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Chat Week 2000 Transcript
12/14/00 - Bob Mackin
Herping the Trans Pecos


JeffB - ok our next guest chatter tonight is Bob Mackin and his wife Elaine is assisting with the typing
JeffB - Good evening Bob and Elaine
BobMackin - Hi everybody
BobMackin - Good luck to me I've never done this before bear with me


JeffB - Bob after spending 3 years hunting around Shafter, where the heckdo I need to go to catch an alterna there?
BobMackin - Since they've widened the road, it's been more difficult but most of the snakes come from above Shafter
BobMackin - All the way to the top of the hill


Herpo - bob, still taking out the steering chocks for quick turns on the river road?
BobMackin - Yeah I drive fast and overdrive everything
BobMackin - I have to turn around quick, if the snake's not in your headlights, they're hard to catch
Herpo - we got stuck on the RR one night during flash flood
BobMackin - That's always fun lol


JKellar - I have to request vacation months in advance, what is the best time to go to find alterna? without knowing weather conditions?
BobMackin - May and June and pray for some rain
BobMackin - Best weather conditions, are 85 degrees and still


Rhinocheilus - Have you seen any interesting long-nosed snake phases or morphs anywhere down there?
BobMackin - Yes, on Pepper's Hill (Villa de la Mina) in the Boquillas limestone areas


serpentarium1 - what are some of the most dangerous snakes that you would find?
BobMackin - All the rattlesnakes especially the lepidus, they're quick
BobMackin - The lepidus are hard to see if you're climbing around


JeffB - Bob many road cruisers go 30-40 mph however rumors of your 70mph runs through the river are legendary, whats the logic behind this?
BobMackin - Exaggeration! I drive 45-50mph the more road you see, the more snakes you see
BobMackin - However you need good lights and a car that will turn around quick


matt2- Bob whats the worst experience you've had in the field
BobMackin - Falling on cactus and wasting time with the game warden


Herpo - Bob, why don't the old-timers ever fine the neat stuff, like the albinos?
Herpo - are we jinxed?
BobMackin - I've found a lot of neat stuff like patternless blond subocs, a black & white copperhead and a cross between a celanops and alterna and two albino gophers
Herpo - bw copperhead? nice
BobMackin - totally, it had babies for seven years without seeing a male
Herpo - is that the celaenops/alterna that was pictured in Tennant?
BobMackin - No only photos are in my collection it had the head of an alterna and the body of a syspilla


JKellar - what's the farthest west u have found heterodon and the Trimorph there is my favorite ssp. how common
BobMackin - They're very common in Shafter
BobMackin - The farthest west I've seen them has been El Paso


JeffB - Ok Bob what was it like hunting the old 90 before the highway renovations?
BobMackin - Dangerous! I hunted it very little, got tired of seeing run-over snakes
BobMackin - didn't want to become a DOR


matt2- what herp have you yet to find and want the most?
BobMackin - A celanops from west of the Chinatis


AndrewG - Have you collected much in the Chiricahuas?
BobMackin - Only a little
AndrewG - Found anything memorable?
BobMackin - The Celanops/Alterna was pretty special, green blond subocs are pretty neat too


Herpo - bob, are you going to be doing Shafter next year? I might have to swing down for a reunion.
BobMackin - I've been hunting south of Sierra Blanca the last few years
Herpo - me too, and Van Horn any eagle alterna yet?
BobMackin - Nope I've never hunted there though I've seen them from there, They're pretty dark


inlands - gday bob , im in ozz . so the trans pecos may as well be the bermuda triangle to me , anyway , have you noticed a decline in numbers of atrox in that area since the first time you herped there , and , whats the common factor for theyre dwindling numbers you think?
BobMackin - The percentage of different snakes varies a great deal. with the weather history
BobMackin - Years ago there were many many more night snakes


JKellar - what do u think the future holds as far as herping/night driving as far as laws and G&F
BobMackin - It probably won't get better. Though the lawsuits the state has lost the past few years may moderate the situation
TobyH- Yeah, Wash. has tough herp laws


Rhinocheilus - What is the best place to find Hypsiglena or Trimorphs?
BobMackin - