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Posted by John Hollister on December 03, 1998 at 23:45:20:
In Reply to: old days posted by paul on November 27, 1998 at 16:48:53:
ALthough I hatched out my first clutch of eggs around 1954, I didn't really get into keeping herps until around 1967. Back then there were not too many pet stores selling much except for boas, iguanas and a few other things. Importing was easy - call up Thailand, place an order, and a few days later it was at the airport - no permits, no paperwork other than health certificates from the exporter.
There were some dealers, mostly in Florida - Gators of Miami, The Shed, Bill Chase and a few others. There were also some dealers in CA.
There was no CITES then, and very little on state protection. Indigos didn't get FL protection until 1972, I beleive it was.
In texas, the road cruisers were a good lot for the most part. We would hunt all night, stopping occasionally to ask "seen anything" and to reply honestly. If things were slow, there were usually bull sessions along the road. If someone was fortunate enough to score a good snake, everyone would have seen it by sunrise and heard the accompyaning story of its find and capture.
Everyone usually gathered by Chamberlain's in Langtry, the Sierra Blanca in Comstock or the Big Hill in the Big Bend to wait for the sun to hit the horizon. Then, drive till dawn or the beer ran out.
We did it because we enjoyed it. There were no law enforcement stopping you 2-3 times a night, no traffic after dark except for the herpers and a few locals going home after the beer joint closed.
Most of us were broke so we slept under bridges or in our cars. We took our baths wherever water could be found.
It is not as much fun now. Laws and greed have spoiled it for me and many others. Traffic is so heavy on Hwy. 277 and Hwy 90 that any snake going past the white line on the shoulder will end up as road jerky.
I wonder how the herpers starting out in the late 90's will talk about the good old days 20-30 years from now.