Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

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gbin
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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » July 31st, 2014, 5:30 am

Kfen wrote:... I can go and smell all the flowers in national parks I want, however, I cannot pick them.
And in many national parks you can't smell them, either, without first paying the entrance (= a user, not a consumer) fee.

Why isn't there a single, clear, logical and consistent set of rules that applies absolutely everywhere, covering absolutely everything? Hmmm, you think maybe it's because rules develop at different times and places, in different ways and for different reasons? Or maybe even just because people aren't always clear, logical and consistent? ;)

Some folks put an awful lot of effort into trying to rationalize their behavior, so far as I can tell more than would be required simply to behave better. Oh well... :?

Gerry

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chrish » July 31st, 2014, 6:38 am

I have to catch back up with all the new additions, but I couldn't let this pass uncontested...
This below I agree with wholeheartedly. Note the logical contrast with the sentence preceding it in the original - in effect it says "government" should not trick or nudge normal, "97% good" individuals into outlaw behaviors.
This seems a pretty good example of actor-observer bias. But I digress.....


I think the fundamental problem is that most (all) jurisdictions seem to have a 19th century perspective on the way wildlife resources are used and write laws from that perspective. Under that perspective, a person is either consuming the resource, or they aren't. They are hunting/fishing, or they aren't. And people who are hunting/fishing intended to remove that resource from the wild.

But now people utilize wildlife resources in many more ways and it no longer makes sense to use just the consumptive:non-consumptive model. Clearly catch/release fishermen, birders, nature photographers, herp photographers, nature recordists, etc. are all using the resource in non-consumptive ways but can't be pigeonholed into the hunter/non-hunter categories.

Maybe it is time for herpers to get off their whiney duffs ( ;) ) and set about to define a solution to the problem whereby wildlife codes are changed to allow for hands-on, non-consumptive herping. This herping has to be identified as a legitimate non-compsumptive use of the wildlife resource that requires its own permitting system. Literally a herping license, not a hunting license which covers herps. And it would have to stipulate that if you are in possession of containers/bags, you need to have a consumptive (hunting) license. (You couldn't drive down the road with snake bags and deli cups in your car saying "I only intended to take photos").

The TX Herp stamp would be a candidate place to start, but it would have to be expanded to what it does and doesn't include, and it would have to be released from the hunting license corequisite.

Does anyone know of any jurisdiction that offers a catch/release-only fishing license, for example? That would be the kind of model to work from.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by VICtort » July 31st, 2014, 1:54 pm

chrish wrote:I have to catch back up with all the new additions, but I couldn't let this pass uncontested...
This below I agree with wholeheartedly. Note the logical contrast with the sentence preceding it in the original - in effect it says "government" should not trick or nudge normal, "97% good" individuals into outlaw behaviors.
This seems a pretty good example of actor-observer bias. But I digress.....


I think the fundamental problem is that most (all) jurisdictions seem to have a 19th century perspective on the way wildlife resources are used and write laws from that perspective. Under that perspective, a person is either consuming the resource, or they aren't. They are hunting/fishing, or they aren't. And people who are hunting/fishing intended to remove that resource from the wild.

But now people utilize wildlife resources in many more ways and it no longer makes sense to use just the consumptive:non-consumptive model. Clearly catch/release fishermen, birders, nature photographers, herp photographers, nature recordists, etc. are all using the resource in non-consumptive ways but can't be pigeonholed into the hunter/non-hunter categories.

Maybe it is time for herpers to get off their whiney duffs ( ;) ) and set about to define a solution to the problem whereby wildlife codes are changed to allow for hands-on, non-consumptive herping. This herping has to be identified as a legitimate non-compsumptive use of the wildlife resource that requires its own permitting system. Literally a herping license, not a hunting license which covers herps. And it would have to stipulate that if you are in possession of containers/bags, you need to have a consumptive (hunting) license. (You couldn't drive down the road with snake bags and deli cups in your car saying "I only intended to take photos").

The TX Herp stamp would be a candidate place to start, but it would have to be expanded to what it does and doesn't include, and it would have to be released from the hunting license corequisite.

Does anyone know of any jurisdiction that offers a catch/release-only fishing license, for example? That would be the kind of model to work from.
Chrish,

I appreciate your sentiment but there are details and major issues to consider.
A common theme expressed has to do with "take" or attempt to take. Those who regard themselves nonconsumers often think they did not "take", but most wardens/rangers etc. disagree. Where does one draw the line on what is a "take"? It has a profound impact on determining what is enforceable.

I have never heard of unlicensed catch and release regulations for species that are managed/regulated on public land/waters.


Hair splitting when you look at ESA and various public projects regarding Take.

Catch and release angling does result in some mortalities, I have witnessed sophisticated anglers and dolts, the dolts injuring and killing and wasting... I have found dead salmon in the river just downstream from fly casters , apparently exhausted by being hooked and released. I respectfully disagree this is a good model, though I think it justifies a license.

Do people who don't kill in the field and take it home impact wildlife?
How many birders who hoot up an owl, night after night, does it take? How many photographers viewing and photographing a timber rattler den site or a rock slide with banded rock rattlers does it take before the snakes alter behavior, go to less favorable areas, etc.? Many photographers, not all, will manipulate an animal to get a better shot. I have found herpers with live animals in cans, bags, ice chests who assure me they are not collecting, only holding the animal until time to photograph next morning, etc. in my mind these constitute "take". They all rationalize and justify what they did, virtually all have an excuse...

Many of is have seen habitats damaged by rock rolling, exfoliating rock slab removal, logs denuded of bark etc. are these Takes and acceptable behavior ? Maybe they just plan to photograph..?

Infidel made a lot of sense and he apparently has experiences similar to my own with herpers. There are huge disparities in ethics, as there are in anglers and hunters. Someone said this herping is in a grey zone... I agree and it is difficult to categorize or regulate.

Some folks complaining really should go on a ride along, as I hear such naive comments. Almost everyone says they are just photographers, yet a search which causes indignation often reveals they are collectors and they don't tell the truth. Rationalization of their behavior is common, even to violating laws / regulations. For persons who truly are simply in situ photographers who keep coming up with " what ifs", I sympathize but encourage you to use peer pressure to improve ethics and try to propose enforceable regulations. Much of what I am reading is not enforceable.

I applaud those who will make changes lawfully , and who will make the herpers perspective known to the commissioners/agencies. Clearly herpers are discriminated against and in part because they do not effectively lobby like most other user groups. Building communication between herpers and Texas Wardens is a great early step, nice move Chris McMartin and others. Bad laws come to pass because we were not represented. ( No better example than RS Round-ups, morally/ethically indefensible, but they lobby and get what they want)

Vic

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » July 31st, 2014, 9:21 pm

For the record:

I get the "Super Combo" Texas hunting/fishing license every year (with the exception of 2010, I believe, because my 2009 license was good through August 2010, and I was overseas by herpin' season/opportunity in 2011).

The Super Combo covers everything traditionally required of a hunter/fisherman...fresh and saltwater fishing, game birds, deer tags, turkey tags, etc. I'm basically covered for everything...EXCEPT herping on rights-of-way. For that, I purchase the herp stamp.

When I say "herping," I mean being able to handle them if desired (except on the roads--still illegal no matter how much money you pay), and yes, I do collect (very occasionally) on the unpaved rights-of-way (last instance was 2013 when I got my most recent pair of TX banded geckos).

The way I see it, I'm covered SHOULD I feel like doing x, y, or z--if a friend wants to go dove hunting, I'm covered. If I want to wet a line if I'm at the beach, I'm covered. If I want to handle a herp for a photo, I'm covered.

I do NOT get the license and stamp just to "save hassle"--if I somehow found myself in Texas for a weekend and didn't have a license for whatever reason (not likely), I would still go out and hope to see some wildlife. I would take pictures and not touch. I can't speak for what others would do in such a situation, but I sincerely believe I would be well within the law in doing so.

While Gerry and others may not see a distinction between a hunter, a catch-and-release fisherman, and a photographer who does not handle their subjects, I still categorically do. Perhaps I'm alone in this.

I am not attempting to "justify my selfish behavior" or "defend behavior because I think I deserve [what--to manipulate for photos? Collect?], as I buy the stamp for the express purposes of handling should I feel the need to, and collecting within established regulatory guidance. If I didn't have the stamp, I would do neither of those things, and I don't see any need to attempt to shame someone for not buying a stamp if they don't do those things either.

As VICTort says--catch-and-release fishing is not the best analogy to herp photography. All sorts of unintended consequences can (but not always) spring from the practice: you're physically harming the fish by hooking it, you're potentially damaging the slime coat, etc. You are returning the resource to the environment, theoretically giving someone else a chance to enjoy it, but it's not always 100%. However, you can't "incidentally" catch a fish (except for introduced carp jumping into your boat!); in most cases you MUST use certain equipment--hook and line, nets, etc.

Photographing a herp in situ doesn't take anything away from the resource (the herp)--many people could photograph it at once; others could photograph it the next day, or year, etc.

Now, if you're turning rocks (especially if you're not putting them back), that's more of that gray area. However, some people turn rocks for inverts (crazy, I know). No stamp, let alone license, is required to do that in TX. They likely inadvertently uncover herps. Maybe they photograph them too; maybe they don't. Must they pay? Is their photo better or worse for the animals and the environment? What if they don't care about herps and hey, if they find no inverts under a rock they flip, they just leave it overturned? Are herpers still the "bad guys" that must be singled out for extra licenses and permits, no matter how lightly they tread?

Don't get me wrong--I appreciate the opposing viewpoints shared, even if I still disagree with them on both a philosophical and legal basis. 8-) They definitely give me additional perspectives to consider, and hopefully others feel the same way. Thank you for providing a long stretch of civil dialogue. I'll still buy y'all a beer should the situation present itself. :beer:

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by infidel » July 31st, 2014, 10:25 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote: While Gerry and others may not see a distinction between a hunter, a catch-and-release fisherman, and a photographer who does not handle their subjects, I still categorically do. Perhaps I'm alone in this.
Agree 110% and no, you're not alone. There's a HUGE difference in catch and release fishing. I'm actually more of a fishing nut than a herper and I can't rmember the last time I kept a bass, Large or smallmouth. I catch and release the, 100% I catch and release snakes 99.9% (I haven't kept one in 12 years!). The difference it simple, When I catch a bass, sometimes, they swallow the hook which mostly fatal, sometimes, I hook them in the gills, which is bloody and sometimes fatal, sometimes, I accidentally snag them when they nip at the hook and I try to set the hook. This is injurious but usually not fatal. I fish in tournaments that require live fish at the weigh-in and then they are subsequently released, MANY die anyway.

Now, lets look at herps; I detain (stop and pose them) herps all the time, photo them and let them on their way. NONE of them die as a result of this. In fact, in can be argued that in MANY cases, my detainment (and probably 100% of other herpers) has saved their lives. I can't tell you how many times, I've picked up Texas Torts or Texas Horned Lizards (both endangered or protected btw) off the busy highways, carry them to a more secluded location nearby, photo them and release them. If someone can't see the difference between the two, it's because they don't want to.

Lastly, I wouldn't put too much stock in Gerry's disagreement. Sometimes, I think he disagrees with people just for the sake of disagreement. <--he'll disagree with that. :)

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by dery » August 1st, 2014, 12:32 am

Lloyd Heilbrunn wrote:If looking for herps is hunting why do other states require a fishing license?
:crazyeyes:
From my understanding, states like Arizona put amphibians in fishing and reptiles in hunting to help enforce its permit law and similar regulations.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by kansascrote » August 1st, 2014, 3:57 am

This whole topic has been overthought!
Smellin flowers, looking at fish, running naked in parks?????
Who cares?
It is the LAW, follow it or spend more time in Washington DC fighting it
not here worried about it!
Herping is a hobbie!
All hobbies have rules and cost!
Its the way the world works!
You pay to get into zoo's
so whats the big deal?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by dery » August 1st, 2014, 4:22 am

I'm on the same page with all 3 of Chris' main POV's including #2. I don't know why some of us are shy of the law. Most LE are great people. I've had more problems with public investigators and highschool security guards.

Chris, do you know your cyber mate's username yet? I'd like to see his posts when they come up. Does he know about Becker's databases? If not I'm throwing them out-

http://www.herpmapper.org/

http://www.naherp.com/recent.php

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Jimi » August 1st, 2014, 8:41 am

But for, say, birds, it's pretty easy to treat them differently. I'm pretty sure no state requires a hunting license to go out and seek birds for the purpose of photography.
Actually it's getting harder all the time, and not just with birds. Vic offered some very good examples:
How many birders who hoot up an owl, night after night, does it take? How many photographers viewing and photographing a timber rattler den site or a rock slide with banded rock rattlers does it take before the snakes alter behavior, go to less favorable areas, etc.? Many photographers, not all, will manipulate an animal to get a better shot. I have found herpers with live animals in cans, bags, ice chests who assure me they are not collecting, only holding the animal until time to photograph next morning, etc. in my mind these constitute "take". They all rationalize and justify what they did, virtually all have an excuse...

