What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

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Noah M
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What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Noah M »

Hard work and persistence doesn't always pay off, but it sure helps. So does a bit of luck.

Ultimately, in the end it is the results that matter.

Herping is like dating; there are a lot of common ones that are nice, but on rare occasions you find one that is really special.

The best way to find what you're looking for is to look in the right spot.

Don't judge a person by their appearance. That crazy old guy with the funny hat might just be an expert.

I can't think of any more. Anybody else got any?

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Sam Sweet
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Sam Sweet »

1. The "dumb luck principle": Always take at least one complete amateur. They have nothing to match your exquisitely-tuned "herper eye" and will look in the wrong places and find the best herps.

2. The "5 minute rule": If you find something great in the first five minutes, go somewhere else, you're cursed at that spot at least for the rest of that day.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by cbernz »

captainjack0000 wrote:The best way to find what you're looking for is to look in the right spot.
I like that. It sounds like a Zen proverb, or a Yogi Berra quote.

However, for me, I'd say the best way to find what you're looking for is to stop looking. Or to look for something else. That's how I finally got my Hellbender last year. I think that principle can apply to other things in life as well.

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soulsurvivor
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by soulsurvivor »

I have learned you will find what you seek in the last place you look.......at least if you're looking for salamanders. :P

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by El Garia »

I've learned that if you find a place that you really like, whether it be a discount store, a bistro, pumpkin patch, etc, not to share it with anybody. ;)

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Nature Nate
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Nature Nate »

My rephrasing of number one would be:
By God's grace, your blood sweat and tears will pay off, if it is His will, but if not, pray harder ;)

Also, take time to appreciate what others consider to be "junk," literally and figuratively. That trash pile might have your lifer at the bottom. Also, there is no such thing as a "junk snake" or "too many gummies"

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Mark Brown
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Mark Brown »

soulsurvivor wrote:I have learned you will find what you seek in the last place you look.......at least if you're looking for salamanders. :P
Or unless you aren't smart enough to realize that you've already found what you were seeking, and keep on looking for it. :mrgreen:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Tamara D. McConnell »

I am loving this thread. I will be thinking on this all day, and will try to make a contribution after work.

My husband and I often talk about this:
The "5 minute rule": If you find something great in the first five minutes, go somewhere else, you're cursed at that spot at least for the rest of that day.
It is SO true. We have been scratching our heads trying to figure out the WHY. But it's definitely true.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chris_mcmartin »

After the first post, most of these seem more like "field herping axioms" rather than principles which can be broadly applied towards general life situations. Except for the one about "favorite spots."

Entertaining nonetheless. :thumb:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

1. The Cobra Under The Car Rule: never say never before you're back at the parking lot. I've been on fruitless day-long hikes, only to get back to the truck and find a snake under it.

2. Snakes are where you find them.

Ommmmm........

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by hellihooks »

Set your sights low... that way you'll rarely be disappointed. :|

Hmmm... maybe I should rephrase that... don't set your sights so high, that anything less is disappointing... stop to appreciate the musk along the way... :crazyeyes:

High goals are fine... but life is about the journey to the goals...not the goals themselves. :thumb: jim

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by azatrox »

"If you've been hiking for hours and haven't found anything, head back to the car...your target will surely be sitting 50 feet from it."

-Kris

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Noah M
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Noah M »

Set your sights low... that way you'll rarely be disappointed


:lol: :lol: :lol:

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Mark Brown
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Mark Brown »

hellihooks wrote:Set your sights low... that way you'll rarely be disappointed.

Pessimism means all your surprises will be good ones......my mantra for years.

Or rephrased: Pessimism means never having to say "Aw, shit"....

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Zach_Lim »

It is never just a "stick on the road".
Or rather, It is ALWAYS just a stick in the road.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Gluesenkamp »

So much wisdom here. If only I could count how many times I have parked a vehicle, bushwhacked my way up/down some canyon, then searched "prime" habitat to find my target organism only to then encounter them all the way back to the place where I parked.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Bryan Hamilton »

Banana peels are worth a second look. Sometimes they are snakes.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by justinm »

Sam Sweet wrote:1. The "dumb luck principle": Always take at least one complete amateur. They have nothing to match your exquisitely-tuned "herper eye" and will look in the wrong places and find the best herps.

2. The "5 minute rule": If you find something great in the first five minutes, go somewhere else, you're cursed at that spot at least for the rest of that day.

