can touch the snakes, just don't cut down the trees!
Next time you need a finger to point about what makes herpers look bad, consider posts like yours - which ignorantly attack the beneficial actions of others, while simultaneously trying to justify the questionable things you do.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 19th, 2012, 3:42 am

Well, thanks for your input Bobbleton. No one said go out and handle them, since I said this is an activity I don't condone and have learned a lot about the timber rattlesnake over the last few years alone. Just as much as I would report another hunter or fisherman for poaching, I cannot support illegal activity, for the love of snakes or not. I'm a hunter and a fisherman and those who break the law poaching and killing whatever they want have made me no stranger to how others can make me "look bad".
Supporting that I kill the snakes doesn't do any favors to your post in response to mine, why would you even suggest this? It's not just cutting trees but also for anyone improving habitat for animals by dumping AC for them to live in on public land, I'm sure the fine is pretty heavy as well and I'd be ready to tattle on you to for littering mass amounts of metal, tires, and any other snake magnet trash. For the love of timber rattlesnakes and any other animal in trouble the "I think we should take actions into our own hands" like any other animal extremist (I'm sure those of you that tune into animal planet you know what I mean) is up to you. I pay hard earned money to enjoy this resource and I think it is important to know I don't enjoy people who just stroll in there and do whatever they want for the love of snakes.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by slowbow » March 19th, 2012, 3:03 pm

You can shoot the messenger and try and spin this any way you want, but your just making yourself look bad.

No one should be condoning or defending this criminal activity, it should be condemned by all.

Take it from experience. 99.9% of hunters are appalled that anyone would shoot a deer, cut off the rack and dump the carcass along the road. One dirtbag does this, and animal activists from Peta and HSUS are running to the press with pictures and video. Hunters are then painted as beer swilling rednecks in it for the antlers, and it sticks.Much the same could happen here.

This was not done by some rattlesnake robinhood, but rather an environmental extremist who took matters into their own hands. At the very least it's going to draw unwanted attention and traffic into a sensitive area.

Again, just in case you missed it 1-800-635-6124 the Maryland DNR Natural Resource Police. Put it in your speed dial. I spend a lot of time in the woods, camouflaged, and go unnoticed much of the time. It is rare I see criminal activity, when I do I report it. But from the sounds of recent posts, I must be looking in the wrong spot.

So if you hear cutting,sawing, or chopping on public lands in Maryland, or any of the other activity I seem to be missing, call and get an officer out there. Don't approach or confront violators, but if you can get a few pictures or a short video on your cell, and tag numbers, do so, and provide that information to the officers when they arrive.

Doing any less may wind up with an entire user group being unfairly maligned in the public eye.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 19th, 2012, 6:56 pm

:oops: I can't deal with this right now, herping florida has really depressed me. The cane fields are super depressing and overall an awful place to spend a second of time. Seeing the vast tracts of destroyed land and trash everywhere brings a tear to the eye. Had to listen to a redneck brag about killing snakes and show us pics of the diamondback he killed on his phone. I was really looking forward to this trip but I'm convinced this place has been over-collected, as the evidence of debarked trees shows. I'm not even sure why I came here in the first place.
And ugh, why even send a seemingly friendly pm and then talk so nasty on the forum. You helped to educate me as well as others here about the sensitivity about the timber rattlesnake and go on and say I just love to tong them. Seriously?!?! I'm done with you and this two faced attitude because you feel the need to preserve your image on the open forum.
I still hope if anyone sees any illegal activity to report it, if you are willing to stand up for what you believe in. Now I wonder if anyone here saw a forest fire would make a phone call so someone could control it or not. Scary thought. We need to help snakes the right way, and this is all wrong.

I did tong a cottonmouth yesterday, sorry for all the rage it sends into the community.

You can watch the video of this soon at www.camochairproductions.com

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Don Becker » March 19th, 2012, 8:42 pm

incuhead2000 wrote:Seeing the vast tracts of destroyed land and trash everywhere brings a tear to the eye.
Don't ever come to Iowa. Only 1% of our land here is in its original natural state.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by ugh » March 20th, 2012, 2:49 am

First of all you never answered my question about the myriad endangered species hosting/nesting in those supposedly rare young birch and maple trees. Still waiting on that.


