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 VAHERPS field herp trip?

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Don
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PostSubject: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:19 pm

I've never done any fiield helping, but thought if we started now we might be able to find a member or two who are experienced to take a group of us rookies out to see some real wildlife. Anyone interested in hosting? Anyone other than me interested in this? Let's start to plan now for a VAHERPS field herping expedition this Spring/Summer.

I'm willing to help organize a VAHERPS event. Anyone want to help?

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zues
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:44 pm

I would be interested in tagging along.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:51 pm

I definitely want to be part of it.
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Chuck H.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 02, 2011 11:55 pm

I'm interested. Would love to take some pics of critters in their natural habitat. Not so much into collecting anything and would caution (with the recent discussion about laws in Va. and Chesapeake) that anyone who does make sure they are squared away with what is allowed and not allowed in whatever city / county is selected (Johnny Law in me coming out).

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Lokielani
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:19 am

Sure...I'm in Smile
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:33 am

This would be a totally legal trip. Im too old to start illegal stuff Look, identify and let go. Not a collection or anything illegal. This field trip would for nothing other than learning to find the habitat, identify the herps and move on. Purely an educational endeavor. I'm willing to organize and even drive up to six or seven members to the location.

I think the hardest part is to find an experienced Virginia field Harper to guide us. If I can line that up the rest will fall into place.
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Lokielani
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:51 am

I can ask a couple of my professors, they go out all the time looking for/at various things. I'm not sure how familiar they are with all of Va though. They live in Staunton.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 12:58 am

I don't have much time to look now, but I remember someone offering to take us. Consider me in and just let me know what you need from me or in general. This is a great idea Don, maybe doing one ever quarter? I have an SUV that would fit at least two other people beside me and the family. Shenandoah, Blue Ridge, Great Dismal Swamp, anything would be fun. No collecting is a great idea too, unless it's garbage Very Happy
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:32 am

I was thinking Pocohantas might be a good spot too.
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ClarkeReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 10:57 am

I'm in. I've never been field herping before. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:03 am

I know James Earl has done some field herping... and nick you are right, someone else has offered too but I dont remember. it was a while ago... depending on when, i could definately be down for it as long as it doesnt interfere with our possible move in the spring.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:07 am

Was it Mike at Outback Reptiles? For some reason, that seems familiar.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:20 am

The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) (vaherpsociety.com) usually has 2 - 4 surveys around the state each year. The surveys are coordinated with the DGIF, DCR (State Parks) and private land owners. The surveys are open to the general public, you don't need to be a VHS member. Surveys are generally 2 - 3 days in duration, but there is no time commitment and people come and go as they please. People attending surveys range in experience from first-timers to PhDs.

Last year one of the surveys was held at Pocahontas State Park:
http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/2011-events/pocahontas/index.htm
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:33 am

I need some really advanced notice. I'm planning on going to some reptile shows after December but I don't want to be left out!
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MADexotics
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:37 am

I would really be interested, but I also need plenty of warning with my work schedule and all
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Mon Dec 05, 2011 10:56 am

Actually, The Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS) (vaherpsociety.com) may be the best route. They already do it and I've looked at the pictures and webpages. Pretty cool.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Mon Dec 05, 2011 11:31 am

Usually, the schedule for VHS surveys are posted just after the first of the year.
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MADexotics
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:33 pm

Would be worth getting more information about
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:16 pm

I went ahead and joined. At $15, it looked like a deal to me.
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MADexotics
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Mon Dec 05, 2011 4:23 pm

I was looking at that. Looks like the field herp surveys are limited to members. but $15 isn't bad at all
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Mike.OutbackReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:31 am

Yeah it was me Razz I know a few decent spots around northern VA for stuff like mole kings, copperheads, chain kings, and a whole whole buttload of black racers/black ratsnakes. but honestly I think we're all have a lot more fun down near VA beach / NC border... a lot more interesting herps to find down there- cornsnakes, way more eastern kings than up north, timber rattlers, cottonmouths, scarlet kingsnakes, you name it. Unfortunately I don't really know any "spots" down there, the few times I went lookin I just picked places that looked good and usually found something cool :p
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ezekiel21
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:14 am

This sounds like a great idea!! I'm def in. Haven't been since I was a kid.
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MADexotics
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Wed Dec 07, 2011 11:43 am

I love wandering down into the dismal swamp area. And I agree, the va beach/nc border area has the most potential in terms of being local for a good majority of the members here
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:39 pm

Miles used to run into timber rattlers when he was surveying by the Hampton Roads Executive Airport when going from Chesapeake to Suffolk off Route 58.

My aunt lives in Suffolk near Carolina Road and Whaleyville Blvd. but we havent seen much out there in the woods behind her house.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:51 pm

For what it is worth, you can see which herps have been documented in which County here:
http://www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com/county/county-herps.htm

These maps give a indication of which counties have been surveyed the most:

-



Orange county is just one of the counties that has had little in the way of herpetological surveying. It's is one of the few counties where a box turtle has not been formally documented.

There is a Jefferson salamander/ wood frog survey March 3rd, in Strasburg, Va. (Strasburg is just to the west of Front Royal in Shenandoah County.) If there is any interests I can post details as they become available? The survey isn't very exciting, but then again it is early March herping.
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Mike.OutbackReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:22 pm

^This man knows his VA wildlife!
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Thu Dec 08, 2011 7:35 pm

Honestly I'd rather go with Mike than the Herp Society. That sounds fun but not as personal as our own trip could be. : P Plus at 3 days who knows when they are going to look for the "good stuff" ! And I don't want to be told to get out of the way for the PhD'ers.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:52 pm

DaganGecko wrote:
Honestly I'd rather go with Mike than the Herp Society. That sounds fun but not as personal as our own trip could be. : P Plus at 3 days who knows when they are going to look for the "good stuff" ! And I don't want to be told to get out of the way for the PhD'ers.

