I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics added!

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gmerker
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I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics added!

Post by gmerker » September 8th, 2010, 7:49 pm

……but I’ll throw in a couple of images of other types of animals as well.

Here it is….my end of the year post….Why so early? Simple; it’s because I know I won’t be able to take any more trips this year….

This year, I visited my usual herping sites plus a few new ones. Below is a collection of habitat shots from places visited by myself during the year. I spent a lot of time night hiking on private property in Texas, hiking the desert flats of Southwest, walking the canyons of SE Arizona, and the occasional jaunt to the local Sierra Nevadas. Of course, a lot of time was spent driving roads at night to observe the following animals as well! There is absolutely no chronology in these images; suffice to say, the majority were taken between March 1 and September 1 of this year.

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Below are some of the images from this past year. I’ll start with a few amphibian shots:

Several different forms of Ensatina:
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This one was found quite dirty…and cleaned itself within a few minutes –

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A particularly spotted Black Salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus)
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A very cooperative Great Plains Toad (Bufo cognatus):
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Next some Crotalus shots:

The Northern Pacific Rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus):
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Having seen well over 100 Crotalus oreganus this past year, occasionally, you find a very interesting specimen. The one below was very light in coloration compared to its companions in the crack!
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Also observed in Rick Staub’s Crotalus crack was oddly patterned snake!:
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One of only a handful of times Rick has seen a California Mountain Kingsnake in this fissure. I know Brian Hubbs is really excited about the above image because it will give him the opportunity to promote two out of the three of his herp treatments!



A Western Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox) in hunting mode:
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An Arizona Black Rattlesnake (Crotalus (erberus):
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A Blacktail Rattlesnake (Crotalus molossus) observed over several nights of night hiking:
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A Rock Rattlesnake: (Crotalus lepidus klauberi):
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A Speckled Rattlesnake (Crotalus mitchelli):
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A few Crotalus lookalikes:

Mexican Hognose Snakes (Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi):
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We did see several of the above snakes…always a fun animal to see in the wild. There was a time when I could consistently find these animals, however, those times are gone. Arizona had decent amounts of rain this year…and with it, an increase in observations of these snakes, at least for us.
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Bullsnake (Pituophis sayi):
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Reticulated Gecko (Coleonyx reticulatus) in situ as observed during a night hike:
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An Ornate Box Turtle (Terrapene ornata ornata)
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A particularly beautiful Longnose Snake (Rhinochelius lecontei):
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An in situ image of a Desert Rosy Boa (Lichanura trivirgata):
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This Rubber Boa (Charina bottae) was found active at a ambient temperature of 46 °F:
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The latest in Rubber Boa apparel:
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A California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula californiae) from Arizona:
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A very nice Arizona Alligator Lizard (Gerrhonotus kingi):
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A Sonora Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana) in a canyon where I had never observed one before:
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And as always, a few California tri-colors:
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A Trans Pecos Rat Snake (Bogertophis subocularis) walked during one of many night hikes in West Texas:

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and a couple of Trans Pecos Copperheads (Agkistrodon contortrix pictagaster) from a couple of those night hikes:

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A Western Green Ratsnake (Senticolis triaspis interemedia) rescued from a Striped Skunk:

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This was also the year of “the common snake” for me. It has been a long time since I have observed so many Patchnose Snakes and Red Racers in the deserts southwest. In the mid-70’s, I remember seeing both of these animals in large numbers all over the deserts of Southern California and Western Arizona. In recent years, I would be happy to see one or two of either species. That changed this year with a combined count of over 20 sightings!

Desert Patch-nose Snake (Salvadora hexalepis):
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Red Racer (Masticophis flagellum piceus)
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And a not-so-common form, the San Joaquin Whipsnake (Masticophis flagellum ruddocki):
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A very regal Regal Ringneck Snake (Diadophis punctatus regalis):
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And some other cool animals sighted and photographed:

A mid-Winter collection of beetles in the Central Valley of California:
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Snake Food up on a cut:
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Crab Spider with a meal:
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Some other odds and ends from the past year:
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A very popular and much photographed nest of hummingbirds:
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A Ferruginous Hawk in flight:
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A Merlin:
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Towards the end of summer, I always like to check out a spot for Sierra Garter Snakes (Thamnophis couchi couchi). Thirty years ago, I would easily spot half a dozen of these water denizens walking along the stream. In recent years, I was always turning up the more terrestrial Mountain Garter Snake (Thamnophis elegans elegans). The stream had much more water in it for this time of year and as a result, the Sierra Garter Snakes were much more abundant. I spotted three within about 15 minutes of walking along a small pond:

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Despite the fact that Texas has enacted new laws prohibiting the collection of vertebrate species off of the road or ROW, it is not illegal to look. We had the opportunity to do plenty of that. One of the things I found was this:
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If you look carefully towards the rear of the animal, it looks swollen….with eggs. This unfortunate specimen was indeed a gravid animal. It turns out according to several people in the know (even though I didn’t collect the animal), once the animal is run over, it is perfectly legal to pick up!

