Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

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Dan Krull
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Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Dan Krull » April 20th, 2014, 12:59 pm

I know the person/people who did this either post on this forum, or are friends with someone who does, so I'm hoping they will get a chance to see this. Today, I took my five year old son, Max, out for one on one daddy time (hard when you have three kids) and I thought we would go to the spot where I, yearly, find striped, hypomelanistic ringnecks. I found rocks not returned to their positions, and 8 ringnecks crushed under rocks; including one striped, hypomelanistic individual.

I understand that your motivation is to "dominate" and show your awesome skills as a herper by finding as many milks as you can, but damn you for forcing me to explain the deaths of these snakes, which give him so much joy, to my young son. Fitch showed, on his research site, that ringnecks can live for nearly 20 years. The least you can do is wait ten seconds to let them crawl out of the way before tossing the rock down. There is more to herping than credit, glory, and numbers. If you're leaving this in your wake, you're doing it wrong.

We're always ranting about how people kill snakes in their yard, but one "herper" can kill dozens of snakes by herping carelessly.

Dead Ringneck:
Image
Dead Ringneck:
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Dead Ringneck
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Large adult female crushed, and still stuck to the bottom of the rock:
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Striped, hypomelanistic ringneck, our target for the day, crushed. Didn't even notice you found one! Loser.
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Rock not properly re-seated:
Image

Sorry for the downer, but I hope it will be educational.
For a more uplifting ending, here is a photo of one of about 15 striped, hypo individuals I have found over the last few years:
Image
Dan

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sjfriend
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by sjfriend » April 20th, 2014, 2:11 pm

I understand your outrage. I HATE when people trash a perfectly great site. Much worse they are killing a beautiful animal. A striped ringneck would be such a find.

Good you were able to find your son a live one.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by doccod » April 20th, 2014, 3:01 pm

That is truly sad. I wonder if the person (s) even know what they did, what stupidity. I knew better when I was a teen flipping rocks and boards.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Zach_Lim » April 20th, 2014, 3:18 pm

I have started to see the same thing happening at certain rock sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains- crushed ringnecks and lizards ("trash snakes" to some- NOT to me).

People need to really take the time and consider not only the target "big" game, but all life in general, as well as habitat.

I am sorry that you had to explain this to your children.

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kansascrote
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by kansascrote » April 20th, 2014, 4:14 pm

Milksnake hunters??????
I just saw the same thing in NE Kansas!

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Jacob » April 20th, 2014, 4:17 pm

Sad...

Gordon C. Snelling

Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Gordon C. Snelling » April 20th, 2014, 5:13 pm

Disgusting, may the next rock that is flipped land on them.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by yoloherper » April 20th, 2014, 5:41 pm

I have started to see the same thing happening at certain rock sites in the Santa Cruz Mountains
I counted 4 crushed lizards yesterday as well as numerous badly damaged rocks. It's a bummer :(

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Jeff
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Jeff » April 20th, 2014, 6:04 pm

I have tried to be careful in regard to replacing cover, and usually move any animal beneath until I can safely replace the object.

Sad Example: about 20 years ago I rolled back a long log, under which was a Marbled Salamander. The salamander never moved, and I carefully laid the log back in place, assuming all would be well. I re-checked the log about a week later and found that I had pinned the salamander's hind-quarters. The pelvis was compressed, and the pelvic area, hind limbs and tail were grown to mold. When liberated, the salamander made feeble efforts to crawl with its forelimbs. Its end was less than delightful.


Thanks for posting this Dan. It should be nail-gunned as a Sticky to the forehead of any careless maroon who has not gained the level of field etiquette beyond that of a non-trained 8 year old.

Jeff

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by simus343 » April 20th, 2014, 6:16 pm

There are even idiots within the herp community, as much as it pains me to recognize. I have put up game cameras in areas that I herp, where I am permitted to do so, when I see logs and rocks being incorrectly placed without thought. Luckily for inconsiderate herpers in these areas, I have never found a crushed animal. I have, however, had the pleasure to put a few of the people that I have caught into very awkward positions. This is as far as I go with this, I just have a pure disgust within me for anyone so inconsiderate as those who killed the ring necks; even if merely by accident -- there is no excuses :evil: :evil: .

A great read for anyone new to herping to avoid making a fool of themselves would be Reptiles and Amphibians of the Southern Pine Woods by Steven B. Reichling. In the beginning pages he brings special attention to preservation of micro-habitat and being conscientious of the small fauna in the ecosystem. For those that are experienced and make such foul displays of ignorance, again there is just no excuse.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » April 21st, 2014, 2:58 am

1.
Fitch showed, on his research site, that ringnecks can live for nearly 20 years.
I did not know ringers had that kind of longevity. Very cool! Do you think this applies also to the little Diadophis punctatus I find in my lower Alabama backyard?
2. The hypo ringer in your photo is simply stunning.
3. And of course, the dead animals...so very sad and disappointing. Such a heartrending waste of life.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by justinm » April 21st, 2014, 5:30 am

Sadly I've seen this first hand happening at a KHS field trip. Younger kids seemed to be the guilty parties, and I did take the time to educate them on carefully replacing rocks. Making sure that they clear all the ringnecks or whatever other small fossorial snakes live under the rocks. Hopefully the "big game" hunters take heed of these warnings, and get a chance to see the damage they caused.