Second, I'm not about maintaining some persona, or whatever-I figured it was worth trying to extend an olive branch of sorts to you and your pop after our first meeting ; neither of you seem very interested in getting a fresh start so I’m done with that. Don’t get me wrong, considering your fascination with the Timber rattler I’m stunned at how little you seem to understand about the importance and limited nature of sufficient basking sites to them and all ectotherms for that matter. But more so I’m pissed off at how you also show no interest here in learning more about it but would rather cry, piss and bitch about it online.
Your last comment about ‘reporting a forest fire so we can get it put out immediately’ or whatever is just more of the same bullshit.

I almost never say this but you oughtta sacrifice some of that time spent in the field- tongin’ stuff while dad films you- for some time in the library and reading up on our history with these animals and the ecosystem. Focus on the last few hundred years. May I recommend starting with the topic of fire suppression, please. You titled your post forest succession but seem to know/understand very little about it.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 20th, 2012, 7:47 pm

Thanks for your assumptions about everything as usual. I will be sure to write a report back to you when I return home to Maryland. Now I'm off to use all my books about herpetology along with my environmental science degree as TP since I clearly don't need them and have learned nothing from them.

I did try and give you a call a while back, and it just went to the automated voice mail for what it was ever worth, now I know it was worthless.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by ugh » March 21st, 2012, 5:23 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Thanks for your assumptions about everything as usual. I will be sure to write a report back to you when I return home to Maryland. Now I'm off to use all my books about herpetology along with my environmental science degree as TP since I clearly don't need them and have learned nothing from them.

I did try and give you a call a while back, and it just went to the automated voice mail for what it was ever worth, now I know it was worthless.

So I'm still waiting on an answer to my question about your comment re:the endangered species.
See this is just more bullshit. What assumptions? You get all cute and funny here, I take this issue pretty seriously and you won't even explain yourself and why seeing those trees but made you feel so darn sad inside.
And this is from some newbie herper guy touting an 'environmental science' degree(and his trusty tongs of course). Awesome, lol.
Gimme an f 'ing break please c'mon!

Forget it I'm done this is going nowhere.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Brian Hubbs » March 21st, 2012, 12:31 pm

Trash in the cane field area is beneficial to the herps. If you aren't turning the trash, you aren't seeing most of what you could. Don't come to CA either. We westerners love our board lines. Here's a pic of one of mine (on private land) taken last week during the dry conditions. Very denuded due to 3 horses and a donkey grazing the pasture, but I still saw 7 Kings and a Gopher Snake there. The owner doesn't mind my boards, and this is only a small portion of what's on the 6 acres. :lol: In a few weeks the grass will grow and hide the boards, but the horses and donkey will chew it down again. Things just keep going down hill... :roll:

Image

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by slowbow » March 21st, 2012, 1:00 pm

ugh wrote:
incuhead2000 wrote:Thanks for your assumptions about everything as usual. I will be sure to write a report back to you when I return home to Maryland. Now I'm off to use all my books about herpetology along with my environmental science degree as TP since I clearly don't need them and have learned nothing from them.

I did try and give you a call a while back, and it just went to the automated voice mail for what it was ever worth, now I know it was worthless.

So I'm still waiting on an answer to my question about your comment re:the endangered species.
See this is just more bullshit. What assumptions? You get all cute and funny here, I take this issue pretty seriously and you won't even explain yourself and why seeing those trees but made you feel so darn sad inside.
And this is from some newbie herper guy touting an 'environmental science' degree(and his trusty tongs of course). Awesome, lol.
Gimme an f 'ing break please c'mon!

Forget it I'm done this is going nowhere.
Your right, total BS. Trying to deflect attention from the criminal act and turn it on something else. Keep shooting the messenger. I've already posted my thoughts on that.Glad your done.We don't really owe you an explanation for anything anyways.

As far as the board lines? Hey, more power to ya.