Many of is have seen habitats damaged by rock rolling, exfoliating rock slab removal, logs denuded of bark etc. are these Takes and acceptable behavior ? Maybe they just plan to photograph..?
Much like digital photography has "opened the floodgates" and vastly increased the number of people taking pictures of wildlife, the use of bird-call apps and amplification is proliferating. This is absolutely non-consumptive in the traditional sense. But it is initiating/soliciting interactions from the animals that, whether considered individually or in the aggregate, are causing behavioral responses with corresponding "costs" to the animals in terms of expended energy, lost foraging time, increased predation risk, and so on.

I'm making these arguments from an animal-welfare perspective, since I believe everyone here has some degree of concern for the well-being of the creatures that so interest us. But if we look again at the subject of this thread, it's "Game Warden Feedback". Vic's examples with herps retained overnight for the purposes of photography, or of habitat damaged for the purposes of encountering photographic subjects, are even further along the continuum from "no doubt, no take" to "that's looking like a take to me", than my birder amplified-bird call example. This continuum is a judgement call which is back-stopped by something in writing that you can look up ahead of time, but which is typically made by a fairly serious guy, with a gun, and a badge, and a job to do out in the field. A job that pays shit and can literally - not "literally" - get him killed, but he does it because he truly believes in it.

The arguments Vic, Bob, and other retired or active-duty law enforcement staff are making are just as - maybe more - important as my animal-welfare ones. If the guy whose job it is to enforce the rules on the books, cannot distinguish our behavior from illegal behavior, well there's a problem. Maybe several problems:

- Maybe we're actually engaged in illegal behavior. We may realize it, we may not. Doesn't really matter.
- Maybe the rule he's trying to enforce is so poorly written as to be unenforceable, or open to virtually any interpretation. Sucks for both of you.
- Maybe he's just a dick, born and raised that way. Sucks to be him.
- Or maybe he's just spent so much time dealing with dicks, that he's not inclined to entertain a bunch of argument from you, that looks an awful lot like "trying to worm your way off the hook". That reminds him of all the other dicks he's dealt with did. Sucks to be you, dealing with him and his baggage.

Note that ALL of these possible problems offer you a chance to resolve them. It just might take some effort, time, discipline, and/or focus.
Lloyd Heilbrunn wrote:
If looking for herps is hunting why do other states require a fishing license? :crazyeyes:
Every state wildlife agency I know of is divided into different "sections" or "bureaus" or "divisions". Hairy things and feathered things are typically administered by one of these parts, and fishy things by another. (Coastal states' wildlife agencies usually have separate fresh and marine parts, to manage their fish.) Note that law enforcement is - as far as I know - ALWAYS stuck in yet another part - in a separate bureau or whatever it's called. The guys who work there have to know all the rules, of all the different parts of their agency. They enforce the fish rules, the bird rules, the mammal rules, the WMA property-use rules, etc. And the herp rules.

Reptiles and amphibians until quite recently - the 1970's or 80's - weren't even dealt with at all. They were just ignored, no rules no nothin'. Once they "stopped" being ignored (in all honesty, they're mostly still practically ignored) they had to be stuck in one of these parts. A few agencies stick reptiles, or even just terrestrial reptiles, in one part - with the hairies and feathereds, and stick amphibians and sometimes also aquatic turtles, in another - with the fishies. In those agencies, you might need a hunting license to catch snakes, and a fishing license to catch frogs. You'll definitely be dealing with 2 different sets of managers on the agency staff, if you're trying to get rules created or changed for those snakes and frogs. Just like if you hunt deer and also fish for trout, you deal with 2 different sets of managers.

The different agency parts draft the rules for the critters they administer, and request (from their Board or Commission) the ability to sell tags, licenses, stamps etc to raise money to administer their management programs. Your tax money typically doesn't pay for much, if any, of this work. (Changing this often requires a legislative action - amending or creating a law. That's a much bigger hurdle than securing a Board's rule change.)
- Tax money usually goes into a state general fund, and is then appropriated every year by your legislature, to the various agencies that execute the laws of that legislature. Appropriated with some latitude to the end user to decide exactly what to spend it on.
- License or tag or fee money goes straight to the agency, and is called "restricted funds". Restricted, in the sense their use is restricted to the things the license or tag covers. We can't spend fishing license money to manage squirrels, for example.

This way that management is funded is an example of the "user pays" business model. "User pays" is fundamentally different from the "everyone pays" business model. Wildlife is not managed under "everyone pays". Hence all the discussion here of licenses etc. ONE OF THE REASONS HERPS ARE STILL PRACTICALLY IGNORED BY STATE WILDLIFE AGENCIES, IS THAT THERE ARE STILL NO PAYING USERS. It is no longer possible for a state wildlife agency to actually ignore herps. So the cheapest, simplest way to manage herps, for which there is no money to do so, is to enact simple rules like "do whatever you like", or "you cannot touch them". Simple, but not very good.



IF YOU WILL NOT DEMAND, AND ATTEND, AND PARTICIPATE IN, AND DO THE HOMEWORK BEFORE, MEETINGS TO DETERMINE HOW HERPS ARE GOING TO BE MANAGED IN YOUR STATE,

AND IF YOU REFUSE TO PAY FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF HERPS,

YOU HAVE COMMUNICATED LOUDLY AND CLEARLY THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE A ROLE IN HERP MANAGEMENT.

DO YOU WISH TO BE CONGRATULATED? WELL DONE.




If you have tried to get an audience with your agency, and have not yet been successful, don't give up. Maybe it was them, and maybe it was you (e.g., you didn't come with enough organization or preparation, or self-discipline and maturity, or something - to appear like a credible stakeholder.) But please don't give up. And don't let them shut you out. You are entitled to a seat at the table. But you might have to go take it - don't wait for it to be pushed towards you.

I hope I have communicated loudly and clearly. I'm sorry if I've come across as pedantic to those of you who already know this stuff. Many, many people do not know this stuff, and their ignorance causes both them and me significant frustration. But I'm trying to do something positive about it.

Now I'm going herping. Consumptively - killing bullfrogs. For which pleasure I unfortunately cannot yet buy a license. So bullfrog management will remain a volunteer endeavor, rather than a professional one. And it will continue to fail. Until the herpers in Utah get their act together, and work their tails off until they need a license to herp. Their wildlife Board won't allow the agency to require such a license, until the Board is convinced (by the users) that is what the users want, and/or (by the agency) that is what the resource requires. What gets the agency's attention? That which pays the bills. How are the bills paid? With licenses, tags, etc. It's a vicious cycle maintaining the status quo, and there's only one way to break it. Stakeholders, working together with the agency.

OK, now I'm going herping. Or hunting. Whatever, ha ha. Both.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 1st, 2014, 9:27 am

Jimi wrote:Reptiles and amphibians until quite recently - the 1970's or 80's - weren't even dealt with at all. They were just ignored, no rules no nothin'. Once they "stopped" being ignored (in all honesty, they're mostly still practically ignored) they had to be stuck in one of these parts. A few agencies stick reptiles, or even just terrestrial reptiles, in one part - with the hairies and feathereds, and stick amphibians and sometimes also aquatic turtles, in another - with the fishies.
Nobody yet has brought up why keeping terrestrial (AND aquatic) herps under the purview of a fishing license, rather than a hunting license, makes sense:

I most cases (TX included), to get a hunting license you must have completed a Hunter Education/Safety course. Such courses by and large are about FIREARM hunting practices, which, unless you're shooting turtles, bullfrogs, etc. you wouldn't have any need for when herping. Granted, I took my class 25+ years ago, so maybe they have expanded the topics covered. Seems a little over-the-top to require someone to take a class covering hunting procedures they don't use.

That being said, nobody who's asked to see my hunting license/herp stamp in the field while herping has ever asked to see my hunter education card...nor would I think there would be a need to unless a particular warden really has it out for herpers and is desperate to find something they've done wrong.

- License or tag or fee money goes straight to the agency, and is called "restricted funds". Restricted, in the sense their use is restricted to the things the license or tag covers. We can't spend fishing license money to manage squirrels, for example.
I REALLY wish this were in fact the case with TX and its herp stamp. However, by statute, the money raised from herp stamp purchases goes into the "General, Boating, and Water Safety" fund (not sure if that's the exact name) rather than the Nongame Management fund. :? I'd like to work to change that, so herpers could see a more direct benefit of purchasing the stamp. As it is now, there is a geographic divide among some herpers--some eastern-TX herpers think the stamp is strictly a West Texas concern and do not buy the stamp--even if they're herping the rights-of-way. Similar to how people buy a duck stamp even if they don't hunt, being able to buy a herp stamp (especially without having to buy a basic license 3-4 times or more the cost of the herp stamp) to directly support statewide herp management programs (and Texas has several to choose from!) would be a much better situation and will get more support from herpers, not just in TX but likely in MOST states (see below).

Their wildlife Board won't allow the agency to require such a license, until the Board is convinced (by the users) that is what the users want, and/or (by the agency) that is what the resource requires. What gets the agency's attention? That which pays the bills. How are the bills paid? With licenses, tags, etc. It's a vicious cycle maintaining the status quo, and there's only one way to break it. Stakeholders, working together with the agency.

Interesting that we're having this discussion as I am concurrently working frantically to finish the analysis of the Herpers Survey I conducted over the past fall/winter...I haven't gotten to the Utah section yet, but so far, respondents have overwhelmingly said they would support buying a herp stamp in their state if the money went to researching and managing herps. My report will ultimately go out to states' wildlife agencies, and while it cannot be considered authoritative/definitive due to the difficulties with accurately sampling a population of unknown size via an opt-in survey, it should be very informative in helping move the ball forward on many of these concerns.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Gluesenkamp » August 1st, 2014, 10:59 am

Hunter's safety is not required to get a hunting license (as long as you are not going to shoot things).

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 1st, 2014, 11:27 am

Gluesenkamp wrote:Hunter's safety is not required to get a hunting license (as long as you are not going to shoot things).
Perhaps I was "reading too much" into the statutes? From the TPWD FAQ:

Do I need the Hunter Education Certificate to purchase a hunting license?

No, you are not required to show your certification when you purchase a license, but proof of certification or "deferral" is required to be on your person while hunting.
http://www.tpwd.texas.gov/outdoor-learn ... cation/faq

Seems like another one of the "gray areas" which I would hope wouldn't come up because, as you say, we're not shooting things when herping.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 1st, 2014, 12:22 pm

Here is the latest exchange I've been having with the aforementioned Game Warden. This is essentially a cut-and-paste from Facebook (not as easy to do as I'd thought!). I only made the following changes:

- Changed the warden's name to simply "GW" for anonymity purposes
- Deleted a few sentences about Facebook and FHF site administrative/operation issues

This is a long read, but again, in the spirit of fostering dialogue and goodwill, I think it's important.
GW: Well some mixed reactions to what I said. I am waiting on account activation from admin then I am going to chime in and explain some things.

Chris McMartin: Excellent. There's a broad spectrum of folks on the board, so there was bound to be a variety of responses.

GW: My old partner from out here just made a case on a guy that ran over and kept a canebrake in east texas. It's all about who gets caught messing up

Chris: Was it a herper that ran it over? I guess technically, anyone who picks up a snake fits the strictest sense of the term, but generally herpers don't want to kill their quarry.

GW: No just some guy. Said he ran over it. Was an OGT call. No way to prove how he attained it but he was in possession of a protected species
Cost him a ticket and 273.50 in civil restitution

Chris: I've never personally found one here in KS, but there is a population within Kansas City itself! A coworker found a dead one and brought it to me, and I deposited it with the Sternberg Museum out in Hays.

GW: This guy was just taking a "trophy" basically. No scientific or educational purpose

Chris: Did you ever get your user name approved? I assume you're still lurking and following the conversation...in my opinion it's been pretty passionate, yet civil--an unusual combination given the nature of most such online discussions!

GW: No it hasn't got activated yet. I was wanting to chirp in but I think I'll sit it out. All points I was wishing to clarify were mostly covered. Some comments were way off, others spot on. I'll see if this has made any change in the compliance rate out here.

Chris: Would you have to clear your proposed comments through TPWD first?
I suppose it would probably depend on whether you used your real name or not, or gave a "my opinions do not necessarily reflect the official position of TPWD" type disclaimer.

GW: Yeah prolly. I mentioned all this talk on the forum to my captain and he seemed worried. I told him it was completely anonymous, he said good. Haha
I don't need to. Maybe all this talk will cause the herper community to per say "police themselves" and think a little more about what they are doing out there.

Chris: Exactly...I've made the point (among other pastimes as well, not just this one) that self-policing is preferable, and if you're not willing to do so, someone else will.

