For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

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dickbartlett
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by dickbartlett » February 18th, 2013, 5:37 am

It is somehow interesting that after a well thought out initial post lamenting divisiveness in the numerous perceived factions, and 3 pages of varied responses, the single item that remains foremost in this listing is --- divisiveness.
The overbearing pomposity of some responders, not varied outlooks, was the principal reason I drifted away from the post and set up my own Facebook website.
And with this said, I am again retreating to facebook.
Chris--you're a tolerant man! Cheers/dick

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gbin
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by gbin » February 18th, 2013, 7:17 am

Yes, we all get it, some people can be really difficult to deal with in a discussion such as this one, and in some folks' eyes I'm the worst of the lot. It seems pretty obvious to me, though, that the most serious problem this discussion has had has been people chiming in for no other purpose than to slam other participants.

Have you anything to contribute on the topic of the thread, Dick? Or are you just popping in to add to the aforementioned problem? :roll:

Gerry

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Daryl Eby
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Daryl Eby » February 18th, 2013, 9:10 am

Actually Gerry, I think Dick summed up the entire thread rather succinctly.

Perhaps it is time to admit that our "community" is hopelessly divided. Maybe we should stop wasting efforts on forming large umbrella groups that will undoubtedly be mired by division. Perhaps instead, we should encourage the formation of a wide assortment of special interest groups that correspond to the wide assortment of our many interests. The various interests of herpers will never fully align, but perhaps we could encourage a general solidarity. Perhaps even a very loose federation that facilitates the coordination of aligned groups and discourages public discord between groups with conflicting interests.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe attacking fellow herpers with differing views is a better path. Oh wait, that's been tried ... repeatedly.

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gbin
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by gbin » February 18th, 2013, 9:44 am

Daryl Eby wrote:Actually Gerry, I think Dick summed up the entire thread rather succinctly.

...

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe attacking fellow herpers with differing views is a better path. Oh wait, that's been tried ... repeatedly.
I guess I'm confused, Daryl. The following somehow isn't a personal attack on fellow herpers? Or this particular attack is somehow ok because it's supposedly based on something other than differing viewpoints? :?
dickbartlett wrote:The overbearing pomposity of some responders, not varied outlooks, was the principal reason I drifted away from the post...
Opposing viewpoints on the subject of this thread should be expected and even welcomed (so long as thry're honest), no matter whar anyone might think of any of the views, but there's no need and no good purpose for all of that personal nonsense.

Gerry

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 18th, 2013, 10:17 am

Daryl Eby wrote:
Perhaps it is time to admit that our "community" is hopelessly divided. Maybe we should stop wasting efforts on forming large umbrella groups that will undoubtedly be mired by division. Perhaps instead, we should encourage the formation of a wide assortment of special interest groups that correspond to the wide assortment of our many interests. The various interests of herpers will never fully align, but perhaps we could encourage a general solidarity. Perhaps even a very loose federation that facilitates the coordination of aligned groups and discourages public discord between groups with conflicting interests.
The problem is no one's willing to do the 'due diligence' of defining each type of herping, with the corresponding 'codes of conduct', so that the dimensions of the tent can be agreed upon (inclusion as per commonalities) as the first step towards uniting diverse groups.
Nothing but a comprehensive approach will work for an endeavor with this many variables.
Screw it... I'll do it myself and get back to you all in about 6 months... ;) jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by dickbartlett » February 18th, 2013, 10:20 am

Gerry, with the exception of the below comment or 3 I have nothing more to add.
I would hope that the other pertinent members of this forum, including those following what seems to be your typical ploy--a campaign of alienation--continue to enjoy the hobby in whatever manner best fits their belief and lifestyles. I respect Jeff Lemm tremendously but I do not now nor have I any plans of joining NAFHA in any capacity or any chapter in the future. But NAFHA is (for the most part) a voice (voices) of reason. And in my last post I mentioned perception. So continuing with that premise, my comment(s) pertaining to NAFHA and its members are MY perception and may be mine alone. You, OTOH, (again my perception alone) are merely a voice. If I were to associate an adjective with your voice, it would be disruption. Good luck on your ill-fated (my perception) campaign.
And yes, I really am retreating to my facebook page where I need only tap an unfriend button to silence the very rare disruptive influence. Best/dick

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Kent VanSooy
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Kent VanSooy » February 18th, 2013, 10:28 am

Where's the "like" button for Dick's post ?!?

And Kelly.......you made me shoot my coffee through my nose.....again...!

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by justinm » February 18th, 2013, 10:29 am

Kent VanSooy wrote:Where's the "like" button for Dick's post ?!?

And Kelly.......you made me shoot my coffee through my nose.....again...!

Wisdom poured out from that post, we needed it to come sooner. Hell this whole site could use more Dick Bartlett.

chad ks
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 11:47 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:.
.
“Join, or Die”
By Chris McMartin, 01 February 2013

NOTE: This commentary is not directed at a specified individual, group, forum, or organization. The author knows people and participates in groups representing “both sides” of many ongoing differences of opinion and chooses not to take sides, because that is exactly the concern this commentary is intended to address.
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Image
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Benjamin Franklin first published his depiction of a snake cut into eight pieces in 1754 to symbolize the futility of the then British Colonies attempting to survive on their own. This is purported to be America’s first political cartoon. Franklin apparently had a soft spot for serpents and found utility in their imagery when inspiring others to action. One of his quotes from 1775 compares the Colonies, at the time agitating for independence, to a rattlesnake’s rattles: “…how firmly they are united together, so as never to be separated but by breaking them to pieces. One of those rattles singly, is incapable of producing sound, but the ringing of thirteen together, is sufficient to alarm the boldest man living.”


It is only appropriate, then, to use Franklin’s flowery prose and powerful imagery to call members of the larger herping community to action—not armed overthrow of a government, but action nonetheless. The analogy is an apt one, and more than superficial. The Colonies faced external threats—primarily England. However, a bigger, or at least more immediate, threat of which Franklin wrote and caricatured was the internal threat—division amongst the Colonists on the best way forward. We can draw parallels today to describe the herping community.


Perhaps the greatest concern is that we are hardly a community at all. What exactly constitutes the “Herp Nation?” Is it the same as the “Reptile Nation” espoused by USARK? Not quite—USARK is focused on herpetoculture, because it’s better to stick to tenth-generation captive-bred animals instead of treading devil-may-care through pristine environment just to get that perfect photo to impress their friends. Is Field Herp Forum or NAFHA (yes, they are separate), then, the rightful leader of the charge? That doesn’t fit everyone either—even though adherents may say it’s better to take photos only, rather than be a “deli cupper” collecting everything in hopes of exploiting the latest morph for profit. Maybe hobbyists can reasonably be both keepers and field herpers, and leave academia to advocate for policy reform—but then, nature is best left undisturbed completely unless one has the proper degree, supervised by someone else with an advanced degree, right?


The extent to which the preceding paragraph employs hyperbole is left to the judgment of the individual reader. Rest assured there are individuals in each camp who espouse those very beliefs. But there are likely equal numbers, if not a majority, who feel there is room for everyone as long as a large, national- or international-level organization doesn’t get too specific in its interests and purpose.


“What the world…needs now…is more herping organizations.”—Jackie DeShannon

OK, she didn’t really sing those exact lyrics. Yet that’s exactly what we have today. It seems a new discussion group or Facebook page, if not an entire organization, pops up every few days. Some are broad in scope, while others are very specific, such as forums for morphs of ball pythons or crested geckos. Some organizations are species-focused; others are city, regional, state, or nationally oriented.


What is the net result? On one hand, an individual interested ONLY in kindred spirits who share their passion for scaleless bearded dragons may indeed find a group to suit their needs, but in so doing they have limited their network to a very small pool of both resources and talent. Conversely, if an individual is interested in a cross-section of all the herping pursuit has to offer, they now must check multiple, sometimes dozens, of online forums, and probably pay dues toward, and attend meetings of, numerous societies. In effect, this individual must now parcel out his or her time, talent/effort, and in some cases, money to multiple organizations, some of which may be working toward common goals—terribly inefficient.


In both cases, it is clear that the herping community can potentially be its own worst enemy. How can it present a united front with the appropriate level of resources and talent against those who wish to see some or all facets of herping destroyed at the stroke of a pen? Fragmentation of these resources and talent hurts the entire community, though it may not be immediately apparent. Now is not the time to specialize, when it comes to preserving our ability to keep doing what we enjoy.


Why, then, is there such fragmentation? Part of it may be attributed to naiveté. Newcomers may have come into the hobby through an impulse purchase, or received a young animal from a friend, or accompanied a friend on a field trip; their little “slice” of the hobby to which they were initially exposed may be all they know of it. This can be forgiven, but these newcomers should be encouraged to expand their involvement. It is difficult to do so when inundated with innumerable new clubs/societies, forums, and Facebook groups almost daily—including pages closed to the public and accessible by invitation only, even though said newcomers may have valuable information or talents to contribute. A person can’t help if they don’t know a page or club exists—or are excluded from participation.


What cannot be forgiven are those who know of the many facets of the herping community and choose to isolate themselves just because they don’t particularly care to participate in certain facets themselves. This only hurts the community as a whole, for the division-of-resources reasons cited above. Restrictions pertaining to certain species, whether the ability to keep them or to handle them in the field, often grow to include additional species, or entire families of reptiles and amphibians, because those who didn’t concern themselves with species outside their interest chose, for whatever reason, not to assist their fellow enthusiasts in their hour of need.