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And there you have it….my annual post (other than posts where I comment on other people’s posts)….happy herping and hope to see you in the field….

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Dave S
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Dave S » September 8th, 2010, 8:00 pm

Wow great post and images!!!!! That 1st photo is fantastic :)
Dave

scott s
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by scott s » September 8th, 2010, 8:05 pm

Great Stuff!

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monklet
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by monklet » September 8th, 2010, 8:53 pm

Love this post! That Leconte's Snake certainly is a looker! The Regal is another standout! How'd you ever get a Merlin flight shot? :thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

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Dan Krull
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Dan Krull » September 8th, 2010, 9:51 pm

As usual, a real show stopper! I'm already looking forward to next year's post. Was that a Sanderson animal? It looks like the dark ones Roy has gotten from inside the city limits.

Dan

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Hans Breuer (twoton)
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Hans Breuer (twoton) » September 9th, 2010, 2:02 am

Whoah, those first eight photos are absolutely stunning!! You're not really there for the herping, are ya? :-)

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Paul O'Connor
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Paul O'Connor » September 9th, 2010, 6:45 am

Amazing photos. The head shot of that first Ensatina is great! The second Ensatina looks like you just asked him a puzzling question.

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Erik_NorCal
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Erik_NorCal » September 9th, 2010, 11:46 am

Awesome photos. The first Ensatina pic is stunning. I have a thing for rubber boas, and those are some nice shots. Hope you don't mind, I stole your first rubber pic for the background on my work computer. :)

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JakeScott
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by JakeScott » September 9th, 2010, 12:01 pm

Sorry to hear you wont be able to make any further trips. Still quite some time left in herp season. Not even a weekend here and there?
You don't need me to tell you, but the images were top notch! I like seeing habitats almost as much as seeing the animals.

-Jake Scott

erik loza
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by erik loza » September 9th, 2010, 12:18 pm

Great photos, G.!

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David Hardesty
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by David Hardesty » September 9th, 2010, 12:43 pm

Those are some outstanding pictures!

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Fundad
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Fundad » September 9th, 2010, 1:29 pm

As Always Mr Merker sir, OUTSTANDING Photos, Herps, and skill..

:beer: :crazyeyes: :thumb:
Fundad

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chris drake
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by chris drake » September 9th, 2010, 3:21 pm

Great post and beautiful photography. A DOR gravid alterna is a heartbreaker to say the least. The landscape shots are really spectacular. Great to meet you out at Roys by the way.

Chris

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canderson
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by canderson » September 9th, 2010, 3:47 pm

Wow! That regal ringneck is a knock-out! I like how the left margin of the photo just shows half of the coils looping out. That would look great on the cover of a book about Ringnecked snakes. :)

Looks like you had some excellent luck walking in Texas. I'll have to try that sometime, if I can hit it right. Too bad about the grayband.

Take care,
Chris

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MHollanders
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by MHollanders » September 9th, 2010, 4:53 pm

Excellent post. My jaw dropped with that first ensatina shot; wow!

Later, Matt

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Chad M. Lane
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Chad M. Lane » September 9th, 2010, 7:04 pm

Fantastic post Mr. Merker! I enjoyed the Hognose's, and that stunning Longnose!



Cheers,
Chad

gmerker
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by gmerker » September 10th, 2010, 10:39 am

Thanks to all for the very kind comments…I’ll take a moment to answer some of the questions.

Monklet….I have a friend who is a falconer. That Merlin was a bird he was working with….it got fairly close to the camera and allowed an in-flight picture to be taken.

Herp Ninja….Missed you this year! That DOR Lampropeltis alterna was found on Juno Road…it does look a lot like some of the dark ones Roy has found over the years…below is a captive bred animal from East Sanderson Stock:
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I think it looks quite similar to the DOR Juno…

Hans…oh, but I am herping! Wish I could see some of the cool animals you have been posting.

Erik_NorCal: Thanks for the kind comments and be my guest – use that pic as your comp background.

JakeScott…I will make a few trips looking at local herps…but the job ensures they will be very very short trips indeed….

Erik Loza…thanks for the comments and hope to see you again soon in Sacramento….

Fundad…thanks for the very nice words….hope to see you at Anaheim….

Chris Drake…great to meet you this past summer as well…the hummingbird shot was taken a few feet from where you parked your truck at Roy’s place (but I am sure you knew that!)

Dave S., Scott S., Paul O’Conner, David Hardesty, Canderson, MHollanders, and Chad M.Lane…thanks a lot for the very kind words….

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pete
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by pete » September 11th, 2010, 5:53 pm

What a wonderful dysfunction you have!!

BEAUTIFUL shots!

