The Book of Excuses

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Mike VanValen
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The Book of Excuses

Post by Mike VanValen » July 25th, 2010, 2:51 pm

We all know someone who claims to be a hardcore herper, but more often than not, they come up with the lamest excuse to NOT go herping. And when they are in the field, they do what I like to call "Half-A**ed Herping".

I know someone who will cancel at the first sign of rain.

This person also does not want to work for the finds, instead he wants to be told exactly where to go and which board to look under. He also wants to go to the same 4 or 5 spots in an endless cycle all season. If going to a *gasp* new spot is mentioned, the excuses kick in.

My back hurts.

I have car problems.

I have a last minute doctors appointment.

And on and on.

I'm sure some of you have great stories. Please share and vent a little!

Paul White
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 25th, 2010, 3:04 pm

hey, I didn't *think* I've herped with you....
My main excuse is money though this summer it hasn't been to bad. Back when gas was 4/gallon though I sure didn't get out much :lol:

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Green Snake Man » July 25th, 2010, 3:09 pm

.

Dave
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Dave » July 25th, 2010, 3:20 pm

My friend and I planned on herping a section of canal in a remote, dark area and then hit another trail at a different location. We got to the canal at about 11 or 12 pm and headed out into the darkness. The canal went straight out from his vehicle, allowing us to see where he parked the car- well, see the general area of darkness where the car was. After a couple of hours of not finding much, we decided to head back. About a mile from the vehicle, my friend says in an urgent voice, "kill the flashlights!" I obeyed at the seriousness of the request and looked up to see a car's lights slow down, back up and park near his car... and then all the lights go out. As we walked, we saw a very dim light moving around in the darkness. The remainder of nearly a mile of walking gave us LOTS of time to think of all the scenarios that we would encounter when we met our guests at his car. Theft, bad dogs, firearms, gangs, it all played over and over in our heads.
Fortunately, when we finally arrived, we found two or three guys doing some night fishing on the canal and I think we startled THEM more! No one said a word at either party of people! lol
Once we were in his car and on our way, the conversation went like this;
"So, do you want to hit the other trail?"..... "Well... I'm getting tired. Lets just do some road cruising and go home." ..... "OK."
lol

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by hellihooks » July 25th, 2010, 4:07 pm

My wife is having a baby...OK... that one might be legit... :shock:
But the others... like
1) I don't like you...
2) you suck...
3) Who gave you my number?
4) I'd be too tempted to kill and bury you in the desert...
Yeah... those are pretty lame... :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
jim

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by justinm » July 25th, 2010, 6:57 pm

The guys I usually go out with, have been through every type of Midwestern Weather with me. They're solid as a rock and I depend on them to keep me motivated in the worst of times.

My local herp club.... Well they always say they'll meet me out at X and weeks later apologize for whatever it was that came up.

Here's Mike P. and Greg S., herping a creek in the dead of winter. I've tried to herp each month of the year (successfully) for a few years now. I'm not doing it to brag, I do it because I don't feel right if I'm not finding stuff.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 25th, 2010, 7:12 pm

What do you find in that weather herp wise?
I'll freely admit to staying inside during real cold. This was the most sever winter since I moved here in terms of temp and snow and well, 0 degrees is too cold for me.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by justinm » July 25th, 2010, 7:16 pm

We found on that trip (3 days) Eurycea, Desmognatus, Rana, etc. In some cases we would break the ice and flip sallies! It was cold but we had a lot of fun on that trip and best of all it was productive. I think Pingleton has a post of it on his site called Snowdawgs.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by erik loza » July 25th, 2010, 8:53 pm

Mike VanValen wrote:...I'm sure some of you have great stories. Please share and vent a little!
Simple: Don't go herping with those people if it bothers you.

I am personally having too good of a time to make a list of stuff I don't like about the person I'm with. Can only speak for myself, of course.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Natalie McNear » July 25th, 2010, 10:55 pm

For me, if it involves waking up before 6:00 am, I'm out. It's not just that I hate waking up at ungodly hours of the morning, though... Getting up too early in the morning is one of my biggest migraine triggers, and I'll have to be popping Advil every hour for the whole day to keep the headache at bay (if it works at all).

