What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the most?

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 17th, 2012, 12:03 pm

In Indiana, they are active until October.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 17th, 2012, 12:32 pm

Mike VanValen wrote:I'd be careful with how much info you reveal in this thread...
Brian Hubbs wrote:I second Mike's advice, but nobody pays much attention to that kind of caution...Brendan and I didn't even put that kind of info in our Rattlesnake book...
If someone only needs to know WHEN the best time to find these snakes is, AND that population is so low that the removal of a few females will affect it's survival, that population is already doomed. :(

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 17th, 2012, 7:17 pm

ugh wrote:Well said Hubbs- I think that last sentence of yours hit the nail on the head :roll:

John Vanek that's got to be THE MOST IDIOTIC thing yet I've heard you say on this forum. Really. Can you just stop commenting about this species, ok? You're not doing them any favors, not even yourself any at this point. Just stop.
Yup, I hate timbers. I hate them so much that I devoted 6 months of my life to literally following them around daily on a conservation project. Those educational programs I do? Just for shits and giggles. Let's kill all the timbers!

In all seriousness, that information can easily be obtained from a simple google search or visit to a library. This is common knowledge available from a myriad of sources. There is no harm in divulging life history information. Poachers want specific localities, not general time periods.
Brian Hubbs wrote:Well, by all means, let's help doom a few more then... :roll: It's one thing to say when is a good time to see a kingsnake, but another entirely for an animal that dens...at least on an open forum. We have no idea how many scumbags read this forum... :o I guess it comes down to how much you care about the animal and know which ones to keep quiet about vs. how much you care about sharing your wisdom with the world...
I love timbers, I hate to see them killed. However, I'm pragmatic, and viable populations are what count, not small isolated colonies of doomed individuals. :(

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 17th, 2012, 8:55 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote: If Timbers are so safe, why are they protected in most states they occur in (not the Canebrake morph)? If they are so safe then why the laws? Are the laws wrong? Some are, but I don't know about this one...educate me, but don't talk to me about Canebrakes. Are timbers OK to screw with?

Mostly dynamite. They literally dynamited the dens. That and NY had a $5 bounty for each snake until the mid 70's.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 17th, 2012, 9:23 pm

I don't deal in absolutes, I'm not a Sith.

In NH? Of course not. In PA? Sure, why not.

Image

Also, Brian, please realize that I respect your opinion, I happen to think you are highly knowledgeable. However, I'm allowed to be opinionated, I'm still young.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 7:46 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:
OK, so what I've learned from this thread is that:
1) Timbers are in such good shape that it doesn't matter if we talk about times of the year when you can see the most at a den. OK, I won't worry about that anymore.

...


3) Easterners, and some westerners, have no clue about timing for certain species. Good.

...

5) A lot of people on this forum have the makings of magnificent bores.
1)

From our dear friends Conant and Collins (AKA the bible that everyone owns a copy of):

*removed voluntarily*

Are timbers in trouble? No.

Are timbers in some areas (periphery) in trouble? Yes. Should we be working to protect the timbers in areas of their decline? This is philosophical, but I would say that yes, we should try to preserve these critters where they occur in different, particularly in differing political areas. While NH probably has less than 100 snakes, NY has about 100,000 (I can try to find that citation if anyone wants it).

Localities are not a secret in the NE. You want to find timbers? You look at this range map, availble publicly on the NYS DEC's website:
*removed on my own account*

and then go to any bar in those counties, and ask the locales where the snakes are. They will tell you. Guess what? We still have timbers in almost everyone of those quads. Why? Who the hell wants to buy a timber rattlesnake, let alone MULTIPLE timber rattlesnakes? The demand is simply not there. IMO (show me evidence and I am more than happy to change my opinion).


3) I don't see any evidence in this thread that shows that "herpers" in general are ignorant to timing. We know timing is important for herps, we just don't see it as a factor driving their decline when it comes to this "collection" pressure that hypothetically exists.

5)

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 9:29 am

Do you guys know where that map came from?

Google: "nys timber rattlesnakes"

That map is the second link, and is linked to in the first link.

I will bet a million dollars that a poacher (a poacher looking to harvest at a level detrimental to the population) will google before the snake and the state before searching this forum.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 9:33 am

Ridge Walker wrote:John Vanek, I would like to see where you got the number 100,000 for the Timber Rattlesnake population in NY, thank you. Additionally, what the NY map does NOT show is where the estimated 26% of dens in NY that are extirpated due to bounties, extermination and collection used to be. It also does not mention that another 5% of the existing known dens are close to extirpation. Interesting that you think that they are doing so well in New York that you put a map up on the forum, and then gave some pointers on how to narrow the search down.

