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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 7:50 am 
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Phil Peak wrote:
So what you're saying is...

Nope.

I understand that you likely view the undertaking as impossibly difficult. This is something I've encountered numerous times before when I used to do wildlife population modeling professionally. Field-oriented people, the ones who really get to know the organism so well and are therefore called upon for the necessary data or estimates of its life history traits, almost invariably start out in the process 1) convinced that nowhere near enough is yet known about the organism and 2) no computer model could possibly adequately capture the complexity that is the organism's life history and population dynamics. They feel this way even if - heck, from what I've seen, especially when - they themselves are sitting on a truly remarkable treasure trove of long- and hard-earned information about the organism; if they weren't so upset about what was being asked of them and what was being done with the information they provide, it would be downright funny. I really have seen it time and again. I suppose that 1) stems simply from the fact that they don't yet know nearly as much about the organism as they want to, which is perfectly understandable but is also really just an insatiable desire that shouldn't be allowed to stop the proceedings. As I said, an awful lot can generally be done with amazingly little data, and there's pretty much always a lot more data (or good estimates) available than people realize or are willing to admit. Number 2 is understandable, too. In many cases these folks have spent a significant portion of their lives studying the organism, by all that long, hard work they know it better than anyone, and yet they feel as if they've just read the first chapter or two of its marvelous story. And now some dweeb sitting at a computer is going to take their data and estimates and in fairly short order supposedly crank out results that tell us all something new and important about the organism? No way is that possible! As I said, it's understandable. But it's also wrong, as many decades of wildlife management have demonstrated in working with many populations of many species. Population modeling works extremely well, indeed. No model ever starts out or ends in perfect form, but they always start out well enough to tell folks something of value (even if, in the really rough cases, nothing more than where effort should be focused to obtain information for another stab at modeling) and they always rapidly improve from there. Again, this isn't something someone told me or I read in a book, I've seen it.

Fortunately, most of the field-oriented folk come around eventually, and for good reason. A tome on a species' natural history is a marvelous thing, incredibly fulfilling to create and incredibly useful to have. But a computer model of its population dynamics and assessment of its potential threats is incredibly useful, too, and in ways that a marvelous narrative alone could never be. So these people generally allow themselves to be cajoled into participating in the process (probably in some cases thinking they'll use the opportunity to expose the modelers as charlatans ;) ), and if they stay close to it throughout - which I really recommend, even if the modeler involved would rather just take the numbers and run - they learn to appreciate it as an important complement to their own work. Not a bastardization of their life's work, but a functional commemoration of it. I won't deny that the most emotionally involved people still sometimes remain suspicious by the process' end. But I can assure you that wildlife managers and legislators are in their turn much more trusting of and able to put to good use the results of a computer population model than the private notebooks or even published papers of a whole room full of experts. And for good reason, as I said; these models work.

Phil, as distrusting as you are of the process, I nonetheless strongly recommend that you look into whether your wildlife agency might already have started it. If it's clear they haven't, ask them why not and offer your services as an expert on KY's timber rattlesnakes to help them get going on it. And if they simply don't feel it's important enough to pursue but you still do, hustle on over to yonder university and find some professor or graduate student in its wildlife department to instead help you get going on it. All I know of you is what I've seen of you online over the years, but that's been ample to convince me that you have a great deal of knowledge on this subject and/or have access to same that would enable a good model to be made, and that knowledge is of course really the most valuable component in all of this; as I said, the initial models themselves are fairly simply things to learn how to build and run (though they can ultimately become quite sophisticated when the occasion demands), though their results can be quite powerful. Remember, you can always decide to remain suspicious or downright cynical toward the model's usefulness after participating in its creation, if that's how you really feel then. ;)

Bryan, I really don't think I am making it sound easier than it is. One doesn't need to learn all the ins and outs of the various software available these days just to be able to use it (especially if someone who knows it better is guiding one's efforts), and if nothing else one can even build very simple but surprisingly useful models without such software, just plugging things into a spreadsheet with a few hand-entered formulas. Heck, when I was first exposed to this stuff I used paper, pencil and a calculator (yeah, I'm kind of old, but wildlife population modeling long precedes even calculators, you know). No one needs to go straight to the latest, most sophisticated program available just because that's what professionals and graduate students prefer to do. Too, Phil can always take a closer look into the subject for himself before deciding whether it's more than he wants to take on. ;)

But I certainly agree with and appreciate what else you added to the discussion. These models are just meant to approximate reality, and even then only with respect to aspects of it that are of particular interest. They are not meant to replace reality, nor ever could. They're learning tools, not final answers. And again, they accordingly always start out rougher than they end up.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 8:09 am 
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jgeorge wrote:
muskiemagnet wrote:
james, you didn't do anything wrong. timbers can be a hot topic here. that was the beginning. i think the issue occurred when jgeorge mentioned an exact county in KY. some feel that this is too specific, and i agree. those who live in the area probably feel the same. those who do not, most likely, do not see it as a bad thing.
-ben



Apparently my mention of a county was wrong. Sorry for that. According to range maps Timbers potentially occur in around 90 of KY's 120 counties. I wasn't trying to pinpoint a location.
JOSH

ALL INFO REMOVED FROM ORIGINAL POST



jgeorge, i read the quote, and realized that by myself agreeing, you may have felt i was insinuating that you did something wrong. let me assure you, you did not. i was trying to convey to james that he did no wrong either. jgeorge, your mention of county got the ball rolling. no big deal. it's just that folks here see things differently. my opinion on the matter is to "be vague". at least then, all remains peaceful. don't sweat it, seriously. your info is not going to cause a catastrophic collapse in timber populations. it probably will never be remembered anyways. i still back the "err on the side of caution" theory though.

i agree with kris 100% as to his long post at the beginning of page 2. he's spot on. the comment of two sides of the same coin is a perfect way to put it. we all look at thing differently, and thus bickering.

sometimes i think these threads get crazy only because we need a place to blow off steam. has anyone ever noticed that the end of the year seems too bring about the most hostility?? that's interesting to me.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 9:33 am 
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So was that abacus based modeling Gerry? Just joking.

I agree with you about the field people dismissing models. They use the models to determine hunting bag limits then brush off any modeling done to look at limiting factors or other biological questions in the same system. One of my great frustrations with the world right now is when people say "You know your data can't describe everything so I think I'l ignore it".

I haven't heard much about modeling with snakes. I'm doing it right now with rattlesnakes in Nevada. I know most of the modeling that the states were doing with non-game animals was mostly spatially based to predict distribution. There has also been some viability modeling done with a few species. Beyond that I haven't heard much.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 3:20 pm 
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i spent the day pondering this while enjoying one of(most likely) the few better days we have left in wisconsin for the season. about ten common garters, but no foxes. after reading a pm, my thoughts were backed up.

this big issue is nothing more than nothing. the beginning was a few folks questioning the mention of a county. regardless of whether you may, or may not agree with the listing of a county on the forum, it really doesn't matter. i can search any county on the DB and find out whatever i want. i will admit, i am going to "close" all my data soon, just for this reason. i do think county can be harmful. those who feel the same, close your data if you haven't. at this point, raise the concern to the IB if you think that county should not be mentioned. until this is done, there is absolutely no need to get upset that someone mentioned a county.

try not to forget what happened in the first page. this thread is going off track now.