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Dan Krull
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Dan Krull » April 21st, 2014, 7:18 am

Tamara, I would have to look it up again but I believe the longest he tracked one individual was 19 years. Fitch had a wonderful drive for detail, and his style has been a great inspiration to me. In contrast to the run and gun, grab one sample and publish as quickly as possible approach, he focused on large samples and the long view. Its fun to read through his data and see that he, for example, took weights on every ringneck he studied.

Everyone: I have it on good authority that the individual who is likely responsible for this has been informed of what happened. My hope is they will learn from this, and even if they don't start appreciating beetles and termites, they might adjust their hunting style to avoid more snake deaths.

Dan

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Zach_Lim » April 21st, 2014, 8:12 am

Excuse my ignorance, but what subspecies are those rings?

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Kerby Ross
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Meant to post this here ......

Post by Kerby Ross » April 21st, 2014, 8:58 am

Image

:)

Kerby...

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sjfriend
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by sjfriend » April 21st, 2014, 9:28 am

Wow! Kerby that hypo is stunning.

I too hope people get the message that all animals deserve better then a rock / log smashing just because its not what they were after. When I have done any herp discussions I always go over proper flipping etiquette. It can be tricky when you pick up an object and find a dozen slender salamanders that now need moving.

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Andrew G
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Andrew G » April 21st, 2014, 5:09 pm

This is sad :( I have on occasion come upon a dead snake under a rock, and I have always wondered if their deaths were herper related (some of them I was fairly certain were). Hopefully the offenders learned their lesson and will be more careful in the future.

Andrew

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Knightkrawler5 » April 21st, 2014, 9:21 pm

I would be pissed beyond belief if I would see this up here in WI. My father taught me from my youngest searching days to remove the snake, or other herp, and let them crawl back under after replacing the cover.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by muskiemagnet » April 22nd, 2014, 1:03 pm

not cool. i hope the person/folks involved do see the error. i was ignorant in my younger years.

-ben

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by hellihooks » April 22nd, 2014, 1:23 pm

A lot of 'seasoned' herpers won't deign to herp with 'newbs' or even new people. until they've been around a while and/or posted enough. I, on the other hand...take the first opportunity I get, to meet/herp with newbs...ESPECIALLY teenagers. No better way to get a read on a person than to watch them herp... and if mistakes are being made, to see how open they are to learning. The last teenagers I took herping had never heard of a snake hook... they had always noosed snakes (including crotes :shock: ) Needless to say, they knew NOTHING bout re-sealing AC/NC, or why it should be done.

It's on us to be proactive... NOT reactive... perhaps it can/will prevent stuff like this from happening as much.... National 'Take a newb herping day?' jim

and... towards dispelling any 'holier than thou' thoughts....having no mentor, when I was 18... I used to noose snakes as well and flat-out ravaged habitat... :roll:

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by jonathan » April 23rd, 2014, 3:11 am

I know that crazy things happen with snake densities in the midwest, but I can't believe there's an area where snakes are so common that someone could be so cavilier with them, even ringnecks. Every ringneck I've ever found has been a treasure, even when I've seen 15+ in one day.

(I know, I know, some spots midwest you see 150+ in one day.)

Personally, I know that in the process of flipping I've killed at least two fence lizards and two utas. All four were accidents and I felt horrible about each one.

One a better note, perhaps now I know what to call the pretty ringnecks I find. So these would be considered hypomelanistic?

Diadophis punctatus modestus

Image

Image




Diadophis punctatus vandenburgii

Image

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by chris_mcmartin » April 23rd, 2014, 3:40 am

jonathan wrote:I know that crazy things happen with snake densities in the midwest, but I can't believe there's an area where snakes are so common that someone could be so cavilier with them, even ringnecks. Every ringneck I've ever found has been a treasure, even when I've seen 15+ in one day.

(I know, I know, some spots midwest you see 150+ in one day.)
I caught a lot of grief because of my excitement over finding my first ringneck in 2009...in Kansas. I flipped one snake under a small piece of trash. After I figured out where, and more importantly, when to look, my success rate increased dramatically. My current personal best is 17 ringnecks under a rock the size of a sheet of notebook paper.