RW
Ah, I apologize. I misstated that, it was referring to a different population. I was wrong, and I have no problem addmiting that.

That NY map DOES show the extirpation, as the Conant and Collins map is a more historic map. They have been extirpated throughout most of their NY range, including Long Island.

What are the main causes of timber rattlesnake decline?
http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/64318/0 wrote:
1. HABITAT DESTRUCTION: In states where the snake is legally protected, housing developments near rattlesnake dens are causing the most serious problem. Current laws generally do not mandate habitat protection for endangered or threatened species. In some areas, persons encountering rattlesnakes in new developments have cooperated with protection efforts by calling persons authorized to catch and transport live rattlesnakes. This is an important factor in successfully protecting rattlesnake populations near developments.

2. MARKET HUNTING: Bounty systems have caused a high level of deleterious exploitation and significant reduction or extirpation of populations by a mere handful of people (W.S. Brown unpubl. data). In some areas (e.g., Pennsylvania) bounty hunting led to rattlesnake hunting among the general population and became a major outdoor activity promoted by sports and civic groups. Commercial collecting for the pet trade is an ever-present current threat, despite some decline in recent years. Single individuals have been responsible for removal of several thousand snakes (Stechert 1980). Today, a growing number of persons maintain reptiles in private collections. Timber rattlesnakes, beautiful and easily kept in captivity, are much sought-after. Private collectors are supplied by an often illicit network of collectors, dealers, and buyers.

3. SNAKE HUNTING FOR "SPORT," ORGANIZED SNAKE HUNTS OR "ROUND-UPS." In Pennsylvania, organized snake hunts caused injury and cruelty to captured snakes, displacement from familiar range, removal of gravid females from already-depleted populations, and habitat destruction by snake hunters (Galligan and Dunson 1979, Reinert 1988). Despite regulations, timber rattlesnake populations in Pennsylvania were legally "harvested" at a nonsustainable level, leading to the collapse of most den populations (Martin et al. 1990). In response, Pennsylvania regulations were amended such that the open season extends from the second Saturday in June through July 31, with daily bag limit of one snake. These regulations should protect snakes at den sites, prevent stockpiling of snakes, and discourage rattlesnake hunting altogether.

4. SHADING-OVER: In some regions, several investigators believe that "shading over" by the growth of large trees on and near a den may be causing conditions that are incompatible with long-term viability for timber rattlesnakes. According to this view, there is a need for an open, lightly wooded or brushy early successional plant association to provide an optimal denning environment. In contrast, Martin (pers. comm. 1990) says: "Shading over of the den site does not present a problem for snakes at emergence time when the trees are bare or just starting to leaf. The problem is shading over of the rocks that are used as gestating and birthing rookeries." Similarly, in Connecticut, G. Hammerson (pers. obs.) found that heavy shading (in summer) did not discourage den use, but he observed reduced use of a gestation/birthing site after it was shaded by growing vegetation. The possible threat of shading-over deserves further study, but it seems likely that shading has temporary, localized effects that are insignificant over the long term on a landscape scale.

5. LOGGING: Commercial tree removal may not necessarily cause long-term harm to a timber rattlesnake population's habitat, but can pose a direct threat to the snakes if conducted during the active season (mainly April-October).

6. ROAD MORTALITY: New Jersey Pine Barrens populations suffer from excessive mortality of gravid females due to vehicular traffic on roads and trails (Zappalorti and Reinert in Tyning 1992). Ill-placed developments and associated new roads and increased traffic can lead to increased mortality of rattlesnakes even in areas several miles from the development.
Sure, it says that people have collected "thousands" of snakes, but that was in the 1980's, before all the protections, and only a few years after the end of the bounty, and probably wasn't in NY.


My point is that timbers are a wonderful species, one who is (no doubt) in delcine in the NE. HOWEVER, there are REAL THREATS out there, but we only quibble about the small (questionable) threats. I LOVE TIMBERS AND WANT THEM PROTECTED.

I will be more people who don't even know what a timber is kill them in their backyard with a shovel, or run them over with their car, than are "killed" (removed from the population) by recreational poachers.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 9:43 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:So putting a map on the Internet for yahoos to use to kill rattlers is a good idea? I just sent an e-mail to that webmaster:

You might want to rethink having a map of known timber rattler quadrangles on your website for everyone to see, given its protected status and sensitive nature. I'm just saying, that's a pretty stupid thing to put on the Internet if you give a damn about the safety of the snakes...


