Chapter field trips

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jlzachary1
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Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » January 21st, 2014, 5:14 pm

Are there any chapter field trips planned for this spring/summer? I noticed some of the other groups have begun discussion of their upcoming events.

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jlzachary1
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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » January 21st, 2014, 5:24 pm

I know the Oklahoma City Herp Society currently has outings scheduled for April 12, June 14, and August 30. The first two will be hosted on members private property and the third will be at the Pennington Creek area in Southeast Oklahoma. Oklahoma also has the Bioblitz activity on October 4th weekend.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by gretzkyrh4 » January 21st, 2014, 7:42 pm

J,

Thanks for bringing this up. We should begin working on ideas shortly.

Beanie has transitioned into the position officially tasked with setting up chapter field trips and will be working with jeffro and I to come up with a game plan for this spring. I'm out of the country through Sunday though and haven't really been able to discuss things with either of them. Once I'm back, I'll get in touch with both and see where we stand.

Chris

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Soopaman
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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 21st, 2014, 8:39 pm

Amazingly, I have time to attend a trip this semester.

It'd be nice to do something early/mid April. I'm always happy to help entertain people around Houston, up to a point.

We did Big Thicket in 2012, and Kisatchie in 2013. No idea what areas are of interest to others.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by beanie » January 22nd, 2014, 8:59 am

Being new to the position and group field trips,I'm open to ideas. Because of our schedules we usually Herp areas within an hour or so from home. The biggest and most diverse place would be the Sherburne WMA in the Atchafalaya basin. With 60 or so species of reptiles and amphibians that should make for a good trip.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » January 22nd, 2014, 4:01 pm

I was wondering about a potential trip to SE OK, SW AR, NW LA, and NE TX. I have a few friends and we are planning to head that way in March to find salamanders. Sort of the Idabel, Texarkana, Shreveport area.

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Soopaman
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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 22nd, 2014, 5:15 pm

Here's an idea:

South TX coast.

The Rockport/Port Aransas area has a large diversity of snakes, and some lizards too if you're into that sort of thing. It's better earlier in the season, but I've been down there as late as the first weekend in May and still had a good time.
Plenty of diamondbacks and western coachwhips, as well as Schott's whipsnakes. Kingsnakes are not uncommon and while April is a bit late for flipping milks, there's a good possibility of cruising one up along the beach. Texas scarlet snakes are super rare, but have been found in the area. There's the Aransas NWR and the North Padre national seashore that is good for walking habitat, and there's plenty of stuff to flip in the area. I know it's far away from a lot of folks, but it's darn sure different habitat than what most people here have herped, and it's worlds different from the past few chapter trips.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Rman » January 22nd, 2014, 5:38 pm

That whipsnake is worth the drive I think, Kyle. I'm looking forward to some coastal Texas herping.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by CTravis » January 23rd, 2014, 3:12 pm

If the venue is the Texas Coast, then I'll be in. The beaches may be far from statuesque, but the herp life is plenty enticing.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » January 23rd, 2014, 6:50 pm

I love herping South Texas coast as much as anybody, but we do have the issue that it is all private land and therefore the herping would mostly be trespassing. I'm not sure if we should be sponsoring or supporting a trip where the group is going to have to violate laws. Certainly a trip to Southern or south western Arkansas would be viable, legal and provide interesting herping opportunities, but it is a fair distance for many of us.

it would be nice to see a good SC chapter presents at snake days in Sanderson at the end of May.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 23rd, 2014, 7:11 pm

chrish wrote:I love herping South Texas coast as much as anybody, but we do have the issue that it is all private land and therefore the herping would mostly be trespassing. I'm not sure if we should be sponsoring or supporting a trip where the group is going to have to violate laws. Certainly a trip to Southern or south western Arkansas would be viable, legal and provide interesting herping opportunities, but it is a fair distance for many of us.

it would be nice to see a good SC chapter presents at snake days in Sanderson at the end of May.

What sort of presents?