Even at those insane densities, if you lift a rock, it takes about 5 seconds for all the ringnecks to disperse into the surrounding grass and out of harm's way. Shoot, it takes me that long to COUNT that many snakes, so whoever did this does not care about recording their finds, at least for snakes that maybe aren't their target species. Even so, it can take about that long to "register" what's under a rock (sometimes several species, and lizards and inverts as well as snakes), so it's almost as if whoever did this wasn't really HERPING at all!

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by justinm » April 23rd, 2014, 5:25 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:
jonathan wrote:I know that crazy things happen with snake densities in the midwest, but I can't believe there's an area where snakes are so common that someone could be so cavilier with them, even ringnecks. Every ringneck I've ever found has been a treasure, even when I've seen 15+ in one day.

(I know, I know, some spots midwest you see 150+ in one day.)
I caught a lot of grief because of my excitement over finding my first ringneck in 2009...in Kansas. I flipped one snake under a small piece of trash. After I figured out where, and more importantly, when to look, my success rate increased dramatically. My current personal best is 17 ringnecks under a rock the size of a sheet of notebook paper.

Even at those insane densities, if you lift a rock, it takes about 5 seconds for all the ringnecks to disperse into the surrounding grass and out of harm's way. Shoot, it takes me that long to COUNT that many snakes, so whoever did this does not care about recording their finds, at least for snakes that maybe aren't their target species. Even so, it can take about that long to "register" what's under a rock (sometimes several species, and lizards and inverts as well as snakes), so it's almost as if whoever did this wasn't really HERPING at all!
Chris,

There was a day in Spring in Eastern Kansas that Chaddles and Pingleton and I were starting to get grumpy at how long it took to get all the ringnecks out from under the rocks. There was one rock that was likely a world record of some sort. I had personally 4 handfuls along with Chaddles. That's handfuls of Ringnecks each that we were moving out from under nearly every rock. The good new is that I often find Ringnecks along with Milks.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by MCHerper » April 23rd, 2014, 7:13 am

Very sad and extremely frustrating. I'm sorry to read that this happened.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Trey » April 23rd, 2014, 12:32 pm

justinm wrote:
There was a day in Spring in Eastern Kansas that Chaddles and Pingleton and I were starting to get grumpy at how long it took to get all the ringnecks out from under the rocks. There was one rock that was likely a world record of some sort. I had personally 4 handfuls along with Chaddles. That's handfuls of Ringnecks each that we were moving out from under nearly every rock. The good new is that I often find Ringnecks along with Milks.
That is an insane amount of ringnecks. Here in ohio there are a couple of "high density" areas where you can find upwards of 2 under a single rock, but handfuls? Thats nuts. Ringnecks are just as common as milks where I come from. I can't imagine discarding one in the way this individual did. What a douche. :evil:

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by dthor68 » April 23rd, 2014, 3:17 pm

Dan, I would not say "in our own ranks". I would never consider a collector "in my ranks". Sure we share the same interest but we are as different as night/day, democrat/republican. There is a huge difference between those who want to take and those who want to leave alone. That said, I am terribly sorry for what you and your son had to witness. There is always the possibility that they were killed on purpose. Last year I found three queen snakes and a midland water that were stoned to death at a nearby state park.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by gbin » April 24th, 2014, 12:24 pm

Dan Krull wrote:... I have it on good authority that the individual who is likely responsible for this has been informed of what happened...
A question for the other old-timers around here: How many times over the course of your herping career have you seen a story develop around something bad happening - say, a rattlesnake den appears to get cleaned out, or a bucket of snakes goes up for sale by the inch on a popular website that shall not be named here, or even just a bunch of people start showing up at someone's favorite "secret" herping spot, etc. - and the word of mouth suddenly fingers this or that (or these or those) person(s) as the bad guy(s), and then it somehow changes from word of mouth to The Truth That Everybody Knows - and it likely even stays that way after evidence comes out exonerating the supposedly guilty party (or parties)? I know I've seen it happen at least a few times, myself, and numerous more times I've seen folks' reputation in this hobby get trashed with nary a shred of actual evidence against them (but unfortunately no clear evidence demonstrating their innocence, either). You might think on this, Dan, before you indulge any more in whatever whisper campaign is apparently going on over these rock-crushed ringnecks. It could in fact have been nothing more or less than a few thoughtless kids.
dthor68 wrote:Dan, I would not say "in our own ranks". I would never consider a collector "in my ranks"...
Right, because a "collector" will do all kinds of terrible things to habitats and animals, obviously, that no one else would do. Even when "collector" is defined - as it quite often is - as "someone who collects more or has at least collected more recently than the person using the term in a pejorative way." :roll:

Really, do some folks genuinely never tire of looking for ways to divide people into "us" versus "them" and especially, of course, to put "them" down? :? For my part, I consider this kind of behavior as harmfully juvenile as the careless replacement of rocks that occasionally ends up killing animals beneath them.

