The beauty of Andy's definition is 'less is more'... it accurately describes what we do, yet leaves 'motivated by a desire to enjoy and appreciate' open to personal interpretation, such as Chris said, enjoying them in captivity.
The term 'observing and searching' is also general enough to cover all types of field-related activities...data, photos, strict observation, collection... hell, even rd cruising, cause rds generally have to transect the fields or habitat where herps occur.
The morass over collecting vs non-collecting is in fact a different topic, or sub-set of 'field herping' and need not be specifically addressed in a broad definition of 'Field Herping' at large, so consequentially... I concur.
Given the recent regrettable derailments on this contentious issue, I have taken the time to carefully consider my position on collecting and formulate my position... which is the true goal of 'ethical inquiry'... self-examination. This is MY opinion, offered only as material for consideration, to facilitate others in formulating their own opinions.
First of all... I rate the welfare of the herp species, whether individually, or as a species at large, as more important than my personal wants or desires.
I determine that the 'Utilitarian' perspective is most apt, when considering what's 'best' for a species lacking the capacity for abstract thought required for self-determination.... Thus...That which produces the greatest amount of positive utility, for either an individual of, or for the species at large, is ethical.
I collect a small glossy for use in my 'Local Reptile Educational Talks' I use the snake in these talks to teach people that they are not dangerous, but rather, beneficial (as adults) in rodent control, and should be left alone, rather than summarily dispatched, when encountered. After my lecture series conclude for the year, I can either keep the glossy, to be used in following years, gift it out to a good home, or use it as a feeder, for a kingsnake.
In any of those circumstances, I feel that the negative utility suffered by the individual is far outweighed by the positive utility garnered for the species at large.
Even from an individual standpoint, the chances of any individual yoy making it to adult reproductive age is problematic at best... in captivity, they are (ideally) well-fed and free from predation, and typically live longer that their wild brethren. Even if used as a feeder... the educational value they provided outweighs the 50/50 possibility that they could have survived in the wild.
This assessment paradigm is applicable to every type of collecting, and supports most, except commercial collecting and harvesting (roundups) IF the collector is TRULY doing it for the welfare of the species (or individual) and not using it as a rationalization to serve his/her own desires.
Today I will try to find my 1st ever (on my own) striped Ca King. I will MOST likely only collect data and photo vouchers, unless I happen to find something VERY exceptional (which I almost never do...
) Have a great day, everybody...