I hope they get the message...
No need, I removed it. I forgot that was against the terms.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 10:05 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:I sent the e-mail to the state of NY webmaster for that state site...not FHF...we'll see if the common sense kicks in and they pull it...
Either way, I had no intention of violating the TOS here. Take a look at some of the other maps, for kicks :lol:

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 10:56 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Why do we need bag-limits Gerry? Maybe we don't by your reasoning...we certainly don't for some species, but we have them anyway...in most states. Are those states just ignorant? I think some of them are, but I'm asking you...
I think that bag limits are useful for monitoring purposes. We know that some species have been wiped out or nearly wiped out by unregulated harvest (white-tailed deer and wild turkey come to mind). They are also useful to limit harvest to the personal level, as to not allow/ incentivize market harvesting.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 11:06 am

Brian Hubbs wrote:Market harvesting (and I won't even comment on how you compared a turkey to a snake) is only increased by protective laws. It increases the value because the animal is now unavailable to the masses. All protected species are worth more now than they were when they were legal to harvest. That's the law of supply and demand, pal...read up on it sometime. Protection from collection (outside the ESA) is the worst thing a state can do for a species. It just makes it worth more money, a lot more money...
I certainly agree that a herp is different than a big game species. However, it is well documented and known that in the case of white-tailed deer and turkey, increased protection was necessary (along with re-introduction and education programs). Time for a new battle! :beer:

Also, RidgeWalker, I agree with you.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 11:41 am

Anton, you are correct. That said, I think NY TR are a completely different situation than NY massasaugas. I had the good fortune of working on a NY massasauga conservation project, and I think you are spot on that those 33 poached animals could have a huge impact, considering there are literally only 2 localities where they still occur.

I also agree that poaching can be a problem at the locality level, and can be a more serious problem in some areas (NH, ADKs) over others (SE NY, PA).

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 12:33 pm

Brian Hubbs wrote:Still workin' on that common sense angle, eh John...well keep workin' on it...
It will never happen. I'd get mugged in a heart beat if I were in a rough area.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 1:03 pm

Bingo Gerry, I should have been more clear.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 2:45 pm

Thank you for posting that, really good info in there.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 4:14 pm

Yes, poachers could do that back when 1) it was legal and 2) they had economic incentive.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 4:36 pm

Ridge Walker wrote:
John Vanek wrote:Yes, poachers could do that back when 1) it was legal and 2) they had economic incentive.
1) You might want to look up poaching in the dictionary.
2) Everyones's economic incentives are different, and poachers don't just poach for economic reasons.
1) I think by this point you know what I mean.
2) Sure, but poachers aren't collecting at a level that is devastating like collectors were back in the 70's and before when there was a bounty.

Right now, the risks of smuggling out snakes from the NE are much greater than before Operation Shellshock and The Lizard King. People who wish to collect large numbers of these animals will go to areas where there is more incentive/less risk.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 19th, 2012, 5:12 pm

Ridge Walker wrote:Good night, I am done here, I give up.
I'm sorry if I offended you, that was not the goal.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 6:51 am

Just to stir the pot a bit more, and to make more internet strangers hate me:


Why are people obsessed with "putting in the time?" I like to learn from other people's mistakes so I don't have to make them. This is how we progress as a society, and it's the backbone of science: incremental work building off of others. If we all just start from scratch every time, we won't have time to get anywhere!

Now, that said, I certainly see the merit in learning from one's own failures, as well as the value of experiencing the world and making mistakes. I just don't like the attitude that one has to "earn" the right to see this magnificent creatures.

We need MORE people interesting in herp conservation, and alienating them probably doesn't help. Look at the birders for a good example of a concerted effort to bring new birders into the world. I'm not an idealist, and while in an IDEAL world, only the most dedicated and devoted herpers would be brought into this community, in the real world, that isn't good enough.

And now, because I brought up birds, I thought I'd share my favorite bird meme:

Image

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 7:32 am

Gerry, I think we post too much. Shouldn't we be working?

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 8:43 am

Indigo, we don't doubt people kill snakes. However, we disagree on the extent of the damage. Is it still horrible and annoying? Yes. Has it happened in the past? Absolutely, particularly in the NE. The large poaching incidents in NY happened in an area before enforcement of protection laws, and soon after (and during) a time when there was a BOUNTY on rattlesnakes. More recently, a person was found with massasaugas, timbers, spotteds, woods, and bogs (Operation Shellshock). These people were federally prosecuted, and now the risks of smuggling these spectacular and rare creatures are much higher.

We all love rattlesnakes, but we differ in what is important to the long term survival of the species (not necessarily). Please don't take these things personally.

As for arguing, this is a forum, and frankly the only reason it is here is to facilitate such discussions. We are here to discuss field herping, and discussions frequently turn into arguments. The best we can do is to limit (avoid) all personal attacks and keep things civil.