It is a shame about those ringnecks though, Dan. As others pointed out above, it's a great reminder that young people and other newcomers to herping should be instructed on how to do it right by the animals and their habitats.

Gerry

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kelly Mc » April 25th, 2014, 12:54 am

Its very sad and enraging to see that, and Im sorry for the kids to have to see that Dan. So truly sorry.


The day before yesterday i was called downstairs because someone wanted me to identify a pic on their cell phone of a snake he found in Daly city by his apt.. So i looked at the pic. It was an albino cal king with a trauma to the tail. A very deep uniform crease, all the way through, as if it were hit with a metal object or held from getting away with it, perhaps by stepping on an object to stop the snake. The portion of tail posterior to the injury was completely necrosed. The snakes ribs and spine were horribly obvious even in the small picture. I told the guy what it was and that it was an escaped captive and that it needed medical attention and gave him a reference. As i turned and started back up the stairs i had to stop. It hit me how much pain the snake must be in, and what the odyssey of misery it could have been on to have lead to this point. I have seem many things like this, but instead of getting tougher, cooler, it is as if my tolerence has become allergin-like to a critical degree.

I realize the snake wasnt collected. But it was captive. As time has moved i cant be in denial about captivity, even at its most benign. There is great gravity.

But I do believe with many animals, herps included, that it is possible to create a cultured equation supportive of most physiological and behavioral necessity. That as we find out more and innovatively use the keys that reveal what is reality for them, we can provide it for them. I believe that and it keeps me going. I consider myself only a servant to them.

As a direct result of my views, i am at odds with many who have a different view. Its not a my way thing its a core thing.

It is the same with herpers who view all collecting and even captivity period as wrong. It is a deeply foundational rift that is organically melded into the heart.

The dream of all who love herps being united can not ever happen, not because some people think they are better than others, but because you can not unite with a belief system that your very core finds inherently wrong.

I found Thors post very diplomatic, and he seemed to use care in the comparitive terms he chose. He was being honest about the way he felt and believes.

I understand what you are saying too Gerry, and i appreciate feeling free enough with you because of your ability to not personalize different viewpoints in discussion, to be able to express my views too.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by gbin » April 25th, 2014, 5:37 am

Kelly Mc wrote:It is the same with herpers who view all collecting and even captivity period as wrong. It is a deeply foundational rift that is organically melded into the heart.

The dream of all who love herps being united can not ever happen, not because some people think they are better than others, but because you can not unite with a belief system that your very core finds inherently wrong.
I'm sure you're not surprised, Kelly, that I disagree in a number of ways with what you said above. ;) I won't go into all of it here, though, as it's not the topic of this thread.

I would have thought it was obvious to everyone, but perhaps not so I'll go ahead and spell it out: There is no evidence whatsoever, and not so much as a suggestion was ever made by the person who initiated this thread, that those ringnecks were killed by someone who was collecting snakes. Dan believes it was done by someone hunting for snakes and that seems a pretty reasonable suspicion because, after all, how many other people are out there who routinely disturb rocks in the landscape? He also believes it might have been done by someone who was herp hunting in a competitive fashion - e.g. seeing how many milksnakes they could find in the time they had available so they could brag about it afterward - and that too seems fairly reasonable as undue haste could understandably (mind you, I'm not saying justifiably) encourage someone to be reckless in how they replace the rocks they disturb. We've seen from these very message boards that competitive herp hunting has become quite a thing these days, too. But Dan never even hinted that collecting might have played any part in this story.

In contrast, dthor went there immediately, apparently with the certainty of someone holding facts in evidence despite there not actually being any such available in this case. Why? It seems pretty clear to me that he did so because of the "us" verus "them" mentality he indulges in on the issue, and because doing so gave him an opportunity to preach on the subject. "They" hold a different view on a subject of importance to him, which makes "them" bad not only in that respect (which would be foolish enough) but even in general (which is downright ridiculous). It must have been "collectors" who did this terrible thing because "collectors" are by definition terrible people capable of every terrible thing (and I guess people who don't collect must not be capable of any terrible thing :roll: ). Never mind, of course, the hypocrisy that often accompanies this particular mindset in our hobby: "Well, sure, I've taken an animal home before, but I'm not a 'collector' because..." :roll:

A person can hold a viewpoint close to his/her heart without demonizing others for holding alternate views, accusing those others of wrongdoing without any evidence or reason, or preaching his/her viewpoint where it doesn't really belong. There was nothing diplomatic in dthor using this thread on another topic - the unfortunate and avoidable crushing of those ringnecks, remember - to sling mud at many/most here because they hold a different view of collecting than he does. (If indeed he really does, given the common phenomenon I mentioned of people railing against "collectors" based on some distinction that is meaningful only in their own minds as to when/how many/why animals were collected.)

