John Vanek wrote:
Brian Hubbs wrote:Why do we need bag-limits Gerry? Maybe we don't by your reasoning...we certainly don't for some species, but we have them anyway...in most states. Are those states just ignorant? I think some of them are, but I'm asking you...
I think that bag limits are useful for monitoring purposes. We know that some species have been wiped out or nearly wiped out by unregulated harvest (white-tailed deer and wild turkey come to mind). They are also useful to limit harvest to the personal level, as to not allow/ incentivize market harvesting.
John beat me to it, here. To add to what he had to say both more specifically and more generally, I'll say that mostly I don't think herp bag limits are
needed, but herp management is certainly useful, and monitoring/controlling take is a useful part of management for harvested species.
Antonsrkn wrote:Well now I'm confused, you and I are talking about 2 (or more) different topics...
You're right, Anton, on top of the fact that electronic communication is difficult at its best, our discussion is going in various directions all at once. To make matters worse, when I posted the message you're referring to I was reading and writing via my smartphone from a veterinarian's waiting room (we've a sick cat) and so didn't give it the time and attention it really deserved. Let me try to make amends now...
Antonsrkn wrote:... I was addressing the quote below, where John states that there is no demand for timber rattlers. Based on the stories above there is atleast enough demand for people to go through a considerable amount of trouble to acquire/transport them...
Ok, but I think John wasn't really trying to claim that no one has ever wanted a timber rattler and poached to get it, he was simply writing in shorthand fashion to say that there is no meaningful
- as in, to an extent that would actually affect a population - demand (it's more of that problem with communicating in this medium; and John, please correct me if I'm wrong about your intent). I responded by saying that just because poaching exists doesn't mean that it exists in great enough numbers to harm a population, as I understood you to be arguing with that point. After all, although none of us like poaching or want it to occur, what really matters is whether it causes any actual harm.
Antonsrkn wrote:... Not once did I state or even imply that "poaching occurs in great enough numbers to harm a population", however now that you said it yes, yes it can. This guy Emanuele tesoro (former FHF member) was caught with 35 wild-caught Massasaugas which he was attempting to trade for timber rattlers (in new york!). Massasaugas are a threatened to endangered within much of their range and many populations are genetically isolated from others and taking 35 individuals out would be a very serious blow...
I'm sure you're not going to be very happy with what I have to say here, but... Your example doesn't come close to proving the case to me. Thirty-five massasaugas certainly sounds
like an unpleasantly large number, all right, but we'd have to do some actual number crunching for me to agree that it constitutes any real threat to the population(s) from which they were taken, let alone that it amounts to "a very serious blow." Mind you, I'm not saying this wasn't a harmful number in this case, but only that it's not yet evident to me that it was. In the early part of my career I spent quite a bit of time doing such number crunching, focusing particularly on small or very small population biology, and I understand that harvest numbers that sound frighteningly large can in reality have neglible or no effects on a population, depending on the specifics pertaining to that population. This really isn't something you can eyeball or intuit with much degree of accuracy given how much one situation can vary from another.
Too, and I raised this point as well somewhere up above, if a species/important population is truly in dire enough straits that the removal of a few or even a few dozen individuals can cause considerable harm, then it needs far more tangible protection than merely to have information about it kept out of internet forums. People who care should be rallying for that protection, not wasting their times policing online message boards.
Antonsrkn wrote:... Also like I mentioned before, preceding his arrest this guy repeatedly asked where timbers were found or if someone would take him to their timber spot. So I feel its justified to say "poaching occurs because people post information on the internet."
Ah, but see, all you did is (sort of) establish that at least some poachers at least sometimes seek information in internet forums to aid them in their illegal activity, not that this happens with any meaningful frequency nor even that they enjoy any real success from it. (And then there still remains that question of whether any meaningful harm was done to the species/population/site as a result.) As various people have pointed out, there are plenty of much more fruitful ways (both on- and off-line) for poachers to obtain the information they're seeking, too. Further, I don't recall any
of the many, many debates here on the subject of the "need for secrecy" arising from someone asking to be taken to rattlesnake dens. Generally what prompts this incessant nonsense doesn't come anywhere near being that relevant. Someone posts a map that might allow people to know (as if they didn't already, or couldn't very easily find out elsewhere) what county a snake species is found in. Or asks what span of months might be most likely for seeing a species (as the original poster here did). Or posts a travelogue here that simply lets people know "I found this species of snake recently." It's a far cry from any of that to "Would someone here please show me exactly where I can find a timber rattlesnake den in my neighborhood?"
Again, I agree that herp poaching happens. I can readily believe that at least sometimes it is at least in some small way aided by information someone posted in an internet forum, too. But I also agree that suns explode. It's absolutely fine with me if people want to modify their behavior out of fear of these things, even if I feel sorry for their utter lack of perspective and sad for their misdirection of passion, but it's not fine with me if they incessantly chastize - or do much worse to - others for not behaving likewise. That's the bottom line for me.
I hope that clarifies things, and again, sorry for not being clearer in my previous post.