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Posted by lbenton on May 09, 2003 at 08:38:10:
In Reply to: Question about checking the cuts. posted by smorefun on May 09, 2003 at 02:49:48:
As far as the amount time invested per animal that varies a lot based on at least 3 major things.
1) Is pure luck, you have to cross paths with an animal to stand a chance of finding it in the first place. And remember there are two kinds of luck, and we have all had some of both after putting in our time.
2) The frequency of crossing paths is going to be hugely impacted by a number of factors. Obviously they are not evenly distributed across their range, and to make matters worse it is easier to TX-DOT to put roads around the best habitat than through it. The exact location you are looking in is important to your chances. Also, I do not feel like an Alterna or any other snake for that matter is going to get out at all unless it needs to feed, reproduce or escape a predator or some other kind danger. So they are not going to just get up and wait to be found (although that would be nice), you need to time it. In my opinion a good thing to look for while you are collecting are prey species, if there is no food, a predator tends to move on. And not to overlook weather conditions, they need to be within a favorable range, especially for smaller animals to be inclined to get out and move around.
3) Experience is also a factor, I have a couple of things I call common rookie mistakes. Most of these mistakes seem related to boredom, something that has worked good for stevenxowens792 and myself recently are some good books on CD or Comedy CD’s, music tends to get old after a few hours, and no longer keeps you awake. If you fight off the boredom you are less likely to leapfrog around and stay in one concentrated locality. Remember they are not evenly distributed across their range, so if you know exactly where to look the smaller your focus the better. Also on the boredom thing, do not quit early. If you get to your hotel and watch TV after collecting you came back way too soon. Keep going until you are drop dead tired, even take a power nap if that helps you hunt longer. I hear a lot of people say that they thing most snakes are caught before midnight. I think that is a load of crap myself, as most of us are 9:00 to 5:00 kind of people, we become less and less alert as it gets later. This is why I take junk food along, that last couple of hours may be propped up on a sugar rush, but I will take it. That is why I say be persistent, be consistent.
Also under experience there is “what to look for” factor. Almost any animal at night is not going to look like what you see in a picture book. Scrutinize everything, this also has the side benefit of keeping you alert.
Factor #1 I admit seems to make up about 90% of your chances, but people that work well within that other 10% tend to reap more rewards than the others. It is sort of like gambling to me, and if you know where the odds are, you tend to be better at it.