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 Post subject: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 10:49 am 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Hello all!

I will be heading to Las Cruces from Washington State next week to visit NMSU and am hoping someone can help me. This will be my first time visiting and I am not familiar with the area at all. I am looking for a good place to camp where I can find lots of herps and arachnids. I will be travelling alone, so safety is, of course, a concern. If anyone can give me some advice, it would be most appreciated. Also, as I read the regulations, it sounds like I need to have a non-resident nongame hunting license, habitat stamp and habitat management access and validation to handle herps. Is this correct? One person told me that I would need a commercial collector's permit, but as I read it, that would only be if I were collecting animals for sale or if I were collecting max bag limits or 50 or more individuals. Can anyone clarify this for me?

Thanks for your help!
Dawn


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 4:50 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 1058
A couple vital tools I recommend.

A big atlas/gazateer of New Mexico, like the Delorme
Reptiles and amphibians of New Mexico book

You can find a lot of good stuff with these and find some nice areas to road cruise. I don't have any good recommendations for camping. I usually just find a place that I want to herp and camp there. As long as its National Forest or BLM land, its usually open to car camping. Safety wise, its nice to have cell service but that's often not available. At least let someone know where you'll be, when to expect you, ect. SPOT devices are a nice thing have in case you break down or are injured somewhere. If you're alone, its always more risky than if you have a partner or are part of a group.

I wish you luck. That's a fun place to herp. When the conditions are right, you can see a lot of snakes.


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 6:15 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Thank you Bryan for the info! Have Delorme and "Amphibians and Reptiles of New Mexico" as well as a few other books and have accessed the assessor's tax parcel map. I am hoping to start graduate studies there next fall and hope to be doing research on a few species of snakes in the area so fortunately I've done a little homework, just don't want to break any laws or get into any spots known to be shady. It will definitely be easier once I get down there and can see the lay of the land and look for "snakey" spots lol. I'm glad to hear that there are so many places open to camping, it should be a great trip! Thanks for the advice :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 6:21 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
Posts: 1058
Any species in particular you are interested in?


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 6:29 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
As far as snakes, I would absolutely love to see Rena, Gyalopion and Sonora, but I know my odds are slim. There are so many snakes in NM that would be lifers for me, I would be tickled to find just about anything. As far as arachnids, I would love to find some vinegaroons and tarantulas. I would be in seventh heaven if I were to find a gila, but would also like to see geckos and phrynosoma. I'm also quite partial to whiptails since I discovered a population of neotesselata here in Washington state a few years back, they have a special place in my heart ;)


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 6:39 pm 
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Joined: June 10th, 2010, 8:49 pm
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Well best of luck. If you get rain the snakes all seem like possibilities. I found a Gyalopion several years ago, highlight of my trip. It did the cloacal popping.

New Mexico is a whiptail paradise (or nightmare) depending on good you are with keys.


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 5th, 2016, 6:43 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
Thanks! I'll let you know what I find when I get back home :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 6th, 2016, 1:51 pm 

Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm
Posts: 1591
Just FYI, a couple points:
- South of I-10 there's way more Border Patrol activity, than north of it. Whether this gives you pause, or provides reassurance, is a personal matter. I've never been a solitary female out in the boonies. Regardless, expect to encounter them south of I-10.
- The Gila country & surrounds is really, really special. So is the bootheel, but its charms are a little more subtle. Something like the Pinos Altos or Black Range might suit you. OTOH...
- Check the big game seasons. I expect you might get out there between the deer & elk archery seasons (earlier) and the rifle seasons (later). You might be there in e.g. the muzzleloader season. Anyway, blah blah blah some places - particularly the middle & higher elevations - in S NM see a lot of big-game (especially mule deer and elk) hunting pressure and there will be lots of armed guys out in the woods. Camping. Shooting. Just driving around "scouting", both during and before the season is actually open. Sometimes drinking a whole lot, and not just in camp. What I said about the Border Patrol - same thing, times 10 or 20. I'd probably go with the Border Patrol, if I was you, or you were my daughter. The Floridas are nice! Eat your Wheaties.
- It wouldn't hurt to wear something orange. Don't wear a lot of tan or brown. Ha ha. Not kidding though.

Have fun! Good luck on this trip, and getting into school.

cheers


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 6th, 2016, 6:19 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Thanks Jimi! Border patrol and hunters are things I hadn't considered, but very good to be aware of. I will definitely check out at least a couple of the spots you mentioned, they all look very promising. I appreciate the advice :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 9th, 2016, 6:05 pm 
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Joined: June 8th, 2010, 7:28 pm
Posts: 182
Location: Formerly NM, now DFW Metro
dawnsnow wrote:
As far as snakes, I would absolutely love to see Rena, Gyalopion and Sonora, but I know my odds are slim. There are so many snakes in NM that would be lifers for me, I would be tickled to find just about anything. As far as arachnids, I would love to find some vinegaroons and tarantulas. I would be in seventh heaven if I were to find a gila, but would also like to see geckos and phrynosoma. I'm also quite partial to whiptails since I discovered a population of neotesselata here in Washington state a few years back, they have a special place in my heart ;)


I left Cruces in 09 and much has changed. However, if still accessible, hit up the Doña Ana mountains just north of US 70 and east of I-25. The easiest access is via Jornada Rd, which leads to the Jornada Experimental Range. A wide variety of species can be found there and the area is relatively safe, sans possible dove hunters in the mesquite-creosote flats. Last time out there, the road is 80% dirt, though this could be changed.

If you hit up the local BLM office, you might be able to get a hold of Patrick Alexander. He was a PhD candidate under Dr. Donovan Bailey in the biology department. If you happen to tour the bio department, you can also try seeing if Dr. Bailey can put you into contact with Patrick. If Patrick is in the area he'd be a great source to possibly show you around should his time permit.

Other options are Baylor Canyon Trail, both the road and actual Trailhead. However, the area is now recently under the National Parks System if I recall. Alternatively, you can also visit Dripping Springs State Park. Both areas are in the Organ Mountains, west side. On the east side is Aguirre Spring Campground/National Recreational Area.

Rena and Gyalopion might be tough to find around the Las Cruces area, but it can be done. My best luck with "farting snakes" has been off Highway 9 though towards the AZ border.

These areas should keep you from being bothered by BP and hunters, for the most part.


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 9th, 2016, 9:06 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Great! Thanks Chris! Those spots all look good, I will be sure and check out at least a couple of them. I really like the idea of not running into BP lol. I appreciate the contacts also. I will definitely be in the biology department and will be stopping at NMGF, BLM and San Andres NWR as well so hopefully I run into Patrick while I'm there. I appreciate all your help! I will let you all know how I fare when I return on the 18th. :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Mexico Questions
PostPosted: September 20th, 2016, 6:00 pm 
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Joined: August 10th, 2010, 1:59 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Hello all! I wanted to thank all of you who gave me tips for my New Mexico trip. I didn't see as many snakes as I would have hoped (darn full moon!), but I did see a few and also lots of arachnids and other fun critters. Here are some of the pics from the trip.

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