-ben


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 4:07 pm 
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Gerry,

Thanks for the detailed explanation. I can see value in what you described and perhaps in many instances this is the best we can do to guess at what's actually going on with wild populations of animals. I do believe that the use of modals based upon what we know about characteristics of a species does have its limitations however. By this I mean, we may have lots of good data on life expectancy, age at maturation, frequency of reproduction and reproductive output as expressed in number of young per female, but without specific knowledge of the population in question, this is only a modal and and based on supposition and not fact.

When applied to TR's this is further complicated by the recognition that all populations do not necessarily behave the same. For example, age at maturation and frequency of reproductive events are far different in the northern extent of their range and in montane habitats as compared to southern populations with longer active seasons.

In addition, without actual real time data on the population in question such as current population size, habitat utilization and any other specific factors that enter into the equation, it would be next to impossible to implement an effective conservation strategy.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 4:42 pm 
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Ben, closing a record will not hide the county name...you need to check the Restrict box at the bottom of the entry form. County names are only detrimental to certain species, not all. I restrict the ones where i feel a date or county name is detrimental. I mark the ones I really want to control distribution of as sensitive or closed. If it is a sensitive boardline, I mark every species from that site as sensitive. Hence why you will see some sensitive ringnecks, fence lizards, helleri, and gopher snakes along with the kings. :lol: I even have some sensitive utas I think, not because utas are sensitive, but the sites where they were found are...as well as all my pond turtle locations...duh... 8-)


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 20th, 2012, 6:22 pm 
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Phil Peak wrote:
... this is only a modal...

Exceedingly common statement, that, quite possibly uttered at one time or another by every field-oriented person it's ever been my pleasure or pain to work with. And I agree, with one modification: It's only a model that has proven time and time again to be an incredibly powerful tool for wildlife management. ;)

Phil Peak wrote:
When applied to TR's this is further complicated by the recognition that all populations do not necessarily behave the same...

And of course, an extremely common fall-back position among field-oriented people is "Well, I suppose that modeling stuff might work ok with those other populations/species, but mine offers unique challenges..." :lol: Fear not, Phil, the whole point of building a model for a given situation is to take into account the unique features of that situation. Whatever your starting point, you can still make a model work importantly for you, and then make it work even better thereafter.

Phil Peak wrote:
In addition, without actual real time data on the population in question such as current population size, habitat utilization and any other specific factors that enter into the equation, it would be next to impossible to implement an effective conservation strategy.

Sorry, but that's simply not true. Excellent management strategies, most definitely including for conservation, are devised all of the time that make use of a mix of rigorously obtained data, expert estimates and even some plain, old educated guesses. Modeling accommodates such mixes just fine. And thank goodness that's so! If we had to wait for complete, current data sets to begin, nothing would ever get done.

Just try sometime, ok? You can always come back and tell me "I told you so!" afterward if it doesn't help.

muskiemagnet wrote:
... until this is done, there is absolutely no need to get upset that someone mentioned a county.

There's no need to get upset after you've done that, either. But if you can't keep from getting upset, I recommend you try screaming into your pillow rather than taking it out on people here just because they employ a more rational set of priorities concerning what is and isn't worth getting upset or bothering other people about.

muskiemagnet wrote:
... this thread is going off track now.

Only now, eh? ;) Don't forget that the original post was simply a modest request for information - not a request for a scolding or for yet another meaningless and divisive debate on behalf of the "need for secrecy."

I don't mean to pick on you personally, Ben. You're actually usually at least polite in the criticism you post here. I'm just tired of this "need for secrecy" and "if you're not with us, you're against the animals!" nonsense popping up ad nauseam on these message boards. It's really been out of hand for quite some time, now.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 12:06 am 
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The "if you're not with us, you're against the animals!" comment is only designed to make a few people think, it is not a serious statement meant to be black and white. If you can't understand that by now you just don't get my tactics. No wonder you over react so much when I post outlandish statements like that...you actually believe they are serious and all inclusive. Wow... :shock: No, Gerry, the only serious argument i have here is that people need to shut up about how to find and when to find certain species...that's all...and evidently we have learned that horridus does not fall into that category over most of its range...so oh well... :lol: Have a good week, I'm off to photograph sensitive species...and ignore the Internet.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 5:16 am 

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I can't believe how far this post has gone. But anyways I have another question, About how many TRs do think there is left in the wild in Ky. I know no one can know for sure because of the poachers, collectors and the fact that knowing the exact number is pretty much impossible.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 6:33 am 
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Brian, this can't possibly be the first time you've heard from me that I don't approve of some of your tactics. :roll: With respect to the "if you're not with us, you're against the animals!" nonsense specifically, you're often one of the first but by no means the only person to chime in with such, and my comments are meant for all of you who are involved. That garbage makes me think, all right, but what it makes me think is that we have too many people here who believe that bullying is an acceptable way to persuade people. If you can't finally just relax about the whole "need for secrecy" thing as any rational set of priorities would dictate, I strongly suggest you try another, less offensive tactic to push for it.

James, the guy I've been conversing with here about population modelling, Phil Peak, is apparently too modest to mention it, but he and his friend Will Bird literally wrote the book(s) about KY snake hunting. Hopefully he'll respond with an answer for you. You should check out said book(s) sometime, though, as you'd likely learn a lot that's of interest to you. There may be a herp society in your vicinity for you to join, too, so you should look into that.

Sorry if all of this diversion from your thread's original purpose has bothered you...

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 7:16 am 

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Quote:
I haven't heard much about modeling with snakes. I'm doing it right now with rattlesnakes in Nevada. I know most of the modeling that the states were doing with non-game animals was mostly spatially based to predict distribution. There has also been some viability modeling done with a few species. Beyond that I haven't heard much.


I'm most familiar with work done on pests. BTS on Guam has gotten a lot of modeling attention. Really though, some of the approaches could be applied to imperiled species. The only difference is "how do we achieve extinction" vs "how do we avoid it". (Once you really dig into "how do we achieve it" with something, you can't help but relax a little with "how do we avoid it" - nature does not want to give up. A little help given in the right places can often do wonders.)

BTS managers have the advantages of lots of data (mainly due to lots of study subjects they can sacrifice, and long, extensive research AND operational trapping efforts) and lots of money. But...a tremendous amount of thinking and building and tweaking has been done, on the analytical side. It's probably time to wring a "peace dividend" out of the war money we've poured in.

Check out the Rodda lab's publications and grey lit. Gordon's retired now from USGS but surely up for an interesting chat. He's a long way from dead.

Quote:
Excellent management strategies, most definitely including for conservation, are devised all of the time that make use of a mix of rigorously obtained data, expert estimates and even some plain, old educated guesses. Modeling accommodates such mixes just fine. And thank goodness that's so! If we had to wait for complete, current data sets to begin, nothing would ever get done.


Gospel truth folks. We make a good start with a scientifically- and socially-derived management plan, and start collecting data, often with harvest, to improve knowledge and management from there.