Gerry

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Bryan Hamilton
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Bryan Hamilton » April 25th, 2014, 9:05 am

Mistakes happen. Its how we learn. I don't think the folks that killed these ringnecks did it intentionally. What ever their motivation, hopefully they learn from their mistake.

I've killed snakes by not pulling them out from under rocks. I was by myself and got on a nice roll flipping copperheads. Lots of copperheads. It was so much fun and I quickly realized that I could cover a lot more ground and flip a lot more rocks by not taking the time to pull every snake from under the rock before I replaced it. In knew better but when I went back to the spot a week or so later, I started finding dead copperheads under the rocks. My first thought was to blame someone else. But it was a remote area, I hiked in over a mile. Who else could it have been other than me? Its not a mistake I'll make again.

I tend to agree with hellihooks. We all make mistakes. None of us is a perfect herper. Its important to take the time to work with the next generation of herpers on field etiquette.

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Kyle from Carolina
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kyle from Carolina » April 25th, 2014, 10:12 am

Truly unfortunate, I would also suspect that they were younger kids. The situation does, however, remind me of a question I've been meaning to ask the forum.

Just a little while ago, I was in the south okanagan in BC and I noticed a ton of upturned rocks and logs that were not returned to their original orientation. I spent about half of my time putting them back in their proper place. Most of the rocks were a manageable size for a single person but a few of them were quite small (smaller than my hand), which led me to believe that the person was looking for scorpions too. This made me think though...are there any wild animals that flip rocks and logs for tasty grubs and bugs? I know that brown bears will do this, hence the shoulder muscle hump, but will black bears? What about badgers? Boars?
The state of the grass underneath the displaced rocks/logs led me to believe that it all happened at more or less the same time, several days before I found them, which would suggest eager herpers, but I dunno...Canada isn't really a herping hotspot and there was more disturbance here than I've ever seen before anywhere in the US.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Antonsrkn » April 25th, 2014, 10:37 am

but will black bears? What about badgers? Boars?
I observed a black bear tearing logs apart and flipping them on one occasion, didn't see it do the same with rocks but if it thought to flip a log then why not a rock?

If all the rocks were fairly small, then perhaps raccoon? I have not heard of them flipping stones like that, but they're fairly smart and very dexterous. Around here they frequently tip over trash cans and pry the lids off them, if they learned to do that they could certainly learn to flip stones.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by sjfriend » April 25th, 2014, 11:16 am

Kyle- yes, both bears will rip logs apart, roll them and rocks (large n small) looking for anything edible. I have personally witnessed both. I have also watched a black bear in CA hit a rock face perfect for mt kings and rubber boas. Afterwards you would have thought a herper had razed the place, all sorts of cap rocks moved. Some only slid a little, while others were rolled down the hill. Luckily don't think it got any snakes due to current weather but a few weeks earlier it would have had quite a herp meal.

I have also had untrained (or uncaring) herpers hit a great a/c area and leave it destroyed so I have dealt with the unhappy job of spending all my time replacing everything.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kelly Mc » April 25th, 2014, 3:06 pm

So what is being proposed is that animals could have flipped the rocks, looking for something edible, but then, didn't eat what they found. Leaving just the Ringnecks. :?

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kyle from Carolina » April 25th, 2014, 3:25 pm

Kelly - I don't think anybody is proposing that the animals flipped the rocks in Kansas and then left the ringnecks (I'm sure that they're delicious). It just reminded me of another case of where I saw a bunch of flipped rocks, some of which seemed unlikely to come from a herper so I was curious as to whether animals flip for food. It was a bit of a tangent...I apologize for the confusion.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by mikez » April 25th, 2014, 4:30 pm

[quote="dthor68"]Dan, I would not say "in our own ranks". I would never consider a collector "in my ranks".quote]

Wow am I getting sick of the Holier Than Thou attitude that is so in vogue on these forums these days.

I see this issue as coming from two different possible sources. First is commercial collectors. I have no idea what the value of red milks is, but if it's much, I can see assembly line type collecting for milks by collectors with dollar signs in their heads being so harmful.

The other idea I had was the current infatuation with being the guy who enters the most data in the data gathering contest these forums have become. Slow down and look what you're doing.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kelly Mc » April 25th, 2014, 7:53 pm

Kyle from Carolina wrote:Kelly - I don't think anybody is proposing that the animals flipped the rocks in Kansas and then left the ringnecks (I'm sure that they're delicious). It just reminded me of another case of where I saw a bunch of flipped rocks, some of which seemed unlikely to come from a herper so I was curious as to whether animals flip for food. It was a bit of a tangent...I apologize for the confusion.
No apology necessary but your graciousness is noted, as well as my mistake in not following the posts closer.