Psyon, has made a rule that someone has to forget their camera for a great day. I didn't believe it at first. One fine day in Missouri with him and another great herper I did bring my camera. I didn't bring a battery... We found several county records. So if luck is on your side someone will forget their camera and make for a great day.
Gluesenkamp wrote:So much wisdom here. If only I could count how many times I have parked a vehicle, bushwhacked my way up/down some canyon, then searched "prime" habitat to find my target organism only to then encounter them all the way back to the place where I parked.

At the famous Snake Road I once found one of most rarely seen snakes twice in a few minutes. This was of course in the round about "parking lot" at the North Entrance. Two gorgeous Shawnee Red Milks both found minutes apart on the crawl.

Justin Michels

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by justinm »

double, please delete

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Antonsrkn »

justinm wrote: Psyon, has made a rule that someone has to forget their camera for a great day. I didn't believe it at first. One fine day in Missouri with him and another great herper I did bring my camera. I didn't bring a battery... We found several county records. So if luck is on your side someone will forget their camera and make for a great day.
I find this one to be true with all wildlife. Its mind boggling.

Its been said in various forms but here is my contribution: "Appreciate the little things." I mean that in both a literal and figurative sense.

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Mark Brown
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Mark Brown »

justinm wrote:Psyon, has made a rule that someone has to forget their camera for a great day.
There's a corollary to this - the importance of your photograph is directly related to the condition of the camera batteries. If the photo is important enough, brand-new batteries, fresh from the package, will be dead on arrival.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by klawnskale »

Sam Sweet wrote:1. The "dumb luck principle": Always take at least one complete amateur. They have nothing to match your exquisitely-tuned "herper eye" and will look in the wrong places and find the best herps.
I can personally vouch and affirm this principle. Last year in late Spring I took a friend of mine who is an 'ophidiophobic old lady' herping in Kern County road cruising. We found a total of 12 snakes that night. Nine all on one road, three on another. Although she was not the one who spotted the snakes, I still believe her presence contributed to the luck we experienced that night. She touched none of them but developed an appreciative curiousity for them. She wants to do it again this year. I will also mention the " good luck charm principle" here. Let's be honest; aside from abiding by unbiased data regarding environmental, lunar and meteorlogical conditions, we herpers are a superstitious lot and will sometimes even consider some of our buddies to be good luck talismans. I wonder how many of you out there carry good luck charms with you when herping? Mind you this is a human cultural tradition that is probably paleolithic in origin. So we are just carrying on the ways of our hunter/gatherer ancestors.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Josh Holbrook »

captainjack0000 wrote: Ultimately, in the end it is the results that matter.
I have to disagree with that one I'm afraid.

Here's my contribution: One person's success does not detract from your own


And something about herpers, by and large, having the biggest egos imaginable ;-)

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Daniel D Dye »

captainjack0000 wrote: Don't judge a person by their appearance. That crazy old guy with the funny hat might just be an expert.
Hey, what's wrong with my spider hat!!?

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by krismunk »

azatrox wrote:"If you've been hiking for hours and haven't found anything, head back to the car...your target will surely be sitting 50 feet from it."

-Kris
Hmmm... let's see...

Back in camp after hours of futile hiking:
Image

Close up of bush in above picture, 10 feet from tent:
Image

A couple of days later, back from hours of futile hiking, 50 feet from car:
Image

Yup, seems about right :lol:

Question is, does this apply to life in general :?:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chris_mcmartin »

klawnskale wrote:I wonder how many of you out there carry good luck charms with you when herping?
Not lucky charms, but lucky shirts. Also applicable to fishing and, to a lesser extent, dating... :lol:

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Noah M
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Noah M »

Josh Holbrook wrote:
captainjack0000 wrote: Ultimately, in the end it is the results that matter.
I have to disagree with that one I'm afraid.
When I wrote that, I was thinking and reflecting on my own experiences. I like to look at equifinality. If you're looking for that lifer, it doesn't matter the journey you took to find it, what matters is that you found it. The same applies for assignments in school or projects at work.

Now, others could argue that it isn't the destination that matters, but the journey you take. Or put in field herping terms, "It isn't the animals that you find, but the paths that you hike." or something like that. I don't disagree here either. Both can be true.

Results matter, and it is the journey that got you there that is most rewarding. This might also explain:
azatrox wrote: "If you've been hiking for hours and haven't found anything, head back to the car...your target will surely be sitting 50 feet from it."

-Kris
Here is another general one

Learning how to listen can bring many rewards.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by BillMcGighan »

What I Learned About Life from Field Herping?