A common alternative approach is to slap on a utilization - even interaction - ban. I call it the overzealous precautionary principle. We let the ban take the place of everything else, and then a decade or more down the road we haven't done anything, we don't know anything, the critter has received no help, and we're still anxious about it. Hell of a way to live. "Mindless conservative."

A middle path is to authorize utilization but collect no information about it. Depending on the animal & place, this can be just fine, or demonstrably lame, or merely worrisome. "Mindless liberal."

Stamps and licenses and off-season surveys (of people, I mean) are very useful instruments for gathering management-relevant information. This is why I continually advocate for them here. "Informed, thinking, curious citizen."

Just think about this. I don't need a response. This thread has been a disappointment, mostly. Really unnecessarily nasty.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 8:05 am 
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I don't claim to have read every post...I just wanted to share my observations from Western NY. I'm aware of a FEW den pockets that still exist, but with nowhere near the vitality of 25 years ago. I know of one guy (and his crew) who decimated a once vital den by poaching over a period of a few years. I know that that den is hanging on by a thread, and that only a few years ago a fellow herper (who I know, and who I never believed would poach ) became greedy and removed a few animals from the den. Karma'a a bitch...he was bitten, then arrested. In some areas, one poacher could be responsible for the demise of the species...I'm sure.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 9:26 am 
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Jimi wrote:
... (Once you really dig into "how do we achieve it" with something, you can't help but relax a little with "how do we avoid it" - nature does not want to give up. A little help given in the right places can often do wonders.)

Unless we're talking about some of the large carnivores (such as tigers), which tragically appear to be SOL.

Jimi wrote:
Gospel truth folks. We make a good start with a scientifically- and socially-derived management plan, and start collecting data, often with harvest, to improve knowledge and management from there.

A common alternative approach is to slap on a utilization - even interaction - ban. I call it the overzealous precautionary principle. We let the ban take the place of everything else, and then a decade or more down the road we haven't done anything, we don't know anything, the critter has received no help, and we're still anxious about it. Hell of a way to live. "Mindless conservative."

A middle path is to authorize utilization but collect no information about it. Depending on the animal & place, this can be just fine, or demonstrably lame, or merely worrisome. "Mindless liberal."

Stamps and licenses and off-season surveys (of people, I mean) are very useful instruments for gathering management-relevant information. This is why I continually advocate for them here. "Informed, thinking, curious citizen."

And now Jimi and I, too, "are as one"... :beer:

I think I'm going to step out on that note of contentment...

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 9:56 am 

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I have another question. How do newborn TRs know where to den during winter months? Do they follow other TRs scent trails? Or do they just know by instinct.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 10:19 am 
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James1617 wrote:
I have another question. How do newborn TRs know where to den during winter months? Do they follow other TRs scent trails? Or do they just know by instinct.


The current paradigm is that the neonates follow their mother's scent trail back to the hibernaculum. Most of the evidence is anecdotal but there is at least one paper on it. Of course some snakes must occasionally choose novel hibernacula otherwise the species would never expand its distribution.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 1:14 pm 

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Thanks for the answer, I wish I would have made it to the woods today. It was 70 degrees and sunny. It would have been a good time to look for some Timbers.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 1:15 pm 
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Image

Gerry,

Thanks for the props. I appreciate the kind words.

James,

You are correct. That is a very difficult question. There is a chance that KDFWR's has made an estimate on the current population of TRs in Kentucky since they are considered a species of conservation concern in our state. The good news is, for now at least, our population of TRs is considered healthy and in no immenent danger of extirpation. The bad news is there are many counties in which this species has not been documented for several decades. There is a very real possibility that these populations no longer exist. In some instances this may be due to urbanization and in others it may be a matter of intensive agricultural practices that have caused the declines. Unlike the northeast it is sometimes difficult to obtain base line data on population size since at least in most of the state TRs seem to den singly or in pairs as opposed to mass communal dens where large groups of animals congregate. This based on telemetered animals that were tracked over a number of years. Most situations where groups of TRs are observed in our state represent gravid females at a rook site.

And a photo of a handsome TR that I photographed. These are truly awesome snakes IMO and definitely worth conserving. They are one of those creatures that makes the woods a more interesting place and without them it would be something less.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 21st, 2012, 1:34 pm 

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That is one nice looking Timber. I have yet to see one with bright colors here is the last Timber I have seen this year. Photo was taken last month. Found it right on the road. Note that this picture was taken with my friends Ipad so it isn't the best. Image


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 10:43 am 
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Thanks James. I personally think the TR in your photo is very nice. I'll have to admit that I've never seen one that I didn't like though. The variation in pattern and coloration is an endearing trait in this species.

I'm going to bow out of this discussion for now. I feel a bit uncomfortable revealing any more that I know about this species on an internet message board.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 1:07 pm 

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gbin wrote:
Brian, I grew up in southeastern MN not far from C. horridus' range there, my wife is from upstate NY, and I've also lived (among various other places) in northcentral FL and now TX (though I'm also just outside of the species' range here, I think), more or less the four corners of the species' extant range. I've spent considerable time at these places and could even direct you to dens I know of due to my own personal efforts at the northern locations. Moreover, I talk with people, read and think to fill in gaps in my personal experience, just as you do. I'm certainly no expert on the species, no, but I understand well enough what's going on with them. And by the way, I've also lived in and many times since visited AZ, and can readily say that more than any place else it holds my heart (and by no means just because of the herps there).

It's not so much a question of whether an animal is safe, but rather what if any risk comes to it via sharing information (not to mention the most basic information imaginable) about it in an internet forum. I understand that such information sharing is a bad thing from the selfish perspective of not wanting "your" spots sullied by having other people know about and visit them, but I see essentially no reason to believe that it is a bad thing otherwise. There certainly are species/populations/sites under various threats, but internet information sharing is not by any realistic means among those threats. Everything I know from experience and other learning tells me that my perspective on this matter is far more grounded in reality than is your own.

I've been around a fairly long time now, too (I first lived and herped in AZ in the mid-1980s), long enough to have gained at least somewhat of an understanding of the history of the perspective you and various others now hold. Secrecy has always been prized by some, but in demonstrably tangible terms it has always been simply a way for people to try to guard what they consider to be "their" spots. As the number of herpers out there grew, paranoia about their sullying folks' "personal" spots apparently grew accordingly. It wasn't enough anymore to keep one's secrets to oneself - new people keep showing up at these spots, after all, so someone else must be telling them about them! (despite another painfully obvious explanation) - so it became more and more important to not only maintain personal secrecy but to also try to swear everyone else to doing likewise. Now we're to the point where some seem to be pushing a sort of unspoken Grover Norquist-style pledge that ultimately has to be adopted by everyone that all herp hunting information will be jealously guarded. Of course, not everyone is so self-oriented in their herpetological pursuits, so how to persuade them to sign on? Too, lots of us view the personal boardlines that exploded in popularity in CA (and to a lesser degree elsewhere) as nothing more than unsightly, illegal dumps (which they are, when placed without the landowner's/manager's permission), so how to persuade people that they too need to be guarded? Obviously, the purpose has to be redefined as protecting the animals rather than protecting "personal" spots. Every situation has to be framed as "you're either with us, or you're against the animals."