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by chad ks » July 25th, 2010, 11:47 pm

erik loza wrote:
Mike VanValen wrote:...I'm sure some of you have great stories. Please share and vent a little!
Simple: Don't go herping with those people if it bothers you.

I am personally having too good of a time to make a list of stuff I don't like about the person I'm with. Can only speak for myself, of course.

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Mike VanValen
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Mike VanValen » July 26th, 2010, 6:28 am

Natalie McNear wrote:For me, if it involves waking up before 6:00 am, I'm out. It's not just that I hate waking up at ungodly hours of the morning, though... Getting up too early in the morning is one of my biggest migraine triggers, and I'll have to be popping Advil every hour for the whole day to keep the headache at bay (if it works at all).
Sorry to hear that. Funny thing, I have never been a morning person except on a herping day.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 26th, 2010, 6:36 am

Locally, morning is the best time to herp, and I'm a night owl by nature. Getting my sleep before herping involves some benydryl in the early PM and tons of soda in the early AM!
Talking with another board member, he said it's true of roadcruising here too...morning beats night. So no getting around it I guess :lol:

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jonathan
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by jonathan » July 26th, 2010, 8:11 am

Natalie McNear wrote:For me, if it involves waking up before 6:00 am, I'm out. It's not just that I hate waking up at ungodly hours of the morning, though... Getting up too early in the morning is one of my biggest migraine triggers, and I'll have to be popping Advil every hour for the whole day to keep the headache at bay (if it works at all).

Wow...that wouldn't work for me AT ALL. I've had four trips in the last month alone where I had to get up earlier than that. SoCal heat + being 2-3 hours from everything means I have to be on the road by 4-5am to catch the morning goodness in most cases. Back in June I got up at 2am just so I could hunt a spot in the dark and morning both. :)

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Mattlesnake King » July 26th, 2010, 9:23 am

Sometimes I get some sand in my va-jay-jay.

Matt King

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by gbin » July 26th, 2010, 5:47 pm

Folks who think of back pain as just an excuse to take it easy simply haven't lived long or hard enough, yet.

Abilities and inclinations change in other ways as we get along in life, too. I don't know whether I ever qualified as a hard-core herper (though I suspect I did), as it seems an awfully subjective term to me, but I certainly take it easier afield now than I used to. I have more fun, too, but then I never looked at herping as a competitive sport.

Gerry

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Bryan Hamilton » July 26th, 2010, 6:37 pm

too windy
too calm
too cloudy
too sunny
too bright
too dark
too hot
too cold
too wet
too dry
too rocky
too sandy
too flat
too steep
ect., ect., ect............................................

Apparently they kick you out of the field herpers local union if you're not complaining about something. I am always amused that some folks have so thoroughly mastered field herping that they don't even need to go out in the field anymore.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 26th, 2010, 6:48 pm

Folks who think of back pain as just an excuse to take it easy simply haven't lived long or hard enough, yet.
Ain't that God's own truth? When I was a kid (18) I was trying to put up a 700 lb squat and lost my balance, and did horrible painful things to my back. It *still* hurts like hell some days. When it's real bad and you can't sleep after taking some Tylenol and it's just throbbing and you can't straighten out....it sucks.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Bryan_Hughes » July 26th, 2010, 7:00 pm

My favorite, though only really heard from the newest of the new:

"I'd love to go herping tonight! I have to be back at 8:30 though. Problem?"

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Ryan Thies » July 26th, 2010, 7:14 pm

How about, "I'm too hungover to herp today." :beer:

Ryan

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Don Becker
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Don Becker » July 27th, 2010, 5:34 am

Mike VanValen wrote:This person also does not want to work for the finds, instead he wants to be told exactly where to go and which board to look under. He also wants to go to the same 4 or 5 spots in an endless cycle all season. If going to a *gasp* new spot is mentioned, the excuses kick in.
Wierd. I've been making up excuses because I don't want to goto the same spots any more. I am trying to branch out around my state and find some new spots. I realized that most of my herping spots are with in 30 minutes of my house. My new goals require more time, so I have to venture out on weekends, but my weekends have been booked solid lately.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by justinm » July 27th, 2010, 6:12 am

psyon wrote: My new goals require more time, so I have to venture out on weekends, but my weekends have been booked solid lately.