Also, Gerry, if I have miscategorized your opinions, feel free to correct me, my skin is iron.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 9:36 am

I'm sorry if I am misreading things [I did read the posted links, and have read Timber Rattlesnakes in NY and Vermont (http://www.amazon.com/Timber-Rattlesnak ... 1584656565)], but as far as I can tell, there has been little recent exploitation of NY dens. In the past? Yes, of course. Timbers used to occur over nearly the entire state, but as a result of years of people collecting bounties and literally blowing up dens with dynamite, the populations are much more isolated and restricted.

Instead of just yelling "WRONG" can you please elaborate so that I can fully understand the situation? I'm really not trying to be antagonistic, I just have a different opinion that I feel is valid. I am open to being convinced otherwise, my opinions change all the time with new evidence.

As for your second point, before Operation Shellshock, no one knew (or cared to pay attention) that the DEC and FWS would heavily prosecute someone for smuggling snakes and turtles. Kingsnake was largely unregulated (at least in the NE), and as a result, people used it, along with the Hamburg herp expo, for nefarious purposes. As a result of this widely publicized bust, poachers are now aware that channels in and out of NY are being more heavily monitored than they were in the past, and therefore the risks are now higher.

I have met with the lead investigator of Operation Shellshock, went to his hour long presentation on the topic, and was involved with the school that took many of the surrendered animals, so I'm fairly well versed on the matter. Again, if I am mistaken, please let me know, as I said above, my position on the subject is not rigid.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 10:28 am

Yes, I read that. That happened a long time ago. Just as your view of "risk" is different than mine, your definition of "recent" is different than mine as well. I don't disagree that travesties have happened in the past, but I just don't feel that with the advent of modern herpetoculture and stringent laws in the NE, timbers are in danger of commercial level harvesting as a result of locality sharing.

Also, I wasn't referring to the risk of being caught, but the overall risk of the illegal activity. While the chances of being caught may be the same (I would argue they are greater), the penalties now have a steep judicial precedence, and therefore the entire activity becomes more risky, due to the greater penalty.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 11:10 am

His poaching went on until 1997, but the majority of this work happened well before then. Also, remember that 1997 was 15 years ago. Shellshock may or may not have been significant. 33 massasaugas were recovered, but do we know how many timbers? Do we know those massasaugas came from the 2 NY populations?

Again, we are using our words differently again. I'm talking about biological significance, at the population/species level. Would I be mad if I saw dead timbers and shotgun shells together? You bet. I was furious when I found one of our telemetered timbers like this:

Image

Image

However, people are not scouring internet forums to gain obscure clues about timber rattlesnakes just to go shoot a few. That isn't realistic. It is much easier for those people to just ask around at a local tavern. It makes me sad that so many people feel the need to kill snakes for a perceived risk. That's why I work with NYS Parks and local organisations to host snake education programs where people get to touch live snakes and see what they are about. There is a lot of good to be done, but keeping this information secret isn't the answer (in my opinion, which I fully admit may be wrong).

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 11:41 am

IndigoBlue wrote:How about a study then. Why not reveal every single location of every TR den in the NE and let's see what happens. And then we can discuss shall we.
Nice hyperbole.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 11:43 am

Phil Peak wrote:Image

Something to be ever mindful of, throughout most of rural America encounters between rattlesnakes and men usually ends bad for the snake. Many people have a live and let live attitude towards wildlife in general, but when it comes to snake, especially venomous ones, the policy is usually no quarter from what I have seen.

In Kentucky they hang the photo's of butchered TR's up in the local general stores along side the smiling guy posing with his big buck or bass. I can't imagine how the snakes could benefit by revealing known locations where they live. Here, they eat the flesh and make hat bands and boots out of the hide. Do we really want to direct these people to where the snakes are?

Phil
Of course we don't, but are these guys really coming to this forum? If they really want to find the snakes, they will find them much more easily than by coming here. The people who are doing that don't know what a "herp" is.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 11:56 am

IndigoBlue wrote:Oh but isn't that all imagination and just made up stuff Phil? I thought all people just love snakes, especially rattlesnakes. ;)
I posted a picture of a human killed TR. I know that this happens and most people dislike them. What I don't know is why some people are so against DISCUSSING things without resorting to personal attacks. I know and acknowledge that many of the people posting in this thread have more TR experiencethan I do, but I like to challenge opinions to see if they hold weight. Never be the smartest person in the room.

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Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m

Post by John Vanek » October 23rd, 2012, 8:21 pm

DaveR wrote:Phil...those are some beautiful TRs. Amazing, spectacular creatures.
I think we can all agree, and leave it at that!

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