I'm not saying that this was necessarily a conscious thing (though I readily believe that it was in more than a few people). People like to believe that their behavior is guided by higher purposes than things like selfishness, and are naturally expert on rationalizing their own views and actions in order to put them in the most favorable light possible. And other people bought into the "keep it secret to save the animals!" campaign after it was well underway. I understand that there are now plenty of true believers out there, no matter how they started. But I can't help but also understand that it's harmful rather than helpful, and I won't buy into it. Frankly, although I find its selfish basis perfectly understandable, I find the divisiveness that it produces when people get militant about it - as has become increasingly common here at FHF - downright dismaying.

Go ahead and again laugh off what I've said, maybe make another joke about how verbose I am (I certainly deserve that, anyway! ;) ). But I tend to think you're a plenty smart fellow, too, more than smart enough to realize there's considerable truth to what I've said if you'll only stop and actually think things through again. If you prefer to continue seeing things otherwise for whatever reasons then of course that's your prerogative, we can agree to disagree, but I'm asking you again, please stop with the divisive "you're either with us, or you're against the animals" crap. I'm not an enemy to herps, nor is John, nor are the many others that share my view. Stop attacking us as if we were.

John, the more I see, the more I like. Wildlife conservation benefits most from practical intellect and hard work, and you obviously bring both to the cause. :thumb:

James, welcome to the forum. Please don't take the postings of a few as representative of the majority (let alone all of us) here. We're actually diverse in both our interests and our views, excepting of course our overall interest in herps.

Gerry



I'll happily laugh off what you said, because I know via personal communication with you just how much you do not herp. Until you have worked hard to discover a site, and then had it destroyed through a network of herpers starting with people you've entrusted…well, you haven't internalized the issue enough to sympathize. And clearly your empathetic skills haven't led you to the same conclusion that my experiences have led me to, so I'll just point to your lack of significant and relevant experience as causal to your over-strengthened opinion and chauvinist attitude. You really ought to consider the fact that you aren't changing any minds, no one who shares my opinion, or Hubbs' opinion, is going to experience a change of heart because a guy who talks a lot and rarely herps articulates a position from ignorance.

Hubbs may have squirmed a little pre-maturely, because posting the month of activity isn't the same potential for risk as posting the locality, but his motivations are well placed and he's working off more experience than probably any four herpers in this thread. Seriously. The big divide between those who care about protecting information and those who do not, is usually something related to personal effort.

Think about it. By necessity, if you have to seek information on FHF about a species…then you're not privy to the information gained through experience of the people who are you asking. You haven't spent hundreds of hours out on foot only to finally succeed, and you haven't recorded successful conditions only to test them later for purposes of narrowing your focus to better conditions…and you probably aren't going to follow that path of effort-oriented self discovery. You're going to go for the low hanging fruit.

I learned about Timbers through failure, not through success. If you go about it in such a pure way, then you deserve to find the places I hold dear to my heart…and we will enjoy them together as like-minded people. But if you rely on easy-access information to cut to the chase, then you're probably never going to understand what it means to truly love these animals and the places they depend on.

One last point, if people are sour about the sharing of information, then it shows that such thoughts are present in our community. While not everyone may have these thoughts, those of us who do have them have probably earned them through effort and time.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 1:51 pm 

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Quote:
Until you have worked hard to discover a site, and then had it destroyed through a network of herpers starting with people you've entrusted…well, you haven't internalized the issue enough to sympathize.


Yeah, that hurts, it's quite a personal betrayal.

"Destroyed" is a pretty strong word. I'm sure sometimes it's accurate. I'm also sure sometimes it's an exaggeration - "screwed up for a while" might sometimes be more accurate. Tin sites, boardlines, and "managed trash-piles" spring to mind here. I've had it happen to me. I've also had good cap-rock and crevice sites trashed by guys with crowbars, and good flipping-rock sites methodically not put back right. I think I know what you're talking about.

But you all wanna know what also hurts? Watching a dwindling number of suitable sites get divided up and paved over - sometimes actually destroyed, as in gone forever - because there wasn't enough information available to try and stop, or minimize, or mitigate the damage. And then hearing from some enthusiast, some "amateur", some citizen-scientist - "But I knew, we knew - why didn't YOU do something???" I've had that happen to me too. You guys? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Now that also f*cking hurts. Ironically enough, it also generates a certain sense of betrayal.

Keeping secrets can do good, and keeping secrets can do harm to the nature we all care about. Know the difference, and behave accordingly. I guess that's really the same thing everyone here is saying - our differences lie in interpretation, in judgment, in perspective. I just wanted to share this other perspective. I do not see it expressed here enough. If I've been able to connect with you, get your data some place it can do some good, where it'll be taken care of so as to last forever and be used again and again for conservation. Otherwise, as far as I'm concerned you're just collecting stamps or baseball cards. Fun, entertaining, way better than drugs or video games, but...really pretty vacuous as far as the rest of the world is concerned, as far as posterity is concerned.

Chad - please understand this is not directed at you, it's just me taking a cue from what you happened to say most recently (which is a variant of what is said here all the time). My audience is whoever cares to read this.

Cheers,
Jimi


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:15 pm 

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Jimi wrote:
Quote:
Until you have worked hard to discover a site, and then had it destroyed through a network of herpers starting with people you've entrusted…well, you haven't internalized the issue enough to sympathize.


Yeah, that hurts, it's quite a personal betrayal.

"Destroyed" is a pretty strong word. I'm sure sometimes it's accurate. I'm also sure sometimes it's an exaggeration - "screwed up for a while" might sometimes be more accurate. Tin sites, boardlines, and "managed trash-piles" spring to mind here. I've had it happen to me. I've also had good cap-rock and crevice sites trashed by guys with crowbars, and good flipping-rock sites methodically not put back right. I think I know what you're talking about.

But you all wanna know what also hurts? Watching a dwindling number of suitable sites get divided up and paved over - sometimes actually destroyed, as in gone forever - because there wasn't enough information available to try and stop, or minimize, or mitigate the damage. And then hearing from some enthusiast, some "amateur", some citizen-scientist - "But I knew, we knew - why didn't YOU do something???" I've had that happen to me too. You guys? Do you know what I'm talking about?

Now that also f*cking hurts. Ironically enough, it also generates a certain sense of betrayal.

Keeping secrets can do good, and keeping secrets can do harm to the nature we all care about. Know the difference, and behave accordingly. I guess that's really the same thing everyone here is saying - our differences lie in interpretation, in judgment, in perspective. I just wanted to share this other perspective. I do not see it expressed here enough. If I've been able to connect with you, get your data some place it can do some good, where it'll be taken care of so as to last forever and be used again and again for conservation. Otherwise, as far as I'm concerned you're just collecting stamps or baseball cards. Fun, entertaining, way better than drugs or video games, but...really pretty vacuous as far as the rest of the world is concerned, as far as posterity is concerned.

Chad - please understand this is not directed at you, it's just me taking a cue from what you happened to say most recently (which is a variant of what is said here all the time). My audience is whoever cares to read this.