GW: Yup. And a good point is that the stamp allows you to utilize the unpaved public ROW. No stamp is required for private property. It is grey when it comes to photographs but you can goto not needing a license to needing one in seconds by manipulating, impeding, harassing a snake in order for it to stay still for a good photo.
Hard to tell someone's purpose because a herper may just photograph most common specimens. While if the unlikely prize herp appears (alterna I.E.) they may just collect it.
The proof for us would be witnessing them picking up/messing with a herp. If they are confident that they are are not going to get caught then go ahead. I'll say that many have made that choice, whether hunting, fishing, or Herping, they chose wrong and paid the price when a Game Warden came out of nowhere and addressed the violation(s).
Chris: I tend to agree. I also have pics of turtles which were run over right in front of me while I photographed from the shoulder, because legally I couldn't touch them!

GW: Others on the forum question why an ornithologist or entomologist are not required to have a license. I think it tends to deal with that most birds are federally protected and the ease of handling without traps or nets is near impossible. Bugs are not a wildlife resource by state/federal law, while yes, they are very important to the ecosystem.

Chris: Falconers apparently have a stronger lobby than herpers, at least in TX. You ever come across the traps they use on the shoulder of the road? I personally have never seen one.

GW: Wardens have a lot of discretion. The culmination of the facts at the situation has a lot to do with it. Me personally I don't have much problem with parking off the road and moving a turtle across the road in the direction it was pointing then moving back down the road. You're right, turtles don't stand a chance on the road and too many find sport in hitting them in which there is no law against "accidentally" hitting wildlife. A deer is considered a far more valuable resource than a turtle, snake, toad, or frog. Now if someone tries to his the animal then takes it with them we have an illegal means and methods issue. TAKE being the key word. In my opinion, when a herper is road cruising and moving snakes off a public road (a public road with sparse traffic as preferred to herp on out here) the end result is usually a photograph or addition into their bag/container. All of which requires a license due to the handling of the herp. At that point I can usually articulate several violations. Hunt reptile or amphibian on public road, no stamp/invalid stamp, no/insufficient clothing, or hunt with artificial light from motor vehicle. Any of which that fits the bill.
When multiple violations are present a wardens discretion can tend to diminish.
I too have witnessed turtles being ran over. I was on patrol and saw a box turtle on the road. I turned around to look at it and had to wait on a vehicle to go by before pulling over by the turtle. The car I was waiting on ran the turtle plum over. I very much wanted to pull the sucker over but he had violated no law. The turtle was in the track generally traveled by a vehicle tire so possibly he didn't see it. People not keen on wildlife generally do not see wildlife that enthusiasts see with little to no trouble. At any rate, that turtle is dead and I have seen many more turtles on the road and in nature since. No real impact on the population occurred, and I imagine the mortality rate for turtles is far greater by natural means (I.E. predators, drought, disease, and old age). This goes for other herps and wildlife that is commonly found on public roads as well.
I can say that I would consider it a "feather-legged" citation to write someone a citation for moving a turtle across the road incident to them traveling to and from work or home.
Falconers are different. they are allowed to trap from the public roadway. They are also subject to yearly inspections of their facilities where they house their birds by Game Wardens. There are also not nearly as many falconers as there are herpers. I have never seen a falcon trap on the side of the road nor do I have any falconers in my county. They are also required to have many more licenses to be able to posses birds of prey. I would recommend reading up on the law regarding their practice and seeing the hoops that they must jump through. Be glad that herpers do not have to deal yearly inspections of their snake enclosures for compliance.

Chris: Excellent points!

GW: Thanks. I'm going to expand a little now that you have me rolling on these issues.

Chris: I encourage you to post this into the discussion on FHF--especially the bit about the falconers, because I know that has been a little contentious as to why they had a specific exemption from the law.

GW: When someone searching for herps moves a herp off the road it muddies the water extremely. The same way if someone who is dressed in camouflage, in possession of rifle, hunting license, coolers for meat and other hunting equipment had hit a deer on a public roadway would be subject to more questioning to find out if it was really an accident or not. I realize the intent of herpers is not to kill their quarry but the relation is that herpers are looking for an interaction with herps as deer hunters are looking for an interaction with deer. End results being far different.

Chris: I think these would all be excellent points to make in the open discussion!

GW: I dont think I am saying anything that would damage the department but i think I would also like to remain anonymous in this ordeal. I am not saying anything I wouldn't tell a herper on the side of the road during a contact though.

Chris: To get the word out while protecting your anonymity, is there anything from your comments here you would be ok (or not ok) with me quoting (without naming you)?

GW: Im fine with that. i know you will post them in a clear manner on the forum.
I would like to make another point that a herper told me during a compliant contact.

Chris: I prefer to directly quote (cut and paste) so nothing is "lost in translation" and it's clear they're your words and not my interpretation/filtering.

GW: During a contact of a herper, with a hunting license and reptile amphibian stamp who was parked off the road and walking cuts while wearing a reflective vest. I mentioned to him first that I was very happy with his compliance and attitude towards our check of his compliance. Then I asked him about a theory I had concerning the location of snakes from the public right of way, paved and unpaved. It went something like this: I understand that road cruising is a time honor tradition and probably the easiest and most enjoyable way to herp. I would think though that walking the ditch with a light would uncover many more snakes in the grass and rocks that are not spotted while cruising the road. The herper replied very excitedly, the people who are road cruising have no idea what they are missing! I ran this idea past another herper I contacted, this one not in compliance I'll add, he somewhat agreed but mentioned it may have to more with the amount of area they can cover. Valid point as well. My outlook on finding snakes is in college during biology classes we never sped through an desired animals environment without stopping, looking, listening, or examining in detail for the animal. Points we stopped were determined by interval, I.E bird counts, or by searching micro habitats which had favorable conditions for the animal. If I'm not mistaken, there is a very scientific purpose to herping? Yes, I thought so. Why wouldn't a herper apply their knowledge of scientific data collection techniques to the hunt for herps? I am not saying to park and walk for miles and miles. One can drive, park, and search. Then drive a specified interval or to the next micro habitat then park and search some more. Doing this would allow one to cover more area and be very thorough while maintaining compliance with the law. The mission of Game Wardens statewide.
Yeah do that I meant just give a little pretext to the issue I am addressing in the cut and paste segment. One more point and im done. a short one.
This is the definition of Hunt as defined by law in Texas: To capture, trap, take, or kill, and includes any attempt to capture, trap, take, or kill.
There seemed to be much confusion to that. And all these points, observations, and examples I've made apply only to Texas, and my opinions do not necessarily reflect the official position of TPWD.
thats all
I also recommend citing these laws and the faq. PWC 62.0031 http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/D ... /PW.62.htm and http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/faq/huntwil ... tamp.phtml
PARKS AND WILDLIFE CODE CHAPTER 62. PROVISIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO HUNTING
http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us
(2) "Open season" means the period of time during which it is lawful to hunt a specified animal, game animal, wild fowl, or bird.

Chris McMartin: I'll try to assemble all of this into one post to hang on FHF...I very much appreciate it and I think many others do as well.

Again, ATTITUDE on both sides of a discussion will help out a great deal.

AND: if you mess up, fess up. If you want to handle a herp on the ROW, comply with the law (get the stamp, wear the vest) or don't complain if/when you get written up!

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » August 1st, 2014, 12:27 pm

We are making this way too complicated.

Hunting licenses were created to let you legally kill stuff ie take it out of the wild. The herping equivalent is collecting.

Unless you are collecting, you should not need a license. Not to take pics, not to move off a road, not to chase down, and not to pose. Same rule as for other wildlife.

And unless LE sees you bag something, you are not collecting, just like you are not poaching just because you have a shotgun or fishing rod in the car.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » August 1st, 2014, 1:08 pm

I did not see the long quote when I posted.

Does the GW really think there is much more herp mortality from natural means than autos? I would highly doubt that. And he misses the point that if you can avoid some auto mortality by helping an animal, why should that be illegal? Just curious, anyone ever been cited in Texas for taking an injured bird, deer, or possum to a wildlife sanctuary without a hunting license??


I am far from an expert on Texas herping, only taking one ten day trip there before the law changed the first time. I saw over 40 snakes, 3 were on cuts, all the rest on the road or shoulder. So in my very limited anecdotal experience, he is wrong about that too.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by infidel » August 1st, 2014, 1:57 pm

Some good points made by the Warden Chris. I must point out one thing however that always seems to get lost on the folks in Austin who repeatedly told me, "Why do you want road cruising back if you can just walk the bar ditches?" It's very simple; there are many herpers who cannot walk the bar ditches or in the case of a small child who wants to go herping with dad, too dangerous. We have several herpers who are physically incapable of walking the bar ditches. To illustrate this point, we had a (VERY well spoken girl) from the Austin area who happens to be wheelchair bound speak for us at the committee meeting in Austin. She testified that she used to go herping every year with her family and it was the time of year that she looked forward to the most. Then all of the sudden, TP&WL changed the law and she is now SOL. They took away something VERY important to her. We also have some elderly folks in the community and some with other medical conditions that prevent them from walking the bar ditches. They are all SOL and that's why we fought to get road cruising back. My little one's want to go out with me herping but when walking the bar ditches, I have to keep one eye on them and one eye on what I'm looking for. With road cruising, I can put them all in the car and go on our "treasure hunt" as my daughter calls it. There are already LOADS of laws on the books in the Texas Traffic Code (failure to maintain a single lane, failure to dim headlights, driving on an improved shoulder, et al.) that can cover bad drivers. Wardens are peace officers in the state of Texas and can and will cite you for obvious traffic violations. I personally back them 110% on this as well as we don't need goofballs, driving down the road hanging a spot light out the window trying to drive and shine a cut at the same time. This is BAD distracted driving and at present, we are able to claim a very clean record on accidents. While you are driving, 100% of your attention should be on the road.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 1st, 2014, 2:20 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:While Gerry and others may not see a distinction between a hunter, a catch-and-release fisherman, and a photographer who does not handle their subjects, I still categorically do. Perhaps I'm alone in this.
infidel wrote:Agree 110% and no, you're not alone. There's a HUGE difference in catch and release fishing...
YET AGAIN, I haven't pushed the catch-and-release fishing comparison (though I'd never agree there's a "HUGE" difference because there isn't). Others have. I drew other comparisons (e.g. the visited versus passed-thru national park) that are more relevant to my point and that allow those who like to rationalize their behavior less wiggle room - and so far as I can see you and others holding an opposing view have chosen not to even try to meaningfully deal with the comparisons I actually drew, instead just bringing up the catch-and-release fishing complaint again and again. By this point I really have to wonder, might that be because you can't meaningfully argue with what I actually said? ;)

Anyway, Chris, I certainly realize you're not alone in your desire to focus on consumption rather than use, my main point throughout this discussion. And I do know that in your case, at least, it's not out of a selfish desire to rationalize not buying a license. Maybe that's true of some others here, too, but I would bet that generally speaking it's not. You and I, then, simply have an honest difference of opinion on this. I'm ok with that if you are - though of course I still hope to see regulations move even more in the direction I laid out than they already have. :beer:

Gerry

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by luv_the_smellof_musk » August 1st, 2014, 2:58 pm

Gerry, the example I just cannot get past are some college biology students struggling to buy books having to buy licenses or a 17 year old kid who can barely afford gas to go road cruising. How do you suppose deterring those kids from getting out in the field will help wildlife and foster an interest in it?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by dery » August 1st, 2014, 4:42 pm

Texas herp stamps are relatively cheap for Texans and outsiders.

Reptile and Amphibian Stamp
Type 178:$10
Required for any person to capture indigenous reptiles or amphibians on the shoulder of a public road or any unpaved area of a public right of way. Holders of lifetime licenses and persons under 17 years of age are not exempt from this stamp.

Arizona now has affordable prices for out-of-staters as well. Unlike 2 years ago.

Short-Term Combination Hunt and Fish
Allows take of all fish species statewide (including at Community Fishing waters), small game, fur-bearing animals, predatory animals, certain nongame animals, and upland game birds. A valid stamp is required for the take of migratory game birds. Not valid for the take of big game animals.
AZ residents-$15/day
Nonresidents-$20/day

I believe AZ hunting-fishing combos include both classes of herpetofauna. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by cbernz » August 1st, 2014, 9:56 pm

gbin wrote:That's not what I said or meant. I spoke of "pointedly making use of" and "target[ing] for recreational activities," in other words, putting in effort specifically to hunt for (regardless of whether the hunt ends in a killed/collected/photographed/what-have-you animal). A parallel can be found in our national park system. I recently had occasion to visit Cedar Breaks National Monument in southwestern UT, which offers one example. It's one of those parks where some people drive through with the intent of seeing the park whereas others do so simply with the intent of getting from one end to another as they're traveling along. One is supposed to pay the park's fee if one stops at any of the overlooks (though many don't, I suppose rationalizing to themselves "why should I have to pay just to look?"), i.e. pointedly makes use of the resource, whereas one need not pay the fee if just driving through. Some people like to maintain the self-serving fiction that going somewhere/doing something just to photograph or look isn't using the resource. I can't agree with that.

And yes, I agree that some interpretation by field officers is still involved. But it's a lot easier for them to tell whether a person is hunting herps than it is for them to tell what the person intends to do with whatever herps s/he finds.

