The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

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Mike VanValen
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The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by Mike VanValen » May 18th, 2012, 5:07 pm

Stopped by a copperhead spot and spotted this snake amongst the rocks.

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quickly realized he was dead...

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probably smashed to death with a stick or rock hours earlier.

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Here's a living ringer from the same day.

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Not a very good day for me, but this is what we must face as herpers.

Tamara D. McConnell
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » May 18th, 2012, 5:17 pm

I hate finding murdered herps. It can put me in a funk for days, and it causes me to view humanity in a very dim light. My condolences.

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Denmeade
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by Denmeade » May 18th, 2012, 5:38 pm

If people left them a lone this would never happen, we need them to keep rodents down; plus there so beautiful, why would anyone want to kill one, I don't understand why.

Nice ringer btw.

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kyle loucks
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by kyle loucks » May 18th, 2012, 5:51 pm

Painful Mike.

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intermedius
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by intermedius » May 18th, 2012, 6:46 pm

:( :cry:

dragoncjo
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by dragoncjo » May 18th, 2012, 7:13 pm

Mike buy a plotwatcher camera and find out who did it, educate them or when in doubt beat the piss out of them.

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Darnell Brister
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by Darnell Brister » May 19th, 2012, 10:04 am

dragoncjo wrote:Mike buy a plotwatcher camera and find out who did it, educate them or when in doubt beat the piss out of them.

Well said...

That is terrible, I would be crushed. Last year I saw a live copper that seemed to get hit by a bike or a rock in a highly hiked area.

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gone herpin
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by gone herpin » May 19th, 2012, 12:04 pm

Always the worst, at least you didn't have to watch it happen :cry:

dragoncjo
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by dragoncjo » May 19th, 2012, 5:05 pm

Another unfortunate part is roadkilled turtles....just spent an hour cutting eggs out of a dead painted turtle, got three out. Boy scouts of america thought it would be cool to just crash a half dozen painted turtles in cars while on a nature drive.

mosyvenomrox
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by mosyvenomrox » May 20th, 2012, 11:32 am

Worst for me was when i pulled a HUGE (40 plus Lbs will try to post the few pics i have) common snapper out of our camp lake. I thought i could just bring it behind my bunk and take pics then release it. A crowd of people gathered around me as I pulled it out and someone radioed the maintenence crew (their motto is "only good snakes a dead snake") and they came and put the beauty in the back of their John Deere "gator" and drove it away and shot it! :x :cry: I cried for like a week straight and the head of the camp apologized and said he won't let it happen in the future.

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intermedius
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by intermedius » May 21st, 2012, 5:57 am

An eye for an eye they say... ;)

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woodsrunner
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by woodsrunner » May 21st, 2012, 7:40 am

Although scenes like this make me murderously angry, objectively I don't see this in and of itself being a problem in the big scheme of things. People kill all sorts of things. I suppose you could look into a fishing creel and see all those dead, gorgeoous trout and really, the only difference between that and a dead beautiful copperhead (a common species) is the killing of the copperhead was senseless, while hopefully the trout will be eaten. On the other hand, it's a given that the guy eating the trout doesn't need those trout to survive right now, so one could argue the killing of the trout was senseless, too. I wouldn't argue it, but someone might.

To me, there's a huge irony in the field herp hobby: the industrial paradgim - our culture of growth and oil - that gave us the leisure time and disposable income and automobiles and airplanes necessary to be field herpers as most do it is what has been absolutely devastating to herp populations. When the oil era is gone, the only herpers will be a handful of people walking in their own back forty in little snatches of time stolen between the immense amount of hours allotted to raw survival. There will be few to no basement snake collections, few to no herp road trips, no flights to Madagascar, in fact, few to no cars on the roads, no industrial agriculture... no seven billion people... no professional herpetologists... And it will be a far, far better world for herps, in the balance, even if people still kill them on sight here and there.

That, to me, is the biggest tragedy to herps. Our entire way of life. That's the most unfortunate thing about our hobby: the fact that the things that are most deadly to herps are precisely those same things that have enabled us to do what we do on the level we do it. At any rate, enjoy it while you can. It won't last.

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spinifer
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by spinifer » May 21st, 2012, 3:49 pm

When the oil era is gone, the only herpers will be a handful of people walking in their own back forty in little snatches of time stolen between the immense amount of hours allotted to raw survival. There will be few to no basement snake collections, few to no herp road trips, no flights to Madagascar, in fact, few to no cars on the roads, no industrial agriculture... no seven billion people... no professional herpetologists... And it will be a far, far better world for herps, in the balance, even if people still kill them on sight here and there.
Interesting outlook. I think we will surpass our dependence on oil with other technologies and therefore herps will be no better off than their current state. But way to stay positive. :thumb:

Joe Mahoney
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by Joe Mahoney » May 21st, 2012, 4:45 pm

That sucks Mike, especially where coppers are NOT such a "common" species...

I had one of those episodes this weekend. My new neighbor "got the shovel" and killed a "huge water moccasin" minding its' own business in the lake. Unfortunately, I found out a couple hours after it happened and before I was able to educate them a little. I found another smaller nerodia that I tried to catch to show them that they are not dangerous and will only "attack" in self defense if provoked. The snake swam out away from the shoreline before I could corral it, but at least it showed them that it was trying to get away, and not trying to attack them. I'm pretty hopeful that they got the point and will not harm another.