Cheers,
Jimi


Understood Jimi, and even if it was directed at me, I think you present valuable points. Let me clarify, I generally "write off" a site once it's been publicized so much that it becomes the regular go-to for several or more herpers. Word travels fast, one friend shows another and so on…it's cliche by now, but the "destroyed" reference is more applied to my ability to enjoy the site unfettered and in its purest form…that's what is destroyed. It becomes a race about who can find the first X each spring, so people often start visiting sites before the emergence even happens, and that sucks for those of us who patiently wait until things are in full swing before we visit the good stuff. I've often engaged in friendly competition with friends, and it's natural…but spread over a large group, the competition to find the first animal leaves every known site in disarray before the herps have even emerged!

Many of us have developed personal expectations and wisdom over time, often through making mistakes…and it pains me to see some place that I cherish…become the testing ground for some greenhorn to make their own mistakes on, and to develop their own likewise wisdom through. But of course this is an easy problem to fix, just never ever show anyone else any spot that you value. I have lots of locations in many states through out the midwest and some of the I'll share because the area is general, whereas others are small glades or rock outcropping which are isolated and rare within a certain region or county. The latter spots should be left only to those who are willing to put in the work it takes to find them, which is considerably less now than it used to be with Google earth.

I don't really see how showing people good spots will have any effect on habitat destruction, but I see your point about sharing…we should all be willing to be social and to share information to a certain degree, I guess. I'll meet people at general localities, but the days of showing people the spots that make them smile from ear to ear…well, those days are over for me (barring entrusted friends, of course). Now I smile ear to ear, because as long as I keep my secrets, I will not have a negative experience when I go out herping and see that rocks have been screwed up, or that landowners are pissed off about trespassers, and I get to enjoy the feeling of being the first to lift my favorite rocks each spring.

:)


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 2:27 pm 
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Jimi,

Your point is well taken but, there is a huge difference between sharing sensitive information with state wildlife biologists and revealing the same information on an internet message board.

Also, at least in Kentucky, the TR receives no special protection that isn't afforded to any other native snake species even though it is a species of conservation concern. This is a status with no associated regulation other than the standard collection limit of five and the prohibition of commercializing in field collected specimens. There is no verbage in our regulations that protect key habitats even if they are identified and forwarded to the appropriate agencies.

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Phil


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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 5:39 pm 
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And round and round we go...

The first timber rattlesnakes I ever saw in the wild were the result of my hearing while growing up that they still existed in extreme southeastern MN, then going out looking for them again and again on my own until I finally found them. I'd never so much as met another field herper at that point, let alone had one show me where to go or what to do. I hate to admit to how old I am, but back then there simply weren't nearly as many herp hunters around, especially not in places such as MN. (I was one of the founding members of the MN Herp Society back in the day, and what a marvelously small group that was! :) ) The first timber rattlesnake den I ever saw was the result of my working an area in the southern Adirondacks where folks had told me that there "used to be rattlesnakes" (they didn't know what kind, and didn't think they were still there) until I found them, again on my own.

Of course I too have had the displeasure of revisiting herping spots I had found only to discover that they were now largely trashed by what appeared to be other herpers. But I was rational enough about things to realize that the herps were still there even if I no longer particularly cared to look for them there, and that a displeasure was all it was. I've also had experiences such as Jimi described where herping spots I had found simply no longer existed when I revisited them; they had given way via dynamite and bulldozer to another housing development, or strip mall, etc. And again, I was rational enough about things to realize that here was a real threat to wildlife and wild lands.

I don't herp hunt very much anymore, but I used to do quite a bit of it, and covered considerable ground and found plenty of animals of plenty of species in the process. Enough to give me many happy memories, more than a few photographs and (until I quit keeping anything several years ago) some interesting pets, anyway. The great majority of the time I spent herp hunting I was on my own, as I've always enjoyed the solitude of the pursuit as much as any other aspect; it's only very recently that I've made any effort to speak of to meet other herpers (though I wish I'd done so a lot sooner). I certainly understand on a personal basis the selfishness that forms the foundation of the "need for secrecy" so precious to some here. But on a rational basis I reject it as really nothing more than selfishness, and even as harmfully divisive when people get to the point of being militant about it.

A note to anyone who might still be new enough to the forum not to know: Be careful not to blindly trust what one person claims to "know" about another on the internet. It's always a good idea not to unquestioningly accept what someone says in such a regard, and to instead also consider who is saying it and why they might be doing so. Obviously, if one wants to claim that contrary views stem simply from inexperience, there's considerable motivation to claim that others holding those contrary views are inexperienced - whether it's true or not. Too, some folks are not only liars but downright vicious liars when they harbor a grudge against someone.

Gerry


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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 6:43 pm 
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Personally I'd like to see a concerted effort to conserve this species on a national level. Not sure what the answer is, but it would nice to see more done to preserve habitat and to raise public awareness on what a national treasure this snake is!


Phil


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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 7:00 pm 
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Personally I'd like to see a concerted effort to conserve this species on a national level. Not sure what the answer is, but it would nice to see more done to preserve habitat and to raise public awareness on what a national treasure this snake is!


Phil


Phil, I couldn't agree with the above statement more...I've often wanted to buy up land and leave it as is...I'm sure many of us have....I'm not sure the feasibility of doing so, but I'd think that if enough concerned people pooled their resources, we'd be able to purchase and conserve at least some land for these creatures....

I'm sure that's not a new idea and some agencies (i.e. The Nature Conservancy) already do this to one extent or another, but I for one would be willing to put some cash up if it meant securing some land where these animals could continue to survive.

-Kris


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PostPosted: October 22nd, 2012, 8:20 pm 
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No doubt Kris, these snakes are up against it at every turn. Aside from habitat destruction which is devastating enough, culturally, locals are conditioned from craddle to grave that rattlesnakes are vile creatures that should be extirminated at every opportunity. Changing this mindset is an uphill battle! Progress is measured in inches rather than miles.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:51 am 

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chad ks wrote:
...... The big divide between those who care about protecting information and those who do not, is usually something related to personal effort..


Most succinct line in this thread.
I'd say it's always related to personal effort- in the field, in places NOT shown to them.
Unfortunately for the snakes, people don’t grasp that until they HAVE put in the time in such places so some here haven’t found that out yet, and some never will


azatrox wrote:
...I've often wanted to buy up land and leave it as is...I'm sure many of us have....I'm not sure the feasibility of doing so, but I'd think that if enough concerned people pooled their resources, we'd be able to purchase and conserve at least some land for these creatures....

I'm sure that's not a new idea and some agencies (i.e. The Nature Conservancy) already do this to one extent or another, but I for one would be willing to put some cash up if it meant securing some land where these animals could continue to survive.

-Kris
It’s too bad more herpers don’t think together as this being a solution. Yes even more than the NAFHA database, lol. It could even be started here through the FHF.


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 7:11 am 
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ugh wrote:
chad ks wrote:
...... The big divide between those who care about protecting information and those who do not, is usually something related to personal effort..

Most succinct line in this thread.
I'd say it's always related to personal effort- in the field, in places NOT shown to them.
Unfortunately for the snakes, people don’t grasp that until they HAVE put in the time in such places so some here haven’t found that out yet, and some never will

If you repeat something that you want to be true often enough, it must be true, huh? Where can one buy some of that magic pixie dust? :lol:

Why is it so hard for y'all to admit that you choose to protect herp hunting knowledge (first it was spots that were protected, then times were added, now folks sometimes even object to the most basic information about herping methods being shared) simply for your own sake, not for the sake of the animals or their habitats? You don't have to feel bad about that, you know; it's something we can all understand even if we don't all choose to behave the same way.