Gerry
Photography (i.e., pointing a camera at something you are looking at and clicking a shutter) is not hunting, it's just a form of observation. The difference between me looking at an elk and me taking a non-flash photo of an elk is a small hand motion and a fake electronic shutter noise, which I usually mute anyway. It's not "pointedly making use of" a resource any more than standing in front of a bakery window looking at croissants constitutes me purchasing those croissants. You can argue that the act of getting within close range of that elk is "hunting" in the sense that I'm stalking and encroaching on its territory in the same way I would if I had a gun in my hand, but I find it hard to argue that the outcome of the hunt isn't the most important thing, considering the vast difference between taking a picture and shooting a bullet. When you buy an elk tag, you're not paying for the right to stalk an elk, you're paying for the right to kill it (and hopefully eat it).

I've never been to Cedar Breaks, but I've been on plenty of park roads with self-pay stations at overlooks or trailheads. Most of the time, if I'm at a place like that, it's because I did research and figured out there was something (an animal, a mountain) I wanted to see, and I'm paying the fee to use the resource. The thing is, unless it's a manned station, there is nobody there to divine my intent. I could be coming to hike a trail, or I could be coming to make out, pray to Allah, take a nap, or just dump my car while I walk all the way back home (if I'm a very strange person). The park service (or whoever is collecting the fees) isn't interested in intent, they are interested in the outcome, which is my car being parked in their lot. If I use the lot to turn around because I'm lost, or I park for a minute to read a map, or check my oil or something, nobody's going to care that I didn't pay the fee, regardless of what my intent was in being there. Even at a manned station, if I tell them I forgot something at home and I'm just going to turn around, and the end result of my visit is that my car is NOT going to be parked there, they aren't going to give me any trouble, even if I originally intended to use the resource just like everybody else.

The way I look at it, photographers are more like the people just driving through than the people stopping at the overlook. Their impact on the resource, beyond that which is a normal result of their respective modes of transportation, is minimal. And anyway, it's not like people driving through a scenic road in Utah aren't seeing the same (or similar) scenery that the overlook people are seeing. They are just enjoying it in a more transitory way - kind of like photographers. People who stop to move a turtle off the road are more like the people who pull into the overlook to read a map. They are only "using" the resource because they find themselves in situations where they need to be briefly in contact with the resource to accomplish tasks which really have nothing to do with the activities for which fees are charged (hunting and collecting a reptile, or parking and leaving a car for an extended period).

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 2nd, 2014, 4:42 am

luv_the_smellof_musk wrote:Gerry, the example I just cannot get past are some college biology students struggling to buy books having to buy licenses or a 17 year old kid who can barely afford gas to go road cruising. How do you suppose deterring those kids from getting out in the field will help wildlife and foster an interest in it?
Well, I'm not buying the argument on behalf of poor college students. I know that college is a lot more expensive today than it was when I went, but I also know that unlike then, nowadays virtually none of them earn and pay anything at all toward (never mind a significant portion of) the expense. You can't make the argument that they need to be studying rather than working, either, as the obvious corollary is that in that case they also need to be studying rather than herp hunting. I know, too, that nowadays in the great majority of cases they're all walking around with the very latest smartphone in their pockets, etc. In my opinion, for young (and older) adults it's really a matter of spending priorities.

For children, on the other hand, I agree with you. I think there should be substantially reduced user fees - just a token, really, to help them think the right way about their obligation to resource management and conservation - or maybe even no user fee at all. Even for clearly consumptive (but not commercial) uses.

cbernz, allow me to paraphrase you in order to (yet again) make my point:
cbernz wrote:[Shooting] (i.e., pointing a [gun] at something you are looking at and [pulling the trigger]) is not hunting, it's just a form of [killing]....
Sorry, but as I said before, I'm just not willing to indulge the (generally self-serving) focus on the result of a hunt rather than on the hunt itself. There's a difference between you happening upon an elk and then taking a picture of it, and you going out searching for elk, finding one and then taking a picture of it, and I believe you know that. I realize that our regulations are currently inconsistent (e.g. you can go out searching for these animals and/or in these places to photograph without paying anything, but you can't go out searching for those animals and/or in those places without paying anything), but if we're going to try to become more consistent - and of course I believe we should - then it should be in the direction that makes the most sense, which is user fees to support public resource management and conservation. Indeed, I'd say that movement is already well underway.
cbernz wrote:I've never been to Cedar Breaks, but I've been on plenty of park roads with self-pay stations at overlooks or trailheads. Most of the time, if I'm at a place like that, it's because I did research and figured out there was something (an animal, a mountain) I wanted to see, and I'm paying the fee to use the resource. The thing is, unless it's a manned station, there is nobody there to divine my intent...
You could certainly make that argument in that case, but I could also argue otherwise. (And if you're just turning around because you forgot something at home then you're attempt to use the resource has been aborted, hasn't it?) As to no one being there to divine your intent, I already pointed out - and it went undebated ever since - that our laws and regulations rely a great deal on voluntary compliance; that's not an argument that people should feel free to do whatever they wish.

In any event, the Cedar Breaks example remains.
cbernz wrote:The way I look at it, photographers are more like the people just driving through than the people stopping at the overlook. Their impact on the resource, beyond that which is a normal result of their respective modes of transportation, is minimal...
The emphasis here should really be on the fact that this is simply the way you look at it. Feet through the forest, wheels on the road, etc.... on a per unit basis (as user fees work) the impact is virtually nil in any of these cases. In the aggregate, though, the impact is not virtually nil in any of these cases (depending on one's perspective, if not on the available physical evidence); that's a big part of why the resources need to be managed and conserved, and why user fees are such an appropriate way to help pay for it.
cbernz wrote:... it's not like people driving through a scenic road in Utah aren't seeing the same (or similar) scenery that the overlook people are seeing. They are just enjoying it in a more transitory way...
If you think about it some more, I suspect you'll come to see that this is actually an argument emphasizing the importance of intent. ;) Again, you know whether you're in that national park to visit it or just to pass through, and you know whether you're moving that turtle off the road because you were out looking for herps or just happened upon it while going somewhere.

Gerry

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Jimi » August 2nd, 2014, 9:48 am

Thanks Chris for posting GW's conversation with you. One of the things that distinguishes herpers from most other wildlife users is that most herpers don't have much interaction with wildlife-agency law enforcement. They have very little experience with LE. So the impressions they form are often second-hand, or based on just 1 or 2 first-hand experiences. I don't think that is a good thing, for herpers or for LE. So thanks again for introducing us all, so to speak.

This is for anyone, not directed to Chris -
Jimi wrote:
Reptiles and amphibians until quite recently - the 1970's or 80's - weren't even dealt with at all. They were just ignored, no rules no nothin'. Once they "stopped" being ignored (in all honesty, they're mostly still practically ignored) they had to be stuck in one of these parts. A few agencies stick reptiles, or even just terrestrial reptiles, in one part - with the hairies and feathereds, and stick amphibians and sometimes also aquatic turtles, in another - with the fishies.


Nobody yet has brought up why keeping terrestrial (AND aquatic) herps under the purview of a fishing license, rather than a hunting license, makes sense:
I can interpret this in 2 ways - the more creative one is to infer Chris is saying "at least, not until the explanation we just got", and the literal one is to read he's saying "and that's the way it still is - nobody has tried to make sense of this".

In the event the second, literal interpretation is what Chris meant - and in case I so successfully buried my explanation in a pile of text that nobody but Chris could follow me - I'll pull out the most-relevant piece:
The different agency parts draft the rules for the critters they administer, and request (from their Board or Commission) the ability to sell tags, licenses, stamps etc to raise money to administer their management programs.
By "agency parts" recall I mean the different bureaus/sections/divisions. And that e.g. deer and squirrels are always managed by a different "agency part" than fish. This makes sense because the ecology of the animals is so different, the management skills required are so different, the user groups are often quite different, and - importantly - the funding streams available for their management are different. Around 1937 (for "wildlife") and 1950 (for "sportfish") Congress established the excise tax and trust fund system that together (as "the cash and the bank") provide the money coming through USFWS to the states to manage e.g., deer ducks bass etc. The states sell licenses and tags to "match" (3:1, fed:state) that federally-collected money.

The 1937 law is far more open to interpretation that the 1950 law. The former can be interpreted (and is, by some states) to include non-game wildlife such as herps, non-game invertebrates, and non-game fish. The 1950 law explicitly concerns sport fish; there's really no option for interpretation. Most (but not all) states choose not to interpret the 1937 law to include non-game wildlife. If this were not the case - if herps were managed with Pittman-Robertson funds - then herpers would be buying hunting licenses, not fishing licenses. And they would be buying licenses.

So Chris is right, when he suggests it's really weird that in some states, herps are managed by the fish part of the state "fish and game" agency. At least it's weird when you're looking back in time, looking for some "intelligent design". But the wildlife management/administration systems we have today were not designed - they evolved, by means of unnatural selection and by bureaucratic drift. They started from nothing, and over time little bits were added and removed, and the little bits grew and morphed. In some states what we now see is big and complicated. In others it's still small and simple. Not necessarily smart-simple; sometimes dumb-simple. And not necessarily dumb-complicated; sometimes smart-complicated (as in the case of Arizona, in my opinion).

When state wildlife agencies were confronted by the modern era of environmental awareness, and no longer were able to just completely ignore herps - when they had to face the fact that herps fall squarely within their mission purview - they each had to figure out what part(s) of their organization would get to, or have to, figure out what "managing herps" meant.

* I imagine that in some state agencies there was some competition for the right to be that part.

* I also imagine in some agencies there was a scramble among the various candidate parts, to not be the one stuck with the job. I suspect that's how it went in most states.

* In some states, maybe the bitter pill - of managing something for which there was no precedent, no users, and no funding source - was split, and e.g. the hook-centric agency part was "given" e.g. frogs & turtles, and the bullet-centric part was "given" snakes & lizards.

* Whatever "part" got the job, is now the part that - if they so choose - can require licenses and/or tags, and raise money to manage these creatures.

* Sometimes they choose not to offer licenses and not to raise money this way. That agency choice can be influenced by stakeholders - organized groups of users.

* Individuals wield far less influence with state agencies, than organized groups do.

* If there's no money and no stakeholder group, there will be minimal management. Whether the management paradigm is hands-on/permissive (e.g., SC, MS, NM) or hands-off/restrictive (e.g., TN, NJ, CT) is a matter of state-agency culture and custom.


I don't know if this has been helpful in illuminating why sometimes herpers need to buy a fishing license to legally do what they want to do, and why they have to deal with the fishing managers to establish what the license covers, and what it doesn't. Instead of buying a hunting license, and dealing with the hunting managers to sort out what the license allows and does not allow.

**************************************************************************************************************************************

Chris - Andy addressed hunter ed/training in Texas. In some other states people under a certain age are required to get their hunter ed certification before they can buy their first hunting license. They need to show the proof they passed the course, to buy that first license. But in the future, if they ever want to buy another license, they're not required to show the proof. The record of their license purchase is in the system, and it is assumed they showed the certification for that first purchase.

GW - the comparison with falconry has happened here before. Richard Hoyer has been the most active in making such comparisons. For my part, I have compared some aspects of the falconry requirements with some of the ways the keeping of venomous snakes might be well regulated, in order to maintain the opportunity for serious individuals to do such keeping, but to also maintain public safety. For what it's worth, in Florida the venomous licensing requirements do address caging and facility specifications, as well as inspections. The system overall is a little bit of a hassle, but it also enables serious enthusiasts to legally pursue their passion, while ensuring valid public concerns over potential escapes, break-ins, etc are reasonably addressed. Sort of like falconers get to do (but their hassle factor is way, way worse.)

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by cbernz » August 2nd, 2014, 10:05 am

gbin wrote:Well, I'm not buying the argument on behalf of poor college students. I know that college is a lot more expensive today than it was when I went, but I also know that unlike then, nowadays virtually none of them earn and pay anything at all toward (never mind a significant portion of) the expense. You can't make the argument that they need to be studying rather than working, either, as the obvious corollary is that in that case they also need to be studying rather than herp hunting. I know, too, that nowadays in the great majority of cases they're all walking around with the very latest smartphone in their pockets, etc. In my opinion, for young (and older) adults it's really a matter of spending priorities.
Wow. This little cluster of baseless assumptions and fogey-ist grumbling makes my head hurt, and does more to hurt your credibility than support your argument. You are right about college being more expensive today than it was in the past - by orders of magnitude - but I doubt you really want to defend the supposition that nobody works their way through school anymore.
gbin wrote:cbernz, allow me to paraphrase you in order to (yet again) make my point:
cbernz wrote:[Shooting] (i.e., pointing a [gun] at something you are looking at and [pulling the trigger]) is not hunting, it's just a form of [killing]....
That's not paraphrasing, that's just Mad-lib style word replacement. Like this: "[gbin], allow me to [type different words at] you in order to (yet again) make [a completely different statement that proves nothing about the original statement]." First of all, pointing a gun at something you are looking at and pulling the trigger IS HUNTING! AND a form of killing. You are licensed specifically to point a gun at an animal and pull the trigger. Pointing a camera at an animal involves a completely different intent, a completely different outcome, and it's nonsensical to continue to compare the two. Yes, wildlife enthusiasts of all stripes should support the resources they use, but there's no need to treat them all the same way. Most birders and photographers I know end up paying to support the environment in all different ways - duck stamps, entry fees, nature organization dues, donations, buying gear at places that donate proceeds to conservation, etc. There's no need to come up with a system that charges people for the specific animals they want to look at (except maybe in the case of some high-profile, highly endangered, at-risk species like pandas or big cats).