And it's only trespassing if there's signs posted (every 100ft, or maybe 100yards, I believe is the rule) and/or blue paint markings. If there's not, you're fine until someone tells you to leave.

Besides, there's two NWRs I mentioned that would be perfectly good to hands-off herp.

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CTravis
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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by CTravis » January 23rd, 2014, 7:39 pm

Has there been a trip recently to the Barton Creek Greenbelt in Austin? There's not much on the table there besides cyrtopsis, alligator lizards, and slimy salamanders... but perhaps it's an option for an early spring trip?

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » January 23rd, 2014, 8:09 pm

Soopaman wrote:
chrish wrote:it would be nice to see a good SC chapter presents at snake days in Sanderson at the end of May.
What sort of presents?
Stupid android voice typing,
And it's only trespassing if there's signs posted (every 100ft, or maybe 100yards, I believe is the rule) and/or blue paint markings. If there's not, you're fine until someone tells you to leave.
Are you sure? My understanding is that it is trespassing, but you aren't going to be charged if the property was not correctly marked. but lack of signage does not give you authority to hunt on that land. And if there is a fence, they don't require signs AFAIK.
Besides, there's two NWRs I mentioned that would be perfectly good to hands-off herp.
.

you are allowed to observe herps on the NW R, but you can't flip stuff or handle anything even to take a photo.

but hey, I herp this area at myself all the time. I'm just not sure if we as an organization should be doing it "officially".

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 23rd, 2014, 8:24 pm

chrish wrote:
Soopaman wrote:
chrish wrote:it would be nice to see a good SC chapter presents at snake days in Sanderson at the end of May.
What sort of presents?
Stupid android voice typing,
And it's only trespassing if there's signs posted (every 100ft, or maybe 100yards, I believe is the rule) and/or blue paint markings. If there's not, you're fine until someone tells you to leave.
Are you sure? My understanding is that it is trespassing, but you aren't going to be charged if the property was not correctly marked. but lack of signage does not give you authority to hunt on that land. And if there is a fence, they don't require signs AFAIK.
Besides, there's two NWRs I mentioned that would be perfectly good to hands-off herp.
.

you are allowed to observe herps on the NW R, but you can't flip stuff or handle anything even to take a photo.

but hey, I herp this area at myself all the time. I'm just not sure if we as an organization should be doing it "officially".
Well, I guess it's semantics, but if you can't be charged for trespassing, I don't see why you'd call still call it trespassing. Exploring? I don't know if there's an appropriate term. And the fence thing is a good point, though coastal areas have a distinct lack of fencing from my experience. But from my knowledge, even if it is fenced, and there are no signs, you still cannot be charged for trespassing, unless it is being used for herd animals like cattle. I've used these as guidelines with my coastal herping and had multiple encounters with law enforcement who all said the same thing "Good luck and be safe. I saw <insert whatever snake> this one time"

And additionally, are the herping rules different for National Forests and National Preserves (ie Kisatchie and Big Thicket)? Aren't you not officially allowed to touch the animals there? Or can I collect in the Big thicket? Serious question because I've always thought they were supposed to be hands off, though we don't always treat them that way.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Matt Buckingham » January 24th, 2014, 7:34 am

I would contact the NWR's. Both National Forests and National Wildlife Refuges are designated as "multi use" public lands. Hunting is legal, and they may well allow you to herp there with hunting licenses and herp stamps. Further more, if you can get ahold of the wildlife biologist for the refuge or complex they might grant you special permission if you are willing to give them data.

Big Thicket National Preserve is National Park Service land and completely hands off. However, my guess Kyle is that most of your herping around there is not technically on preserve lands. The preserve boundaries are funky and very few roads actually transect the preserve.