If someone has an earnest conviction about something and they state it, why is it seen as trying to be 'holier than thou' ?

I would much rather taste one persons bold personal truth, than many more less earnest, acceptable to the greater majority fare.

Its not an outrageous or new idea to leave nature as found, or to refrain from taking captives from their homelands. Its a very old ideal.

And no one knows for sure, but maybe it is holy.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Kelly Mc » April 25th, 2014, 8:48 pm

Before anyone takes this thread to an arduous direction, or abandons it like a foreign newspaper, a few weeks ago I watched my 2 year old niece try to smooth a piece of bark back on a tree. Later that day I saw her singing to a rock. It was the holiest thing I witnessed all year.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Dan Krull » April 25th, 2014, 8:53 pm

Gerry- I know better than to get into an argument with you over anything but a cold beer, so I'll let your comments largely lay where they are, but I must say, I do not appreciate the phrase "whisper campaign." I have made a public post, and it served the exact purpose it was intended to. I got the message to the right parties, and I helped to educate other herpers who might visit Kansas.
I may not be as old an old timer as you, but give me a little credit. I wouldn't have posted this if I didn't have reasonable suspicion of how this occurred. To boot: I have received confirmation of my suspicions via Facebook, and the message reached its mark, so your comments are irrelevant to this particular case, although I would agree in general that prudence before accusations are made is wise. I have been accused of wackadoo things myself, and it isn't fun.

To those who think it might have been a racoon or a bear? There are no bears in Kansas, that I know of, and if a raccoon had flipped the rock, he would have eaten the snake, right? Also, what is the most parsimonious explanation in this situation.
1. That a racoon lifted and nearly perfectly replaced 15 rocks on a small stretch of roadside, smashing 8 ringnecks, but not eating them, or...
2. A herper got a little careless and smashed some snakes at a small, relatively crappy, herping spot on his/her way to "the main" herping spot. I understand where you're coming from, but if you ever make it out this way, I'm sure you'll quickly see why I came to the conclusion I did.

To those of you who think it might have been people just killing snakes for fun:
If that were the case, why would they put the rocks back in place? I would assume they would flip them on their backs and leave them. Also, why would there be so few dead snakes? If people were flipping rocks to kill snakes, they could have killed dozens, maybe hundreds of them. Here are some quick snaps of rocks as flipped at the same site to illustrate my point:

People intentionally killing snakes could have killed all of these with a well placed boot:
Image
Image
Image

Anyway, I hope none of that sounded argumentative... well except for you Gerry. :) ... I just wanted to answer some of your questions about alternative hypothesis as to what transgressed.

Dan
PS... If you're in my area, you should consider coming out for the Fort Leavenworth herp survey tomorrow. 1:00 pm at the air field on Chief Joseph's Loop.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by jonathan » April 26th, 2014, 3:00 am

mikez wrote:
dthor68 wrote:The other idea I had was the current infatuation with being the guy who enters the most data in the data gathering contest these forums have become. Slow down and look what you're doing.
:lol: Someone taking the time to photograph every snake because they want the data, then moving on so fast they kill the very snake they just photographed?

Heck, at least the proof would be obvious - all you'd have to do is check the database and see who had just collected data on that very snake. Of course, you won't find it.

There are a limited number of people who are trying to enter the most data in the data contests. Like, maybe a dozen. You can look up the names yourself. Are you seriously accusing one of those guys of ever, ever doing something like this in the name of data collection?


On a semi-related note - latest contest to come out of a NAFHA chapter: who can remove the most glass/plastic bottles and other trash that can have a negative impact on wildlife:

http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... 16#p221516

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Tamara D. McConnell » April 26th, 2014, 4:20 am

Its not an outrageous or new idea to leave nature as found, or to refrain from taking captives from their homelands. Its a very old ideal.

And no one knows for sure, but maybe it is holy.
I think that it is holy, totally (which is not to say that I have always lived up to that standard, because I have not).

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by gbin » April 26th, 2014, 4:49 am

Dan, I recognize and applaud the fact that you attach your name to your FHF posts, and from what I know of you I don't think it was ever your intention to start a whisper campaign against anyone. But once you got the ball rolling that's exactly what it became (in total, not just here at FHF), nonetheless. The best thing to do if you have evidence of someone's wrongdoing is talk directly to them about it (or to law enforcement if the wrongdoing involves illegal activity), and if you only have suspicion rather than evidence then maybe still talk to them - but much more carefully and expressing your doubt - or maybe just monitor the situation for a while to see if you can figure it out. In either event, talking to others about them rather than talking directly to them is inherently unfair and almost certain to devolve into a whisper campaign no matter your intentions.

I think you had great reason to post about this incident, by the way. Such transgressions should be exposed (and I don't envy you having to explain and console your kids over this incident), and do serve as a lesson to us all not only to be careful when replacing cover but also to take the time and effort to instruct others on doing so. I just think you should have left off discussing the possibly guilty parties here or anywhere else.

