The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

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gbin
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The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by gbin » August 2nd, 2014, 8:53 am

Another thread currently active on the message board got me to wondering about a related matter, and I thought I'd start this thread to see what people here think:

If you herp hunt (or field herp, or just herp, or whatever else you prefer to call it) and you had to choose, which of these would you say is mainly why you do it? (I'm not big on polls as they don't allow people to really express themselves. I'd actually like to hear your thoughts here, whether they're like mine or quite different from mine. And yes, I'm interested in alternatives to these two choices, too, but mostly I'm interested in finding out what people think of these in particular.)

- The thrill of the hunt? (Be it by foot, on a bike, in a car, by visually scanning, turning cover...)

- The prize at the end? (Be it an animal in a bag, a photograph, a memory...)

I'm definitely a "thrill of the hunt" guy, myself, and always have been. Not that I don't like turning up the creatures I'm searching for, of course, but some of my best times herp hunting have actually turned up little or nothing; I simply had that good a time trying to find them. In addition to everything else I find pleasurable about the hunt itself (the outdoors, the peaceful solitude, etc.), the anticipation of possible discovery is also a very enjoyable part of it to me, kind of as if I'm out there seeking buried treasure. :)

What say you?

I'm not interested in arguing that anyone's right or wrong here, I just want to see what folks think.

Gerry

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Zach_Lim » August 2nd, 2014, 9:36 am

For me, I am a "prize at the end" kind of guy during peak seasonal activity for my target species.

During less than optimal times, such as the dry heat of summer and/or the chill of winter, it is the thrill of the hunt that keeps me going.

I am out in the field whenever I can, so I can't really choose!

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 2nd, 2014, 10:39 am

I'm not interested in arguing that anyone's right or wrong here, I just want to see what folks think.
I guess you're saving the arguments that others are wrong for MY thread. :lol:

Background on the genesis of THIS thread can be found here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=20129

I had considered starting a separate topic myself, so as not to further derail the Game Warden interaction discussion, but I also didn't want to have people feeling they had to jump back and forth to get the full context, so I decided against it. Then I get back from herping (sometimes I actually do that!), and THIS thread pops up. Thanks a LOT, Gerry! :P


Getting back to your question: In my opinion, you've set up a false dilemma--it's not an either/or prospect. I like being in nature in pretty much every way practical, except for being surrounded by swarms of mosquitos. I like driving on the open road. I like hiking around. I like just sitting and listening. I like seeing critters. I like being able to hold some of them in my hand, to discover that maybe this one has scars from a fire, or this one had a broken rib that since healed, or this one has an unusual parasite that may be worth documenting. I like to take pictures. I sometimes like to take some home, if it's legal and ethical to do so.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by ThatFrogGuy » August 2nd, 2014, 10:57 am

For me it really is a combination of both, but leaning more towards the "prize" if i had to decide between the two. Of course, I enjoy spending time outdoors as much as the next guy but I'm not going to lie, if I've gone hours (or days/weeks/months even, if I'm looking for something especially hard to find) without finding anything, my morale takes a pretty big hit. If you find it though, all that effort makes it all the more worthwhile.
That's why my most enjoyable days in the field usually consist of finding nothing all day until the "last minute."

Other times I simply want to be outside and explore, and then it is more of a "thrill of the hunt" type thing.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by luv_the_smellof_musk » August 2nd, 2014, 12:40 pm

Mostly the thrill of the hunt. I love planning herping trips and doing research and trying to determine what I might find during far away trips. Locally, I love just checking various rock cuts and such to see what might turn up and if nothing else I get some exercise. I don't really keep anything I find, being that most of my collection is not North American. There are some beautiful copperheads I've found that blow away anything I've seen in captivity. Perhaps one day I'll return to that location and it will be the prize at the end that day :)

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Trey » August 2nd, 2014, 12:54 pm

Definitely finding my quarry. I enjoy being out in the field immensely, whether it be herping, fishing whatever... but if I go out and get skunked I certainly do not enjoy it as much! This may stem from the fact that I have an EXTREMELY finite amount of time and opportunity to be doing these things. Someone with more free time available to them may not feel the same.