I've lately recognized this as entwined with something else that seems to be growing rapidly and unpleasantly in our community: competitiveness. Nowadays these message boards are rife with people saying in one way or another "I spend more time herp hunting, herp hunt or learned to herp hunt in a better way, find more or better herps, etc. than you do." (From what I can tell that seems to be the main point of NAFHA's existence, in fact.) Just like the selfishness behind the "need for secrecy," the competitiveness behind these folks' interest in herping is perfectly understandable as a common, maybe even ubiquitous human trait, and competitiveness too has always been around in our community to at least some extent. But it also seems obvious that overindulging in it is likewise harmful to our community. Anyway, it's occurred to me that if you're someone who sees himself as being at or near the top of the heap, you might well see trying to force everyone to accept a code of silence about herp hunting knowledge as a way to slow their attempts to gain any ground on you. Maybe this explains why some of you are putting so much effort into spreading your magic pixie dust around.

If that's the case, you know, you really needn't worry about that, either. Just as many of us here realize that no "need for secrecy" actually exists, many of us don't see it as a competitive venture, either. You're free to view yourselves just as importantly as you wish. The heap is all yours from top to bottom, and we want no part of it. As I've said repeatedly, the only time any of it really starts to bother me is when y'all start bashing other people for not behaving as you want them to about this stuff. Dividing our community, trying to make people feel bad about themselves or even chasing them off of these message boards for no good reason, that's the crap that I want to stop. Is that really so much to ask?

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 8:03 am 
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IndigoBlue wrote:
This is obviously something you do not understand so of course you are going to disagree with anyone who does not think the same way you do...

Uh-huh, because it's simply not possible that someone could know what he's talking about and yet still disagree with you. And people on your side of the issue criticizing me or others for not agreeing with your way of thinking (e.g. I disagree because I obviously don't understand, because I'm too inexperienced, because I don't care about animals or habitat, etc.), unlike the reverse, makes y'all look really good. :roll:

IndigoBlue wrote:
... because we know what damage can be done...

Even if you can't find any evidence whatsoever to support your belief in that damage - beyond your personal dismay over the aesthetics of the situation, of course, which is readily apparent to anyone it's ever happened to - you just know it's there. How foolish of some of us not to accept that just because we on the other hand have knowledge suggesting the damage is largely imaginary, eh?

IndigoBlue wrote:
... Maybe it is selfish but I do know that if I want to go and see what I am after, and spend my money on gas, lodging, food, etc. that I worked for and perhaps am even taking time off work doing so, I would rather my trips be productive...

I've said time and again that I understand the selfish desire to guard one's spots. Could you really have missed that? It seems unlikely. At issue is whether that justifies attacking others here for not abiding by that selfish desire. You know, "[c]riticizing people for not agreeing with your way of thinking." ;) And then some.

Great post, Indi. It really added something new to the discussion. :lol:

Nah, John, I'm waiting for my wife to be ready to runs some errands we have to do this afternoon, so I might as well spend some time here.

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 9:03 am 
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Quote:
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.

WRONG!
Please do some research, or at the very least read some of the previously posted links. You don't know what you're talking about.

Quote:
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.

How so? Please explain.

RW


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 10:05 am 
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From this previously provided link http://www.cnah.org/news.asp?id=436 I highlighted in yellow showing that you are wrong when you say " 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."

I highlighted in green a section for everyone that believes that poaching is inconsequential.


Rudy Reposed
Monday, April 14, 2008: Lawrence, Kansas - CNAH
NEWS RELEASE
The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
http://www.cnah.org
14 April 2008

RUDY KOMAREK, RATTLESNAKE POACHER

In early March 2008, Rudy Komarek (aka “Cobra King”), a notorious Timber Rattlesnake poacher and sometime showman, suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 79. Apart from several well-known bounty hunters who took thousands of Timber Rattlesnakes at taxpayers’ expense in three northeastern New York counties and one western Vermont county (see Jon Furman’s Timber Rattlesnakes in Vermont and New York, University of New England Press, 2007), no single individual had a detrimental impact on northeastern populations of this species as great as that of Komarek. During the second half of the 20th century, Komarek’s extensive commercial collecting of reptiles in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia flourished in a career that spanned four decades. In 1994, Brown, Jones, and Stechert (Bulletin Chicago Herpetological Society 29:74-79) detailed Komarek’s federal felony conviction for interstate trafficking, describing him as a “nefarious hominid” who single-handedly caused severe depletion or extirpation of many populations of Timber Rattlesnakes in the northeast. Using Stechert’s long-term monitoring data of many of the same rattlesnake dens that Komarek is known to have exploited, Brown et al. (1994) estimated that Komarek accounted for over 2,900 Timber Rattlesnakes taken from 27 dens in eight counties in New York. We now believe that this estimate is overly conservative. Since our report was published, Stechert has continued to conduct detailed status surveys in New York, the results of which -- in conjunction with the poacher’s own admissions in recent years -- now allow us to provide an improved estimate of Komarek’s take. Our revised estimate suggests that, over a lifetime of collecting, Komarek took or killed approximately 4,000 to 6,000 (best median estimate 5,000) Timber Rattlesnakes in New York, as well as hundreds in adjoining states. Over the past 25 years, the Timber Rattlesnake has been legally protected as a threatened species in New York. Before Komarek fled the state (settling for several years in Pennsylvania and finally retreating to semi-retirement in Florida), he is believed to have had about a fourteen-year period of taking the species following its listing and protection in New York. Although an era of outright depletion of Timber Rattlesnakes may have slowed considerably due to Komarek’s demise, we must take note of a variety of new and continuing threats to this snake’s habitats and populations caused by greatly expanded urban sprawl in the form of housing and commercial developments.

Randy Stechert
50 School Street
Narrowsburg, New York 12764

and

William S. Brown
Department of Biology
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, New York 12866
[email protected]

Quote:
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.


I guess you are taking "risk" to mean something different than I do. I think the risk of being caught poaching is still the same, although people may now be more aware that big brother is watching.


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 10:53 am 
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I guess I don't see Rudy's 25 years of collecting/poaching that went on until 1997 as being ancient history. And I guess I don't see the recent poaching incident DaveR describes, as well as the one from Shellshock being insignificant. And I also don't think that the Timber Rattlesnake skeletons and shotgun shells I personally saw by a hunting camp in a N.E. state this spring were insignificant either.


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 11:22 am 
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Quote:
However, people are not scouring internet forums to gain obscure clues about timber rattlesnakes just to go shoot a few.

Maybe not too shoot them, but they absolutely are doing it to poach them. As pointed out earlier in this thread former FHF member Emanuele Tesoro did just that. Not surprising that he is one of the guys that Shellshock caught.


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 11:36 am 
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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


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PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 11:49 am 

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gbin wrote:
ugh wrote:
chad ks wrote:
...... The big divide between those who care about protecting information and those who do not, is usually something related to personal effort..