Not knowing enough to get involved and choosing not to get involved can be remedied through education and encouragement. More egregious are those who are involved, but actively splinter the herping community through personality conflicts. Each wants, consciously or subconsciously, to be the savior of the community; moreover, salvation must arrive under only their terms. These are the people who remove themselves from discussions when the discussions diverge from their point of view; the people who falsely accuse others of actions they didn’t do. It seems to happen at every level of involvement, from the most localized herp society to the largest organizations.


Even if a newcomer, or someone wishing to get more involved in the community, wishes to do so, how would they view the aggregate herping community? Too many special interests to have to choose where to throw their weight of effort? Too much infighting to want to enter the fray? Both are problematic, but both have the same solutions, the first being: before speaking or acting, ask oneself if the comment or action is to the benefit of the individual, the specialized group, or the greater community. While there may be times when an action, or forum post, may bring short-term gain to an individual or even a particular group, if it doesn’t sufficiently align with common shared values and goals, it will inevitably be perceived (often rightly so) as throwing another individual or group within the community under the bus.


The second solution is perhaps counterintuitive, but is as important as the first: reduce the level of specialization as much as possible. There are two basic methods with which to approach this solution. One is not to start new, stand-alone organizations, especially if they duplicate effort. This extends not only to dues-paying clubs or societies, but even to Internet forums. The second method is to consolidate smaller groups into larger ones, primarily for the economies of scale. Multiple forums on one web host can be cheaper. Clubs can be subsumed as chapters or working groups within larger societies, with dues being pooled for greater effect with less administrative overhead. But besides the savings in money, reduced demand on individuals’ time and talents is afforded—fewer organizations require fewer officers, legal assistants, and so on. This may free up more people to spend more time organizing legislative-issue campaigns rather than focusing on keeping the organization afloat for its own sake.


Even the oft-cited rift between the academic and hobbyist side of the community is healing rapidly. Academia is coming to realize the value of citizen-science initiatives as a multiplier for research. This is a monumental positive evolution and it should be encouraged. With perhaps the greatest difference of opinion moving towards a mutually-beneficial relationship, that leaves the hobbyist community to resolve its problems within its own ranks.


This article is only one person’s opinion, based on over 30 years of observing the goings-on; from the sidelines for most of the first half, but as an ever-growing participant. Feel free to disagree. Is there more to the equation than merely that which has been presented here? Most likely; but this is, in the author’s opinion, a large component of the overall dilemma herpers now face.


We need resources and talent…currently we’re dividing both to the point that crises which demand large quantities of both go unanswered. A blow dealt to one segment of Franklin’s distressed serpent will certainly be felt by the entire body, if not right away. Regardless of minor differences in approach, we need each other’s support for the larger benefit.


Herpers of every inclination: Join or Die.
Chris, I'm happy to respond to your post finally, after recovering from a lengthy exam prep and then finally the exam itself, a monster of a hill to climb. Anyway, I think your writing is provocative and concise.

I think your thesis is something related to the notion that our community needs to unite under a common umbrella related to its interests, and that fragmentation must be substituted with organization and mutual support. Something like that. You identity and describe the problem and then prescribe some potential solutions, and that's good stuff. But, the problems will persist because we're working too hard with what we have (meaning the entrenched and bitter groups considered "herpers", who all seem to have conflicting interests) rather than building a foundation for what can be created.

So, I'd like to summarize my reflections:

1. People are already working on uniting this community: like Scott Waters. HerpNation is a solution, because it already has a starting point and the efforts of the crew behind it (Scott and Jeremiah) have built a beginning to a history that I believe will one day bare just the fruit that you're looking for. Starting anew may be just what the doctor ordered, but why? The entire point of HerpNation is to be the facilitating and uniting factor within THIS community, and we can use this tool to succeed. These folks have shown beyond any doubt that they are willing to donate their time and talents to lead us to greenr pastures, perhaps we ought to support them. Of course there's controversy between NAFHA and FHF, but that's going to run its course and eventually we will have all earned our community organization via the infighting, personality conflicts and even considering the disgruntled cynics, we can do something good with what we already have (meaning HN as a representation of FIELD HERPERS, and this community rather than something too broad to win).

2. We need to stop lumping the herpetocultural community in with the field herper's rights community. There is definitely overlap, but a pragmatic political approach will surely require that we clearly define ourselves as folks interested in field herping, unless of course we're using the field herping community as an application toward the activism for rights and interests of the herpetoculture community. Agree or disagree with my point about dividing these two cultures, at least consider the possibility that both work to the detriment of the other, and that overlap between the two may indeed be cancerous to both bodies. We shouldn't try our hardest to create one lump organization that intends to represent and activate over the interests of bird hunters, bird watchers, bird-keepers/culturists and ornithologists. Likewise, why are we grasping at the idea that we can somehow unite a broader group between field herpers, herpetologists, herpetoculturists and commercial collectors? Having an interest in classic MOPAR muscle cars is not the same as having an interest in modern BMWs, even though both subjects are related. Why must we continue to try in vain to unite groups with different and oppsing interests, simply (presumably) for the sake of numbers?

3. Franklin's federalism is a great example, but even then the analogy is lost when we consider what's at stake, what's motivating us and the pressure to act in our own individual interests. Our interests as field herpers relate to regulation and legislation of field herping, preventing the misrepresentation of our character in the legislative process, organization for the sake of our pursuits and most importantly: we should be writing the laws. We have ample talent, and there are lawyers in our community who can donate time if the focus is narrow and the goal is practical. Our interests are not the same as the interests of herpetoculurism, and we are not members of the same community. This point is supported by many pieces of evidence, such as the prejudice that many within this community hold against herpetoculturism and commercial collection. NAFHA, for example, has credibility specifically because of its scientific goals, which are distinct from herpetocultural goals.

These are just a few of my thoughts, but my time is limited so I'll leave it to that for now. I might disagree with myself later, and if so, I'll be sure to let everyone know. ;)

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 18th, 2013, 12:52 pm

Interesting contribution Chad, thanks for it. I'd like to respond to it, wearing a particular "hat" - a "fish and game insider". Specifically I'd like to respond to "reflections 2 and 3".

As I read Chad's words, I interpret the general, combined thrust of these 2 reflections to be:

"Maintaining access to field herping privileges through effective engagement with those with the power to revoke, restore, or circumscribe those access privileges."

I hope I've made clear my enduring interest - as a herper, and as a "fish&gamer" - in this topic. I also hope I've done nothing, in participating in conversations here, to undermine my credibility on this topic.

OK, so here's my 2 cents: join, or die.

Seriously. The reason birders can be distinct from bird-hunters (to use Chad's example) in the eyes of wildlife management agencies who implement policy and the legislatures who set policy is simple - both groups are so numerous, and their activities are so economically important, that they have each earned and can each maintain a separate identity in the eyes of those who manage their access to the birds they want to interact with. (And in all truth, the distinctions are blurring, among the bird-people themselves. They see the damage, the missed opportunities, caused by maintaining separate identities and separate coalitions for engaging policy-makers and -implementers.)

Right now neither non-consumptive herp hunters (FHF "zealots"), nor consumptive herp hunters ("the unwashed"), nor non-consumptive herp non-hunters ("stroke mags R us"), nor consumptive herp non-hunters ("deli-cupping hybrid-morph-dorks") enjoy such status. None of these groups has enough clout to stand alone before a meeting with policy-makers or -implementers. Let alone to beat any of the others down, on the way to the meeting.

Join or die. Hang together, or hang alone. Grow up, or die young. Peter Pan is a fairy tale.

I have seen this happen time and again with diverse hunting and fishing groups - they couldn't join to protect their shared interests, they fell into the sucker-trap of trying to only look after their esoteric specific tiny-group interests - and they ALL got rolled by people with very, very different other interests. Access denied. I really can't go into more detail here, but please believe me, it is better for you to engage those who manage your access as one large group, rather than a multitude of tiny ones. "Better" in the sense of getting what you came for.

You do want to get what you want, right? At least, would you be satisfied with keeping/getting some of what you want? As compared to, say, keeping/getting very little of what you want? How important is it to you to keep/get some of what you want, versus keeping some other guy (e.g., Joe Delicup) from keeping/getting anything he wants? Huh?

Have you ever been asked that? Have you ever tried to answer it? Give it a shot. Be honest with yourself.

Those who manage your access do not see you as you see you. They mainly see one small cluster of infighting not-quite-constituents, who just, still, can't get it together to come over for a chat. Until you can do that, you have no chance of playing a role in decisions about how you get to interact with herps. No chance.

Just sayin', guys. Try getting it together. Try harder than what I'm seeing here. Unless you seriously just do not care.

Cheers,
Jimi

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gbin
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by gbin » February 18th, 2013, 1:26 pm

I agree with a fair amount of what Chad said above. Where our views differ, and maybe not even all that much there (we'll see, I guess), is on the relationship between the field-herping and herp-keeping parts of our community.

I describe them as parts of the same community rather than two separate communities because it seems pretty clear that they are just that, both historically and presently. All of us in both parts have a pronounced amateur interest in herps. A great many of us indulge that interest through both field herping and herp keeping, and many more switch from primarily or wholly one to primarily or wholly the other (and this goes in both directions, and even back-and-forth). And for many of those with interests in both parts, collecting a sought-after specimen is intergral to the pursuit of field herping. Moreover, the laws pertaining to field herping and herp keeping are generally (or maybe always?) intertwined.