It's the satisfaction of being successful in my pursuits that I enjoy more than anything.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Kent VanSooy » August 2nd, 2014, 1:08 pm

I've got an answer other that A or B. Herping is like fishing, and bicyling, and hiking, and photography - all are fine excuses to get outside and see the world. Sure, it's fun to find or catch something, but just tromping around is #1 for me. And this way, I'm never disappointed...! ;)

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by gbin » August 2nd, 2014, 1:23 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:I guess you're saving the arguments that others are wrong for MY thread. :lol:
(Ignoring your denigrating oversimplification of what I've written in your thread,) the idea here was to hopefully get an at least somewhat independent response to my question (suspecting plenty of folks dropped out of that other thread at the first whiff of debate, as I believe many at FHF often do) in a place where it clearly belonged. Unfortunately...
chris_mcmartin wrote:Background on the genesis of THIS thread can be found here: http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =2&t=20129
... this looks like nothing but an attempt to poison the well. Can't have anyone respond without first getting your take on a whole bunch of tangential stuff, eh? My curiosity about this question did arise from your thread, but curiosity is truly all it is; I'm not looking for ammunition here to use there or anything like that, if such a notion is what's got you acting so bristly. Oh well...
chris_mcmartin wrote:Getting back to your question: In my opinion, you've set up a false dilemma--it's not an either/or prospect...
In my opinion, you're simply misrepresenting it as a false dilemma. I never said it was an either/or prospect. I fully recognize people could and probably do like both a great deal, and I can imagine some liking them equally. But I think an awful lot of people, even if not everyone, tend to like one aspect over the other. (That's certainly true of me.) I'm just curious how it breaks down among folks here. As I said, although I'm particularly interested in the two aspects I identified, I'm also happy to hear alternatives.
chris_mcmartin wrote:... I like being in nature in pretty much every way practical, except for being surrounded by swarms of mosquitos. I like driving on the open road. I like hiking around. I like just sitting and listening. I like seeing critters. I like being able to hold some of them in my hand, to discover that maybe this one has scars from a fire, or this one had a broken rib that since healed, or this one has an unusual parasite that may be worth documenting. I like to take pictures. I sometimes like to take some home, if it's legal and ethical to do so.
And you apparently don't like anything more than anything else (never mind one of the things I mentioned more than the other thing I mentioned), eh? Ok, thanks for chiming in.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

Gerry

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by soulsurvivor » August 2nd, 2014, 1:40 pm

I'm definitely into the prize at the end. While I enjoy solitary road cruising with the windows down and my music on, if too much time goes by without an outstanding find, be it days or weeks, I start getting depressed. Same with my other hobby of digging for antique bottles. I need the occasional high to keep my interest. If all I'm finding is old mountain dew bottles, or only ribbon snakes, I start to sulk and whine until something brings me out of my funk.

~Bree

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Mike VanValen » August 2nd, 2014, 2:07 pm

I'm with Trey on this one. I get out herping maybe once a week these days. Finding what I'm looking for is my goal. I hope to one day be able to herp almost daily and find every species in the general area like some folks do....then maybe I can stop and smell the roses as well.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by umop apisdn » August 2nd, 2014, 2:33 pm

When it's not just road cruising, it's the thrill of the hunt...though sometimes the peaceful rides through nice habitat contribute to the thrill of the hunt. I've definitely used cruising, despite results, as a way to unwind or escape. But since sometimes there is a prize somewhere in the hunt, I can't say that doesn't play a role. The end is almost never characterized by the prize, though.