Most succinct line in this thread.
I'd say it's always related to personal effort- in the field, in places NOT shown to them.
Unfortunately for the snakes, people don’t grasp that until they HAVE put in the time in such places so some here haven’t found that out yet, and some never will

If you repeat something that you want to be true often enough, it must be true, huh? Where can one buy some of that magic pixie dust? :lol:

Why is it so hard for y'all to admit that you choose to protect herp hunting knowledge (first it was spots that were protected, then times were added, now folks sometimes even object to the most basic information about herping methods being shared) simply for your own sake, not for the sake of the animals or their habitats? You don't have to feel bad about that, you know; it's something we can all understand even if we don't all choose to behave the same way.

I've lately recognized this as entwined with something else that seems to be growing rapidly and unpleasantly in our community: competitiveness. Nowadays these message boards are rife with people saying in one way or another "I spend more time herp hunting, herp hunt or learned to herp hunt in a better way, find more or better herps, etc. than you do." (From what I can tell that seems to be the main point of NAFHA's existence, in fact.) Just like the selfishness behind the "need for secrecy," the competitiveness behind these folks' interest in herping is perfectly understandable as a common, maybe even ubiquitous human trait, and competitiveness too has always been around in our community to at least some extent. But it also seems obvious that overindulging in it is likewise harmful to our community. Anyway, it's occurred to me that if you're someone who sees himself as being at or near the top of the heap, you might well see trying to force everyone to accept a code of silence about herp hunting knowledge as a way to slow their attempts to gain any ground on you. Maybe this explains why some of you are putting so much effort into spreading your magic pixie dust around.

If that's the case, you know, you really needn't worry about that, either. Just as many of us here realize that no "need for secrecy" actually exists, many of us don't see it as a competitive venture, either. You're free to view yourselves just as importantly as you wish. The heap is all yours from top to bottom, and we want no part of it. As I've said repeatedly, the only time any of it really starts to bother me is when y'all start bashing other people for not behaving as you want them to about this stuff. Dividing our community, trying to make people feel bad about themselves or even chasing them off of these message boards for no good reason, that's the crap that I want to stop. Is that really so much to ask?

Gerry


Gerry you sound like a jealous outsider. There isn't actually a problem with chasing people off of these message boards (in the real world, that is): many of us hold to a standard that is both reasonable and understandable, if you don't hold to the same standards then that's your problem. Stop trying to dictate to others based on how you'd like them to act, because we have plenty of reason to maintain an expectation that publicity is bad for herp locations and also bad for herps. You haven't the experience or the knowledge to sympathize, so you are relying only on your jealous emotions to launch your "case". That is why your analysis is so prejudice and laden with speculations about people's motivations and personalities. That kinda talk just looks foolish imo, and it's bad form. No one is dividing a community, so please stop trying to activate support for your cause. People aren't stupid enough to be demagogued by you. :mrgreen:


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 12:08 pm 

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John Vanek wrote:
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.


John, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt even though you use "we" to describe you and Gerry. I would avoid grouping yourself with him, because of the fact that many of us view ourselves as friends and as members of a community, and while you may see an argument…I see a project, an intellectual undertaking through discussion. There's no valuable reason to ascribe to Gerry's false dichotomy of us v. them, or to personalize the discussion as he so often does, thereby making it personal for everyone whether they like it or not.

I have a question for you. It seems that you do not agree with me when I say that poaching and commercial collection is a living problem and also a reason why we all ought to be cautious and discrete when referring to information surrounding timber rattlesnake (and other popular herps') habits, locations and periods of activity. I realize that it sounds paranoid, but I happen to know, for what it's worth, that a network of timber rattlesnake sales and poaching continues to this day. I have learned from other herpers who have friends who still do it, and I've seen van-loads of people here in central KS collecting all sorts of critters illegally. I have no doubt that it happens with timbers, and I think most informed people would agree, if not all informed people. So with this in mind, do you think it's more responsible to apply a precautionary principle to posting, just in case, as a way to reduce risk? Isn't it better for everyone if we maintain a standard on these message boards that asks loyal participants to at least suggest that an author of a post research more privately? Why should we assume that people like me are wrong, and place the burden of proof on us rather than on the people like you and Gerry who suspect on little evidence that we are indeed being paranoid? This shouldn't even be an argument or a discussion, we should all just assume that discretion is better for herpers and for herps, because it is.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 1:24 pm 
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IndigoBlue wrote:
The damage is imaginary huh?...

Beyond a site being visibly trashed in such a manner that it doesn't really affect the herp populations residing there and an equally meaningless number of animals occasionally being collected or killed there, yes, imaginary. I don't like to see animals or habitat mistreated, either, but there's a difference between what someone dislikes and what genuinely amounts to a serious threat to wildlife/wild lands. In all these endless debates, no one has ever offered up a convincing argument - let alone actual evidence - to support the contention that serious harm comes to herp populations just because some people choose not to adhere to the internet code of silence some of you try to demand concerning herp sites/times/what-have-you. Mostly it's just a bunch of hysterics and condemnations aimed at anyone who dares disagree with you, let alone dares share information in disobedience of you. For that they're newbies or some other kind of no-nothings, or they're against the animals and habitats, or something equally derogatory and ridiculous. Go ahead and keep sprinkling your magic pixie dust, but understand that it only helps you to continue to believe something just because you want to believe it; it does nothing for the rest of us who continue to live in the real world.

No worries, John, I appreciate your efforts.

IndigoBlue wrote:
Give it a rest Gerry and stop trying to argue with everyone all of the time. It seems that is all you care to do. Going all the way back to the days on the kingsnake forums. Yes I remember those and when you were banned for such...

And now you've demonstrated yourself to be a liar as well as a hypocrite, Indi. ("Criticizing people for not agreeing with your way of thinking is really not looking good on your part." Indeed! :lol: ) Anyone who was actually there (and many others, besides) knows why I was really banned from kingsnake - and why a heck of a lot of other people subsequently got themselves banned or left on my behalf - and it had nothing to do with me "trying to argue with everyone all of the time." It had to do with Barringer's new paid helpers trying to stick it to the long-existing herp community there in order to attract a new, larger exotic pet community that they hoped would bring in more bucks, and my blowing the whistle on what they were doing. There are even still places online where one can read about what happened back then from various perspectives, if one so chooses.

But I understand that hypocrisy and lying often go hand-in-hand in some people (for all I know you're just chad ks under another alias; you're certainly acting exactly the same way in this regard), when you've decided that you don't like someone for whatever reason and therefore that someone apparently merits any dirty trick you can think to try to pull on him. It's shameful and disgusting and I don't know how you live with yourself behaving that way, but if that's the way you wish to be then that's the way you wish to be.

Again, for any rational people who might still be hanging in on this thread despite the recent dump of garbage here by the likes of chad ks and IndigoBlue: It's fine with me if you feel a need to jealously guard your herping knowledge. It's even fine with me if you want to fool yourself into believing that you're doing so for some higher purpose than merely a selfish (and understandable) desire to protect something that's special to you and/or a competitive (and also at least somewhat understandable) desire to outherp others. What's not fine with me is when you stage bogus attacks on others for not thinking or behaving the same way. I'm happy to agree to disagree with all kinds of folks (including the occasional hypocritical, lying miscreant) about all kinds of things, but if because of the disagreement you indulge in the kind of BS mentioned above, well, then I reckon you can expect me to call it out as BS. My condolences (but pretty much nothing else) to any who are pushed even farther into their hysterics by this.