Kelly, no one leaves nature as found. Humanity exhibits a wide spectrum of behavior with respect to what we do to/take from nature, but we do all fall somewhere on that spectrum. (None of us manages to produce $hit that doesn't stink. ;) ) People who make a big deal of drawing lines on it to separate - and always, apparently, to elevate - "us" from "them" pretty clearly do it for love of self more than anything else, in my opinion. dthor wasn't just espousing an idea he holds dear; he was using that idea to demonize a whole bunch of people he knows virtually nothing about just because their view of collecting (might) differ from his own, and doing so where it had no apparent relation to the topic under discussion.

Gerry

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by jonathan » April 26th, 2014, 5:14 am

gbin wrote:Kelly, no one leaves nature as found. Humanity exhibits a wide spectrum of behavior with respect to what we do to/take from nature, but we do all fall somewhere on that spectrum.
I agree strongly, strongly with that point. While I don't collect anything myself, and am not a big fan of pulling animals out of their habitat, I think that we all know that development and consumerism take far, far more out of nature than any direct interactions that anyone is having with it on a personal level. 99% of the nature we lose in the long run is not going to be due to a handful of people collecting here and there, but via the habit every one of us partakes in of transforming more and more of the Earth's landscape into habitat for humans at the expense of habitat for everything else.

That all being said, there are ways of interacting with nature that are respectful to it and take seriously who we are as fellow creatures in the world, and ways that are disrespectful and demean ourselves in the process, even if it doesn't make a big real-world impact on population numbers. I'll always advocate for going the respectful route, which the actions of the person Dan highlighted at the beginning of this post clearly were not.

I do think this was a good educational opportunity you started here Dan.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by dthor68 » April 26th, 2014, 5:37 am

gbin wrote:
Kelly Mc wrote:It is the same with herpers who view all collecting and even captivity period as wrong. It is a deeply foundational rift that is organically melded into the heart.

The dream of all who love herps being united can not ever happen, not because some people think they are better than others, but because you can not unite with a belief system that your very core finds inherently wrong.
I'm sure you're not surprised, Kelly, that I disagree in a number of ways with what you said above. ;) I won't go into all of it here, though, as it's not the topic of this thread.

I would have thought it was obvious to everyone, but perhaps not so I'll go ahead and spell it out: There is no evidence whatsoever, and not so much as a suggestion was ever made by the person who initiated this thread, that those ringnecks were killed by someone who was collecting snakes. Dan believes it was done by someone hunting for snakes and that seems a pretty reasonable suspicion because, after all, how many other people are out there who routinely disturb rocks in the landscape? He also believes it might have been done by someone who was herp hunting in a competitive fashion - e.g. seeing how many milksnakes they could find in the time they had available so they could brag about it afterward - and that too seems fairly reasonable as undue haste could understandably (mind you, I'm not saying justifiably) encourage someone to be reckless in how they replace the rocks they disturb. We've seen from these very message boards that competitive herp hunting has become quite a thing these days, too. But Dan never even hinted that collecting might have played any part in this story.

In contrast, dthor went there immediately, apparently with the certainty of someone holding facts in evidence despite there not actually being any such available in this case. Why? It seems pretty clear to me that he did so because of the "us" verus "them" mentality he indulges in on the issue, and because doing so gave him an opportunity to preach on the subject. "They" hold a different view on a subject of importance to him, which makes "them" bad not only in that respect (which would be foolish enough) but even in general (which is downright ridiculous). It must have been "collectors" who did this terrible thing because "collectors" are by definition terrible people capable of every terrible thing (and I guess people who don't collect must not be capable of any terrible thing :roll: ). Never mind, of course, the hypocrisy that often accompanies this particular mindset in our hobby: "Well, sure, I've taken an animal home before, but I'm not a 'collector' because..." :roll:

A person can hold a viewpoint close to his/her heart without demonizing others for holding alternate views, accusing those others of wrongdoing without any evidence or reason, or preaching his/her viewpoint where it doesn't really belong. There was nothing diplomatic in dthor using this thread on another topic - the unfortunate and avoidable crushing of those ringnecks, remember - to sling mud at many/most here because they hold a different view of collecting than he does. (If indeed he really does, given the common phenomenon I mentioned of people railing against "collectors" based on some distinction that is meaningful only in their own minds as to when/how many/why animals were collected.)

Gerry
WOW! Did you have a bad day Gerry?