Trash and damage to public lands? I'll pick up the trash and haul it out and report the damage to authorities. Those lands belong to everyone. Sometimes it's not all about herping. That would be like me saying that because hunters provided the funding for purchase of those set asides that no other activity should be permitted on them, and the land should be managed soley for the production of game animals.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by withalligators » March 21st, 2012, 3:25 pm

Trying to be level headed here, in the midst of quite a bit of vitriol flying about. This is trickier than it seems, and I feel like everyone is right in their own points. Historically, snakes probably occupied an area as long as it was ideal, and then migrated when it no longer was. Unfortunately, sites are becoming more and more isolated(loss of corridors, intersecting roads and development, etc), and migration less and less feasible. Therefore I do feel a scientific approach to managing habitat for optimal biodiversity is wise, just, and called for. I can totally understand the whim to go out and get your hands dirty helping a species you love when you see your local/state/federal reps sitting on their hands about it. I've done habitat management and restoration, and sometimes the bureaucracy surrounding what ends up amounting to cutting a few trees down is staggering, not to mention expensive. The problem with vigilantism is that by accepting it, you are also condoning all forms of it. Including the folks who hate snakes, and really and truly believe they are doing good by killing every one they see, no matter where, and regardless of protected status. If I was to make some sort of judgement, irrelevant as though it might be, I would not call for the guy/girl's head, but I would certainly hope they stop, and use their energy to affect the organization in question towards some sort of habitat management policy. There is a very small chance that they could get some sort of special use permit to remove the trees legally. Also, the poor forestry techniques on display here are somewhat telling. There are ways to minimize your aesthetic and ecological disturbance by flush cutting and hiding stumps, putting trees on the ground and not hung up in trees, and in general, not making the place look like someone with a chainsaw was running around in there. The fact that none of this was done is telling to me. It shows that the person has no experience in the field of ecological management, little experience behind a blade, but a lot of heart.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » March 22nd, 2012, 4:52 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Trash in the cane field area is beneficial to the herps. If you aren't turning the trash, you aren't seeing most of what you could. Don't come to CA either. We westerners love our board lines. Here's a pic of one of mine (on private land) taken last week during the dry conditions. Very denuded due to 3 horses and a donkey grazing the pasture, but I still saw 7 Kings and a Gopher Snake there. The owner doesn't mind my boards, and this is only a small portion of what's on the 6 acres. :lol: In a few weeks the grass will grow and hide the boards, but the horses and donkey will chew it down again. Things just keep going down hill... :roll:

Image
That's pretty awesome. Do you westerners love when people flip the board lines placed on public land and poach all the herps?

I've had boards and cover behind my parents house for years finding garters, rats, worms, browns, and ringnecks since I was a kid. And whenever I visit them I'm behind their place finding them still to this day! I guess I shoulda been more specific about all the trash in the roadside canals. It was overall a rough day in the cane fields. The super dry conditions had me covered in white dust and hacking up crap by the night I made that post. A few racers, blind snakes, and brown water snakes left me a little dejected after a long day with little success.

Ugh - pm sent.

withalligators-thank you for your comment, you said it better than I projected it.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » May 1st, 2012, 4:02 am

Spot # 5

Image

If the purpose is to prevent shading, shouldn't these be cleaned up? Just a helpful tip. Are we adding more cover for the snakes or more kindling to get a fire started here?
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Think some saplings were missed?
Image

Found in a different location where the lorax wasn't as sad
Image

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by slowbow » May 1st, 2012, 12:35 pm

I hope these photos of two more spots of forest destruction we found yesterday at the same location provide some scale as to the magnitude of the damage being done to the resource. Both of these spots, within 100 yards of each other, were over a HALF ACRE in size. They also pale in comparison to the spot we found a few weeks ago that is over a FULL ACRE of stumps and trees left laying as debris. We didn't have a camera when we found that one,but plan to return to it and take pictures on a future hunt. We are not talking a few trees here and there.

The person doing this isn't a hero, they are a despicable criminal damaging the forest immensely and destroying natural resources on public land and creating an eyesore. We believe,judging from the appearance of the stumps that this cutting was done in February when there are not many around, and plan to include this info in our complaint so the area can be patrolled more then, by us as well as the authorities. If people all decided to "manage" public land for their own particular hobbies in this fashion, there would be no woods left for anyone to enjoy.