That's said, when I have a place where there's a certain goal that might be fairly reliable and I end up getting completely skunked, I can still get a bit disappointed.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Kfen » August 2nd, 2014, 3:08 pm

It depends on the day. If I am by myself specifically herping, than it is definitely about the prize. If I am out herping with friends, it is more about the entire social experience. That does not mean I don't go out other times to enjoy being outdoors and nature in general.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by chrish » August 2nd, 2014, 9:36 pm

I think a lot of this probably has to do with how long you have been herping. for the first 20 years or so of my herping career I was very prize focused. I remember coming home from trips being disappointed. Over the years that has changed significantly though. Now as I approach my 5th decade in the field, I have relaxed a lot. when I was young, I would flip any piece of trash or debris that look like it might possibly hide a snake. now when I am flipping I probably skip 90% of the good stuff just because. If I'm with someone else I readily leave them the good rocks or boards. I get more enjoyment seeing their excitement at finding a target species than I would get from finding it myself.

Now what I cherish when I go herping is the company or the solitude (depending on if I'm alone or not), the great outdoors, and the opportunity to see some of the amazing critters that exist on this planet.
I enjoy seeing the birds, the bugs, the sunset, et cetera. herps are just a bonus. I still get excited to find my target species, but I don't become disappointed if I don't. In fact, anymore I rarely have a target species. I'm just out there to herp.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Mark Brown » August 3rd, 2014, 12:36 am

chrish wrote:I think a lot of this probably has to do with how long you have been herping.
I defnitely agree here, and I think an even more important factor might be WHERE you herp. Perfect example.....if I'm going to south Texas (remember when you could actually herp in south Texas?) I was unquestionably focusing on the catch/find. If I go to west Texas, it's almost entirely about the trip and not the herps. There was very little to recommend south Texas aside from the herps, at least compared with west Texas, and a fruitless night in south Texas was a very long night. Some of my favorite west Texas herping memories do not even involve herps.

As I've gotten older, I've come to compare herping to fishing.....if you have to catch fish to have fun fishing, you probably won't last long at it.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by gbin » August 3rd, 2014, 3:52 am

chrish wrote:I think a lot of this probably has to do with how long you have been herping...
I bet you're right, Chris. I think in my own case, though, I got an early start on preferring the hunt more than the find because I was an early lover of solitude (I've actually become more social about my outings as I've grown older) and I brought with me diverse interests from the start. One day I might be out netting minnows but would be delighted to instead or additionally turn up any herps on the shore. Another day I might be looking specifically for herps but "Hey, look at this cool dung beetle!" Etc. Hard to ever be disappointed with what you find (or don't find) when there are so many "prizes" all around you.

You mentioned loving the planning and research that goes into preparing for the hunt, luv. I hadn't thought about that when I started this thread, but it's a huge part of my enjoyment, too. And it's a part that never disappoints, winter or summer, rain or shine, near or far. :)

Gerry

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

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

Mark Brown wrote:
chrish wrote:There was very little to recommend south Texas aside from the herps, at least compared with west Texas, and a fruitless night in south Texas was a very long night
I have to disagree there. There didn't used to be many slow nights in STex and in my experience most West Tx nights are slow unless you get far west.

And as for nothing to recommend in SoTex, that's why all herpers should be birders as well. Don't forget, birds are herps too.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Mark Brown » August 3rd, 2014, 11:07 am

chrish wrote:
Mark Brown wrote:
chrish wrote:There was very little to recommend south Texas aside from the herps, at least compared with west Texas, and a fruitless night in south Texas was a very long night
I have to disagree there. There didn't used to be many slow nights in STex and in my experience most West Tx nights are slow unless you get far west.

And as for nothing to recommend in SoTex, that's why all herpers should be birders as well. Don't forget, birds are herps too.
Well, I wasn't really comparing the two in respect to productive nights versus unproductive nights.....the old south Texas (pre Eagle Ford shale) would win hands down. My point was that west Texas always made a great destination, regardless of herping luck. While I've always liked south Texas, not so much in terms of being a "destination". I do really miss the old days of herping down there.

Almost all my west Texas experience is far west Texas.....probably largely for the reason elucidated above. I never had much luck in near west Texas and I'd just rather drive a couple more hours and be in paradise (for me, anyway).