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brick911
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by brick911 » May 22nd, 2012, 4:32 am

Man Woodsrunner, I might go kill myself now. :lol:

Ignorant people. All we can do is educate when given the opportunity, or create opportunities. This will go on forever. I'm not trying to trivialize your situation, Mike. I'd be pissed if I found the same at a spot I visited.

I'm currently working to change a few people's views on killing spiders in the house. To them, they represent danger and are too insignificant to put outside (or more realistically, just leave them be). It's easier to just freak out and smash them. This is no different than killing snakes (even though snakes are my passion), but these are my kids and need to be educated. The same way I have done with the snakes. My point is, I know seeing harmed herps ellicits an emotion in us, but really - it is the same thing that happens to... ya know what, nevermind. Push them down the rocks if you catch them in the act! :beer:

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woodsrunner
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by woodsrunner » May 22nd, 2012, 5:23 am

One of my favorite stories involves the "soft" method of convincing someone not to kill snakes. I was looking for black ratsnakes and pulled up to what was then a remotely rural home (the area is overrun with yuppies now.) This old gnarly woodsman comes out. I offer him a case of beer for every "diamond blacksnake" (local name) he can find me - limited time offer! ;) He immediately regails me with stories of big ratsnakes, focusing mostly on all the ones he's been killing. But you can tell this guy in general loves nature, is indeed a part of it as most of us are not, and is smart and inquisitive about it still, and he's a pretty cool old dude anyway. I don't get all preacherly on him, I just listen and nod. We start talking about the snakes and he learns of my appreciation for them and a bunch of stuff he never knew before, especially involving how limited their range (the ratsnake's) had become on the northern extreme and how he was in a unique spot for them (he never left the local woods, so he assumed they were everywhere.) He tells me a bunch of stuff about the local ecosystem i never heard before. He agrees to my terms and furnishes me with several really nice ratsnakes over the summer, including one that was chocolate brown. The best part is, I drop in on him a year later (just to visit - I didn't 'need' any more snakes,) and he immediately starts regaling me with stories of all the snakes he saved from the roads the past summer! I'm not so proud today of taking snakes (three in total) from that population, but in the balance it seems it turned out for the better.

I hope we don't find anything to replace oil. That would be the worst disaster that could befall this planet, other than what's already happened over the past 100 years. No, it's time for most of us to make our exit, just like an overpopulated deeryard when they hit their limits, which is what i expect will occur over the next 100 years. When the USSR collapsed not so long ago, a little known fact is that life expectancy dropped by something like 25%. I expect it's dropping globally right now, since 2008.

I didn't mean to come across flippant about the copperheads. Where I herped them, they were the most abundant snakes, right up there with black racers. But I am sure this is not the case everywhere. In the same way that while black ratsnakes were common in my parent's day in my home county, and are still a generally common snake, they are totally gone, now, where i'm from, which to me is so sad it was among the reasons I had to leave the area.

chance37
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by chance37 » May 22nd, 2012, 5:58 am

I am form a small town in South Georgia...Cairo, Ga...not like egypt...its (K-RO)....anyways our neighbor is Whigham, Ga. last existing Rattlesnake Roundup in the State....HAve had dozens of attempts to convince the local Chamber to change the focus and make it into a festival like all the others have done. Thus foucusing on the species importance in our world and not their bastardization and indsicriminate killing....anyhow the president of the event also runs the local Boy Scouts of America group and they teach the scouts the importance of removing rattlesnakes from the wild and actually take them into the field to collect. This years total was 36...down from previous year of 87...down from early 90s 385...The Hunters response to numbers this year was that the heat kept the snakes above ground thus making finding them in burrows harder than ever.....How did they know they werent in the burrows?????? hmmmmm....There is just no help for ignorance

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incuhead2000
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by incuhead2000 » May 22nd, 2012, 3:14 pm

That is awful. Just had a gentelman pull up to us while we were hiking in VA telling us to watch where we step cause he just ran over a huge copperhead right down the road. Damn hick. Anyhow, for those of us herping in Maryland, not that the average joe cares about laws, but the lacey act protects all snakes in Maryland and it is illegal to kill them. Creel limits for fish, bag limits for hunting, and heck even being able to legally collect wild reptiles and amphibinas without a permit for some species is legal here, just don't forget to educate, the only problem is those you are educating have to want to learn.

20 Years ago (I was around 10 years old) I killed a Northern water because I thought it would be cool to have a snake skin on my wall like crocodile dundee...found out they gave live birth that day...what a crappy learning curve. Now I shudder at the memory and think, wtf was wrong with me. If I were me now man I woulda beat the snot out of myself, but the memory helps beat me up enough. My attitude has changed greatly over the years as well as my desire to learn and I hope more people can join this site and learn something! Hope some day they learn a little better than the typical "the only good snake is a dead snake" mentality.

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woodsrunner
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by woodsrunner » May 23rd, 2012, 12:58 pm

incuhead2000 wrote: just don't forget to educate, the only problem is those you are educating have to want to learn.
:thumb:

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KingCam
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Re: The Unfortunate Reality of our Hobby

Post by KingCam » May 23rd, 2012, 1:04 pm

brick911 wrote:I'm currently working to change a few people's views on killing spiders in the house. To them, they represent danger and are too insignificant to put outside (or more realistically, just leave them be). It's easier to just freak out and smash them.
It's a rule in my house, if you see a spider, you better not smash it! I'd much rather have spiders crawling around than pest insects. Until I start seeing brown recluses I'm totally 100% okay with spiders being in my house with me. :beer:

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