No kidding my wife asked if you and I broke up!

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Mike VanValen
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Mike VanValen » July 27th, 2010, 6:45 am

psyon wrote:
Wierd. I've been making up excuses because I don't want to go to the same spots any more. I am trying to branch out around my state and find some new spots. I realized that most of my herping spots are with in 30 minutes of my house. My new goals require more time, so I have to venture out on weekends, but my weekends have been booked solid lately.
I've been herping alone lately :lol: I got a new county record for the database and scouted some nice habitat. The recent heatwaves have made the herping lean the past few months, but things will pick up.

Honestly, I'm tired of the same old spots. I've looked for a hognose at a certain spot for the past 5 seasons straight. Even though it's a great spot for other species, it's getting monotonous.

One of the best things about field herping is exploring and making discoveries.

I love the excuse - "I don't want to go to a new spot with the possibility of being skunked. I'd rather go to the guaranteed spots."

Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I just don't get that.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 27th, 2010, 6:52 am

I'm 100% guilty of doing that after striking out 2-3 times. This weekend I plan to go that one city park in Canyon with loads of Nerodia just so I can see a snake. :lol: I haven't turned one up in nearly 2 weeks. Though, I've only been out 2-3 times in that time.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Don Becker » July 27th, 2010, 7:01 am

Mike VanValen wrote:I love the excuse - "I don't want to go to a new spot with the possibility of being skunked. I'd rather go to the guaranteed spots."
The guarenteed spots are getting boring. I know what snakes can be found there. What fun is it? I don't mind going to them to kill some time, or to show some kids some snakes, but I am really starting to prefer going to whole new locations, not even places people gave me, just going to new blind locations. Even just seeing the really common species at these new spots is fun. Plus, when you find one of the rare species after doing your homework, and knowing what habitat to look in, it makes you feel that much better.

With all that said, if I travel somewhere that I may only get to once ever few years, I have no qualms with asking for some help to see some species I may not be able to see otherwise.

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Mike VanValen
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Mike VanValen » July 27th, 2010, 7:07 am

I agree 100% with that, Don.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by RenoBart » July 27th, 2010, 2:49 pm

My biggest personal excuse is time off. I get 2 weeks a year and it is NEVER enough.

Bart

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by BradB » July 27th, 2010, 3:01 pm

I'm guilty as charged, but it has a lot to do with money. I tend to herp a hell of a lot more in Spring and Fall then in the dead of summer. Not to mention, I like to kill two hobbies in one and go mountain biking in areas where the herps are. Thats how I got my first pinesnake!

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by jonathan » July 27th, 2010, 3:08 pm

psyon wrote:
Mike VanValen wrote:I love the excuse - "I don't want to go to a new spot with the possibility of being skunked. I'd rather go to the guaranteed spots."
The guarenteed spots are getting boring. I know what snakes can be found there. What fun is it? I don't mind going to them to kill some time, or to show some kids some snakes, but I am really starting to prefer going to whole new locations, not even places people gave me, just going to new blind locations. Even just seeing the really common species at these new spots is fun. Plus, when you find one of the rare species after doing your homework, and knowing what habitat to look in, it makes you feel that much better.

With all that said, if I travel somewhere that I may only get to once ever few years, I have no qualms with asking for some help to see some species I may not be able to see otherwise.

I'm 100% with that. If I'm seeing a species for the very first time or going someplace I've never been and my time is short, I want to know where I can actually see stuff. Once I've gotten the experience of finding something once, I love finding it in the spot that no one else has looked. I've never understood the draw of going back to the same spot over and over to see the same species that you see every time you go there.

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Mike VanValen
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Mike VanValen » July 27th, 2010, 3:14 pm

Exactly. I never thought I would say this, but I've seen enough Timber Rattlesnakes. They're very cool and I am privileged to see them here, but there are species I haven't seen yet in Connecticut. One of those is the Northern Leopard Frog.

At this point I'd rather see a pipiens over a horridus.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Matt J » July 27th, 2010, 5:28 pm

Mike VanValen wrote:Exactly. I never thought I would say this, but I've seen enough Timber Rattlesnakes. They're very cool and I am privileged to see them here, but there are species I haven't seen yet in Connecticut. One of those is the Northern Leopard Frog.

