One of our members, "azatrox" replied to a young herper's questions about "how" to become a field herper. As was suggested, azatrox's reply is now a sticky. Read this if you are new to field herping!
From FHF member "azatrox"......
I’ll do my best to answer your general question with a specific answer (broken down into numerous parts)…This is quite difficult, as “herping” is VASTLY different depending upon a multitude of factors (i.e. region of the country, species you’re looking for, time of year, etc.). So, advice given for one herper may be completely different than that given to another. With that said, there are at least a few common ideas that I think hold value regardless of where one is, what one is looking for or when they’re looking for it.
1) Research, research, research….Do your own research…Get your hands on and absorb as much info about as much as you can…Historical weather patterns, animal histories, anecdotal reports, etc. all provide valuable info that can have a demonstrable effect on your “luck” in the field….The more you know, the better you’ll do.
2) Be PERSISTENT AND PATIENT….Having run into quite a few newer, younger herpers in the field, I can tell you that it is perhaps these qualitiies that pop up more than any others when we talk about reasons that people aren’t successful in the field. NO ONE can reliably run out and start finding animals in numbers regardless of weather, time of year, etc. without both 1 & 2….***GETTING “SKUNKED” TELLS YOU JUST AS MUCH ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THAN FINDING ANIMALS AT EVERY TURN DOES***. Yes, striking out can be frustrating…Yes, it sucks to spend money and time searching in vain…But if you’re using those experiences as they should be used, then you are analyzing what you’re doing (and by definition what you’re NOT doing)…react and adjust accordingly. If afternoon hiking/cruising isn’t producing, then hike/cruise in the morning…or at night…when you start getting results, pay particular attention to what is different from when you were striking out….the devil is in the details. Wanna quit after an hour of hiking and not seeing anything? Well, you generally won’t have much success….
3) HAVE FUN! If you look at a day in the field as a wasted day because you didn’t see anything, then you’ve TOTALLY missed the boat!!! Just because you didn’t see what you wanted doesn’t mean that your experience can’t be enjoyable and educational. Often, you’ll find something totally unexpected that wouldn’t have been seen if you didn’t get out….Even if you don’t find anything new and exciting, you’re still out in the great outdoors instead of confined to a cubicle looking at ugly people all day long. So stop whining.
Dedicated exclusively to field herping.
Moderator: Scott Waters
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