I believe you have a point to make here, but I think it's being obfuscated by your choice of analogy, or in any case, it's not coming across as clearly as you think it is. Anyhow, we're wasting our time talking about the people on either end of the spectrum (the passive photographers and the serious collectors). The more difficult question to me is how to deal with people who are in possession of collecting equipment, but not in possession of an animal. Is it possible or practical to license (or fine) people based on perceived intent? I sometimes find myself in a national park or NWR with a dragonfly net in my car, that I was using legally somewhere else earlier in the day. Even though I have no intention of using the net, I still usually try to hide it in the trunk, because I know it makes me look like a collector.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 10:32 am

cbernz wrote:The more difficult question to me is how to deal with people who are in possession of collecting equipment, but not in possession of an animal. Is it possible or practical to license (or fine) people based on perceived intent? I sometimes find myself in a national park or NWR with a dragonfly net in my car, that I was using legally somewhere else earlier in the day. Even though I have no intention of using the net, I still usually try to hide it in the trunk, because I know it makes me look like a collector.

I agree that this is another difficult topic. It's akin to asking how much money is in someone's wallet and then asking "How do I know you didn't steal it from someone, rather than visit an ATM?" There seems to be a presumption of guilt in many interactions with fish and game law enforcement--something I resent.

HOWEVER, if you are physically caught doing something illegal (handling a snake on the road), you have no legal defense in TX as the law is currently written--and this is affirmed in the lengthy dialogue I posted above. The problem can largely be distilled into a drum I keep beating:

Attitude can be everything. If you're caught doing something you're not supposed to, take your lumps--don't get all defensive.

It can still be a positive experience. In fact, one of the wardens I've talked with (not the one in this discussion) said that's what inspired him to become a Game Warden himself--when he was young, his dad took him and his brothers fishing. His dad didn't have a license, and so was not fishing. However, after a while he decided he might as well try his luck, and sure enough, a Game Warden appeared and wrote him up. The dad totally understood, and the boy was so impressed by the professionalism and the courtesy of the Game Warden that he grew up to become one.

Another way to look at it: we're a relatively small interest group. Every time we encounter LE in the field, we are therefore an ambassador for that group. If we're combative and otherwise difficult to deal with, we've just created the impression that ALL herpers are this way...y'all on here know we are not, but we don't get to pick and choose who interacts with LE. It just happens, and it could be YOU next, so try a little courtesy (and follow the rules!).

My last Game Warden encounter ended up just being a 10-minute bull session on the side of the road. I was never even asked for my license/stamp. It was still (I hope) mutually beneficial, though.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 2nd, 2014, 10:46 am

cbernz wrote:Wow. This little cluster of baseless assumptions and fogey-ist grumbling makes my head hurt...
Grumbling? I don't personally care whether students work to pay (at least partly) for college, but that doesn't mean I'm ignorant of how things have changed.

And I'm afraid you're the one talking without foundation if you think things haven't changed in this respect, and dramatically. I don't have statistics on hand, but I know I've seen them and I suppose I can dig them up if really necessary. I also know on a much smaller but still not insignificant scale based on personal knowledge of what people in my own cohort did to pay for college versus what subsequent cohorts have done/are doing.

If there are any baseless assumptions being made, your accusations above certainly count among them.

In any event, my point remains: I believe that it's really a matter of spending priorities for adults, be they young or adult, in college or elsewhere. Are there exceptions out there? Sure. Aren't there always? But generally speaking, I see plenty of reason to believe a license can almost always be afforded, and little to none to believe otherwise. Actual children are another matter, as I said.
gbin wrote:cbernz, allow me to paraphrase you in order to (yet again) make my point:
cbernz wrote:[Shooting] (i.e., pointing a [gun] at something you are looking at and [pulling the trigger]) is not hunting, it's just a form of [killing]....
cbernz wrote:That's not paraphrasing, that's just Mad-lib style word replacement...
Maybe "paraphrasing" isn't the right word for it, but I hardly made "Mad-lib style word replacement." I made quite comparable substitutions, and I suspect you recognize this, too, but simply don't want to deal with its point: It's the use - the hunt - not just the consumption - the end result of the hunt - that matters.

I substituted "Shooting" for "Photographing." They're both actions that take place when a quarry has been found, i.e. at the end of (a portion of) a hunt, and are not the hunt itself.

I substituted "gun" for "camera." They're both objects carried while hunting (= pursuing, seeking, etc. - check a dictionary for yourself if you're really not getting this, which I doubt) that are used for the actions mentioned above.

I substituted "pulling the trigger" for "clicking a shutter." Again, both are essential steps of the actions mentioned above.

I substituted "killing" for "observation." I suppose this is actually the only substitution that matters to you, as it points out the pretense that hunting only occurs when the end result is killing. In truth, though, these are simply the results of the actions mentioned above, either of which can result at the end of a hunt. The problem with your having an issue with this is that any hunter, and probably almost everyone else who is considering the topic objectively, too, knows that hunting and killing aren't at all the same thing any more than hunting and photography are at all the same thing. One can hunt without killing. One can kill without hunting. Again, don't take my word for it; go consult a dictionary. A dead animal is just one possible result at the end of a hunt, just as is a photographed animal. Focus on the end result of hunting rather than on hunting itself to try to rationalize not buying hunting licenses all you want, but as I said, it's not really appropriate (though it is often self-serving) and I won't indulge it.

Have you ever heard of a photo safari? Have you ever had to hunt for your car keys? ;)

I never said that I thought we needed to come up with a system that charges people for the specific animals they want to do whatever with. I'm fine with more general user fees. But whether you carry a gun, a pillowcase, a camera or just a notebook, if you're using a public resource, you should pay a user fee to help support its management and conservation.

Tough to argue with the things I actually say, isn't it? I assume that explains all the pretense that I've said quite different things...
cbernz wrote:... Is it possible or practical to license (or fine) people based on perceived intent?...
Of course it is, and people (including herpers) are cited for wildlife infractions all the time on this basis. As I said, we rely heavily on voluntary compliance, but not entirely.

I'm happy to debate with you, cbernz, but I'd prefer you stick to things I've actually argued for and done, not your mischaracterizations of them.

Gerry

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 11:14 am

I see there's been another post made while I was typing this, which I haven't read...
gbin wrote:
no, you're not alone. There's a HUGE difference in catch and release fishing...
YET AGAIN, I haven't pushed the catch-and-release fishing comparison (though I'd never agree there's a "HUGE" difference because there isn't). Others have.
I know. For simplicity, I put "Gerry and others" and included the entire gamut of comparisons into one sentence, rather than specifically attributing. Sorry for the confusion.

I drew other comparisons (e.g. the visited versus passed-thru national park) that are more relevant to my point and that allow those who like to rationalize their behavior less wiggle room - and so far as I can see you and others holding an opposing view have chosen not to even try to meaningfully deal with the comparisons I actually drew, instead just bringing up the catch-and-release fishing complaint again and again. By this point I really have to wonder, might that be because you can't meaningfully argue with what I actually said? ;)
You claim they are more relevant to your point. I don't agree, and I thought you said you didn't like beating a dead horse? :lol:

National parks (401 NPS units and growing) are geographic entities. This adds an entire new dimension (actually, two or three) to the comparison. Heck, let's throw in state parks too, as they are also entities with distinct boundaries. In other words, you cross this gate, you pay a fee (if one is required). You're driving on Park Service roads to get around the park.

It gets "squishier" if the park straddles a state (or US) highway which is a thoroughfare. Who's paying for road maintenance?

Using your Cedar Breaks example, their web site says if you enter the park, you pay the fee. There is no distinction for whether you're just passing through, or intend to stop (for ANY reason). Therefore, it sounds like it's a question of enforcement of that rule.

Many people carry a camera (in their phone) these days--if they drive from the south end of Cedar Breaks, just passing through, but stop just before the northern boundary because they see a varmint or flower which catches their eye, and they take a picture, are they going to drive back to the south end and pay an entrance fee? Gerry would. Personally, I likely would not. We draw the line at different points on the continuum. "Honest, your honor, I didn't MEAN to enjoy the view; it just sort of happened!"

By the way, there are 9 days this year you can get into Grand Canyon National Park for FREE (and I assume other parks as well). Am I somehow less deserving, or a "moocher," if I take advantage of those opportunities? After all, I wouldn't be paying for my use (consumptive OR non-consumptive) of the resource...

The reason the park analogy is invalid is because, like I said, it depends on manmade geographic boundaries. Animals historically have not felt restricted by these boundaries.

If you think I'm splitting hairs, it's because that's EXACTLY the problem with the idea that we should somehow make every person who gets a little more enjoyment than someone else (intangibly, not by physical use like collecting, handling, kayaking, off-roading, camping, etc.) pay extra. It's entirely POSSIBLE to do so, but generally not PRACTICAL to, especially in terms of enforcement.

There are opportunities where it makes sense--a crowded overlook or parking lot concentrates people to where checking entry permits (taped to the windshield, in most cases) is comparatively easy to do. Thankfully, I've never seen anyone approached if a passenger takes a photo while driving through a park. I've never seen anyone suggest making people pay for an extra permit to drive anywhere in Texas to get a photo of their kid in a patch of bluebonnets on the side of the road.

I don't think I'm fully articulating why I disagree with you, Gerry, but I'm keeping it on my thread vs. yours, because you said you didn't want to make values judgments on yours and obviously I'm OK with that on mine. :lol:

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by cbernz » August 2nd, 2014, 12:16 pm

gbin wrote:[if you're using a public resource, you should pay a user fee to help support its management and conservation
See, why not just talk about this, and forget all the stuff that has to involve us being obtuse or stupid or just not getting the point you keep making? We're getting sucked into the vortex of your analogy without getting any closer to the actual substance of the debate.

A birder can get close to a bird, either by chance or as the result of a "hunt" ("chase" in birder parlance), and take its photo without having to pay a specific fee or permit for that right, but a reasonably active birder will end up paying other fees, dues, and/or donations. If we can sort of agree (maybe? hopefully?) that such a person has essentially paid for the right to take photos of birds by being a conscientious birder who ends up paying for conservation in other ways, why can't there be such a category for herpers? Birders and bird hunters (although there can be and is considerable overlap) are not treated as if they are in the same category. Bird hunters pay more for the right to harvest birds to help pay for the specific costs involved in managing their hunts. Birders pay the entrance fees into areas that are managed (for hunting, maintenance, whatever), but don't have to pay for licenses to cover activities they aren't involved in. However, with the Texas law, it seems like there is very little distinction between harvesters and observers, and that everyone who is out to look for herps is expected to be covered under the license and stamp. I understand that it is much harder to distinguish between a herper looking at a snake and a herper about to pick up a snake than it is to distinguish between a birder looking at a bird and a birder about to shoot a bird. Still, it seems like we should at least acknowledge that there are different categories of interacting with herps just as there are with birds and other wildlife.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 12:30 pm

cbernz wrote:If we can sort of agree (maybe? hopefully?) that such a person has essentially paid for the right to take photos of birds by being a conscientious birder who ends up paying for conservation in other ways, why can't there be such a category for herpers? Birders and bird hunters (although there can be and is considerable overlap) are not treated as if they are in the same category. Bird hunters pay more for the right to harvest birds to help pay for the specific costs involved in managing their hunts. Birders pay the entrance fees into areas that are managed (for hunting, maintenance, whatever), but don't have to pay for licenses to cover activities they aren't involved in.
I think what you're saying makes more sense than my chickenscratch.

However, with the Texas law, it seems like there is very little distinction between harvesters and observers, and that everyone who is out to look for herps is expected to be covered under the license and stamp. I understand that it is much harder to distinguish between a herper looking at a snake and a herper about to pick up a snake than it is to distinguish between a birder looking at a bird and a birder about to shoot a bird. Still, it seems like we should at least acknowledge that there are different categories of interacting with herps just as there are with birds and other wildlife.
To be fair, it's also in part because birders typically don't manipulate their quarry for a photograph, whereas some (not all) herpers do.

And right now, if I were to be strolling along a road cut and saw a snake, lizard, toad, etc. I could pick it up, photograph it, and set it back down--or keep it. If the animal were to dart onto the road, I can't do that. But I can watch it get run over! :?