As far as trespassing goes, I would agree with Chris. Though you "technically" can't be charged if the boundaries are not sufficiently marked, I don't think it's worth the possibility of headaches of being caught, potential disgruntled landowners, etc. Especially if it is an official trip for the organization. Along the Texas Coast however the majority of coastline is public, as well as some of the adjacent habitat, something to keep in mind.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by dbh » January 24th, 2014, 9:54 am

I believe that Chris is right about the charge of trespassing in reference to a fence for Texas.
A fence is all that is required, no signs necessary, to post an area as private.
I seem to remember this being explained to me by law enforcement....................
In other words - you can't cross a fence without permission of the landowner. This is often even more complicated in Texas because much of the land is leased out with a no trespassing clause, in other words the lease owner prohibits the trespassing not the owner and the owner can not give you permission.

David

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 24th, 2014, 10:12 am

The fence thing is correct:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PE.30.htm

Just do control+F and type trespass. There's a section outlining Criminal trespass law.

And yes, I agree that we shouldn't promote trespassing with our chapter outing, but I would like to state again that there is plenty of herping opportunity on the coast that does not include any trespassing.

While flipping is undeniably the most productive and effective means of finding herps in the spring, I believe the last two spring outings were decently successful without it, excepting the lousy tin site outside of Woodville, that has now been mostly scrapped. And to point out, that's one of those borderline areas that isn't exactly marked, but it's clearly used and they store the floats from their homecoming parades there every year. :roll:

I agree with Matt on contacting NWRs, wherever we contemplate going, and discuss herping permission, and that way maybe we can roll some logs at least. Aransas NWR might even be willing to work with us if there's potential for some data on the elusive Texas Scarlet snake.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » January 24th, 2014, 5:31 pm

I think the texas coast or the louisiana trip both sound nice and depending on what weekend they are planned I would try to make either one of them. I would however encourage that in the future some trips be planned for more central locales. As I try to recruit people from my area to join it would be a more difficult sale to say "Hey we do a chapter field trip every year but it's always 10-12 hours away." I can't really make to many of those per year and if i plan to do west texas(my first time this year) and the national meet if it's reasonable, i wouldn't necessarily be able to make chapter meets. I will reiterate though, pending the weekend choice, I am down for both areas discussed this year.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 24th, 2014, 5:59 pm

I'd gladly take a trip to Oklahoma if I knew calligaster and timber rattlesnakes would be involved. I think most of us are just suggesting areas we know about that are different than what we've done recently.

Usually it's pushed to this part of the region because the majority of chapter members are down here. We're just putting out ideas now, and I guess we can sum them up and make some decisions in the next month.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » January 24th, 2014, 6:41 pm

whenever you are ready you should come I will take you to some reliable calligaster and timber habitats. I have some friends that caught a blue timber this passed year. I need to get a pic to share with you guys it was amazing. I think calligaster is my favorite snake to find here.

I would love to come to Louisiana to herp myself, I have a buddy who is a botany professor at LSU(Alexandria) I think and he has shown me some great looking habitat pics.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » January 25th, 2014, 7:01 am

Soopaman wrote:I agree with Matt on contacting NWRs, wherever we contemplate going, and discuss herping permission, and that way maybe we can roll some logs at least. Aransas NWR might even be willing to work with us if there's potential for some data on the elusive Texas Scarlet snake.
I have contacted Aransas NWR. I will let you know what I hear.

I would like to survey Anuhuac NWR. It used to have some cool species that aren't easy to find in Texas, such as Pig Frogs. I'm not sure how much the salt water intrusion of Ike influenced that?
The one advantage Anuhuac has is that it is open at night, unlike most other refuges.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Matt Buckingham » January 25th, 2014, 8:12 am

chrish wrote:
I would like to survey Anuhuac NWR. It used to have some cool species that aren't easy to find in Texas, such as Pig Frogs. I'm not sure how much the salt water intrusion of Ike influenced that?
The one advantage Anuhuac has is that it is open at night, unlike most other refuges.
I used to work at Anahuac, and may be able to help you make contact when you're interested in going down that way (though the staff has completely changed since I was there).

Pig frogs have not been recently vouchered from Anahuac itself for some time, but they have been turned up in Chambers County within the past couple years. Though they're far easier to come by in Jefferson County.

