Trip Details

Start Time: 8:00 a.m.

Weather: Day: Mostly sunny and little wind. High 93 degrees. Night: Little wind and about 74 degrees.

Location: Cherokee County, Texas & Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma

Herpers: Scott Wahlberg, Mike Pingleton, Jeff LeClere, Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Account by: Matt Ricklefs
Photos by: Jim Scharosch & Matt Ricklefs

Thought of the Day: "That can't be good"

This was our last day at the bunkhouse in Texas.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

It was also our last day out with Scott. We only had a little time in the morning so we hit a few nice spots but were not able to find any herps. Scott and Mike did turn up a baby Turkey Vulture in an old house and that was cool. When they hiss the sound like a Bullsnake and they look very odd with pure white downy feathers and a coal black head. That was pretty cool.

Photo by Jim Scharosch

We bid our fond farewells and, after several days of "Bob Dole-ing" Scott was happy to not hear that again. What is Bob Dole-ing you ask? I suppose that has not been mentioned yet in these Texas posts. I'll try to hit the highlights as it is definitely a "have to be there" moment to get the true effect. It goes back to Jim and my time in Kansas. Bob Dole is from western Kansas and whenever we go out there we see the signs noting this. Bob Dole talks in the third person - "Bob Dole says he likes herping!" So Jim and I always start talking like this (in our best Bob Dole voices) when we are out there. This was brought along on the Texas trip. On a Family Guy episode Bob Dole it shown and nods off as he is talking and then snaps back awake and says "Bob Dole!" So our Bob Dole remarks from Kansas turned into an all out Bob Dole-a-thon and especially when someone was getting tired they would be awaken to a chorus of the others saying "Bob Dole!" The saying became, "you've been Bob Doled". Like I said, you really had to be there. When we had some long days this could get us rolling.

There is one other special note to add. We came a long way and you will notice on the posts that we did not knock it out of the park for finding stuff. We knew it was late in the year and heading south it would be hot, but part of this was having Mike, Jeff, Jim and I get together and this was the closest time we could find. Scott had the herculean task of setting us up with finds and did an absolutely wonderful job. The spots we hit were perfect and his knowledge was invaluable. It was very generous of him to take time and go out with us and show us around. We just were in the right place at the wrong time. It was great hanging out with Scott and that helped make the trip worthwhile as well; AND we DID get two lifers on the trip and ones that we REALLY wanted to find. So all in all that worked out pretty good.

Most of the day was traveling back to Oklahoma. After a nice dinner at a local establishment, we were ready to head out on the road. On our way we found a DOR (dead on road) Black Rat Snake about four feet right in town. We weren't sure what kind of a sign that was but there were snakes in the area!

Our first LOR (live on road) was a Yellow-bellied Water Snake (Nerodia erythrogaster flavigaster) about twelve inches long.

Photo by Matt Ricklefs

We got a quick "in hand" shot as we moved it off the road and headed on our way. Unfortunately that was all of the LOR's we saw. The DOR Black Rat must have been a bad omen. We found five DOR Western Pigmies, three of which were recently hit. One of them I saw a truck swerve over and I said under my breath "that can't be good". Of course it wasn't. Other notable/horrible DORs were a pretty, young Bullsnake and a high yellow Speckled Kingsnake. It is good to see what's in the area and we certainly learned a lot, but finding LOR's on a trip like this is so much better.

Not a great way to end the day, but when we come back we will have a great understanding of the area and we will know some good roads to cruise.

Bob Dole!

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