I certainly hope the warden catches these creeps, not a concerned citizen who teaches them a lesson. They deserve fines and jail time over that.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by muskiemagnet » June 22nd, 2012, 7:10 am

i agree that it is helpful to the snakes. i also agree that it should not happen.

at this point, do what you can. it needs to be cleaned up. talk to the proper people, and get this taken care of. QUETLY! you do not want to draw attention to the dens.

good luck.


off topic -please pm me

here in wisconsin, our timbers utilize bluff prairie. this habitat has been managed and maintained in many places. however, this is not essential. what was the original state of the habitat in the east? there was no prairie as far as i know. i agree that open canopy is ideal, but i do not think it is a necessity for survival. withalligators started going there. snakes moving when it becomes less than ideal. i've gotten into debates regarding timbers with you eastern boys before, that's why i am asking about "original" habitat. instead of moving, why not just stay there and deal with it. these snakes are not glass dolls. they will adapt to survive. they have been doing it for a long time. these are tough animals. the size of their range says that. hell, they even decided to live in the lowlands. trees, in my opinion, will not force snakes to move.

ben

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » June 30th, 2012, 4:24 pm

muskiemagnet wrote:i agree that open canopy is ideal, but i do not think it is a necessity for survival.
Well I agree with you there. The timber rattlesnake occurred throughout Maryland into the coastal plain until it was extirpated from most areas. So the rocky dens in Appalachia were the areas where they were able to hide and survive.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by stlouisdude » July 1st, 2012, 9:00 am

Is it possible a park volunteer or employee is conducting the tree felling? In MO, a number of parks have people clearing forest openings because many of the snakes, lizards, and scorpions depend on these canopy openings. It's also possible the person has no idea the snakes are even there or is motivated by other factors. I've came across dens were all the nearby rocks were turned up, apparently someone's idea of fun. It could even be some kind of plant person or botanical society. I'm not convinced some snake nut is running out there, without permission, playing lumberjack lol If he or she is, the person is likely insane and should not be approached.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » July 1st, 2012, 2:35 pm

stlouisdude wrote:Is it possible a park volunteer or employee is conducting the tree felling? In MO, a number of parks have people clearing forest openings because many of the snakes, lizards, and scorpions depend on these canopy openings. It's also possible the person has no idea the snakes are even there or is motivated by other factors. I've came across dens were all the nearby rocks were turned up, apparently someone's idea of fun. It could even be some kind of plant person or botanical society. I'm not convinced some snake nut is running out there, without permission, playing lumberjack lol If he or she is, the person is likely insane and should not be approached.
No, the state is not involved but this is being done for the Timber Rattlesnakes by several folks who want them to benefit from the open canopy. We just had a thunderstorm come through the area and take out massive amounts of trees so I'm excited to get out there and see what some of these spots now look like. Heck, if the trees weren't cut earlier in the year this storm probably woulda toppled them! I've also come across dens where rocks have been tossed, but I'm pretty sure the amount of bear feces answers who flipped them.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » July 14th, 2012, 3:48 pm

John Vanek wrote:How do you know this was done "for" the snakes? It could very easily be a coincidence.

The evidence of trees cut at snake dens as well as other rocky slopes and no where else makes the intent pretty clear.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by jimoo742 » July 23rd, 2012, 11:12 am

muskiemagnet wrote:

here in wisconsin, our timbers utilize bluff prairie. this habitat has been managed and maintained in many places. however, this is not essential.
ben

Where are you getting that it is not essential? Having worked with WI timbers some, it was pretty obvious that the shading in of bluff prairies (as often as not by red cedar) was pretty instrumental in destroying hibernacula. While there were often snakes lingering there for a decade or more, the reproduction of the den sites dropped of precipitously as the canopy closed.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » September 2nd, 2012, 2:13 pm

To those who manage Timber Dens and the spots where these trees were cut need your help!

The poison ivy, other vines and weeds are now covering the rock piles and causing lots of shading in a few important spots where these trees were cut. Now the snakes that used to occupy one of the rocks which is now covered in vines have abandoned the area and moved to another site nearby. I'm worried about the amount of plants that have encroached in just one summer and can only imagine this will get worse with time. If you are going to manage the habitat please follow up on your work, thank you.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by The Jake-Man » September 9th, 2012, 5:31 am

I visited a female den with my grandfather this spring where the vegetation and surrounding trees looked like they had been poisoned. That's a first for me.