The pendulum swung pretty far in 2007 (roads and rights-of-way entirely shut down for any herping). It started swinging back in 2011 (rights-of-way restored, but not roads/shoulders) and saw the addition of a herp stamp. I THINK most Texas herpers would be content with getting the roads back, without gray area--"did the snake on the road move because of my presence (that could be viewed as pursuit, and therefore hunting), or despite it?" The whole question of "intent" would generally never even come up.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 2nd, 2014, 12:47 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:You claim they are more relevant to your point. I don't agree...
Where did you previously say that you don't agree? Where did you previously say why? I guess I missed those posts... :?
chris_mcmartin wrote:National parks (401 NPS units and growing) are geographic entities. This adds an entire new dimension (actually, two or three) to the comparison...
Isn't it something how complex things are for folks who apparently have no valid argument against a point they really want to defeat? Finding "entire[ly] new dimensions" and "squishi[ness]" (gee, that all sounds really bad!) as if such mutterings actually had some relevance and weight against the point, just from the sound of them. ;)
chris_mcmartin wrote:Using your Cedar Breaks example, their web site says if you enter the park, you pay the fee. There is no distinction for whether you're just passing through, or intend to stop (for ANY reason). Therefore, it sounds like it's a question of enforcement of that rule.
Then the website is either out of date or inaccurate for some other reason (which shouldn't surprise too many people). Someone close to me is currently working there, I was just there, and I can attest to this. If you're just driving down the highway through the park, you don't have to pay the entrance fee. If you're stopping at overlooks - making use of the park rather than just passing through - you do have to pay it. Or you're supposed to, anyway. It relies largely on voluntary compliance, as I mentioned.
chris_mcmartin wrote:Many people carry a camera (in their phone) these days--if they drive from the south end of Cedar Breaks, just passing through, but stop just before the northern boundary because they see a varmint or flower which catches their eye, and they take a picture, are they going to drive back to the south end and pay an entrance fee? Gerry would. Personally, I likely would not. We draw the line at different points on the continuum. "Honest, your honor, I didn't MEAN to enjoy the view; it just sort of happened!"
I know you'd like to think - and argue - that it's a continuum, and maybe occasionally it even is to some degree, but in reality, you and I know that a person is almost certainly aware of whether their intent is to visit such a park or just to drive through, to hunt (pursue, seek,...) herps or just to snap a picture of one they happen upon while doing something else.

What I actually do is buy a National Parks annual pass for my family every year so we're covered if we find ourselves visiting one by accident or design, so your scenario doesn't pertain. :)
chris_mcmartin wrote:By the way, there are 9 days this year you can get into Grand Canyon National Park for FREE (and I assume other parks as well). Am I somehow less deserving, or a "moocher," if I take advantage of those opportunities? After all, I wouldn't be paying for my use (consumptive OR non-consumptive) of the resource...
No, I'd say that if you're not genuinely so poor that you can't afford the entrance fee (but then how did you get all the way out to the Grand Canyon, anyway?) then you're rather foolish to go during such an open house event when the crowds will be even worse than they are at other times.

By the way, do you realize just how far you're now reaching to try to argue against my position? Offering promotions such as temporarily free admission as some kind of proof that national parks don't and/or shouldn't charge non-consumptive user fees? That's pretty much the kitchen sink, if you ask me.
chris_mcmartin wrote:The reason the park analogy is invalid is because, like I said, it depends on manmade geographic boundaries. Animals historically have not felt restricted by these boundaries.
You're making a distinction here - "user fees might make sense if geographic boundaries are involved, but don't if they're not," if I follow you correctly - that, so far as I can see, only means anything at all because you want it to. There's nothing magical about geographic boundaries. Public land is a public resource. Wildlife is a public resource. Other things are public resources. The management and conservation of public resources is often called for, and often needs to be paid for. All of us who pay taxes pay some of this tab, but it's very often inadequate - indeed, increasingly so given modern American sociopolitics. Public resource user fees are a very fair and easy-to-understand (for those who aren't determined to view it as complicated for purposes of their own, that is ;) ) way to additionally pay that tab. As for the practicality of that approach, it is in fact already being done in some places for some public resources, and I can pretty much guarantee you that it will increase in the future on both an overall and a proportional basis.
chris_mcmartin wrote:There are opportunities where it makes sense--a crowded overlook or parking lot concentrates people to where checking entry permits (taped to the windshield, in most cases) is comparatively easy to do...
It's easy for authorities to check the parked cars constantly coming to and going from numerous overlooks scattered along a public highway traversing a national park, but it's onerous for any of the people in those cars to drive back to the pay station from one of those overlooks so they can stay on the right side of the park's regulations, eh? What a convenient (and inexplicable) dichotomy! :lol:

As I mentioned, Chris, you're really reaching, left, right, every which way, and trying to represent things as much more complicated than they really are. I tell you what, if you think you actually have any solid arguments against my stance, why don't you try picking the best of those and really flesh out that argument so we can all have a good look at it? I promise I'll take it seriously, but I'm having a hard time doing that with the silly stuff you're trotting out now.
chris_mcmartin wrote:I don't think I'm fully articulating why I disagree with you, Gerry, but I'm keeping it on my thread vs. yours, because you said you didn't want to make values judgments on yours and obviously I'm OK with that on mine. :lol:
Much appreciated, amigo. And again, you understand that I don't think you're a bad guy, engaged in bad behavior or anything like that. I just see that you're wrong on this (and going through all kinds of mental gyrations so as not to see this for yourself ;) ), and as I said I'm certainly fine with that if you are. :beer:
cbernz wrote:
gbin wrote:[if you're using a public resource, you should pay a user fee to help support its management and conservation
See, why not just talk about this, and forget all the stuff that has to involve us being obtuse or stupid or just not getting the point you keep making? We're getting sucked into the vortex of your analogy without getting any closer to the actual substance of the debate.
cbernz, I think I've been pretty clear and I know I've been quite repetitious in stating exactly what you think I should be sticking to. Of course I've said more and on more tangential things; prolonged conversations entail considerable back-and-forth, and attempting to clarify/expound upon things one has said (especially in light of mischaracterizations by others), responding to things others have said, etc. are all normal and should be expected.

And no, I don't really agree with you about birders. I understand your argument and agree it has at least some merit (many birders do contribute in many ways), but for my part I'd like to see it more universal and consistent; I'd like birders to have to pay some kind of user fee, regardless of whatever other ways in which they might or might not contribute to bird management and conservation. You do realize that not all birders contribute, right? And that virtually every user of virtually every other kind of public resource one could imagine needing management and conservation could come up with the argument (be it true or not) that "Hey, I don't pay a user fee, but I contribute in all kinds of other ways!" What are we going to do, start requiring detailed reporting and at least occasionally auditing users to see whether and what they actually contribute in other ways (as the IRS treats charitable donations and their effects on taxes)? Let's make it as clean and simple, as understandable and fair, as we can. That's my view, and I'm sticking to it regardless of who here disagrees.

Gerry

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Kfen » August 2nd, 2014, 3:01 pm

I think I have been wrong about something and need some clarification. (Let's leave t&e species out of my questions for simplicity)

Is it illegal to move a snake off the road in Texas even with a hunting license and herp stamp?

If yes, what is the purpose of the reflective vests?

Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you handle/pose (not necessarily collect) herps in the field legally without any license?

Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you move snakes off the road legally?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by infidel » August 2nd, 2014, 3:59 pm

Kfen wrote:I think I have been wrong about something and need some clarification. (Let's leave t&e species out of my questions for simplicity)

1.) Is it illegal to move a snake off the road in Texas even with a hunting license and herp stamp?

2.) If yes, what is the purpose of the reflective vests?

3.) Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you handle/pose (not necessarily collect) herps in the field legally without any license?

4.) Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you move snakes off the road legally?
1.) In most parts of the state, you won't catch any slack, but in W. Texas, you may be construed as a "herper" so the best answer is yes.

2.) In truth, there is no reason for a reflective vest. If you are herping at night, you have lots of light in the form of a flashlight, headlamp, wand, etc. A reflective vest was tossed in by a committee member in the legislature during the committee process because she suggested it. When arguments were made against it, she seemed fairly intent upon it being in the law (which she was otherwise ok with), so as an appeasement, the point wasn't argued. When it was obvious that it was going to be part of the law, a certain "boss" in Austin, came up with the obnoxious measurement requirements as a thumb in the eye to herpers.

3.) No, the definition of hunting includes pursue. So legally, one still had to have a license.

4.) See answer #1

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Soopaman » August 2nd, 2014, 6:39 pm

infidel wrote:
Kfen wrote:I think I have been wrong about something and need some clarification. (Let's leave t&e species out of my questions for simplicity)

1.) Is it illegal to move a snake off the road in Texas even with a hunting license and herp stamp?

2.) If yes, what is the purpose of the reflective vests?

3.) Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you handle/pose (not necessarily collect) herps in the field legally without any license?

4.) Prior to the roadcruising ban, could you move snakes off the road legally?
1.) In most parts of the state, you won't catch any slack, but in W. Texas, you may be construed as a "herper" so the best answer is yes.

2.) In truth, there is no reason for a reflective vest. If you are herping at night, you have lots of light in the form of a flashlight, headlamp, wand, etc. A reflective vest was tossed in by a committee member in the legislature during the committee process because she suggested it. When arguments were made against it, she seemed fairly intent upon it being in the law (which she was otherwise ok with), so as an appeasement, the point wasn't argued. When it was obvious that it was going to be part of the law, a certain "boss" in Austin, came up with the obnoxious measurement requirements as a thumb in the eye to herpers.

3.) No, the definition of hunting includes pursue. So legally, one still had to have a license.

4.) See answer #1


Why is the vest a problem? Because you don't look cool? Herpers aren't particularly cool in the first place, a vest isn't taking you down much further.

I'm in east Texas and I wear a vest when I'm out at night. Not because I feel like I need to comply with the law and avoid a ticket, but because it's a smart thing to do. No one is going to enforce the law out here, and no one cares if I'm on the side of the road with/without a vest. However, I care. I would like to be as visible as possible when someone comes careening down the road at me. I feel safer knowing that I am a glowing orange/yellow beacon on the side of the road.


Regarding road cruising, it's illegal to hunt from a vehicle using artificial light. Cruise by sun or moonlight at your whim.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Mike VanValen » August 2nd, 2014, 7:26 pm

When you guys say "west Texas", are there certain counties that have this law in place, and the rest of the state does not?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 8:04 pm

gbin wrote:Isn't it something how complex things are for folks who apparently have no valid argument against a point they really want to defeat? Finding "entire[ly] new dimensions" and "squishi[ness]" (gee, that all sounds really bad!) as if such mutterings actually had some relevance and weight against the point, just from the sound of them. ;)
I am talking literal, physical dimensions...length and width (area) and, if you want to get overly pedantic, height.

Parks have defined boundaries. At some point, when the park was established, these were delineated, and the Powers That Be said, "if you want to enter the park, you must pay a fee." Some parks do a better job of this than others--they put the little shack right in the middle of the road, so you have to stop and pay the fee. Other parks essentially work on the honor system--you drive to the visitor center, pay the fee, maybe watch a little movie, view some artifacts, and then head out to hike or whatever you want to do.

Within the boundaries of a park, I expect the fees to be used for things like trail maintenance, cleaning the bathrooms, staffing the visitor center, etc. In fact, most parks are very up-front about what they use the fees for. I pay to enter the parks, because I DO like using all of those things (as one of my other hobbies, I collect the NPS Passport cancellations as well as the official park map/brochures--I've been to over 260 of the 401). I'd say I get my money's worth from the $10 to $40 entrance fee, when I'm required to pay one.

When parks were designated, why didn't they just place the entrance shack in the middle of the road for ALL of them? Because some people don't "use" the park the same way others do. Perhaps the highway existed well before the park was declared, and people wanted to drive down the road, same as they always did. I support that. This is the distinction I am trying to make--some parks are at the end of a road, and all roads past the boundary are "Park Roads," not state/US highways. I fully expect someone using those roads to pay a fee--which they do at the entry station.

chris_mcmartin wrote:Using your Cedar Breaks example, their web site says if you enter the park, you pay the fee. There is no distinction for whether you're just passing through, or intend to stop (for ANY reason). Therefore, it sounds like it's a question of enforcement of that rule.
Then the website is either out of date or inaccurate for some other reason (which shouldn't surprise too many people). Someone close to me is currently working there, I was just there, and I can attest to this.
Perhaps. The particular page DOES say it hasn't been updated since July 22nd of this year. ;) Does your associate speak with the authority of the park? Because if so, he/she should probably notify the webmaster of the error.

If you're stopping at overlooks - making use of the park rather than just passing through - you do have to pay it. Or you're supposed to, anyway. It relies largely on voluntary compliance, as I mentioned.
So...it comes down to intent, and third-party judgment of whether said intent warrants needing to pay the fee. Where on the continuum of usage do you draw the line of having to pay extra, or do you allow for a graduated scale?