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by Antonsrkn » April 26th, 2014, 5:48 am

To those who think it might have been a racoon or a bear? There are no bears in Kansas, that I know of, and if a raccoon had flipped the rock, he would have eaten the snake, right? Also, what is the most parsimonious explanation in this situation.
1. That a racoon lifted and nearly perfectly replaced 15 rocks on a small stretch of roadside, smashing 8 ringnecks, but not eating them, or...
2. A herper got a little careless and smashed some snakes at a small, relatively crappy, herping spot on his/her way to "the main" herping spot. I understand where you're coming from, but if you ever make it out this way, I'm sure you'll quickly see why I came to the conclusion I did.
I was the one who mentioned raccoons and bears in my post, i probably should have been more clear but I was responding to Kyle from Carolina's question as to whether animals ever flip rocks. As Kyle mentioned I don't think anyone is saying that animals flipped then replaced these rocks crushing the ringnecks underneath, thats pretty ludicrous. I think its clear humans were responsible for this particular incident in Kansas.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by gbin » April 26th, 2014, 6:05 am

dthor68 wrote:WOW! Did you have a bad day Gerry?
Nope, in fact I'm having a great week! :) I've been seeing lots of wildlife, if not yet many herps this far north (though last night I went to a talk on timber rattlesnakes and also drove by a number of spring peeper choruses on the way home), and a few minutes ago I even had a bald eagle fly up to and briefly land in the tree right in front of me as I was scrounging around here at FHF. Thanks for asking, though!

Do you always think someone's having a bad day if they call you on your BS?

Gerry

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by BDSkinner » April 26th, 2014, 6:40 am

My dad would always say, "Leave it like you found it, or better than it was". This mainly applied to the kitchen, but something I have used for everything else outdoor related. It is sad to have the idea of trash herps, but I can understand why. To me, I very uncommonly come across snakes and these stinky guys are always a good ten minutes of fun for me. I'm not sure what I'd do finding handfuls under one piece of cover! The most you can do is let it be known, and thanks for putting this out there.


-Brad

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by dthor68 » April 26th, 2014, 6:59 am

gbin wrote:
dthor68 wrote:WOW! Did you have a bad day Gerry?
Nope, in fact I'm having a great week! :) I've been seeing lots of wildlife, if not yet many herps this far north (though last night I went to a talk on timber rattlesnakes and also drove by a number of spring peeper choruses on the way home), and a few minutes ago I even had a bald eagle fly up to and briefly land in the tree right in front of me as I was scrounging around here at FHF. Thanks for asking, though!

Do you always think someone's having a bad day if they call you on your BS?

Gerry
It may be BS to you but I take a lot of pride in the fact that I would rather starve to death than sell a wild animal. You are in fact the one who has taken this thread off course. You are the only one here preaching a viewpoint. And, you are the only one here demonizing another. And I am sure you will continue.

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by gbin » April 26th, 2014, 7:43 am

dthor68 wrote:It may be BS to you but I take a lot of pride in the fact that I would rather starve to death than sell a wild animal. You are in fact the one who has taken this thread off course. You are the only one here preaching a viewpoint. And, you are the only one here demonizing another. And I am sure you will continue.
Uh-huh, that's what this thread is all about, people selling wild animals. And you think "collectors" (which it wouldn't surprise me includes you, going by the definition of someone who's still holier than thou) are really swell people, too. :roll:

The one thing that seems completely honest and accurate in your contributions to this thread is that you take a lot of pride, dthor. Indeed, you're making it more and more clear that pride is the major (if not the only) motivation for all this garbage you're dumping here. Just for fun, why don't you take another peek at Dan's opening post and see how far afield you're trying to drag the discussion from its actual topic - ringneck snakes crushed by apparently carelessly replaced rocks in a KS field, remember? - just so you can show us all what a superior herper you are.

Gerry

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Re: Snake Killers In Our Own Ranks

Post by mikez » April 26th, 2014, 7:46 am

[quote="jonathan][/quote]

:lol: Someone taking the time to photograph every snake because they want the data, then moving on so fast they kill the very snake they just photographed?

Heck, at least the proof would be obvious - all you'd have to do is check the database and see who had just collected data on that very snake. Of course, you won't find it.

There are a limited number of people who are trying to enter the most data in the data contests. Like, maybe a dozen. You can look up the names yourself. Are you seriously accusing one of those guys of ever, ever doing something like this in the name of data collection?
[/quote]

I confess I don't exactly know how the data base contest works. Wouldn't think they were photographing every snake for data, is that how it works? These guys with 800 redbacks salamanders have submitted 800 redback photos? I was thinking they were counting milks and kings and estimating ringnecks.
No I'm not accusing anyone, just threw that out there. Comes from my perception of these forums after lurking and participating since it formed. It may not be accurate to the big picture but the impression can be formed of a bunch of people rushing around the countryside flipping everything is sight with the sole purpose of counting more stuff than anyone else. I kinda felt that might leave disruption in its wake, at best. It sure is not the way to appreciate or learn anything about nature in my flawed, dysfunctional opinion.

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