In my opinion, it helps the snakes.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Nshepard » September 9th, 2012, 7:05 am

I understand why this behavior is frowned on and all illegal actives should not be approved by members of the public, etc....esp, since it makes field herpers look bad, and we get enough of that.

But here is my point, if it benefits the snakes...shouldn't the state BE DOING THIS! I thought that horridus was a state endangered animal in Maryland, thus land management should favor its local survival. The state should be managing snake habitat in an organized and efficient way, and as a state endangered animal this should be top priority.

How about instead of demonizing the people that do this, for the snakes, lets call on the state (or federal, in case of national forest, etc.) government to start managing rattlesnake habitat.

Your point is noble and correct, but I think some of you are ill directed in who you fault.

NOW, I'm not saying the people that are doing this are not at fault. They are for one, breaking the law, and also, indeed making it fairly obvious that horridus is in the area. I am not condoning their behavior, just implying that its a job that should be the governments responsibility.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by walk-about » September 9th, 2012, 5:52 pm

I have no problem with removing excess cover around specific sites. I have on many occasion cut timber from areas that shielded densites and other hibrenacula and seasonal forage grounds. Too much canopy is a bad thing for snakes and lizards especially. We have to understand that before 'our' fire control (via Forest Service prescribed burns) ever came on the scene, mother nature had her way of dealing with this problem for millions of years. We are just newbies to the neighborhood.

Rock ON!

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by ugh » September 18th, 2012, 2:18 pm

Since you are now evidently opting to revisit such places( as per photos seen in your recent ne chapter post), how about a follow up to your post railing against the selective opening of the canopy in a couple spots? I for one am curious at this point, probably not the only one either....You know, put your bias and differences aside and tell us what you've been seein there? Snakes or no snakes?

Side note, Slowbow mentioned gypsy moths, which target oaks exclusively. Upon reviewing your photos, those trees are birch and red maple, aggressive growing species that as per usual repatriate clearings outcompeting other species.... I don't know where he got the impression 'the state worked hard to reforest the area' but those trees were'nt planted by anyone.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » September 18th, 2012, 7:14 pm

We saw snakes there before, and we see snakes there now. This isn't selective cutting, this is borderline clear cutting in some areas. The trees removed on some of these slopes didn't even cast a shadow on the snakes den so you tell me, why cut the trees on a hilltop of a southwest facing slope which had maximum sun exposure all day anyway?

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by ugh » September 19th, 2012, 3:40 am

Well these pics undoubtedly from one of these sites shows otherwise from your claim.

Image


Image


I do see snakes there; where are these engulfing vines you mention?...

And apparently you don’t know what a clearcut is? Scroll up and double check your initial pics posted in this thread.They show a stem density that would be impossible to allow much if any sunlight penetration while those trees were alive, so this claim of 'maximum sun exposure all day long' just doesn't make sense Incuhead.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Bullfrog » September 19th, 2012, 3:52 am

I just don't see the big deal... It's habitat alteration that will have a more positive impact than negative IMO. It's amazing how quick plant life responds to a newly opened canopy and these sites will fill in again in no time. The snakes will have more options to thrive (for a short time) when they otherwise would not due to forest fire suppression and lack of State management.

Would you feel different if this was done on private land and not on public property?

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » September 19th, 2012, 4:05 am

Bullfrog wrote:
Would you feel different if this was done on private land and not on public property?
If it is your property, cut away! You still have to get permits to cut trees on private property in many cases so keep that in mind.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Bullfrog » September 19th, 2012, 7:56 am

So it's just the legality of it that bothers you? That seems odd to me... and says that it's not truly the animals and habitat you are concerned about but more of trying to nail somebody doing something illegal.