Your preconception of a VHS survey is inaccurate.

The morning of the survey we break into groups. Groups are formed based on friends, habitat (we usually have at least one group for kids or adults that prefer an easier area to herp) or on target species. There is no delay in looking for the "good stuff". We usually stop for lunch, often eating in the field. Then usually around 4:00 or 5:00 pm we all meet back at a spot to show any unique animals and take photos. After which, the animals are all released where they were found. For dinner we usually have a campfire, cook hotdogs and hamburgers and of course s'mores. The PhDs and old-timers are delighted to see others interested enough to participate, they realize that the future of our native herps relies on the next generation. Data collected is provided to the DGIF and DCR to help them monitor populations. Depending on where we survey, we usually find at least a few new county records.

During one of my first surveys my oldest daughter Jen, then a little blond hair, blue eyed girl of 8 years started running toward a farm pond. In front of the entire group she did a dive into the mud, slid across it on her belly and disappeared beneath the water. A second or two later she popped out of the water covered in mud holding up a small painted turtle. "Got it!", she proclaimed. The group was pretty impressed! For the next two or three years, I was only known as "Jen's Dad". ☀

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Mike.OutbackReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 09, 2011 12:22 am

DaganGecko wrote:
Honestly I'd rather go with Mike than the Herp Society. That sounds fun but not as personal as our own trip could be. : P Plus at 3 days who knows when they are going to look for the "good stuff" ! And I don't want to be told to get out of the way for the PhD'ers.

Honestly if you went "with me" (I dont want to seem like some kind of leader, I'm just a fellow enthusiast who enjoys field herping from time to time) It'd probably be a lot more hit-or-miss then going with the VHS... Also depends how many people go. I know some places that are kind of close to residential areas but great for cool animals like mole kings and chain kings- but it probably would not be OK if we had 10 people tromping through the woods behind a neighborhood!

And like I said before, I think southern VA would be better herping overall and I don't know any "spots" there like the VHS people might.

The March trip jw mentioned seems like it could be fun- I know there are timber rattlesnakes up in strasburg (my grandparents used to volunteer at Elizabeth Furnace campground up there and I found a few timbers just driving along the mountain roads on my way to meet them for lunch/etc)

Not to mention all the other stuff that's abundant there- copperheads, black rats, and I've heard of people finding corn snakes around the area as well.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:17 am

The March trip isn't a VHS event it's a trip organized by a naturalists friend. Unfortunately, March is too early for most snakes.

I'll bet herping with Mike would be fun too. I know my sister would enjoy it. Laughing
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Mike.OutbackReptiles
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 09, 2011 11:31 am

I've found snakes on some warm march days... they usually are only active long enough to sun themselves in the morning and then retreat back into their crevices though. But you are right, march in the mountains is not the best time for snakes :/

I think herping with anybody would be fun... my 6 yr old sister enjoys when I take her out to catch tadpoles to raise :p
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 09, 2011 1:00 pm

I've joined the VHS and look forward to being a member. Sounds like a lot of fun. For $15, it seems like a great organization to support with very little cost.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:06 pm

That's great, Don. I think you will enjoy it.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Thu Dec 15, 2011 7:18 pm

First Spring Herp Outing - 03/03/12 (non-VHS Event):
Meet at Elizabeth Furnace, Front Royal Virginia. Witness the first signs of spring by observing Jefferson salamander, spotted salamanders and red spotted newts breeding in vernal pools. Visit a real fossil wall and climb wood stock tower. Bring flashlights, your dinner to cook on a grill and dress for the weather.Use code 2741864301 for $20/individual. Use code 2741864302 for $45/family sign up.

For additional information see:
http://tinyurl.com/7bc7w74
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:47 am

for those that aren't familiar in the Hampton Roads area, Front Royal is roughly 5 hours depending on traffic... I had a friend who lived there and when I went to help her move back, it was a quite a haul... and she lived up in the mountains... please plan accordingly if you plan to attend
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:03 pm

I would not consider this trip if the drive is more than an hour or so.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 16, 2011 3:51 pm

Hey guys, I'm in the process of organizing our surveys for next year. David Perry our, vice president and myself are in contact with a couple of state parks... I will let you guys know when and where our surveys for next year will be. I'm trying to set one up in rattler country. Stay tuned.

cheers,
Larry
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:28 pm

Thanks Larry! I look forward to seeing the schedule. Sorry I missed the one in Pocahontas, that is almost in my back yard.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:27 pm

sounds like fun
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:09 pm

what kinds of herps are you guys looking for? Ive herped Va alot and some other states and ive seen alot of what Va has. this is a list of most of the herps ive observed
eastern hogs
mole kings
chain kings
black rats
black racers
copperheads
cotton mouth
snapping turtles
painted turtles
mud turtles
stink pots
dbt
spotted turtles
sea turtles
box turtles
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Don
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:16 pm

I think anyone who owns a herp in Virginia should join VHS. It looks like a very good investment. I can't wait until the field trips. That is going to be a new experience for me and one I hope to pass down to my children.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:55 pm

Don wrote:
I think anyone who owns a herp in Virginia should join VHS. It looks like a very good investment. I can't wait until the field trips. That is going to be a new experience for me and one I hope to pass down to my children.

I couldn't agree more.
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PostSubject: Re: VAHERPS field herp trip?   Sat Jan 21, 2012 1:00 am

^^^^^^^^^^
ditto
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