To follow up on what Jimi had to say about birders and bird hunters being managed separately, too, I'll again point out that birders long ago resigned themselves to no longer being able to collect birds or parts thereof (nests, eggs, feathers) as part of their activities. They used to do these things, but were compelled by law (aided in passing by the "look but don't touch" subset of the bird community that then existed) to stop. Even bird hunters, who can kill their quarry (which are of only a select few species), can't generally collect and keep them alive if they wish. Only a small handful of exotic species (some psittacines, plus a few other species) can be kept by the average person today, and otherwise enthusiasts must go through a lengthy and fairly onerous process for a chance to be permitted to keep any of the even smaller handful of native species (generally speaking, raptors for falconry). A clear, legal divide was forced upon people with avian interests long ago, more or less eliminating overlap such as we see in great abundance in the herp community today.

But I agree that this doesn't mean we must have one umbrella organization to serve all herpers. I think that's ideal for a number of reasons, primarily due to the fact that there's strength in numbers and greater strength in greater numbers. But neither this nor any other reason makes it absolutely necessary.

What I believe is necessary for our community (or its different parts, if you prefer) to come anywhere near realizing its full potential, though, is that we maintain a cooperative spirit between these two parts. If two separate umbrella organizations are the best we can do then so be it, but we should make sure that there are plenty of bridges rather than fences between them. That's what I meant when I spoke earlier about creating an organization where everyone in our hobby can feel welcome; a herp keeper might prefer to belong to an organization for herp keepers, and that's just fine, but there shouldn't be anything about an organization for field herpers (that attempts to attract any sizeable number of us, anyway) that would make that herp keeper feel downright unwelcome. There's far too much warring going on between these two parts of our hobby today, and that is counterproductive in the extreme. I assume this is part of why Chris approached this subject from the viewpoint of "Join, or Die" as well.

Failing to "Join, or Die", I'm convinced, will ultimately result in us following the birder/bird hunter example very closely, i.e. with live collection and herp keeping forbidden except in very limited form under special circumstance. I realize that's actually a goal of a subset of us in the field herping part of our community, but I have to believe (and in any event hope) that's only a small subset. But it'll happen no matter what most of us might want, if we are unwilling to act to prevent it.

Gerry

chad ks
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 2:15 pm

Jimi wrote:Interesting contribution Chad, thanks for it. I'd like to respond to it, wearing a particular "hat" - a "fish and game insider". Specifically I'd like to respond to "reflections 2 and 3".

As I read Chad's words, I interpret the general, combined thrust of these 2 reflections to be:

"Maintaining access to field herping privileges through effective engagement with those with the power to revoke, restore, or circumscribe those access privileges."

I hope I've made clear my enduring interest - as a herper, and as a "fish&gamer" - in this topic. I also hope I've done nothing, in participating in conversations here, to undermine my credibility on this topic.

OK, so here's my 2 cents: join, or die.

Seriously. The reason birders can be distinct from bird-hunters (to use Chad's example) in the eyes of wildlife management agencies who implement policy and the legislatures who set policy is simple - both groups are so numerous, and their activities are so economically important, that they have each earned and can each maintain a separate identity in the eyes of those who manage their access to the birds they want to interact with. (And in all truth, the distinctions are blurring, among the bird-people themselves. They see the damage, the missed opportunities, caused by maintaining separate identities and separate coalitions for engaging policy-makers and -implementers.)

Right now neither non-consumptive herp hunters (FHF "zealots"), nor consumptive herp hunters ("the unwashed"), nor non-consumptive herp non-hunters ("stroke mags R us"), nor consumptive herp non-hunters ("deli-cupping hybrid-morph-dorks") enjoy such status. None of these groups has enough clout to stand alone before a meeting with policy-makers or -implementers. Let alone to beat any of the others down, on the way to the meeting.

Join or die. Hang together, or hang alone. Grow up, or die young. Peter Pan is a fairy tale.

I have seen this happen time and again with diverse hunting and fishing groups - they couldn't join to protect their shared interests, they fell into the sucker-trap of trying to only look after their esoteric specific tiny-group interests - and they ALL got rolled by people with very, very different other interests. Access denied. I really can't go into more detail here, but please believe me, it is better for you to engage those who manage your access as one large group, rather than a multitude of tiny ones. "Better" in the sense of getting what you came for.

You do want to get what you want, right? At least, would you be satisfied with keeping/getting some of what you want? As compared to, say, keeping/getting very little of what you want? How important is it to you to keep/get some of what you want, versus keeping some other guy (e.g., Joe Delicup) from keeping/getting anything he wants? Huh?

Have you ever been asked that? Have you ever tried to answer it? Give it a shot. Be honest with yourself.

Those who manage your access do not see you as you see you. They mainly see one small cluster of infighting not-quite-constituents, who just, still, can't get it together to come over for a chat. Until you can do that, you have no chance of playing a role in decisions about how you get to interact with herps. No chance.

Just sayin', guys. Try getting it together. Try harder than what I'm seeing here. Unless you seriously just do not care.

Cheers,
Jimi

Thanks for such a good response Jimi, and although we seem to disagree about division v. unity, I think we are after the same goal. Regarding your remark about keeping what we want (=compromise), I think that we in the field herping community who collect only pictures and keep only memories…are the most fortunate to have the least to lose. We can go and do our thing regardless of laws, because no law can prevent a person from herping or roadcruising or foraging for herps and still hold up after being challenged, speaking directly of photography only. If you disagree, I'll check the case law on LexisNexis and see if I can make a convincing legal analogy/precedence to support this point.

I'm such a person these days, and so it's easy for me not to care about the legal troubles that herpers have experienced in states like TX and CA. So how am I represented by a group that also has members whose interests are so vastly different, and who have so much more to lose? In terms of proximity, I am far more likely to devote my resources to troubling legislation related to field herping (such as TX) than I am to troubling legislation related to keeping, so the dividing line becomes very distinct when I am asked to advocate for herpetoculturists. My hope is that the law will reflect the sustainability of collection where possible, because I may indeed want to collect in the future. However, this hope stands in contrast to the hope that people will be able to continue to keep boids and venomous unregulated or how they have in the past…so I can't imagine why we should be lumped together.

More importantly, I packed in an answer to your objection when I spoke about history being made, and producing a foundation for what can be created. I envision a changing paradigm that's already very evident in the culture of generations under the age of 35 who have already voted with their dollars for fairer and more ethical consumerism, and as evidence, for products and goods that unite them with the out doors. Out door music festivals have changed the dynamics of the music industry, and companies like REI and brands like North Face have swollen to success at the expense of fashion that is strictly urban. This is, of course, an anecdotal observation, but I believe it and will argue for it in the face of opposition. Because its happening: young people are drawn to the outdoors and our beloved field herping enterprise is a PERFECT draw for such folks. So why shouldn't we look ahead and apply the wisdom that it takes to create from scratch, rather than to innovate from what we already have (especially when the innovation is restricted to the factionalized division that results in Chris' treatise)? I sincerely believe that my generation is willing and ready to adopt an ethical philosophy that brings them closer to nature, but without the conservationist bent resulting from the view of wildlife and resources as a right rather than a privilege and a collective interest. Whatever your views, this observation is out there to be made and I have no doubt that others will agree.

We can recruit a new community that's ready to be led, when this one is not. So divide or be conquered, is what I'd like to say. Or we can conquer ourselves.

chad ks
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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 2:43 pm

gbin wrote:I agree with a fair amount of what Chad said above. Where our views differ, and maybe not even all that much there (we'll see, I guess), is on the relationship between the field-herping and herp-keeping parts of our community.

I describe them as parts of the same community rather than two separate communities because it seems pretty clear that they are just that, both historically and presently. All of us in both parts have a pronounced amateur interest in herps. A great many of us indulge that interest through both field herping and herp keeping, and many more switch from primarily or wholly one to primarily or wholly the other (and this goes in both directions, and even back-and-forth). And for many of those with interests in both parts, collecting a sought-after specimen is intergral to the pursuit of field herping. Moreover, the laws pertaining to field herping and herp keeping are generally (or maybe always?) intertwined.

To follow up on what Jimi had to say about birders and bird hunters being managed separately, too, I'll again point out that birders long ago resigned themselves to no longer being able to collect birds or parts thereof (nests, eggs, feathers) as part of their activities. They used to do these things, but were compelled by law (aided in passing by the "look but don't touch" subset of the bird community that then existed) to stop. Even bird hunters, who can kill their quarry (which are of only a select few species), can't generally collect and keep them alive if they wish. Only a small handful of exotic species (some psittacines, plus a few other species) can be kept by the average person today, and otherwise enthusiasts must go through a lengthy and fairly onerous process for a chance to be permitted to keep any of the even smaller handful of native species (generally speaking, raptors for falconry). A clear, legal divide was forced upon people with avian interests long ago, more or less eliminating overlap such as we see in great abundance in the herp community today.

But I agree that this doesn't mean we must have one umbrella organization to serve all herpers. I think that's ideal for a number of reasons, primarily due to the fact that there's strength in numbers and greater strength in greater numbers. But neither this nor any other reason makes it absolutely necessary.