I learned to do my own brake jobs on the car, regularly.
I learned to buy the best brakes and tires that I can afford.
I learned that, over time, my kids and grandkids got used to having their drinks and Nintendos crash to the floor when I hit the brakes. (The dog kind of still holds his head funny, though.)
I learned that when a herd of deer runs across the road in front of you at 2 AM, continue to apply your brakes, because there is often a straggler that wants nothing more than to join the herd!
I learned that the only people up and around in the country at 2 AM are herpers, police, and weirdoes (of course, sometimes one person can be all three.)
I learned to follow my dreams (except that one where I'm naked in church.)
I learned that as an old herper, my short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and, my short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be. ;)

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

BillMcGighan wrote:What I Learned About Life from Field Herping?
I learned to follow my dreams (except that one where I'm naked in church.)
:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chris_mcmartin »

captainjack0000 wrote:When I wrote that, I was thinking and reflecting on my own experiences. I like to look at equifinality. If you're looking for that lifer, it doesn't matter the journey you took to find it, what matters is that you found it.

I think the disagreement comes from if someone's journey to find a lifer leaves a trail of destruction in its wake (rocks not returned to original positions, etc.).

For me, the journey to get the lifer is a large part of the story in itself. The actual sighting of the lifer is almost anticlimactic sometimes. :)

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Noah M
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Noah M »

Fair point Chris.

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Jeff
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Jeff »

I learned that I have the biggest snake collection in the World! I keep them out in the woods and deserts of our planet. Perhaps you have seen some of them?

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Josh Holbrook »

Jeff wrote:I learned that I have the biggest snake collection in the World! I keep them out in the woods and deserts of our planet. Perhaps you have seen some of them?

You're under arrest for multiple (million) counts of endangered species possession without a permit.

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Rich in Reptiles
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Rich in Reptiles »

Oh my goodness! Awesome thread! I totally agree with Sam's Dumb Luck Principle. :lol:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chris_mcmartin »

Josh Holbrook wrote:
Jeff wrote:I learned that I have the biggest snake collection in the World! I keep them out in the woods and deserts of our planet. Perhaps you have seen some of them?

You're under arrest for multiple (million) counts of endangered species possession without a permit.

Image

Image

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Josh Holbrook »

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Josh Holbrook wrote:
Jeff wrote:I learned that I have the biggest snake collection in the World! I keep them out in the woods and deserts of our planet. Perhaps you have seen some of them?

You're under arrest for multiple (million) counts of endangered species possession without a permit.

Image

Image

Low hanging fruit is my specialty :thumb:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Coluber Constrictor »

Try not to get too attached to a junk pile-they get cleaned up, or a dead tree could fall on your best stack of tin. :x

Also, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Coluber Constrictor »

And keep a notebook and write down everything you see.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Mike VanValen »

The early bird gets the worm. Or...the herp.

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by hellihooks »

Mike VanValen wrote:The early bird gets the worm.

that's what I used to tell my girlfriend Robin, early every morning... :crazyeyes: :roll: :roll:
Oh. and Josh...'low hanging fruit' will become more of a curse, as you get older... :roll: :lol: :lol: jim

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chris_mcmartin »

hellihooks wrote:that's what I used to tell my girlfriend Robin, early every morning... :crazyeyes: :roll: :roll:
Oh. and Josh...'low hanging fruit' will become more of a curse, as you get older... :roll: :lol: :lol: jim

To both of these points: "TMI" :lol:

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by brick911 »

I live by two sets of rules with herping (which should be applied to life).

1. Strike while the iron is hot. *If you are finding stuff, do not go home until you're afraid you'll pass out at the wheel.

2. Persistence. *If you aren't finding anything, keep going until you do.

Unfortunately, this has allowed for little gray area and is the reason I end up herping way too much.

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Josh Holbrook
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Josh Holbrook »

brick911 wrote:I live by two sets of rules with herping (which should be applied to life).

1. Strike while the iron is hot. *If you are finding stuff, do not go home until you're afraid you'll pass out at the wheel.

2. Persistence. *If you aren't finding anything, keep going until you do.

Unfortunately, this has allowed for little gray area and is the reason I end up herping way too much.
Too true... This conversation often happens with my wife:

Me: "I'm going out herping __________."

Wife: "What time will you be back?"

Me: "Well, if the gettins' good, I'll be out late... If it sucks, I might stay out late just to salvage the night... come to think of it, I'll be out late unless I have a mediocre night."

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Joshua Jones
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Joshua Jones »

Mike VanValen wrote:The early bird gets the worm. Or...the herp.
Yeah, but the second mouse gets the cheese. :lol: More than once, I've passed herpers stopped for something common, just to find something even better just down the road.