It would be interesting to study the effects of saltwater intrusion on amphibian species along the Texas Coast, though I think we all know what those data would tell us!

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » January 25th, 2014, 8:49 am

Matt Buckingham wrote:It would be interesting to study the effects of saltwater intrusion on amphibian species along the Texas Coast, though I think we all know what those data would tell us!
Time to start gathering some baseline data to watch the recovery!

I don't remember when the last time I heard L. grylio at Anahuac? It was certainly pre-Ike and looking at my records it was either spring 2003 or 2004.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » January 28th, 2014, 8:34 pm

just a brief update. I have heard back from someone at Aransas and they may be open to the possibility of our chapter doing some surveys. However we would have to work out the details with them, and I'm waiting to hear back from them to see if this is going to be possible. It would require a special permit from them, but this doesn't sound like it would be that difficult to get done. Will keep folks updated.

Might be cool if we could set this up with a number of different NWRs. Santa Ana NWR would certainly be fun!

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » January 28th, 2014, 8:41 pm

chrish wrote:just a brief update. I have heard back from someone at Aransas and they may be open to the possibility of our chapter doing some surveys. However we would have to work out the details with them, and I'm waiting to hear back from them to see if this is going to be possible. It would require a special permit from them, but this doesn't sound like it would be that difficult to get done. Will keep folks updated.

Might be cool if we could set this up with a number of different NWRs. Santa Ana NWR would certainly be fun!

Sounds good, Chris. Keep us updated.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » February 1st, 2014, 7:36 am

The OCHIS has added another couple of HERP hunts to our spring agenda: April 26 at Camp Buster, and May 17 at the Blue River. I am mentioning these as a means of invitation. Any of you that would interested in visiting for any of these hunts are more than welcome. Camp Buster is in NE Oklahoma in Ozark country. It is a private camp that we are granted permission on through a member of the society. The blue river is a tributary of the Red River and is along the OK/TX border.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » February 1st, 2014, 2:22 pm

I haven't been to this spot, but there is a WMA just a bit north of Aransas NWR that is open to the public some of the time. It isn't a huge bit of land, but it is some coastal marsh that is potentially herpable.

Has anyone herped there (Guadalupe Delta WMA)?

Herping there requires a Limited Use Permit on top of a hunting licenses, but the LUP is only $12.

I will try and check it out this month if I can get a chance.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Shane_TX » February 4th, 2014, 1:05 am

The fence thing is correct:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PE.30.htm

Just do control+F and type trespass. There's a section outlining Criminal trespass law.
Kyle, you are extremely WRONG about the "fence thing"!

A fence is due notice in TX.

On the field trip front NAFHA does have acquaintance with the San Bernard NWR and it's not negative. Do let me know if a TX NWR becomes the focus of a trip and you need some positive precedent. My experience was that the manager wanted documented results and a single get-together was not on the list, at all. The NWR staff were professional and receptive, I just couldn't offer enough organization at the time.

Shane

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » February 4th, 2014, 5:47 am

I did some more research into the fence/trespassing issue.

In Texas as the law is written, you can be charged with trespassing if you knowingly enter the property that is:

- fenced (and a cattle guard counts as part of the fence) or
- marked with no trespassing or private property signs every 1000 feet or
- marked with purple markings on trees/posts every 1000 feet along the property boundary (this is used in ungrazed forest lands typically) or
- you have been notified by the land owner verbally or in writing that your access is prohibited.

Not sure where the conversation died off between Aransas and I last week.
I will send another email.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » February 4th, 2014, 8:08 am

Shane_TX wrote:
The fence thing is correct:

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PE.30.htm

Just do control+F and type trespass. There's a section outlining Criminal trespass law.
Kyle, you are extremely WRONG about the "fence thing"!

A fence is due notice in TX.