What I believe is necessary for our community (or its different parts, if you prefer) to come anywhere near realizing its full potential, though, is that we maintain a cooperative spirit between these two parts. If two separate umbrella organizations are the best we can do then so be it, but we should make sure that there are plenty of bridges rather than fences between them. That's what I meant when I spoke earlier about creating an organization where everyone in our hobby can feel welcome; a herp keeper might prefer to belong to an organization for herp keepers, and that's just fine, but there shouldn't be anything about an organization for field herpers (that attempts to attract any sizeable number of us, anyway) that would make that herp keeper feel downright unwelcome. There's far too much warring going on between these two parts of our hobby today, and that is counterproductive in the extreme. I assume this is part of why Chris approached this subject from the viewpoint of "Join, or Die" as well.

Failing to "Join, or Die", I'm convinced, will ultimately result in us following the birder/bird hunter example very closely, i.e. with live collection and herp keeping forbidden except in very limited form under special circumstance. I realize that's actually a goal of a subset of us in the field herping part of our community, but I have to believe (and in any event hope) that's only a small subset. But it'll happen no matter what most of us might want, if we are unwilling to act to prevent it.

Gerry

But then again, Gerry, what is a community? Oxford has a few views, though I'm not at all a fan of lexicography or the useless attempt to catalogue public uses of words: I think the distinctions between usages can be helpful to analyze the concept. In biology, as you must know very well, a community is interdependent and reliant upon its members for support. No? In human terms, a community can be described a collective or as the accidental sum of shared individual characteristics. People who coincidentally live in the same neighborhood may be described as a community by outsiders, but they'll only self-describe as a community when there is shared cooperative and mutual agreement and dedication to acting from a mutual interest. This latter view is what we lack, and why your application of the concept is artificial and post-hoc. The people whom you speak of do not self-identify as a community; this is what Chris' thesis is all about. He asserts the same point many times, and it seems you would agree. Sure, field herpers and herpetolculturists belong in a shared category or grouping, but it's an accidental grouping because the uniting factor is merely a contingency, not a necessary condition shared by both groups.
A great many of us indulge that interest through both field herping and herp keeping, and many more switch from primarily or wholly one to primarily or wholly the other (and this goes in both directions, and even back-and-forth). And for many of those with interests in both parts, collecting a sought-after specimen is intergral to the pursuit of field herping. Moreover, the laws pertaining to field herping and herp keeping are generally (or maybe always?) intertwined.
Yes, this is true. And it is a reason why we should consider ourselves one community. I wish we could just all do that: consider ourselves a single unit and act accordingly. But in the conflict between universality and pragmatism, practicality always wins. And in this case, the practical view is that we simply do not view ourselves in such a way, to the degree that people are trying left and right-and failing- to unite two major groups interested in reptiles and amphibians. It just hasn't been done, so one has to ask if the project is framed correctly or if our high-minded desire to see unity…comes at the expense of practicality. Forgive my verbosity, I'm breaking from writing philosophy, but my point remains that in practical terms we haven't yet figured out how to artificially unite a group that folks like you and I desire to see as a real community. You cannot create a community where there isn't one, unless the members agree. They haven't and I question whether they will. Back to the drawing board?
If two separate umbrella organizations are the best we can do then so be it, but we should make sure that there are plenty of bridges rather than fences between them.
I agree. We need both communities to be open, inviting and transparent. However, to the extent that both communities ought to be well defined and purpose-driven, each prospective member should only join if they are willing to adapt to the expectations that both communities have about each constituency, and that means an agreement about ethics, goals and community self-regulation. In this sense, I think the number one goal of each should be a commitment to a set of principles that are designed by a few folks who can be trusted to create them, and then legislation through a community referendum. And once they're adopted, they should be kept. We can't just put everything to a vote like we've done in NAFHA, and certain elements should be seen as static, fixed and necessary to the goals of the community. With this in mind, the rigidity of these goals ought to be a barrier to certain people who wouldn't accept them no matter what. And they should serve as a set of expectations, the violation of which should be seen as a threat to the common purpose. So if people accept, then they should join. Perhaps I'm being too conservative or rigid, but it seems like we need a hard set of expectations for people to join by or not to join by. Bridges, indeed…but obstacles as well.

Re: your join or die paragraph, I'm not sure if there really are very many people here in this community who keep a puritanical view against keeping herps (as you acknowledged). If they exist, they seem to be a quiet bunch. I wouldn't call them a sub-set, nor would I attribute a goal to such people…they may have an opinion, but not a goal.

All of this writing and opining aside: I really do believe that trying with our efforts to realize a hope for unity among field herpers, herpetoculturists, academics and game agencies is a waste of time. And at the end of it, the best we can hope for is an ever-growing list of manifestos like Chris', complaints about the problems and iterations of impractical solutions followed by more griping and even more daydreaming about what's basically impossible. Then eventually, the realization that our time and efforts could have been better spent.

Let's get a field herping community organized under a common project with representations of our common interests. And if we succeed, recruitment will result. Also, with the political climate/trajectory as it is, why not just leap passed the stressful and self-destructive grasping of straws and work proportionately to the end result that boids and venomous and keepers' rights will be regulated and restricted, perhaps leaving only field herping as the reigning herp-related culture…and then it will stand to an even greater extend in contrast to the leopard geckos and corn snake morphs that will entail herpetoculture.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 18th, 2013, 4:06 pm

Thanks for continuing the public chat, Chad. Let me follow suit.

First, I think I did this conversation a mischief by not emphasizing enough, the important and relative differences between access-management at the legislative level and at the wildlife-agency level.

Legislatures, state or federal, for the most part write laws that give executive-branch agencies the authority to create and enforce regulations. Pop media, and herpers of all stripes, sit up and take notice of high-profile items like legislative proposals to ban this or that activity. Such bans are are highly detectable, let's say, but that doesn't mean they are the most numerous or high-impact type of "regulation". Far from it. Legislation is small potatoes, really, when it comes to your access to your wildlife - either to shoot it with a camera or a firearm, to bag it for a photo session in the morning or to bag it to go home with you for the rest of its life.

Instead, I insist that the day-in, day-out actions of the management agencies are the more numerous and high-impact, in terms of access to herps we want to interact with. The management agencies typically have a fat set of regs they only look at every 5 years. Regs which cover everything from fair chase and sustainable use in the field, to animal welfare and human safety in the home. Again, they really don't distinguish very much between the specific preferred activities of "your kind" and "those other herp people" with whom you think you don't share many interests. I'm telling you, you share plenty of interests. The first of which, is having and claiming and operating a seat at the discussion table.

This "legislation really doesn't matter so much" news is actually pretty good news, because you can actually get an audience for a dialogue with these folks, because you have a public-trust doctrine RIGHT to play a part, a role, in determining how access is managed. As opposed to a legislature, where it can be really hard just to be noticed (in a good way), let alone actually have a meaningful conversation with anyone.
Regarding your remark about keeping what we want (=compromise), I think that we in the field herping community who collect only pictures and keep only memories…are the most fortunate to have the least to lose. We can go and do our thing regardless of laws, because no law can prevent a person from herping or roadcruising or foraging for herps and still hold up after being challenged, speaking directly of photography only. If you disagree, I'll check the case law on LexisNexis and see if I can make a convincing legal analogy/precedence to support this point.
Well I'd go a step further and say no law can stop anyone from doing anything. Only you can manage yourself, when you get right down to it. But I'd also back up a step, and say others can extract a price for doing whatever you like. I think it's better to "walk in the light", and in advance of that, to help define exactly what "in the light" is, than to trust in the forbearance of the judicial branch and the case law it generates. No thanks. I'd rather trust in more than luck to defend my rights, my freedoms, and my property. Anyone out there who can relate to this - get involved with your state fish and wildlife agency's herp-regulations-review process.

As far as "I have less to lose since I'm only taking pictures" - well, I see from these words that you really don't care much about taking pictures. So if someone tries to take that away from you, it wouldn't bother you much? I doubt that...I really, really do.
I sincerely believe that my generation is willing and ready to adopt an ethical philosophy that brings them closer to nature
Well, I sure hope so - closer to nature, and - this is important - closer to the rest of humanity. By having more empathy, for example. I don't actually see much of that yet, really, in the under-35 crowd (just generalizing here, yes there are exceptions) so I'll wait a bit on forming any beliefs. What do I see mostly, for now? "Gimme mine, and f*ck you" about sums it up. Callow, but venial. For most, I trust it'll pass with time. It did for me, anyway.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by gbin » February 18th, 2013, 4:20 pm

chad ks wrote:... my point remains that in practical terms we haven't yet figured out how to artificially unite a group that folks like you and I desire to see as a real community...
We disagree here, apparently, in terms of both what your point actually is and whether it's actually valid. Your declaration that my view of field herper and herp keeper both as members of a single larger herp community is "artificial and post hoc" is simply your opinion, no matter how much verbiage might be used to pretty it up, not a statement of fact as you present it to be. We can be viewed as a community with two parts for the reasons and hopes I and others have outlined, or we can be viewed as two communities (or however many more) for other reasons and with other hopes. The choice is ours in aggregate and is not dictated to us by you, me or any other individual. On that latter note, I must say that I find your professed desire to see us as a single community odd given that you've written ample in this thread and others, indeed, in the very post I'm responding to, to suggest that you actually prefer otherwise. (Arguing for us to act in such a manner as to "leav[e] only field herping as the reigning herp-related culture...and then it will stand to an even greater extend [sic] in contrast to the leopard geckos and corn snake morphs that will entail herpetoculture" and the like, as you have done repeatedly here and elsewhere, suggests a particular bias on your part, after all.) But then, some people don't always speak their real mind, do they?
chad ks wrote:... I think the number one goal of each should be a commitment to a set of principles that are designed by a few folks who can be trusted to create them...
That you think this I have no doubt whatsoever, having seen considerable evidence of it in both public and private venues. Of course, it seems that a person who believes such a thing invariably also believes that s/he is eminently qualified to be one of those chosen few folks. Just as in our consideration of what community or communities (could) exist for herpers, though, it is decidedly not a fact but rather only your opinion that things can't from the outset be put to a vote among everyone willing to and interested in voting. And as you know full well from past public and private statements by me, I not only believe just the opposite from you in this regard, I will also personally and vigorously fight against any such elitist approach and the pet beliefs/preferences it would seek to codify.