Hey, Brian, are you by any chance still following along? Is all of the personal crap in some folks' posts above the kind of tactic you endorse, too? It's most definitely where that "you're either with us or you're against the animals!" nonsense naturally leads, you know...

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 1:36 pm 
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The evidence is compelling and the arguments to show discretion are vallid. What we know is there is indeed an active market for these snakes right now. Aside from those that are sold to collectors it has been shown that there is also a demand for field collected TRs to supply the religious snake handling community in middle and southern Appalachia. This coupled with those disturbed individuals that take pleasure in slaughtering snakes when the opportunity presents itself should send cautionary waves through the herp community. With knowledge comes responsibility. I see no need in taking foolish chances with this precious commodity.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:17 pm 
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And yet again, Phil, what would be required for me to see it as compelling is not just establishment of the fact that herp collecting/killing (legally or illegally) exists nor even that it might be aided in whatever small way by the sharing of information on internet message boards, but that this also occurs at a sufficiently high level to actually harm herp populations. Likewise, it's not enough to document that a hillside of rocks has been turned, it would also have to be shown that this habitat disturbance isn't just an eyesore but actually harms herp populations. And that's not just because I'm a naturally skeptical fellow (though I am ;) ). I've spent plenty of time afield, among books and papers and in discussions with others about herps, and I've been trained and performed professionally as a population biologist who focused primarily on small, threatened populations. So on the one hand there's apparently no evidence available such as I mentioned is required, despite all of the passion that folks bring to their hysterical cries for the "need for secrecy," mind you (so there's obviously plenty of motivation out there to present or even produce such a study if it were possible to do so). And on the other hand I've ample knowledge and experience to suggest that actual harm to herp populations is extremely unlikely to occur due to someone posting herp hunting information in an internet forum.

Are any of the panicky folks getting it, yet? ACTUAL HARM TO HERP POPULATIONS.

Short of that, all you're disseminating is magic pixie dust. And at the rate you've been going through that, lately, if I were you I'd be worried about running out.

Ok, is it time again for still more meaningless reiteration of positions unsupported by evidence, or more character assassinations of people who hold opposing viewpoints (or who are simply the target of some grudge)? I can't keep track...

(Oh, wait, I just saw that while I was writing this, IndigoBlue decided to go for another shot at meaningless reiteration and character assassination. Way to cover the bases, Indi! :lol: )

Gerry

P.S. ACTUAL HARM TO HERP POPULATIONS.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:25 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:38 pm 
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I've got to admit, Brian, that's my favorite contribution to this entire thread. :lol:

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:41 pm 
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Gerry,

You imply that there is simply no evidence that unregulated take from the wild population will effect TR populations yet this is a two headed coin. Why take unnecessary risks? We could proceed under the premise that there is insufficient evidence while entire populations are extirpated.

What we do know is this predatory creature tends to live in relatively low population densities and that it no longer enjoys the widespread distribution that it once did. Furthermore, a number of populations have been deemed to be in such serious decline that this has become a protected species in a number of states. We also know that this is a slow maturing species that usually does not reproduce every year, and in fact, some populations may only reproduce every three to five years. We also know that this species produces fairly small litters of young and that it is sensitive to habitat disturbance to a higher degree than many other species of snakes.

So would it be wise to not use some cautionary discretion when managing this species?

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 2:46 pm 
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Phil Peak wrote:
The evidence is compelling and the arguments to show discretion are vallid.


Agreed. If one can't see the evidence that's been posted in this thread, they are either blind or just choose to ignore it.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 3:05 pm 
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Sorry, Phil, but no, I don't agree. For reasons that have already been laid out in this thread and/or elsewhere (this same debate keeps erupting so frequently that it's hard to keep track of what was said where :roll: ), I'm no fan of the precautionary principle. I seem to recall Jimi and some others here aren't, either. As good as it might sound to some, there appear to be stronger arguments against than for its use in wildlife conservation - and of course, there's no evidence supporting it, either. ;)

RW, how can anyone here see anything what with all the magic pixie dust y'all have been tossing into the air? :lol:

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 4:20 pm 
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Phil...those are some beautiful TRs. Amazing, spectacular creatures.


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 4:44 pm 
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Gerry,

You are certainly entitled to disagree, and thats all right with me. This is simply a matter where myself and others believe caution should be exercised and you seem to believe its unwarranted. It appears that neither side will yield its position.

DaveR,

I feel truly fortunate each and every time I see one of these magnificent creatures in the wild. Glad you are enjoying the photo's. I thought I may as well bring this thread to life with a few images.

Phil


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 6:19 pm 
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Phil Peak wrote:
Gerry,

You are certainly entitled to disagree, and thats all right with me. This is simply a matter where myself and others believe caution should be exercised and you seem to believe its unwarranted. It appears that neither side will yield its position.

And that seems like yet another fine summary of the matter (except that it should be clarified that I'm not alone in my view, just as you're not alone in yours), Phil.

:beer:

Gerry


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 23rd, 2012, 9:39 pm 
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Hole E crap...I've read this whole thread (and even threw in my .02 here and there) and I have to say that if we were making the case that evolution was a regressive process, this thread would be used as exhibit 1.

We go from speaking specifically about the topic at hand (i.e. the best months to find timbers)...to discussing why such info may or may not be a good candidate for public purview...to discussing overall theories on population dynamics, use of the precautionary principle and verifiable evidence of habitat destruction/species harm....to interpretations of words and wordplay....and finally we get to personal attacks, name calling and other esteemed endeavors. Classic herper forum stuff!

I just have one question after this wild ride....can anyone point me to some nice timber dens? Photos only, I promise. :lol:

-Kris


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 Post subject: Re: What months are you going to see Crotalus Horridus the m
PostPosted: October 24th, 2012, 5:47 am 
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azatrox wrote:
I just have one question after this wild ride....can anyone point me to some nice timber dens? Photos only, I promise. :lol:

Gee, I don't know, Kris. I'd like to help you out, but the first C. atrox den I ever saw was shown to me and a handful of other people in the Sonoran Desert in southern AZ - many years ago I was part of a small group of people who went out with Cecil Schwalbe to collect data on the snakes there - and I heard that the den was hit not long afterward, hypothetically due to the loose lips or possibly even direct hand of one of our group. So, can you AZ folk really be trusted?... ;)

(Disclaimer: Although it was awful that said den was cleaned out and it was made even worse by the fact that it may have happened due to the actions of someone in our group, no one who knew of the incident would ever have argued that the species or even just(!) its AZ population was truly harmed thereby. Reasonable caution = good. Excessive caution = ok. Excessive caution that prompts one to attack others who choose to behave otherwise = not ok. Before anyone succumbs to the temptation to repeat their arguments yet again, take another look at what the original poster to this thread actually asked for - it wasn't directions to the nearest den, nor anything close to that.)

Gerry


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