Southeast Herping Tips

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EvanKaiafas17
Posts: 3
Joined: April 15th, 2018, 1:00 pm

Southeast Herping Tips

Post by EvanKaiafas17 » March 28th, 2019, 4:25 am

Hey everyone, recently I’ve been trying to plan a roadtrip from where I live in Northern Indiana to a few different national parks and forests in the southeast. Right now my plan is to first drive to Croatan NF and spend a few days there. Then I would like to drive down to Apalachicola NF. Then I would finish off the trip with a few days in the Everglades. I would be willing to change this plan if anyone has any better suggestions. Any other areas that would be better than the ones I picked out? Also I can only go when I have time off school. Would it be better to go during late March or mid-summer? I know there can be advantages and disadvantages for both times. Would I have any luck with snakes during the day in the summer? I was in the everglades recently during late march and it didn’t seem to get warm enough during the night for roadcruising. I’m going to leave it up to the experts to help me make a decision.

Jimi
Posts: 1860
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Southeast Herping Tips

Post by Jimi » March 28th, 2019, 10:11 am

OK, I'll look at the bait.

Now, not midsummer. Midsummer = yuck. You can cruise a bunch of watersnakes and copperheads and such in the summer, but...meh, I guess it depends what you're into. Early June is great for some things, e.g. pine snakes, but to me that's early summer. July (midsummer) isn't very good, almost everywhere.

This time of year I'd suggest you just forget night cruising unless it's raining and you want to see frogs. Day cruising can be alright though, on quiet roads.

This is walking & flipping prime time in the SE coastal plain. Waaaayyy more fun than cruising anyway, especially if you can get into some garbage (collapsed old houses & barns, hurricane-flattened signs, etc). At this time of year, along some of the rivers I also love the ecotones between the fringing swamps and dry piney uplands. The narrow strip of steep ground, and the flats just above and below it, can offer great sport and excitement. It's super nice before the trees leaf out fully, but it's getting warm. The chance of walking both a diamondback and a canebrake on the same morning? Heaven to me, even if all I get is bluejays and armadillos.

The act - the habit - of planning is good, but never forget that "no plan survives contact with the enemy". My plan would probably involve jetting all the way south, and working my way back north, hoping for a little warming. And Georgia - I like Georgia. But seriously - the weather is King in Spring - dodge the windy cold fronts, they are the enemy. Try and find some calm sun, if you want reptiles. The weather may just box you into central and south Florida, who knows. I've had some cold March outings in N FL. Times like that, you can forget the Carolinas. (And - just curious - why go so far east? Mississippi and Louisiana are closer for you, and offer great habitat, hunting opportunities, and species richness.) My opinions anyway - others may differ, and I'd welcome their input regardless.

Personally I'd avoid the state & national parks, and national wildlife refuges, and stick with places that aren't hands-off. National forests, state WMAs, and state forests are much more welcoming of our kind. Plus tend to have less people running over and scaring off our quarry. Learn the rules of wherever you go, and follow them, you'll have more fun and less hassles.

good hunting

EvanKaiafas17
Posts: 3
Joined: April 15th, 2018, 1:00 pm

Re: Southeast Herping Tips

Post by EvanKaiafas17 » March 28th, 2019, 12:13 pm

Jimi wrote:
March 28th, 2019, 10:11 am
OK, I'll look at the bait.

Now, not midsummer. Midsummer = yuck. You can cruise a bunch of watersnakes and copperheads and such in the summer, but...meh, I guess it depends what you're into. Early June is great for some things, e.g. pine snakes, but to me that's early summer. July (midsummer) isn't very good, almost everywhere.

This time of year I'd suggest you just forget night cruising unless it's raining and you want to see frogs. Day cruising can be alright though, on quiet roads.

This is walking & flipping prime time in the SE coastal plain. Waaaayyy more fun than cruising anyway, especially if you can get into some garbage (collapsed old houses & barns, hurricane-flattened signs, etc). At this time of year, along some of the rivers I also love the ecotones between the fringing swamps and dry piney uplands. The narrow strip of steep ground, and the flats just above and below it, can offer great sport and excitement. It's super nice before the trees leaf out fully, but it's getting warm. The chance of walking both a diamondback and a canebrake on the same morning? Heaven to me, even if all I get is bluejays and armadillos.