Was it you who had a bad run-in with Ugh in the past? My memory isn't the greatest but I recall a thread where Ugh and some local folks had a run-in with each other in the woods that didn't go so well and it was discussed on these forums? Was that you guys? If not I'll go back to minding my own business.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by muskiemagnet » September 19th, 2012, 8:07 am

jimoo742 wrote:
muskiemagnet wrote:

here in wisconsin, our timbers utilize bluff prairie. this habitat has been managed and maintained in many places. however, this is not essential.
ben

Where are you getting that it is not essential? Having worked with WI timbers some, it was pretty obvious that the shading in of bluff prairies (as often as not by red cedar) was pretty instrumental in destroying hibernacula. While there were often snakes lingering there for a decade or more, the reproduction of the den sites dropped of precipitously as the canopy closed.

jim, i ran into armund bartz a few weeks ago. we talked some, and he sent me the paper written on the telemetry study conducted in the southwest. haven't read it all yet. i look forward to getting through it. maybe my thoughts will change a bit. i will explain my reasoning for the comment, so that you all can see where i am coming from.

i think timbers are more adaptable than some think. if they were not, i do not think their range in the US would be nearly as large as it is. i think the bounty and habitat loss have had a much greater impact than closed canopies. i'm not saying you are wrong, but i think evaluations may be a bit premature. i just don't think we have given it enough time. i remember as a kid(early eighties) when seeing a bald eagle was a very uncommon experience. now? they are very common. same goes for other water birds as well. all i'm saying is that these populations have taken a long time to bounce back from the DDT issues. i've read many timber evaluations that state the presence of "old males and very few females" with very little if any recruitment. i get that, but of all the gravid females we have been finding, they are all young snakes. we see a handful of sub-adults every year as well. i have to state that these observations are from a location quite a distance from the study site mentioned. i'm not saying that the situation is awesome here in wisconsin, but i think more time is needed. fortunately for them, they typically inhabit areas where human interaction is infrequent. like i said, i may think a bit differently once i get to the end of that paper, but i still think more time is needed before deciding the snakes are in a "dire situation".

-ben

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by incuhead2000 » September 19th, 2012, 11:12 am

Interesting stuff ben, look forward to hearing more about your finds in the future!

What bothers me isn't just the legality but how people defend the actions of someone cutting down large amounts of woods simply by claiming it's because we suppress fires and need to cut down these trees or the snakes will abandon their dens. I spoke with DBD from here a while back and he was kind enough to talk with me as well in regards to his thoughts on the subject and in many areas I agree that we need to do our animals a better service and manage their habitat better.

When it comes to forest fire supression, we are protecting the lives of people without taking the environment into account in most cases. In many places where fires would occur in Appalachia they would simply only burn away brush and understory while most of the larger trees would survive a bout with fire. It would take a massive fire to burn down many of the healthy trees, a fire of a magnitude where human lives would be lost since many people share their backyards with these animals.

Perscribed burns, if managed properly serve as a good medium for something that is naturally occuring. Many people scour over the habitat and actually do their best to remove any species of animals from the area before preforming a prescribed burn. In some instances a large scale forest fire would cause more harm than good to the snakes elimating almost any snake hiding in the leaf litter or a dead log, which would be primarily what would go up in smoke during an intense forest blaze. During the summer, when most of these snakes are away from dens they would be eliminated from the population. If you lived in an area where other snakes, like say black rats were very low in numbers and there was a forest fire would you just say, oh well, the timbers will benefit from the open canopy while that ratsnakes old snag went up in flames with the snake inside?

This topic is a very double edged sword with most people here clearly just saying it's our fault the snakes are suffering because we are supressing forest fires. You have to think of the bigger picture and all the other players involved, especially when it comes to protecting the lives of animals AND humans.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Bullfrog » September 19th, 2012, 11:37 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Interesting stuff ben, look forward to hearing more about your finds in the future!

What bothers me isn't just the legality but how people defend the actions of someone cutting down large amounts of woods simply by claiming it's because we suppress fires and need to cut down these trees or the snakes will abandon their dens. I spoke with DBD from here a while back and he was kind enough to talk with me as well in regards to his thoughts on the subject and in many areas I agree that we need to do our animals a better service and manage their habitat better.

When it comes to forest fire supression, we are protecting the lives of people without taking the environment into account in most cases. In many places where fires would occur in Appalachia they would simply only burn away brush and understory while most of the larger trees would survive a bout with fire. It would take a massive fire to burn down many of the healthy trees, a fire of a magnitude where human lives would be lost since many people share their backyards with these animals.