Some people may "get one over" on the rest of us by pulling over on a highway running through a park and take a picture--maybe they're even more clever and they have their passenger do it while traveling down the highway. That happens in many walks of life (someone getting a benefit, to varying degree, disproportionate to their contribution).

Your problem seems to be that some people aren't paying as MUCH as others (i.e. not a specific user fee on top of their tax dollars). How much would such a person need to pay? A quarter for a cell phone pic, a dollar for using an SLR, more if there's a grizzly bear in frame? They didn't use the visitor center, or the restroom, or maybe even a "scenic turnout."
I know you'd like to think - and argue - that it's a continuum, and maybe occasionally it even is to some degree, but in reality, you and I know that a person is almost certainly aware of whether their intent is to visit such a park or just to drive through, to hunt (pursue, seek,...) herps or just to snap a picture of one they happen upon while doing something else.
Is the person staying on the public highway? Like I said, to reuse a word which entertains you, it gets "squishy" (fuzzy--a gray area). If they turn off the highway, say on a side road (as in your overlook example), then I'd agree they may need to pay something.

What I actually do is buy a National Parks annual pass for my family every year so we're covered if we find ourselves visiting one by accident or design, so your scenario doesn't pertain.
For me as well. 8-)
No, I'd say that if you're not genuinely so poor that you can't afford the entrance fee (but then how did you get all the way out to the Grand Canyon, anyway?) then you're rather foolish to go during such an open house event when the crowds will be even worse than they are at other times.
Grand Canyon was only used as an example because it was recognizable to international readers more so than, say, Herbert Hoover NHS. Of 401 units, there are many which are much more accessible to the majority of Americans, even some to which you can take a city bus.

By the way, do you realize just how far you're now reaching to try to argue against my position? Offering promotions such as temporarily free admission as some kind of proof that national parks don't and/or shouldn't charge non-consumptive user fees? That's pretty much the kitchen sink, if you ask me.
Free admission merely shows that people can "non-consumptively use" something and that something is left untarnished for others to "non-consumptively use" as well. It's not like it was my "smoking gun."
chris_mcmartin wrote:The reason the park analogy is invalid is because, like I said, it depends on manmade geographic boundaries. Animals historically have not felt restricted by these boundaries.
You're making a distinction here - "user fees might make sense if geographic boundaries are involved, but don't if they're not," if I follow you correctly - that, so far as I can see, only means anything at all because you want it to. There's nothing magical about geographic boundaries. Public land is a public resource. Wildlife is a public resource. Other things are public resources. The management and conservation of public resources is often called for, and often needs to be paid for.
Public land is indeed a public resource. Wildlife is indeed a public resource. I'm not arguing those points, just the degree to which it is practical (or commendable) to impose additional fees on activities involving them.

Here's more of the "squishiness" which entertains you. I'm sure you already know, but in addition to defined parks, Texas is 92-98% privately owned (depending on your reference). That means a lot of that wildlife is fenced off from general public access. Should the landowner be forced to let me on his/her property (provided I paid my fee--huntin' license) to access that resource? If I see pronghorn on his/her ranch from the road, to whom should I give my money--the government, or the landowner for providing such fantastic habitat for the wildlife? It would eliminate the middle man, after all.

As I mentioned, Chris, you're really reaching, left, right, every which way, and trying to represent things as much more complicated than they really are.
Would you even entertain the thought that things AREN'T as binary as you're attempting to make them? Do you seriously equate pulling over at an overlook with shooting a deer? Or, to keep it strictly in terms of park visits (where, presumably, you're not going to shoot a deer!), do you equate pulling over at an overlook for a happy-snap with grabbing a brochure at the Visitor Center? If you do, then I or anyone else will probably never be able to convince you otherwise. If you don't, then you agree there is a "continuum of non-consumptive use," and the conversation then turns to where one draws the line as to whether an extra "usage" fee is warranted.

And by "warranted," I mean whether imposition of such a fee is justified by expected revenue vs. cost of enforcement, whether it will benefit the park for everyone's increased enjoyment
I promise I'll take it seriously, but I'm having a hard time doing that with the silly stuff you're trotting out now.
If you dismiss any of my counterpoints offhand, failing to even consider them, then we're probably stagnated. :|

On the plus side, as I've previously mentioned, you have made me (and hopefully others) think about these issues.

And no, I don't really agree with you about birders. I understand your argument and agree it has at least some merit (many birders do contribute in many ways), but for my part I'd like to see it more universal and consistent; I'd like birders to have to pay some kind of user fee, regardless of whatever other ways in which they might or might not contribute to bird management and conservation. You do realize that not all birders contribute, right?
I am OK with not everyone contributing what you perceive to be their "fair share," more from an error on the side of caution, for lack of a better term--as I said above, there will be some that "take" more than they "give," and vice versa. Your position is that no matter how non-intrusive a "use" of a public resource is, people should be made to pay something above and beyond what they already pay. I get it.
What are we going to do, start requiring detailed reporting and at least occasionally auditing users to see whether and what they actually contribute in other ways (as the IRS treats charitable donations and their effects on taxes)?
To effectively implement your proposal (everyone should pay more based on if they actually use something), this may be the only way to ensure equality in taking those fees.
Let's make it as clean and simple, as understandable and fair, as we can.
"If you go outside, pay me--you might see something cool."

That's my view, and I'm sticking to it regardless of who here disagrees.
No argument could possibly change your view? Interesting mindset. :twisted:

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 8:18 pm

Mike VanValen wrote:When you guys say "west Texas", are there certain counties that have this law in place, and the rest of the state does not?

Nope...The road ban is statewide. The vest requirement is statewide. Nobody seems to care except in the Trans-Pecos region. It's selective enforcement. Long story, and I may end up writing a book eventually on Texas herping (if I can find the time!) to give a little more context. I've started collecting a lot of background material for it. The challenge will be to make it an interesting read for more than just Texas herpers!



Soopaman, before the 2007 ban, use of headlights was not considered using artificial light from a motor vehicle. Road cruising, finding a herp, and picking it up off the road (for collection as well as photography) was not considered "hunting from the road." The intent behind the code at the time was to keep people from abusing the "traditional" forms of hunting, such as shooting deer and birds and whatnot. Spotlighting deer or shooting from a vehicle was (and still is!) illegal, but numerous email exchanges with TPWD LE leadership at the time confirmed that herping on the road was OK. Personalities matter, and when different people came into power, they seemed to have an axe to grind with herpers. Not only that, they had sympathetic ears with people who could Do Something About It. Now we're dealing with the fallout.

A lot has changed since the ban.
- I think herpers in TX as a community are a littler more organized and generally rowing in the same direction.
- A few of the key members of the "old guard" retired, and we have a new complement of personnel to engage that seem to be a lot more willing to listen to us as stakeholders.
- Snake Days. Big time event to formalize what had been happening in little ol' Sanderson for decades. Now it is much easier to see what herpers can bring to the discussion--clear boost to the local economy, monetary donations to TPWD herp projects, data collection on what we're seeing (and collecting, and donating to academic collections), etc.
- iNaturalist Herps of Texas database. Funded in part by herpers themselves, and it's the database of record for TPWD.

We could do more if the roads were back. More people could salvage DORs (besides ones on permits) to contribute to UT (or the university of their choosing)--my opinion surveys strongly suggest most herpers would be willing to do so (some didn't realize it is illegal, but institutions can't accept specimens which weren't obtained in compliance with the law). And you know what? Some people would keep some of what they found, and that's OK--it's a tradeoff, and in my opinion worth it for TPWD, based on what we've been able to contribute over the past several years.

It's unfortunate that we weren't more proactive in working with the Powers That Be before this whole mess, but echoing Jimi's previous comments on organization etc., I'll take it as a lesson learned.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 8:21 pm

An important disclaimer: I am only one individual, and I've only been herping TX since 1996. There are many, many others who have been doing it longer and more fervently, and they may not agree with everything I've said.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by infidel » August 2nd, 2014, 8:41 pm

Why is the vest a problem? Because you don't look cool? Herpers aren't particularly cool in the first place, a vest isn't taking you down much further.
The vest isn't the problem, it's the ridiculous required amount of reflective material that's the problem. If we could go buy a regular ANSI vest (of which I have several), there would be no problem. Have you measured your east Texas crossing guard/hall monitor vest to insure you have the required amount? If not, you're not cool; and probably in band and the president of your local Star Trek club.
You speak for yourself, I AM COOL, my mom said so..
So you go on with your east Texas cool self with your stylin' reflective vest, pocket protector, and skinny jeans...I'll roll my way :)

Live long and prosper..

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by infidel » August 2nd, 2014, 8:44 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
Mike VanValen wrote:When you guys say "west Texas", are there certain counties that have this law in place, and the rest of the state does not?

Nope...The road ban is statewide. The vest requirement is statewide. Nobody seems to care except in the Trans-Pecos region. It's selective enforcement. Long story, and I may end up writing a book eventually on Texas herping (if I can find the time!) to give a little more context. I've started collecting a lot of background material for it. The challenge will be to make it an interesting read for more than just Texas herpers!



Soopaman, before the 2007 ban, use of headlights was not considered using artificial light from a motor vehicle. Road cruising, finding a herp, and picking it up off the road (for collection as well as photography) was not considered "hunting from the road." The intent behind the code at the time was to keep people from abusing the "traditional" forms of hunting, such as shooting deer and birds and whatnot. Spotlighting deer or shooting from a vehicle was (and still is!) illegal, but numerous email exchanges with TPWD LE leadership at the time confirmed that herping on the road was OK. Personalities matter, and when different people came into power, they seemed to have an axe to grind with herpers. Not only that, they had sympathetic ears with people who could Do Something About It. Now we're dealing with the fallout.

A lot has changed since the ban.
- I think herpers in TX as a community are a littler more organized and generally rowing in the same direction.
- A few of the key members of the "old guard" retired, and we have a new complement of personnel to engage that seem to be a lot more willing to listen to us as stakeholders.
- Snake Days. Big time event to formalize what had been happening in little ol' Sanderson for decades. Now it is much easier to see what herpers can bring to the discussion--clear boost to the local economy, monetary donations to TPWD herp projects, data collection on what we're seeing (and collecting, and donating to academic collections), etc.
- iNaturalist Herps of Texas database. Funded in part by herpers themselves, and it's the database of record for TPWD.

We could do more if the roads were back. More people could salvage DORs (besides ones on permits) to contribute to UT (or the university of their choosing)--my opinion surveys strongly suggest most herpers would be willing to do so (some didn't realize it is illegal, but institutions can't accept specimens which weren't obtained in compliance with the law). And you know what? Some people would keep some of what they found, and that's OK--it's a tradeoff, and in my opinion worth it for TPWD, based on what we've been able to contribute over the past several years.

It's unfortunate that we weren't more proactive in working with the Powers That Be before this whole mess, but echoing Jimi's previous comments on organization etc., I'll take it as a lesson learned.
Well said sir...If I know you, you're probably jotting all this down in a note pad some where and organizing the notebooks by date or alphabetically on a shelf.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by cbernz » August 2nd, 2014, 9:38 pm

gbin wrote:cbernz, I think I've been pretty clear
I suspect that if you'd really been as clear as you think you were, you wouldn't have needed to spend so much time reiterating your points and analogies. I was just trying to suggest that you might want to try a different approach, that's all.
gbin wrote:And no, I don't really agree with you about birders. I understand your argument and agree it has at least some merit (many birders do contribute in many ways), but for my part I'd like to see it more universal and consistent; I'd like birders to have to pay some kind of user fee, regardless of whatever other ways in which they might or might not contribute to bird management and conservation. You do realize that not all birders contribute, right? And that virtually every user of virtually every other kind of public resource one could imagine needing management and conservation could come up with the argument (be it true or not) that "Hey, I don't pay a user fee, but I contribute in all kinds of other ways!" What are we going to do, start requiring detailed reporting and at least occasionally auditing users to see whether and what they actually contribute in other ways (as the IRS treats charitable donations and their effects on taxes)? Let's make it as clean and simple, as understandable and fair, as we can. That's my view, and I'm sticking to it regardless of who here disagrees.
I have a few questions about this. Specifically, what "use" would a user fee for birders cover? Is it the use of the birds they are seeing, the habitat they are walking through, or something else? If the fee is for using the birds, do you charge for the birds they saw or the birds they intended to see? If the fee is for using the habitat, how would one specifically differentiate between birding-related use and, say, hiking-related use (which could be covered by its own fee)? Would I have to pay additional fees if I intended to see other types of animals, like mammals, insects, or fish? Why not assign the birding fee to the people engaged in activities that are explicitly harmful to the birds or their habitat, rather than the people who are looking quietly at them through high-powered optics? How is any of this supposed to be clean and simple, considering the pages of online confusion and acrimony surrounding the Texas road-cruising law?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Aaron » August 2nd, 2014, 9:47 pm

All I have to say is this warden should've waited until he saw those people pick up a herp.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Kfen » August 3rd, 2014, 4:41 am

About the vest

I asked because what is the point if you cant move a snake on the road? You have to wear a vest when you are out in the woods at night?