Even aside from my profound philosophical opposition to the "government by intelligentsia" approach, speaking much more practically I believe it's simply not workable in our community. We are a diverse and opinionated group, and the only authority I can imagine we'll be willing to recognize in any person or group of people, organization or guiding document will have to stem from it starting with - not later trying to persuade (let alone coerce) - majority opinion behind it. Process is everything, especially in the earliest stages of our organization, as I've said earlier in this thread and elsewhere.
chad ks wrote:Re: your join or die paragraph, I'm not sure if there really are very many people here in this community who keep a puritanical view against keeping herps...
Some people don't always speak their real mind, as I mentioned.
chad ks wrote:All of this writing and opining aside: I really do believe that trying with our efforts to realize a hope for unity among field herpers, herpetoculturists, academics and game agencies is a waste of time...
I'm not trying to unite all of those people, and I don't know who is. I'm trying to unite field herpers and herp keepers, in two connected groups if not one group, and that's the largest union I've seen anyone else here argue or strive for, too. Might it be that you're depicting it as a larger effort just to try to persuade people who might not be paying close enough attention to agree with you? I'm much more interested in open and honest discussion (even debate, if need be) than manipulative argument, myself, if that's the case.

If you think what I and others are actually arguing and striving for is a waste of time, though, then we can simply agree to disagree. I'm happy to "waste" my time in such a fashion, you're of course free not to join in the pursuit, and others can decide for themselves what they wish to do. Until choice is removed by action of some external force on our community (e.g. "look but don't touch" legislation), anyway...

Sorry, Jimi, I just saw your post while proofreading my own, and I don't have time to actually read it now. If I have any thoughts on it (and especially if you specifically addressed me with any of it), I'll try to come back with such later.

Gerry

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 18th, 2013, 5:09 pm

A little history on this discussion:

When I first pitched it to Scott, I asked if it could be moved immediately to the Board Line, as I felt it was outside the scope of The Forum proper. However, it remained there until today, and ironically only moved after the discussion has seemed to start moving forward again... :lol:


Chad, you're too young to be so cynical re: "we'll never bring these two fundamentally different camps together." :P

Gerry--interesting perspective re: the avian culture (can't really keep natives, and birdwatchers and hunters remain separate--yet powerful--groups/lobbies). There but for the grace of God go herpers, maybe?

The difference I see is that we are potentially at what I would call an "inflection point" in the herp-finding/herp-keeping conjunction. By that, I mean that even though some herpers are "look, but don't touch" only, I think a large portion of the public, law enforcement, etc. would view anyone with a snake hook out in the woods as a no-goodnik poacher/commercial collector, regardless of their actual intent. HOWEVER, a growing number of public and private wildlife organizations see the benefit in gathering data from all available sources, including field herpers (and yes, those who keep as well) who have a wealth of knowledge about a particular species, or a particular region.

Chad, you're probably even more familiar than I with the herping "scene" in Texas, inasmuch as it is a field-herping as well as field-collecting overlap (which doesn't fit the "separate, and never the twain shall meet" model you presented). The situation in Texas currently appears to be that TX Parks and Wildlife Department is fairly open to working with the amateur herping crowd rather than keeping us peasants shut out of the process by which herp management is formulated. It may be possible for a mutually-beneficial relationship wherein rules on how many of what native species may be kept could be relaxed somewhat, and the amateurs out looking for their target species are also feeding TPWD lots of data on everything else they encounter.

That's part of why I'm running the Snake Days data collection project. I really don't know what the data will show, but it's going to be exciting to find out.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 6:45 pm

Jimi wrote:Thanks for continuing the public chat, Chad. Let me follow suit.

First, I think I did this conversation a mischief by not emphasizing enough, the important and relative differences between access-management at the legislative level and at the wildlife-agency level.

Legislatures, state or federal, for the most part write laws that give executive-branch agencies the authority to create and enforce regulations. Pop media, and herpers of all stripes, sit up and take notice of high-profile items like legislative proposals to ban this or that activity. Such bans are are highly detectable, let's say, but that doesn't mean they are the most numerous or high-impact type of "regulation". Far from it. Legislation is small potatoes, really, when it comes to your access to your wildlife - either to shoot it with a camera or a firearm, to bag it for a photo session in the morning or to bag it to go home with you for the rest of its life.
My pleasure to have this discussion, it's enjoyable when people can entertain ideas and arguments without responding like Gerry did just after your post which I'm responding to. For me regulation and legislation are both important.
Jimi wrote:Instead, I insist that the day-in, day-out actions of the management agencies are the more numerous and high-impact, in terms of access to herps we want to interact with. The management agencies typically have a fat set of regs they only look at every 5 years. Regs which cover everything from fair chase and sustainable use in the field, to animal welfare and human safety in the home. Again, they really don't distinguish very much between the specific preferred activities of "your kind" and "those other herp people" with whom you think you don't share many interests. I'm telling you, you share plenty of interests. The first of which, is having and claiming and operating a seat at the discussion table.
I'll take your word for it re: how species management is high impact. I would like you to explain your point that I share plenty of interests with whatever you mean by "those other herp people". I'm simply commenting that many people within this community aren't as interested or occupied by herpetoculturist rights, you perceive that how you must. I think you're wrong when you tell me that.
Jimi wrote:This "legislation really doesn't matter so much" news is actually pretty good news, because you can actually get an audience for a dialogue with these folks, because you have a public-trust doctrine RIGHT to play a part, a role, in determining how access is managed. As opposed to a legislature, where it can be really hard just to be noticed (in a good way), let alone actually have a meaningful conversation with anyone.
Okay, I understand your point. If you'd like to focus more in regulation, I'm all for it.
Jimi wrote:Well I'd go a step further and say no law can stop anyone from doing anything. Only you can manage yourself, when you get right down to it. But I'd also back up a step, and say others can extract a price for doing whatever you like. I think it's better to "walk in the light", and in advance of that, to help define exactly what "in the light" is, than to trust in the forbearance of the judicial branch and the case law it generates. No thanks. I'd rather trust in more than luck to defend my rights, my freedoms, and my property. Anyone out there who can relate to this - get involved with your state fish and wildlife agency's herp-regulations-review process.

As far as "I have less to lose since I'm only taking pictures" - well, I see from these words that you really don't care much about taking pictures. So if someone tries to take that away from you, it wouldn't bother you much? I doubt that...I really, really do.
You didn't get my point. I appreciate your comments though. If you'd like clarification, let me know.
Jimi wrote:Well, I sure hope so - closer to nature, and - this is important - closer to the rest of humanity. By having more empathy, for example. I don't actually see much of that yet, really, in the under-35 crowd (just generalizing here, yes there are exceptions) so I'll wait a bit on forming any beliefs. What do I see mostly, for now? "Gimme mine, and f*ck you" about sums it up. Callow, but venial. For most, I trust it'll pass with time. It did for me, anyway.

Cheers,
Jimi
Yeah, I'm just reporting my opinion based on my experience. Perhaps yours is less exhaustive, or perhaps mine. Thanks for the conversation!

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 6:48 pm

gbin wrote:
chad ks wrote:... my point remains that in practical terms we haven't yet figured out how to artificially unite a group that folks like you and I desire to see as a real community...
We disagree here, apparently, in terms of both what your point actually is and whether it's actually valid. Your declaration that my view of field herper and herp keeper both as members of a single larger herp community is "artificial and post hoc" is simply your opinion, no matter how much verbiage might be used to pretty it up, not a statement of fact as you present it to be. We can be viewed as a community with two parts for the reasons and hopes I and others have outlined, or we can be viewed as two communities (or however many more) for other reasons and with other hopes. The choice is ours in aggregate and is not dictated to us by you, me or any other individual. On that latter note, I must say that I find your professed desire to see us as a single community odd given that you've written ample in this thread and others, indeed, in the very post I'm responding to, to suggest that you actually prefer otherwise. (Arguing for us to act in such a manner as to "leav[e] only field herping as the reigning herp-related culture...and then it will stand to an even greater extend [sic] in contrast to the leopard geckos and corn snake morphs that will entail herpetoculture" and the like, as you have done repeatedly here and elsewhere, suggests a particular bias on your part, after all.) But then, some people don't always speak their real mind, do they?
chad ks wrote:... I think the number one goal of each should be a commitment to a set of principles that are designed by a few folks who can be trusted to create them...
That you think this I have no doubt whatsoever, having seen considerable evidence of it in both public and private venues. Of course, it seems that a person who believes such a thing invariably also believes that s/he is eminently qualified to be one of those chosen few folks. Just as in our consideration of what community or communities (could) exist for herpers, though, it is decidedly not a fact but rather only your opinion that things can't from the outset be put to a vote among everyone willing to and interested in voting. And as you know full well from past public and private statements by me, I not only believe just the opposite from you in this regard, I will also personally and vigorously fight against any such elitist approach and the pet beliefs/preferences it would seek to codify.