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kcmatt
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by kcmatt » September 13th, 2010, 10:31 am

Great stuff, Gerold. Beautiful Rhino, and congrats on all the patchies-- those things elude me incredibly well (at least alive). I was sent out that way for one evening this summer and saw a couple of bottae at 52 and 51 degrees, crazy animals. Thanks for the post.

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SnakeStick
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by SnakeStick » September 13th, 2010, 2:02 pm

Awesome pics. Really like the bull snake and the rosy boa.

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Ross Padilla
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....

Post by Ross Padilla » September 13th, 2010, 11:05 pm

Wow, amazing stuff here. Great photography. :thumb:

gmerker
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by gmerker » September 17th, 2010, 6:47 am

Pete: thanks for the kind words...but don't tell my wife....she is not fond of me being gone as much as I am...

kcmatt: thanks for the comments...I have gone years without seeing a Patchnose Snake....this year, we saw tons....those temps you observed your rubber boas at are in my opinion prime temperatures! They don't like it warm....

SnakeStick...thanks for the comments...

And Ross....thanks for the kind words, I really appreciate them after seeing your posts! gmerker

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dezertwerx
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by dezertwerx » September 17th, 2010, 7:50 am

Great photography! Love the birds of prey!

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geckoguy747
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by geckoguy747 » September 18th, 2010, 10:47 am

incredible post! i'm loving the king/rattler sandwich! and really too bad about that alterna. those guys are such awesome snakes.

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pete
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by pete » September 18th, 2010, 2:43 pm

I won't tell a soul :D

Send my best to Walter, I met him in 06 with my friend kevin. We did some salamanderin in norcal.

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Scott Waters
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by Scott Waters » September 20th, 2010, 12:52 pm

Hey G, next time at least share a few pics! :) Always enjoyable when the G-man posts.

thanks,
scott

gmerker
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by gmerker » September 24th, 2010, 6:40 pm

Thanks Scott....I had a few more pictures, but was worried about the dial-up (especially on Brian Hubbs' computer)

Pete...I passed the greetings on the Walter....

Thanks a lot for the nice comments, GeckoGuy 747 and Dezert Werx....gmerker

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Bill Love
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Re: I have a definite reptile dysfunction.....NEW pics added

Post by Bill Love » September 27th, 2010, 6:13 am

Beautiful work, as always!

gmerker
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by gmerker » October 11th, 2010, 7:19 pm

Hey thanks Bill! Have you made your big move yet? just curious.....gmerker

joeysgreen
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by joeysgreen » October 11th, 2010, 7:37 pm

Stunning photography; real national geographic-like stuff.
Thanks!

Ian

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Porter
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Porter » March 23rd, 2011, 8:28 am

Great pics man!! The detail on that Sierra Nevada is somethin else!

That ringless ringneck is an ansome find as well!

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Sam Bacchini
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Sam Bacchini » March 23rd, 2011, 8:54 am

Beautiful photos Gerry! Hope all is well with you.

Sam

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Jason Mintzer
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Jason Mintzer » March 23rd, 2011, 8:20 pm

As everyone has already said, great photos. I really like the close up of the ensatina. :thumb:

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Porter
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Porter » March 23rd, 2011, 11:47 pm

I also have to say, I really like that pic of the rattlers with the zonata! So cool to see preditor and prey together like that in the wild!

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Will Wells
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Will Wells » March 24th, 2011, 4:28 am

Awesome photos Gerold! Keep up the great work.

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Dusty Rhoads
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Dusty Rhoads » March 24th, 2011, 5:34 am

>>It turns out according to several people in the know (even though I didn’t collect the animal), once the animal is run over, it is perfectly legal to pick up!

Gerold,

Beautiful photos! Hope to see you out there in Tejas this year.

Also, I recently thought the above was true too, but McMartin, Krull, Gluesenkamp, and others have recently set me straight, as I need help collecting DORs in the Chihuahuan the next few springs/summers. Apparently, you still need a SCP to collect DORs.

gmerker
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by gmerker » June 11th, 2011, 7:30 am

Thanks for the comments gila-91, Jason Mintzer, Porter, Will, and Dusty! Sorry it took so long to reply…have been busy on several projects. Dusty, Texas looks pretty grim this year in terms of a vague new law and the lack of precipitation…..I may have to wait to see you there until next year! Plenty to see elsewhere…..thanks again for the comments…Gerold

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DMong
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by DMong » June 11th, 2011, 9:38 am

WOW!!!, Gerold.............

Just an OUTSTANDING post of animals AND stunning photography!!

That hypo type oraganus was quite a unique find for sure. :beer:



~Doug

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Carl Koch
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by Carl Koch » June 11th, 2011, 5:51 pm

Wonderful, through and through! Loved the Mexican hog shots in particular!

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muskiemagnet
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Re: I have a reptile dysfunction definitely.....NEW pics add

Post by muskiemagnet » June 11th, 2011, 7:44 pm

i really liked the ospreys. a few weeks ago, one was fishing near us. so much fun to watch them bomb into the water.

-ben

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