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 3rd, 2014, 5:29 am

Kfen wrote:About the vest

I asked because what is the point if you cant move a snake on the road? You have to wear a vest when you are out in the woods at night?
The vest (and the stamp) is only required for the rights-of-way. Herping "off the beaten path," on private land or public (if you can find any that's not a national/state park, where it's off-limits), only requires a hunting license.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Soopaman » August 3rd, 2014, 5:49 am

infidel wrote:
Why is the vest a problem? Because you don't look cool? Herpers aren't particularly cool in the first place, a vest isn't taking you down much further.
The vest isn't the problem, it's the ridiculous required amount of reflective material that's the problem. If we could go buy a regular ANSI vest (of which I have several), there would be no problem. Have you measured your east Texas crossing guard/hall monitor vest to insure you have the required amount? If not, you're not cool; and probably in band and the president of your local Star Trek club.
You speak for yourself, I AM COOL, my mom said so..
So you go on with your east Texas cool self with your stylin' reflective vest, pocket protector, and skinny jeans...I'll roll my way :)

Live long and prosper..

A proper vest with 144+ square inches of tape is easy and cheap to come by. This one on Amazon cost me less than $12.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by regalringneck » August 3rd, 2014, 8:30 am

... seems like some of you have a vested interest in this ...

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Soopaman » August 3rd, 2014, 9:26 am

regalringneck wrote:... seems like some of you have a vested interest in this ...
:thumb:

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by chrish » August 3rd, 2014, 11:42 am

Soopaman wrote:A proper vest with 144+ square inches of tape is easy and cheap to come by. This one on Amazon cost me less than $12.
I have a similar vest that I bought locally and I measured the tape. You can cut the sleeves off and it still has 144 inches of tape. It is more comfortable without the sleeves.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » August 3rd, 2014, 8:55 pm

Do the rattlesnake roundup lowlifes have to buy licenses, buy stamps or wear vests?

If not, it is all blatant hypocrisy, no matter how much herpers now want to try to "work with the system".

Anybody ever cited for intentionally killing a herp without a license??

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 4th, 2014, 11:27 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:Parks have defined boundaries...
There's nothing magical about boundaries, and "hunt," "pursue," "take," etc. are pretty much always defined for regulatory purposes, too. So far as I can see, you're just seizing on the geographical thing because you think maybe it helps you score a point - but it doesn't. I see no meaningful argument in what you're saying.
chris_mcmartin wrote:At some point, when the park was established, these were delineated, and the Powers That Be said...
Our regulations concerning public resources, their management and conservation and the funding required to pay for same weren't writ in stone and handed down from the Mount. They arise, they change, sometimes they disappear.

They're also, as has been pointed out by folks on both sides of this discussion, not a single, logical, consistent set of rules. Some things are allowed here but not there. Some things require a license or what-have-you here but not there. Sometimes the license or what-have-you appears to be connected to consumption, other times it appears to be connected to use. It seems clear to me both that user fees are becoming more common and that they should be the norm, but in any event they already exist. You can pretend they don't by offering up this or that example where something doesn't appear to be a user fee, but that's all it is: a pretense. (Repeat as needed.)
chris_mcmartin wrote:
chris_mcmartin wrote:Using your Cedar Breaks example, their web site says if you enter the park, you pay the fee. There is no distinction for whether you're just passing through, or intend to stop (for ANY reason). Therefore, it sounds like it's a question of enforcement of that rule.
Then the website is either out of date or inaccurate for some other reason (which shouldn't surprise too many people). Someone close to me is currently working there, I was just there, and I can attest to this.
Perhaps. The particular page DOES say it hasn't been updated since July 22nd of this year. ;) Does your associate speak with the authority of the park? Because if so, he/she should probably notify the webmaster of the error.
I'll suggest it. In any event, you're welcome to believe me or not, as always. If you think back on our long association online, though, I think you'll realize that I'm not very fond of dishonesty in argument or anywhere else.
chris_mcmartin wrote:So...it comes down to intent, and third-party judgment of whether said intent warrants needing to pay the fee. Where on the continuum of usage do you draw the line of having to pay extra, or do you allow for a graduated scale?
Back to the Land of Imagination, eh? I've got to tell you, Chris, your trying to find ways to paint everything as far more complicated than it really is to substitute for a cogent argument against it is really tiresome, and not at all persuasive. Once again: Voluntary compliance is heavily relied upon by all kinds of regulations. With respect to a pass-through national park or a hunt, you know whether you're there to visit the park or just reach the other side of it, and you know whether you're hunting for something or just stumble upon it while doing something else. Why do you continue to try to pretend this isn't so?

Law enforcement does look for and act upon signs of intent, e.g. being parked at an overlook, having snake hunting gear in your possession. They don't really do all that much of it in the overall scheme of things, though, I suppose at least in part because it is difficult for them to discern intent. Read any of the many iterations of where I stated the importance of voluntary compliance, including above. (Repeat as needed.)
chris_mcmartin wrote:
What I actually do is buy a National Parks annual pass for my family every year so we're covered if we find ourselves visiting one by accident or design, so your scenario doesn't pertain.
For me as well. 8-)
I figured.
chris_mcmartin wrote:Grand Canyon was only used as an example because it was recognizable to international readers more so than, say, Herbert Hoover NHS. Of 401 units, there are many which are much more accessible to the majority of Americans, even some to which you can take a city bus.
...
Free admission merely shows that people can "non-consumptively use" something and that something is left untarnished for others to "non-consumptively use" as well. It's not like it was my "smoking gun."
My issue wasn't with you using Grand Canyon as an example, but with you suggesting that how things are done during a brief promotional event somehow negates how things are done all the rest of the time.

I'm really about done with such foolishness, and likely won't waste any more of my time on it. Go ahead and think up an even longer list of supposed complications that really aren't - all the while avoiding the thrust of my argument yet again, I suppose because you can't really deal with it. Maybe you'll even succeed in muddying the water enough to confuse some onlookers, but so be it. My basic assertion remains: Public resources that require management and conservation need funding to pay for that. The fairest way I can see to obtain that funding is by taxing everyone whether or not they personally use the resource, and charging those who do use it an additional user fee. Such user fees already exist, and because of both the need for funding and the basic fairness of this source of funding, such user fees can be expected to proliferate in the future. (Likely not fast enough to halt the degradation/destruction of a lot of public resources, though.) Hunting is a use, regardless of what tools one uses or what one does with the quarry when one finds it.
chris_mcmartin wrote:
I promise I'll take it seriously, but I'm having a hard time doing that with the silly stuff you're trotting out now.
If you dismiss any of my counterpoints offhand, failing to even consider them, then we're probably stagnated. :|
I suppose the goal might indeed be to make it look that way, but it doesn't really. (See above, and repeat as needed.) I have to tell you straight, Chris, by this point I don't think you believe you're doing anything but trying to muddy the water, either. Care to pretend now that you really think user fees for public resources aren't justified if a person arguing for them in an internet forum doesn't specify exactly how much each user should pay for each kind of use? That you aren't just trying to waste my time and type with this kind of garbage?...
chris_mcmartin wrote:... How much would such a person need to pay? A quarter for a cell phone pic, a dollar for using an SLR, more if there's a grizzly bear in frame? They didn't use the visitor center, or the restroom, or maybe even a "scenic turnout."
Yeah, you bet.
chris_mcmartin wrote:I am OK with not everyone contributing what you perceive to be their "fair share,"...
It doesn't really matter whether or not anyone's ok with the existence of unfairness. Life's never going to be completely fair in any respect, and that certainly includes (the various aspects of) our legal system. I'm a realist, and don't argue for perfection. I'm simply an advocate for making things more fair through time, both personally and officially, especially as they relate to our wildlife and wild lands. You're of course welcome to see things differently than I do, and other folks are free to see things differently than either of us.
chris_mcmartin wrote:... Your position is that no matter how non-intrusive a "use" of a public resource is, people should be made to pay something above and beyond what they already pay. I get it.
My position is just as I've stated umpteen times, and you certainly should get it as it's incredibly easy to get: Everyone should pay something toward the management and conservation of public resources, and users of a resource should pay in addition to that. This doubtless adds up to more than most people currently pay, but doubtless also less than some currently pay. I don't really care. I'm talking basis here. The mandatory funding system should cover the justified need, but if someone wants to voluntarily pay even more (in whatever manner) then that's just fine with me. What's not fine with me is the perpetual underfunding of this need and the dodging of personal and sometimes regulatory responsibility for contributing to it. "I don't/shouldn't have to buy a hunting license because I'm only photographing rather than harvesting the quarry I'm hunting" doesn't fly with me. As I said, my position is incredibly easy to get - unless one simply doesn't want to get it.
chris_mcmartin wrote:
That's my view, and I'm sticking to it regardless of who here disagrees.
No argument could possibly change your view? Interesting mindset. :twisted:
You really should read more carefully, and I'm not by any means just talking about this little bit here. I said I don't care who disagrees. That's not the same thing as saying I don't care about meaningful arguments made against my view. I'm always willing to consider those. That's not what you've been offering, though, and as I said I'm coming to think that you know that. You disagree with me, and you spin endless fantasy scenarios and supposed complications that have no relevance outside your own mind because you disagree with me, but that's about it. Offer me a meaningful argument rather than more of the same, and if I'm still bothering to read what you post on the subject I'll address it. But I'm done with wasting my time on your nonsense.
cbernz wrote:I have a few questions about this. Specifically, what "use" would a user fee for birders cover?...
See what I wrote to Chris above.

Gerry

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cbernz
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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by cbernz » August 4th, 2014, 12:57 pm

gbin wrote:"I don't/shouldn't have to buy a hunting license because I'm only photographing rather than harvesting the quarry I'm hunting" doesn't fly with me. As I said, my position is incredibly easy to get - unless one simply doesn't want to get it.
I get that you want photographers to pay for the right to take pictures of animals, but the thing that Chris and I (and maybe others) are having trouble with is why. There is a huge philosophical leap between using hunting terminology casually to describe nature photography (what most people do) and deciding that photography and hunting are basically the same and should both require fees (you're the only person I've heard talking this way). If you could just manage to explain your thought process clearly and calmly without getting angry and defensive, and respond to questions and counter-arguments without getting angry and defensive, we might be able to have a conversation with you that doesn't devolve into long, accusatory rants about how everyone is deliberately misrepresenting you, being dishonest, "muddying the waters" to try to fool people, etc.

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Re: Game Warden Feedback (TX Specifically)

Post by gbin » August 4th, 2014, 3:29 pm

Defensive? Of my time, yeah, I suppose so. I've never liked it being wasted on nonsense, and I reckon I never will. Not that you haven't made some pretty blatant attempts to provoke more personal defensiveness from me, but I don't really care much about the personal aspect of what you've been doing.

I've explained both what my view is and why it is what it is, repeatedly, at length and to the best of my ability. It seems only the people who have been writing determinedly to make it seem much more complicated than it really is are supposedly confused about it.

When they're not determinedly representing my view as something other than it is, that is. Funny how the misrepresentations are always much easier to attack than are my actual views - but I guess that's just an amazingly consistent coincidence. Case in point:
cbernz wrote:I get that you want photographers to pay for the right to take pictures of animals... using hunting terminology casually to describe nature photography... deciding that photography and hunting are basically the same and should both require fees...
The truth is that I never actually said any of these things, and I don't actually think any of these things. That might not matter to you - or at least, not nearly so much as your desire to discredit my viewpoint does - but it does to me. And I don't appreciate your repeatedly wasting my time to correct you so that onlookers aren't misled by what you say about me. What a surprise, huh?

I've spoken of general principles here, but mostly I've focused specifically on hunting as it's what's most relevant to this thread. You want to pretend that you're not hunting even when you're out making a concerted effort to find a particular (kind of) managed animal, even when your activities are clearly included in the definition of hunting by this or that wildlife agency, because you don't collect or kill your quarry when you find it? Go ahead. You'll almost certainly get away with it where your actions are against the law, and where it's not (yet) against the law you'll only have your conscience to think about, anyway. But I won't indulge your pretense, and I will hope that you someday accept more responsibility for your use of wildlife and wild lands (not to mention gain more respect for the law where such pertains).

Turned up in very few minutes via a quick Google search:

From NY's Department of Environmental Conservation:
To hunt - means to pursue, shoot, kill or capture (other than trap) wildlife and includes all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife whether or not they result in taking.
From VA's Department of Game and Inland Fisheries:
Hunting and Trapping

The act of or the attempted act of taking, hunting, trapping, pursuing, chasing, shooting, snaring, or netting birds or animals, and assisting any person who is doing the same, regardless of whether birds or animals are actually taken.
From SC's Department of Natural Resources:
Hunting is defined as trying to find, seek, obtain, pursue, or diligently search for game.
There's of course plenty more of the same from elsewhere for people to dig up if they wish. Not that anyone who is adamant about seeing things in a much more self-serving way will be persuaded by such.

Gerry

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