At this point I'd rather see a pipiens over a horridus.
Hahaha, you LECH. Last time I was out with my "herping buddies" at our horridus spot we saw a handful in less than an hour and I asked them if they'd want to try a different area for slimy salamanders since I (and we) haven't seen any yet this year. My God I thought they were going to throw me off the ridge for speaking such blasphemy! I set a goal of photographing 50 different local species this year, not photographing 50 individuals of a single snake species. It's all about the hunt and exploring new places.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by brick911 » July 27th, 2010, 8:53 pm

I have 21 different counties and 47 county records so far. I'm not anywhere close to some of the leaders here, but I've made an effort to hit new areas this year. I still hit the same old tired ones, in hopes that I'll find that snake that I've always thought SHOULD be there. That said, I'm always full of excuses when someone asks me to herp. I'm more of a last minute herper. I always have 5 different plans, but refuse to commit. I admit it. :|

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by brick911 » July 27th, 2010, 8:56 pm

Matt J wrote:
Mike VanValen wrote:Exactly. I never thought I would say this, but I've seen enough Timber Rattlesnakes. They're very cool and I am privileged to see them here, but there are species I haven't seen yet in Connecticut. One of those is the Northern Leopard Frog.

At this point I'd rather see a pipiens over a horridus.
Hahaha, you LECH. Last time I was out with my "herping buddies" at our horridus spot we saw a handful in less than an hour and I asked them if they'd want to try a different area for slimy salamanders since I (and we) haven't seen any yet this year. My God I thought they were going to throw me off the ridge for speaking such blasphemy! I set a goal of photographing 50 different local species this year, not photographing 50 individuals of a single snake species. It's all about the hunt and exploring new places.
I can TOTALLY relate to everything mentioned in both of your quotes. Matt, by the way, we are both locked in at 54 species each so far this year. :thumb:

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 27th, 2010, 9:12 pm

depends. If it was their first time seeing horridus in the field I can understand it (I'd be the same way).
But I have to admit, at this point my heart pumps faster for, say, a tiger salamander or a king snake than an atrox...I've seen so dang many this year

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Fundad » July 28th, 2010, 5:48 am

I have 21 different counties and 47 county records so far. I'm not anywhere close to some of the leaders here,
Thats pretty good Bob.. :thumb:


I get up at 4 or 5 am during the early season and go beyond dark.. Thats what I enjoy.. I prefer NOT to get help (though I have asked for it on a couple of occasions) and "rediscover the wheel" if you well, because its more rewarding when success comes. I HUNT THEREFORE I AM....

Not everyone is the same though, and finding herp partners that match your interest, ability to keep up, willingness to try the new things, and ability to keep a secret is HARD to find.

But to each their own..

My 2010 NAFHA Entries.. 71 Counties, 35 New Counties (not previosly recorded in NAFHA), 115 species, 181 county Records....


Also some guys like to collect, and others don't. Which for me can be a problem, as I like to see the herps be released, with very little collecting allowed if someone goes with me...

Fundad

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by chris_mcmartin » July 28th, 2010, 8:13 am

When y'all are talking "county records," do you mean "not previously in the NAHERP database" or "not previously documented in any literature, museum collection, etc?" Because some of these multi-dozen county records seem like we should be throwing out all our field guides with their antiquated range maps. 8-)

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by brick911 » July 28th, 2010, 8:19 am

The NAHERP database. I'm not exactly a herp-pioneer. :P

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Don Becker
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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Don Becker » July 28th, 2010, 8:26 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:When y'all are talking "county records," do you mean "not previously in the NAHERP database" or "not previously documented in any literature, museum collection, etc?" Because some of these multi-dozen county records seem like we should be throwing out all our field guides with their antiquated range maps. 8-)
Mainly I mean in NAHERP, but no body herps Iowa, so some of my records have been county records for everything.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Paul White » July 28th, 2010, 9:37 am

How do you report something that's an actual county record? Like call up Peterson's Field Guide people or something?
I doubt it'll ever be an issue for me but I'm curious

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by jonathan » July 28th, 2010, 9:47 am

Paul White wrote:How do you report something that's an actual county record? Like call up Peterson's Field Guide people or something?
I doubt it'll ever be an issue for me but I'm curious
Put it in NAHERP.com! Hopefully as we build respect that will be considered a legitimate source to go to when looking to verify distribution in a county.