Perscribed burns, if managed properly serve as a good medium for something that is naturally occuring. Many people scour over the habitat and actually do their best to remove any species of animals from the area before preforming a prescribed burn. In some instances a large scale forest fire would cause more harm than good to the snakes elimating almost any snake hiding in the leaf litter or a dead log, which would be primarily what would go up in smoke during an intense forest blaze. During the summer, when most of these snakes are away from dens they would be eliminated from the population. If you lived in an area where other snakes, like say black rats were very low in numbers and there was a forest fire would you just say, oh well, the timbers will benefit from the open canopy while that ratsnakes old snag went up in flames with the snake inside?

This topic is a very double edged sword with most people here clearly just saying it's our fault the snakes are suffering because we are supressing forest fires. You have to think of the bigger picture and all the other players involved, especially when it comes to protecting the lives of animals AND humans.

You're going way off topic. I think the trees were cut down to improve snake habitat....simple as that. Care to answer my questions from a previous post? I'll also add this: Who do you think is cutting down the trees?

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by jimoo742 » September 19th, 2012, 1:01 pm

muskiemagnet wrote:



i think timbers are more adaptable than some think. if they were not, i do not think their range in the US would be nearly as large as it is. i think the bounty and habitat loss have had a much greater impact than closed canopies. i'm not saying you are wrong, but i think evaluations may be a bit premature. i just don't think we have given it enough time. i remember as a kid(early eighties) when seeing a bald eagle was a very uncommon experience. now? they are very common. same goes for other water birds as well. all i'm saying is that these populations have taken a long time to bounce back from the DDT issues. i've read many timber evaluations that state the presence of "old males and very few females" with very little if any recruitment. i get that, but of all the gravid females we have been finding, they are all young snakes. we see a handful of sub-adults every year as well. i have to state that these observations are from a location quite a distance from the study site mentioned. i'm not saying that the situation is awesome here in wisconsin, but i think more time is needed. fortunately for them, they typically inhabit areas where human interaction is infrequent. like i said, i may think a bit differently once i get to the end of that paper, but i still think more time is needed before deciding the snakes are in a "dire situation".

-ben
I, personally, consider canopy closure to be akin to habitat loss. It is just another form of it. Sure, other forms of habitat loss come into play. And bounties still have their affects. Certainly the rebounding or raptors and turkeys take a good toll. Turkey's took several on air rattlers while I was out there. They're all factors. I dislike the idea that we ignore one possible factor in decline because we feel there are other factors that are bigger issues.

TImbers in WI I'm not near as worried about as Saugas. All the central sands areas I used to visit that had some were subject to major water table manipulation by the cranberry industry and they appear effectively wiped out.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by Bryan Hamilton » September 19th, 2012, 1:22 pm

You guys are slightly overstating the importance of fire in eastern hardwood forests....
jimoo742 wrote:I, personally, consider canopy closure to be akin to habitat loss. It is just another form of it.
Really? Timber rattlesnake's preferred habitat is closed canopy forest. Canopy closure is a problem (arguably) for gestating females. Mature forests are absolutely vital to the species.

What ever happened to using our real names on here? So many aliases....

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by jimoo742 » September 19th, 2012, 2:04 pm

Bryan Hamilton wrote:You guys are slightly overstating the importance of fire in eastern hardwood forests....
jimoo742 wrote:I, personally, consider canopy closure to be akin to habitat loss. It is just another form of it.
Really? Timber rattlesnake's preferred habitat is closed canopy forest. Canopy closure is a problem (arguably) for gestating females. Mature forests are absolutely vital to the species.

What ever happened to using our real names on here? So many aliases....

Maybe where you are, but where I worked almost all the hibernacula were open. Most wide open (bluff/goat prairies), some with some tree cover. Very rarely found an on air timber in a completely closed canopy situation. And gestating females are pretty darn critical to population survival.

My "alias" is a trade name I've been using for 20 years now. Not too worried about it. It isn't smart to be posting real names that are google-able to potential employers for a myriad of reasons, unless you are framing all your posts in manner that you want to be attractive to future employers.

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Re: Spring Timber Rattlesnakes and Forest Succession

Post by The Jake-Man » September 19th, 2012, 2:21 pm

I agree with jimoo. The dozen or so hibernacula I know of are all open canopy. I know closed canopy forest is essential to rattlesnakes after the spring dispersal, but the more open canopy dens there are, the better.

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