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Jeff Lemm
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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Jeff Lemm »

- forget your camera and you will find the best thing on Earth
-always trust your kids when they say they saw something
-stay up later than everyone else and keep herping, even on horrible nights
-go to new places!!!!!!
-forget boardlines and do some actual herping, lol

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by chrish »

I think the biggest thing I've learned from 40+ years of herping is to find joy in the herping itself.

I remember being disappointed on many trips in my youth. Now I'm never disappointed because I love the process. It isn't so much a case of setting my sights low, but rather having herping as my goal. Appreciate the time in the wild, stop and listen to the birds, smell the flowers, etc.. That way even if you don't find a single herp, you've had a great day.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Tamara D. McConnell »

These are field herpisms which I find I can generalize to my non-herping life:
1. Patience pays. Don't give up on a spot too quickly.
2. Get up early. If you don't, you're going to miss a whole lot of cool stuff.
3. It doesn't matter if people think I am odd for stopping to examine a DOR snake, or for prowling a road in a rainstorm. What other folks think of me is none of my business.
4. It's okay if the vast majority of folks don't understand your passion. You will meet a few kindred spirits who do, and they will be worth more than all the rest put together.
5. You might not find what you are looking for...you might find something much, much better than you ever imagined (I didn't find any pygmy rattlers that June night, but I stumbled across a rainbow snake. I was hoping to see a rat or a corn that April morning, struck out, but found 2 black pines...etc., etc. I have lots of examples of happy accidents, herping and non-herping.).
6. Listen. Just be still and listen with your whole body. There are clues all around you. Be still so you can notice them.
7. Every single person I encounter has something I can learn, provided I can keep my mind open.
8. Cooperation is more gratifying than competition. Competition is isolating.
9. You have that gut feeling for a reason. Heed it.
10. When I get that smug feeling like I have really got this figured out, I am fixing to learn otherwise, in a big way.
11. Change is the only constant. Flexibility is key to adapting.
12. Nature is not going to arrange itself around my schedule. I have to fit myself into its scheme of things. This one definitely applies to my professional life. I have also found it helpful in non-work groups. Trying to bend animals or people to my will is just not a sane policy.
13. The loudmouth broadcasting his/her allegedly vast knowledge is generally worthless. Find the quiet person who has an air of humility. That's the person who actually has a wealth of knowledge. He/she is secure enough to not need to broadcast it.
I could go on and on, but I already have. Thanks for reading, and thanks to all those who posted. I have so much enjoyed reading this thread!

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Daniel D Dye »

BillMcGighan wrote:What I Learned About Life from Field Herping?

I learned to do my own brake jobs on the car, regularly.
I learned to buy the best brakes and tires that I can afford.
I learned that, over time, my kids and grandkids got used to having their drinks and Nintendos crash to the floor when I hit the brakes. (The dog kind of still holds his head funny, though.)
I learned that when a herd of deer runs across the road in front of you at 2 AM, continue to apply your brakes, because there is often a straggler that wants nothing more than to join the herd!
I learned that the only people up and around in the country at 2 AM are herpers, police, and weirdoes (of course, sometimes one person can be all three.)
I learned to follow my dreams (except that one where I'm naked in church.)
I learned that as an old herper, my short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and, my short-term memory is not as sharp as it used to be. ;)
Good stuff, Bill! I can relate to most all of it! :lol:

Herping has taught me to surround myself with interesting people; Therefore, I only herp with interesting people.
Herping has taught me to seek out all creepy crawly creatures and to gaze upon them with amazement. Slow down, move quietly and enjoy the diversity of life we have on this shrinking planet.

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) »

Jeff Lemm wrote:-always trust your kids when they say they saw something
So true!

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Re: What I Learned About Life from Field Herping

Post by Richard F. Hoyer »

Sam Sweet wrote:
1. The "dumb luck principle": Always take at least one complete amateur. They have nothing to match your exquisitely-tuned "herper eye" and will look in the wrong places and find the best herps.
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During my 1993 - 1997 study of the S. Rubber Boa in the San Bernardino Mts., each spring I periodically searched a small, off trail rock outcrop at the USFS Arboretum property. That outcrop had been shown to me by retired science teacher George Hesseman, the local 'expert' on the SRB and who had found boas at that outcrop.

However, during my 5 year study, I never found a SRB at that outcrop but only several species of lizards and a couple of Mt. Kingsnakes. On 4/28/03, I stopped at that Arboretum site to show my wife one of the sites where years before I had conducted the SRB study. As proof of the validity of Sam's saying, as I was turning multiple rocks and small cover objects, my wife turns just one rock under which was a male boa.

Richard F. Hoyer

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