If you're going old school, you can stick it in a museum database (even if you don't collect a specimen, many are incorporating photographic databases - I have a photo voucher for a county record deposited in BYU). If there's anything significant about it you can publish a distribution note in Herp Review, but you have to do your background research.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Don Becker » July 28th, 2010, 9:52 am

Paul White wrote:How do you report something that's an actual county record? Like call up Peterson's Field Guide people or something?
I doubt it'll ever be an issue for me but I'm curious
I report the Iowa finds to Jeff LeClere, and he keeps track of them there. If I find something in Illinois, I contact Chris Phillips at the INHS. You could publish a note in a journal I am sure, but you have to do your research to know that there are no previous specimens from that county.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by chris_mcmartin » July 28th, 2010, 11:23 am

jonathan wrote:If you're going old school, you can stick it in a museum database (even if you don't collect a specimen, many are incorporating photographic databases - I have a photo voucher for a county record deposited in BYU). If there's anything significant about it you can publish a distribution note in Herp Review, but you have to do your background research.
The only official county records I've contributed (2, I think) were reported to the applicable state herpetologist.

I'm embarrassed to say I haven't contributed ANYTHING to NAHERP yet. :cry:

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by soulsurvivor » July 28th, 2010, 11:43 am

My typical excuse for not going herping is time and money, unfortunately. But my job situation may be changing for the better in a couple weeks, so I hope to start getting out more. :thumb:

I've herped with complainers in the past, and nothing irritates me more. They aren't opposed to going, even if it means getting up early, but they never quit whining about how hot it is, how many ticks are on them, how bad the mosquito swarms are, or how crummy they think herping is going to turn out due to the weather. I say just shut up and enjoy being out in the peaceful solitude of nature. No one likes a whiner.

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Don Becker » July 28th, 2010, 6:32 pm

I guess since we were just talking about it... I picked up 3 county records today for the state of Iowa. As far as I can tell from HerpNet.net (Jeff LeClere's site) all three are actually county records. What are these rare finds? Green Frog, Bullfrog, and Western Chorus Frog. Seems no one has ever bothered to record them in the county east of me :)

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Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Brian Eagar » July 29th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Bryan Hamilton wrote:too windy
too calm
too cloudy
too sunny
too bright
too dark
too hot
too cold
too wet
too dry
too rocky
too sandy
too flat
too steep
ect., ect., ect............................................

Apparently they kick you out of the field herpers local union if you're not complaining about something. I am always amused that some folks have so thoroughly mastered field herping that they don't even need to go out in the field anymore.
Wow Bryan that sounds familiar.
I personally don't have time or money to waste when conditions aren't ideal anymore and I don't have motivation to go out to the usual known places anymore. There just isn't any fun in seeing the same old things in the same old places.
I like the adventure of exploring somewhere new and hoping to find something new.

That leaves me driving at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to get anywhere interesting anymore and staying out as long
as conditions are still favorable.
Most people aren't up for that on a weeknight or even weekend night.

My only other option is working mountainous areas closer to home that have yet to yield anything interesting when I try to hit them when they are still warm.
Went out to such an area last night against my better judgement last night (full moon, July) because of storminess and clouds locking heat into one high mountain valleys I'm interested in to the east of me.
Found:
1 DOR racer
2 Porcupines
Several Deer
1 Fox
1 Skunk

I think with herping it is important to remember the quote,
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.", Albert Einstein

Every July full moon I go out when the weather gets stormy and get skunked (more or less).
One of these years I'll stop expecting different results.

User avatar
Bryan Hamilton
Posts: 1217
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm

Re: The Book of Excuses

Post by Bryan Hamilton » July 30th, 2010, 7:21 am

My main excuse now is that I have 2 kids under the age of 3. My trips now have to be solo (and I only get the hall pass so many times) or short and focused with ice cream and water to play in.

I definitely appreciate how herpers with kids are able to get out so much.

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