The act - the habit - of planning is good, but never forget that "no plan survives contact with the enemy". My plan would probably involve jetting all the way south, and working my way back north, hoping for a little warming. And Georgia - I like Georgia. But seriously - the weather is King in Spring - dodge the windy cold fronts, they are the enemy. Try and find some calm sun, if you want reptiles. The weather may just box you into central and south Florida, who knows. I've had some cold March outings in N FL. Times like that, you can forget the Carolinas. (And - just curious - why go so far east? Mississippi and Louisiana are closer for you, and offer great habitat, hunting opportunities, and species richness.) My opinions anyway - others may differ, and I'd welcome their input regardless.

Personally I'd avoid the state & national parks, and national wildlife refuges, and stick with places that aren't hands-off. National forests, state WMAs, and state forests are much more welcoming of our kind. Plus tend to have less people running over and scaring off our quarry. Learn the rules of wherever you go, and follow them, you'll have more fun and less hassles.

good hunting
Thanks for the suggestions. Honestly, I’ve never considered Louisiana and Mississippi just because I’m more familiar with Florida. Would you say that June is a good time to try this roadtrip?

Jimi
Posts: 1860
Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Southeast Herping Tips

Post by Jimi » March 28th, 2019, 4:50 pm

Sure thing man.

Check out the Kisatchie, DeSoto, and Conecuh National Forests in LA, MS and AL respectively. Florida still has plenty of fun (dwindling rapidly...), and as I mentioned I love GA, esp their SE WMAs, but honestly the Carolinas have changed so much I hardly recognize them. I might do a Hyde pigs trip in early fall, but otherwise it's OBX for surf and forget the rest. Depressing.

June - the earlier the better - could be alright. It's the best time for certain species, just not IME the best time for the widest variety (I'd call that now through May). It'll be warm enough then for lots of aquatic fun, if you like dip netting turbid waters or snorkeling clear ones. And cruising then will be better than now. I'm just partial to walking the woods before full leaf-out, flipping and stalking without sweating balls and swatting bugs. Call me crazy! ha ha ha

I think if I was coming down in June I might spend some time in the "mountains" (such as they are...) and devote less than all my time to the coastal plain. The piedmont, especially farther east, is rapidly disappearing and mostly lacks places to hunt anyway - where it isn't paved yet it's more valuable as private farmland than public conservation land. The steep rocky stuff and the droughty sandy stuff is what's available for wildlife and those of us who appreciate interacting with it. That's how it's always been, and how it will continue to be, until the sand is underwater again. Call me an optimist...

cheers

EvanKaiafas17
Posts: 3
Joined: April 15th, 2018, 1:00 pm

Re: Southeast Herping Tips

Post by EvanKaiafas17 » March 28th, 2019, 7:55 pm

Jimi wrote:
March 28th, 2019, 4:50 pm
Sure thing man.

Check out the Kisatchie, DeSoto, and Conecuh National Forests in LA, MS and AL respectively. Florida still has plenty of fun (dwindling rapidly...), and as I mentioned I love GA, esp their SE WMAs, but honestly the Carolinas have changed so much I hardly recognize them. I might do a Hyde pigs trip in early fall, but otherwise it's OBX for surf and forget the rest. Depressing.

June - the earlier the better - could be alright. It's the best time for certain species, just not IME the best time for the widest variety (I'd call that now through May). It'll be warm enough then for lots of aquatic fun, if you like dip netting turbid waters or snorkeling clear ones. And cruising then will be better than now. I'm just partial to walking the woods before full leaf-out, flipping and stalking without sweating balls and swatting bugs. Call me crazy! ha ha ha

I think if I was coming down in June I might spend some time in the "mountains" (such as they are...) and devote less than all my time to the coastal plain. The piedmont, especially farther east, is rapidly disappearing and mostly lacks places to hunt anyway - where it isn't paved yet it's more valuable as private farmland than public conservation land. The steep rocky stuff and the droughty sandy stuff is what's available for wildlife and those of us who appreciate interacting with it. That's how it's always been, and how it will continue to be, until the sand is underwater again. Call me an optimist...

cheers
Thanks for all your help, definitely going to take all of this into consideration. Hopefully I’ll be able to yield some awesome results.

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