Even aside from my profound philosophical opposition to the "government by intelligentsia" approach, speaking much more practically I believe it's simply not workable in our community. We are a diverse and opinionated group, and the only authority I can imagine we'll be willing to recognize in any person or group of people, organization or guiding document will have to stem from it starting with - not later trying to persuade (let alone coerce) - majority opinion behind it. Process is everything, especially in the earliest stages of our organization, as I've said earlier in this thread and elsewhere.
chad ks wrote:Re: your join or die paragraph, I'm not sure if there really are very many people here in this community who keep a puritanical view against keeping herps...
Some people don't always speak their real mind, as I mentioned.
chad ks wrote:All of this writing and opining aside: I really do believe that trying with our efforts to realize a hope for unity among field herpers, herpetoculturists, academics and game agencies is a waste of time...
I'm not trying to unite all of those people, and I don't know who is. I'm trying to unite field herpers and herp keepers, in two connected groups if not one group, and that's the largest union I've seen anyone else here argue or strive for, too. Might it be that you're depicting it as a larger effort just to try to persuade people who might not be paying close enough attention to agree with you? I'm much more interested in open and honest discussion (even debate, if need be) than manipulative argument, myself, if that's the case.

If you think what I and others are actually arguing and striving for is a waste of time, though, then we can simply agree to disagree. I'm happy to "waste" my time in such a fashion, you're of course free not to join in the pursuit, and others can decide for themselves what they wish to do. Until choice is removed by action of some external force on our community (e.g. "look but don't touch" legislation), anyway...

Sorry, Jimi, I just saw your post while proofreading my own, and I don't have time to actually read it now. If I have any thoughts on it (and especially if you specifically addressed me with any of it), I'll try to come back with such later.

Gerry
Too many words for a Gerry post, I decided not to read passed the word "here".

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 18th, 2013, 6:51 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote: Chad, you're too young to be so cynical re: "we'll never bring these two fundamentally different camps together." :P

Chad, you're probably even more familiar than I with the herping "scene" in Texas, inasmuch as it is a field-herping as well as field-collecting overlap (which doesn't fit the "separate, and never the twain shall meet" model you presented). The situation in Texas currently appears to be that TX Parks and Wildlife Department is fairly open to working with the amateur herping crowd rather than keeping us peasants shut out of the process by which herp management is formulated. It may be possible for a mutually-beneficial relationship wherein rules on how many of what native species may be kept could be relaxed somewhat, and the amateurs out looking for their target species are also feeding TPWD lots of data on everything else they encounter.

That's part of why I'm running the Snake Days data collection project. I really don't know what the data will show, but it's going to be exciting to find out.
I'll join any organization that you lead, Chris. It's realism, not cynicism. Sometimes a good analysis is all that's needed to realize that an effort is futile, and it's time to try other methods. Maybe we're not there, but it doesn't hurt too badly to acknowledge the possibility. Your point about TX is understood, but I don't want those laws in my state, which has fair laws as it is.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Brian Hubbs » February 18th, 2013, 8:12 pm

I wish I knew the reasoning behind each state's laws. Some are wide-open, while their next-door neighbors are almost completely closed. I don't get it. For state's with bag-limits, CA is probably the worst. Sorry, a little off topic...

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 19th, 2013, 8:41 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:A little history on this discussion:

When I first pitched it to Scott, I asked if it could be moved immediately to the Board Line, as I felt it was outside the scope of The Forum proper. However, it remained there until today, and ironically only moved after the discussion has seemed to start moving forward again... :lol:
Yes, it was poor judgment to move it when the discussion started to pick up.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 19th, 2013, 10:02 am

chad ks wrote:
I agree. We need both communities to be open, inviting and transparent. However, to the extent that both communities ought to be well defined and purpose-driven, each prospective member should only join if they are willing to adapt to the expectations that both communities have about each constituency, and that means an agreement about ethics, goals and community self-regulation. In this sense, I think the number one goal of each should be a commitment to a set of principles that are designed by a few folks who can be trusted to create them, and then legislation through a community referendum. And once they're adopted, they should be kept. We can't just put everything to a vote like we've done in NAFHA, and certain elements should be seen as static, fixed and necessary to the goals of the community. With this in mind, the rigidity of these goals ought to be a barrier to certain people who wouldn't accept them no matter what. And they should serve as a set of expectations, the violation of which should be seen as a threat to the common purpose. So if people accept, then they should join. Perhaps I'm being too conservative or rigid, but it seems like we need a hard set of expectations for people to join by or not to join by. Bridges, indeed…but obstacles as well.
Hmmmm... why does this seem familiar? Oh wait, I know...
This is WHY the 3-step model I proposed : The 1st step would be identifying every 'type' of herper... next, establish 'codes of conduct' for every type/group. Finally... have enough foresight, wisdom and intestinal fortitude to establish a venue in which every group has the option to remain 'who they are' while guaranteeing each group freedom from scorn, derision, disrespect, and all-out attack from the other types/groups that don't agree with their brand of 'herping' is the ‘way to go’.

Build the bridges OVER the identified obstacles... :| jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 19th, 2013, 10:32 am

Jim, I didn't think your archetype idea would do any good, but I've come to appreciate it a little more. Though, I tend to think that "if you build it, they will come" and that's why I think an organization with a clear purpose and system of goals related to conservation will do us some good.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 19th, 2013, 10:35 am

I wish I knew the reasoning behind each state's laws. Some are wide-open, while their next-door neighbors are almost completely closed. I don't get it. For state's with bag-limits, CA is probably the worst. Sorry, a little off topic...
Not really so off-topic:
1) All of us here care A LOT about herps.
2) The overwhelming majority of American herps are managed (or neglected) at the state level.
3) The degree and kind of management or neglect are basically functions of the state laws and regs.
4) All of us here have a lot of curiosity and confusion about the state laws and regs - where did they come from, how can they be improved (both content-wise, and procedurally), etc etc
5) there you went and asked

I sort of have the same wish, but I am frankly unwilling to do the work required to develop the understanding. From what I've seen, the short answer is, "It's totally contingent on the last few generations of deciders, and the degree to which they've been willing and able to work with stakeholders".

To show Chad that this is not "not his problem", and to fold in the above statement - the last time herp rules were revised in Utah (completed early 2008, begun around 2004 I think), Utah herpers worked with the state wildlife agency to reduce the hands-off posture quite a bit. Specifically (but not exhaustively) - a) tricolor kings may now be harvested in a very limited fashion, and b) controlled species (of which there are many) can be handled for 15 minutes for the purposes of examination, photography, etc. Then they must be released.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 19th, 2013, 10:50 am

@ Chad...
I consider it the necessary 'groundwork' to demonstrate to prospective 'joiners' that the 'uniting entity' does in fact recognize whichever type of herping they do, as valid, if they adhere to the stated 'codes of conduct' for that type of herping.

This does not characterize people, but rather 'types of herping' which people can then identify with. Me... I'm a data collector, locality breeder, crote keeper, and herp educator using locally collected specimens. ONE of those (or several) will get me to join a 'uniting entity'. :shock: :)
MOST people will/can identify with more than one of the 'archetypes' and then can choose themselves which one qualifies them to join a united group. For instance... a 'legal commercial collector' may not join as such, but might join if he's also a 'locality breeder' or collects data... 8-) jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Robert Hansen » February 19th, 2013, 11:53 am

Jimi wrote:
I wish I knew the reasoning behind each state's laws. Some are wide-open, while their next-door neighbors are almost completely closed. I don't get it. For state's with bag-limits, CA is probably the worst. Sorry, a little off topic...
From what I've seen, the short answer is, "It's totally contingent on the last few generations of deciders, and the degree to which they've been willing and able to work with stakeholders".

Cheers,
Jimi
Brian: I think this last point is pretty much on the money. Especially for regs that have been around for several decades, those seem to have been very dependent on the actions of a few individuals (within or outside agency) with a particular interest. Those perspectives may have been grounded in wildlife management/conservation or law enforcement, and the rule-making was fairly ad hoc. It's amazing, really, once you realize how influential a few people can be, and in some cases we are talking about 1 or 2 key players. Rarely have the regs derived from best available biological information. Contrast that with PARC's model regulations document, available here: http://www.parcplace.org/publications/2 ... ines-.html

Cheers,

BH

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Brian Hubbs » February 19th, 2013, 12:53 pm

Thanks Bob and Jimi. I take exception with a few of the PARC points tho, especially requiring a lic. to collect non-natives. Perhaps the rule should be "Unlimited non-natives - DEAD" in possession... :lol: 8-) and firearms should be allowed for the removal of bullfrogs in habitat far removed from roads or civilization. Pellet guns could be used for side of the road or backyard exterminations...I think that one is actually legal.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 19th, 2013, 1:45 pm

Sure thing Hubbs.

I would emphasize BH's "it's amazing how influential 1 or 2 people can be". It used to be that way, and it is often still that way. Certainly that's the case in my state. Just a couple of agency people, and really just a couple of engaged, committed local herpers, are responsible for the way the regs look today, and for the changes (major improvements IMO) that were wrought 5 years ago. More improvements and updates are needed, and the time is now for local herpers to begin re-engaging. Otherwise, it's another 5 years with the same regs, or - more likely - 5 years with whatever the agency comes up with, without herper input.