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by muskiemagnet » August 3rd, 2014, 2:04 pm

i started reading replies but my mind is not in it at the moment, sorry. i will, however, tell you how i feel and check back at another time.

my answer is neither.

you could argue that it is the thrill of the hunt but it is not. i'm not hunting anything. i'm observing and learning. all aspects of nature. flora and fauna. sure, i love reptiles and they are in the forefront. i just like learning. for certain species at the right time of year, it's not too thrilling anymore. "oh, there's a bullsnake, or a timber, that's cool" and move on. the only reason i even carry my camera is to document important info or for just a "kick-ass" looking snake.

i hunt for locations. that's my gig.

-ben

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Matt S. » August 3rd, 2014, 3:56 pm

This question often comes up in other hobbies such as hunting and fishing, as some others have previously mentioned.

For me, though I wish I could say it was otherwise, if I was going to be truly honest I would have to say the prize at the end. I have had some fantastic days when I didn't turn up anything or anything of note. When the weather and the environment really make for an enjoyable day observing and simply being outside. That being said, nothing really beats finding that quarry, or catching that fish, that you have really been after and has been dogging you for awhile. When I think about the most joy I have experienced, it has to be finding something really special. Those great days of "hunting" are pretty close though.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by chris_mcmartin » August 3rd, 2014, 4:01 pm

muskiemagnet wrote:for certain species at the right time of year, it's not too thrilling anymore. "oh, there's a bullsnake, or a timber, that's cool" and move on.
If you're finding yourself jaded, bring a friend, preferably one who's never herped before (but not somebody afraid of snakes!). Even better, bring a kid! It doesn't exactly match the exhilaration you felt the first time you found such-and-such species, but it's close.

:thumb:

Oh--and never forget that your "the thrill is gone" species have other people absolutely drooling over the prospect of seeing one in the wild... 8-)

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Lloyd Heilbrunn » August 3rd, 2014, 9:12 pm

I buy books to read them, I go to restaurants to eat, I go fishing to catch fish, and I go herping to find herps.

Sure, a book collection is nice, restaurants may have good atmosphere, fishing gets you outdoors, and herping relaxes me, but those are not the objects of the exercise.....

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by Noah M » August 4th, 2014, 1:19 pm

It has to be the prize at the end. How many people here go looking for unicorns? I'm not saying you can't enjoy a trip where you don't find any herps, but if trip after trip you never found any herps, perhaps it should be time to change hobbies. You can't very well be a herper if you don't ever find any.

That being said, the hunt is rather fun too. I can go to a zoo or nature center and get pictures of an animal somebody else caught, but that isn't much fun either, not compared to finding it on my own. Even large group herping events can lessen the joy because somebody else found the animal. It would be like if your neighbors unwrapped your presents at Christmas. Sure I was there, and I can get a picture, and may even be included in some notes somewhere, but the most fun is being the one to see and capture the specimen (either physically or with a camera).

So ultimately I say both, because one without the other is a snore.

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by gbin » August 4th, 2014, 2:20 pm

"Different strokes..." :beer:

Gerry

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Re: The thrill of the hunt, or the prize at the end?

Post by muskiemagnet » August 5th, 2014, 2:08 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
muskiemagnet wrote:for certain species at the right time of year, it's not too thrilling anymore. "oh, there's a bullsnake, or a timber, that's cool" and move on.
If you're finding yourself jaded, bring a friend, preferably one who's never herped before (but not somebody afraid of snakes!). Even better, bring a kid! It doesn't exactly match the exhilaration you felt the first time you found such-and-such species, but it's close.

:thumb:

Oh--and never forget that your "the thrill is gone" species have other people absolutely drooling over the prospect of seeing one in the wild... 8-)

you are spot on chris with everything you say. i have taken friends who are not, shall i say, "understanding" to have a good chance at finding their own. they loved it. i loved watching them love it. the hard part for me is when they want to touch and hold. "hey, this animal can kill you!!!! don't be stupit!!!!" OMG.

i never touched a rattlesnake because i had respect. i did touch one this spring during a study we were conducting. i did not do the processing, but i held one in the tube. i had to, even though i just wanted to go find more. it was neat to finally feel a rattle, the scales. such an amazing creature. i have been observing behavior for years now. that is what intrigues me.

that's how i roll.

-ben

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