On the field trip front NAFHA does have acquaintance with the San Bernard NWR and it's not negative. Do let me know if a TX NWR becomes the focus of a trip and you need some positive precedent. My experience was that the manager wanted documented results and a single get-together was not on the list, at all. The NWR staff were professional and receptive, I just couldn't offer enough organization at the time.

Shane
I was stating that David was correct about the fence, then posted the link showing the law. Didn't know that was confusing.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jeffro » February 4th, 2014, 1:46 pm

I am glad everyone is discussing this. I would definitely be up for the Port Aransas WMA option, just for the possibility of finding Cemophora. I am applying for a scientific collecting permit and will try to find at least one this summer. If I can get the permit early enough, it would be great to have some extra eyes during a NAFHA trip if possible.

Jeff

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by John Williams » February 4th, 2014, 7:00 pm

What is the reasoning for getting a collecting permit for a Cemophora?

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » February 4th, 2014, 7:45 pm

John Williams wrote:What is the reasoning for getting a collecting permit for a Cemophora?
I think Jeff's logic was for legal handling purposes, though I would feel that if the refuge let us herp there it would be okay anyhow.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jeffro » February 5th, 2014, 5:29 am

John Williams wrote:What is the reasoning for getting a collecting permit for a Cemophora?
Well the logic wasn't entirely clear from my previous post, but the collecting permit is for a Cemophora phylogeography project I'm working on that is unrelated to NAFHA. I guess it wouldn't be an advantage to the rest of the group really, but if someone found a scarletsnake during the trip it would sure help me.

In all honesty I'm up for any of the places mentioned so far. We shoud also keep our herping legal though and either get permission from private landowners or applicable wildlife agency.

Jeff

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jeffro » February 5th, 2014, 5:29 am

John Williams wrote:What is the reasoning for getting a collecting permit for a Cemophora?
Well the logic wasn't entirely clear from my previous post, but the collecting permit is for a Cemophora phylogeography project I'm working on that is unrelated to NAFHA. I guess it wouldn't be an advantage to the rest of the group really, but if someone found a scarletsnake during the trip it would sure help me.

In all honesty I'm up for any of the places mentioned so far. We shoud also keep our herping legal though and either get permission from private landowners or applicable wildlife agency.

Jeff

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by John Williams » February 5th, 2014, 6:23 pm

Very cool. I was just curious; thanks for answering my question.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » February 6th, 2014, 7:12 am

I moved my reply to its own post -

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=18731

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by jlzachary1 » February 6th, 2014, 8:32 am

As I said before I am down for whatever, that location is fine for me. I am just looking forward to seeing some different species and meeting new people. The sooner we get this decided though, the better chance I will have to involve others from my area and bring them down. Late March/Early April really works for me because we are really slow here until Mid-April most years.

On another note, the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences is hosting a biodiversity survey at Lake Murray on the first weekend of April, and another at Black Mesa in June. For anybody who may be interested.

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » February 6th, 2014, 9:19 am

April 4-6 would work well for me (even though it is the same date as the OK event).

How does that date sound to others?

Chris

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by chrish » February 7th, 2014, 5:08 am

While we are putting dates out there, just some more thoughts -

April 11-13 is the Texas Herpetological Society spring meeting (I believe??) at Independence Creek. I'm not 100% sure because I am not currently a member and they have fallen off the face of the internet. Really? 2014 and no website? :(

New Moon is March 30th, full moon April 15th.

Maybe the last weekend in March would work better for us?

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Re: Chapter field trips

Post by Soopaman » February 7th, 2014, 8:10 am

chrish wrote:While we are putting dates out there, just some more thoughts -

April 11-13 is the Texas Herpetological Society spring meeting (I believe??) at Independence Creek. I'm not 100% sure because I am not currently a member and they have fallen off the face of the internet. Really? 2014 and no website? :(

New Moon is March 30th, full moon April 15th.

Maybe the last weekend in March would work better for us?
I'm good with that. Late winter blast will kill road cruising for us, if that happens, but things should be good in the day, better if we can find cover.

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