I also agree & repeat for emphasis "regs aren't usually derived from best available biol info". Partly because often there isn't much or any info (hello the need for citizen science! not private data hoarding by either agencies or private citizens!) And partly because it isn't a strictly biological decision - there's a huge human component too. On the access-management side, and on the access-seeking side. Access managers might choose to err on the side of "the precautionary principle", whereas access-seekers might rather go with "let us provide you with our encounter data, to inform future adaptations to management". Contemporary agency management seeks to hear and consider the voices of the diverse public-trust beneficiaries, to a much greater degree than the era which began ending in the 1970's & 1980's ("we're the experts, we'll let you know what we decide"). That era is not dead, and in some places -or in some programs, in some places - it is really still the dominant paradigm. No agency is homogenized. There are still a lot of people around - sometimes in high places... - who began their careers in the 80's or even the '70's. Culture turns over slower than the staff.

PARC's model regs are OK, definitely a decent starting point. (My personal beef is with the venomous stuff. I disagree strongly with "only zoos and pros should be able to get a permit".) PARC is largely comprised of state agency herp staff (almost always folks with zero hunting & fishing mgt or education or training background), so it isn't a big surprise that the "model regs" look a lot like the regs in the states that a) are most active in PARC, and b) that actually have some herp regs.

The purpose of the model regs is/was to give those states with no regs something to start chewing on for possible adoption or amendment then adoption, and to a lesser extent, for those states with way-outside-the-box regs to take another look at their regs versus these, and consider amending towards "the reasonable middle ground".

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 19th, 2013, 1:54 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:firearms should be allowed for the removal of bullfrogs in habitat far removed from roads or civilization. Pellet guns could be used for side of the road or backyard exterminations...I think that one is actually legal.
It is illegal to discharge any firearm (down to a bb gun) outside of a firing range, in my Co (San Bernardino)... not ok in the 'boonies' or even your own backyard. :roll: That said... bout every dirt road up here leads to a shooting spot...and the huge mess the shooters leave. :roll: jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Brian Hubbs » February 19th, 2013, 2:47 pm

Jim, you must live in Amerika! I live in AZ, where people shoot machine guns in the "boonies"...

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 20th, 2013, 7:50 am

Whew! I think there has been a lot of lively, mostly-on-topic discussion in this thread--so much so that I printed it out in order to glean some key points for a followup blog I hope to post soon, and it was 120 PAGES! :shock:

I'd like to ask that the discussion, at least in this thread, wind down (I think it mostly has anyway) or I'll NEVER be able to keep up! :lol:

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by gbin » February 20th, 2013, 8:21 am

chris_mcmartin wrote:... I printed it out in order to glean some key points for a followup blog I hope to post soon, and it was 120 PAGES! :shock:
This seems like an appropriate time for me to remind you that "I speak for the trees!" :shock:

Seriously though, Chris, kudos to you for writing your essay, using it to start this thread and then following up on the thread's progress, all in fine fashion!

:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Gerry

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 20th, 2013, 12:25 pm

gbin wrote:This seems like an appropriate time for me to remind you that "I speak for the trees!"
120 pages, printed at two pages per side, double-sided, means only 30 "real" pages. Now, who will speak for my eyes? :lol:

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 20th, 2013, 12:40 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
gbin wrote:This seems like an appropriate time for me to remind you that "I speak for the trees!"
120 pages, printed at two pages per side, double-sided, means only 30 "real" pages. Now, who will speak for my eyes? :lol:
Aye!!! :) And a thought (for everyone) to carry into further discussions..."War does not determine who is right... but rather... who is left.' ;) jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 20th, 2013, 2:16 pm

Jimi wrote:
I wish I knew the reasoning behind each state's laws. Some are wide-open, while their next-door neighbors are almost completely closed. I don't get it. For state's with bag-limits, CA is probably the worst. Sorry, a little off topic...
Not really so off-topic:
1) All of us here care A LOT about herps.
2) The overwhelming majority of American herps are managed (or neglected) at the state level.
3) The degree and kind of management or neglect are basically functions of the state laws and regs.
4) All of us here have a lot of curiosity and confusion about the state laws and regs - where did they come from, how can they be improved (both content-wise, and procedurally), etc etc
5) there you went and asked

I sort of have the same wish, but I am frankly unwilling to do the work required to develop the understanding. From what I've seen, the short answer is, "It's totally contingent on the last few generations of deciders, and the degree to which they've been willing and able to work with stakeholders".

To show Chad that this is not "not his problem", and to fold in the above statement - the last time herp rules were revised in Utah (completed early 2008, begun around 2004 I think), Utah herpers worked with the state wildlife agency to reduce the hands-off posture quite a bit. Specifically (but not exhaustively) - a) tricolor kings may now be harvested in a very limited fashion, and b) controlled species (of which there are many) can be handled for 15 minutes for the purposes of examination, photography, etc. Then they must be released.

Cheers,
Jimi

Thanks for the info, that's really good news and it's not ideal, but fair.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 20th, 2013, 3:42 pm

chad ks wrote:I Regarding your remark about keeping what we want (=compromise), I think that we in the field herping community who collect only pictures and keep only memories…are the most fortunate to have the least to lose. We can go and do our thing regardless of laws, because no law can prevent a person from herping or roadcruising or foraging for herps and still hold up after being challenged, speaking directly of photography only. If you disagree, I'll check the case law on LexisNexis and see if I can make a convincing legal analogy/precedence to support this point.
I would disagree. To see why look up the meaning of the term "take". Under the ESA Take, as defined by the ESA, means "to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct." There is a separate legal term call an "incidental take" which assumes no intent to establish guilt, which the law makes no exemption for except in certain ocean incidence. In fact the law explicitly avoids exemptions to accidentally "harass" or "harm" without a license. I an not safe from persecution as a photographer, or even as a pure observer, as my camera constitutes harassment.

The law doesn't even make exemptions for people engaging in otherwise normal activity, that results in a harm or harassment they were unaware of, even on their own property such as mowing. In contacting agencies they will generally give the opinion that engaging in activities which a reasonable person should have known the risk is prosecutable, but this is counter to the legal wording and the reasoning behind "incidental take" license.

None of us are safe, even while mowing our yard. We are all subject to the discretion of the controlling legal authorities.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 20th, 2013, 4:03 pm

You can't assume this applies only to species that fall under the ESA either. Since any law using the term "take" is legally defined in context of the ESA definition. "Take" under wildlife management extends well beyond take in the usual sense, and getting close for a photograph is a "take" under the law.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 20th, 2013, 4:50 pm

Thanks for the info, that's really good news and it's not ideal, but fair.
Sure thing, Chad.

I think there are similar opportunities all over the place, for herpers to take a role in deciding how herps in their state are going to be managed for the next go-round (not forever, just until the next regs-review episode - with the proviso that oftentimes, regs endure for several or many cycles).

More good news - NOT ONE PERSON HERE has to have a "national Kumbaya moment", to get involved in such a fashion. As I said, in Utah, in the mid-2000's, it was just a few herpers (a number closer to 5 than to 10) who helped make some major positive changes to what previously was a pretty draconian set of regs. Those regs had a pretty darn no-touch orientation, let's just say. Even within that tiny group there were significant differences of opinion, but they were able to pull together and agree on a few key things they all either wanted, or were, at least, able to live with. I don't want to say it was easy - from what I hear, it was excruciating for all involved - but I also hear, from most, that it was totally worth it.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 20th, 2013, 8:52 pm

mywan wrote:You can't assume this applies only to species that fall under the ESA either. Since any law using the term "take" is legally defined in context of the ESA definition. "Take" under wildlife management extends well beyond take in the usual sense, and getting close for a photograph is a "take" under the law.
Thanks for the information, but getting close for a photograph is not "take". By all means, show me if I'm wrong.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 20th, 2013, 9:40 pm

chad ks wrote:
mywan wrote:You can't assume this applies only to species that fall under the ESA either. Since any law using the term "take" is legally defined in context of the ESA definition. "Take" under wildlife management extends well beyond take in the usual sense, and getting close for a photograph is a "take" under the law.
Thanks for the information, but getting close for a photograph is not "take". By all means, show me if I'm wrong.
If your actions in any way induce stress or otherwise elicit a response then it legally constitutes harassment under ESA rules.

Consider Jersey v. Cullen, in which they were found to "harass" under state law, based on ESA definitions. In this monitoring of activities of bald eagles was sufficient for this crime.
http://www.liebermanblecher.com/2012/03 ... velopment/
The NJDEP charged that the monitoring led to the death of an eaglet and harassment of other eagles in the eaglet’s nest.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 21st, 2013, 4:27 am

For more read:
http://www.law.fsu.edu/journals/landuse ... vison.html

Photography would fall under what is called an "incidental take", in which a take occurs "if such taking is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity." Case law is very limited on this part, especially as it pertains to herping style activities. In questioning my state agencies the opinion given was that if the otherwise legal activity has a significant probability of putting you in contact with endangered species, then an "incidental take" license is required to avoid being afoul of the law should you interfere with such a species in any way.

The case I was questioning was netting fish for the purpose of photography, something fishermen legally do to acquire bait, when it became apparent that one of the fish placed in an observation tank was endangered. The fish was promptly released without direct handling, but not before a picture was taken of the observation tank. It was the opinion of state agencies that such an incident was in fact an illegal take, since those involved should have known that such an activity was likely to result in said take at some point in time.

Case law is lacking on this aspect of "incidental take", which is equivalent to what herp photographers are likely to be subject to. The ESA law itself makes no such provisions for such activities, and explicitly requires "incidental take" license to engage in such risk.
Chief Judge Mikva concluded his concurring opinion in Sweet Home I by stating that "[o]verall, there is nothing in the [Endangered Species Act] or in its legislative history that unambiguously demonstrates that the term 'take' does not encompass habitat modifica tion"[307] and that "Chevron commands that unless it is absolutely clear that an agency's interpretation of a statute, entrusted to it to administer, is contrary to the will of Congress, courts must defer to that interpretation so long as it is reasonable."[308]
Dissenting judge noted:
According to Judge Sentelle, the unreasonableness of the Fish and Wildlife Service's definition of "harm" was not alleviated by the statement in the Senate Commerce Committee's report that "'take' is defined . . . in the broadest possible manner,"[317] because that legislative history did not convince him that Congress "intended to deprive the definition of any bounds whatsoever and turn the word into a free form concept inclusive of anything an agency might wish it to cover."[318]
Log flipping fits quiet well into a definition of habitat modification, and any endangered species under that log constitutes a take, so far as is discernible in case law to date. Given the position of my state agencies, the act of herping (pursuing reptiles and amphibians) would constitute the same volition of risk that netting fish for the purpose of photography did.

I really hope that this breadth of interpretation wouldn't stand in court, but without case law, which has thus far gone the other direction, who wants to role the dice? Not to mention the added complication that state laws are explicitly allowed to go beyond the ESA in their prohibitions.

Bottom line is that photographers, or even simple observers, who place themselves in various habitats, are not legally safe.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by hellihooks » February 21st, 2013, 5:52 am

We have (technically) the same conundrum here in Ca with 'take', under which is listed 'pursue'... so it's not even legal to look for certain herps, without proper permits. So... I survey for invasive bullfrogs, and count the Arroyo Toads as incidental sightings. :roll:
That said, I've never heard of anyone being prosecuted for that... and in fact, most F&G are oblivious to the finer points of herp law. I was out in a remote canyon in the San Gabes several weeks ago looking for Aboreal and Black Belly Slender Salamanders and a Warden came roaring up... to see if I was shooting guns... never heard of either Sally... :roll: jim

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Jimi » February 21st, 2013, 9:41 am

You can't assume this applies only to species that fall under the ESA either. Since any law using the term "take" is legally defined in context of the ESA definition.
It is simply not correct to say "the ESA definition of take is, or can be, generalized to non-ESA-jurisdiction species". The vast majority of herp species (like all wildlife) remain under state jurisdiction. It isn't to say federal law (ESA in this case) is not supreme, rather that it is completely irrelevant to species not ESA-listed.
Bottom line is that photographers, or even simple observers, who place themselves in various habitats, are not legally safe.
I would amend this statement by saying "Herpers cannot assume they are not actually breaking some law, just because they are only taking pictures". What I mean is, photographers may be legally "safe", and they may not be. Even if all they are doing is - say - flipping logs, or dipnetting, and taking pictures of what they catch. (If they're just taking pictures of relatively distant, non-reacting basking turtles or lizards, they're probably safe!)

If they are operating within the range of an animal, of which their actions could be determined a taking under ESA - then indeed they are at risk of prosecution.

Photographers operating in areas outside the range of any ESA-listed species should have a working understanding of their state wildlife laws and regs.



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

What I keep trying to get across here is, herpers (including those who only want to take pictures) have a right - and perhaps even a civic responsibility - and certainly a self-interest - to play a role in determining exactly what those laws and regs are.

In the context of Chris' initial essay, I add/repeat: herpers who wish to influence laws and regs, have a MUCH BETTER CHANCE OF DOING SO if they operate together, as a "herp organization", than if they operate as individuals or as a series of smaller organizations offering and requesting conflicting things.


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

Sorry if I'm sounding like a broken record. Hopefully I'm getting through to someone out there. I'm happy to try and help anyone out there who could use some help getting in touch with their state agency to try and start working together, or working together better & more effectively.

Cheers,
Jimi

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by Fundad » February 21st, 2013, 10:58 am

Sorry if I'm sounding like a broken record. Hopefully I'm getting through to someone out there. I'm happy to try and help anyone out there who could use some help getting in touch with their state agency to try and start working together, or working together better & more effectively.
Keep Preaching Jimi.. Some of us listen..

Fundad

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 21st, 2013, 11:47 am

Jimi wrote:
You can't assume this applies only to species that fall under the ESA either. Since any law using the term "take" is legally defined in context of the ESA definition.
It is simply not correct to say "the ESA definition of take is, or can be, generalized to non-ESA-jurisdiction species". The vast majority of herp species (like all wildlife) remain under state jurisdiction. It isn't to say federal law (ESA in this case) is not supreme, rather that it is completely irrelevant to species not ESA-listed.
The term "take" itself has a legal meaning independent of any species or jurisdiction by way of precedence. Courts routinely draw on such legal examples to determine the meaning and scope of terms not otherwise well defined in particular statutes. State laws may explicitly limit or expand meaning in the statutes text, but courts still draw on other examples when meaning is contested.

Under New York hunting regulations it is defined:
http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28182.html
"To take - means to pursue, shoot, hunt, kill, capture, trap, snare or net wildlife and game-and all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife-or to place or use any net or other device commonly used to take wildlife."
This is essentially equivalent to the ESA definition even though it most certainly is not limited to listed species, or even limited to game species since it specified "wildlife and game". If you "disturb or worry wildlife", not just game species, in New York you have legally "taken" that wildlife. I do not think any of us can say we never "disturb or worry wildlife" no matter how hands off our approach is.
Jimi wrote:
Bottom line is that photographers, or even simple observers, who place themselves in various habitats, are not legally safe.
I would amend this statement by saying "Herpers cannot assume they are not actually breaking some law, just because they are only taking pictures". What I mean is, photographers may be legally "safe", and they may not be. Even if all they are doing is - say - flipping logs, or dipnetting, and taking pictures of what they catch. (If they're just taking pictures of relatively distant, non-reacting basking turtles or lizards, they're probably safe!)
Taking the NY hunting laws into account it is often quiet difficult, even at great distance, to avoid disturbing basking turtles enough that they don't enter the water to hide. This is technically a take under NY hunting, not ESA, laws.
Jimi wrote:If they are operating within the range of an animal, of which their actions could be determined a taking under ESA - then indeed they are at risk of prosecution.

Photographers operating in areas outside the range of any ESA-listed species should have a working understanding of their state wildlife laws and regs.
I used the NY hunting laws to illustrate that even avoiding ESA-listed species is NOT sufficient to avoid running afoul of the law, even if you are merely photographing or even just observing.

Jimi wrote:******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

What I keep trying to get across here is, herpers (including those who only want to take pictures) have a right - and perhaps even a civic responsibility - and certainly a self-interest - to play a role in determining exactly what those laws and regs are.

In the context of Chris' initial essay, I add/repeat: herpers who wish to influence laws and regs, have a MUCH BETTER CHANCE OF DOING SO if they operate together, as a "herp organization", than if they operate as individuals or as a series of smaller organizations offering and requesting conflicting things.

******************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Fully and completely agree, which is why it is important to burst the myth that these groups are safe from the law. My state agencies have opined that mowing your yard is safe due lack of expectations, in spite of explicit "incidental take" license requirements to cover such activities, but herping constitutes proactive pursuit putting you in reach of prosecution. The fact that the text of the law makes no distinction between accidentally disturbing wildlife during a backyard BBQ and the same while herping, netting, etc. Neither is "take", as defined by the ESA limited to listed species in all cases. It can in fact refer to any and ALL game and non-game species as defined by hunting or other state regulations.

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Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chris_mcmartin » February 21st, 2013, 1:14 pm

I am interested in the discussion currently taking place (definition of "take") but think it deserves a thread of its own, for two reasons:

1. People similarly interested in that topic won't know to find discussion about it buried within a "herp organization" thread.

2. It's driving this particular thread away from its original intent.


I'm hoping discussion within this thread regarding its original topic is winding down, so I can write another HN blog post about it and possibly spawn some spinoff threads as a result.

:D :beer:

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mywan
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Joined: August 31st, 2012, 3:24 pm

Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by mywan » February 21st, 2013, 1:45 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:I am interested in the discussion currently taking place (definition of "take") but think it deserves a thread of its own, for two reasons:

1. People similarly interested in that topic won't know to find discussion about it buried within a "herp organization" thread.

2. It's driving this particular thread away from its original intent.


I'm hoping discussion within this thread regarding its original topic is winding down, so I can write another HN blog post about it and possibly spawn some spinoff threads as a result.

:D :beer:
Point taken. I injected it here on the grounds that the perceived legal risk of photography and observational herping are underestimated. Thus it supports the OP's statement summary "Herpers of every inclination: Join or Die" to a much higher degree than is assumed for even the most passive herping styles. The point is now made and time to move on.

chad ks
Posts: 632
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:31 pm

Re: For Discussion--the Future of Herp Organizations

Post by chad ks » February 22nd, 2013, 10:08 am

Thanks Mywan, appreciate the information.

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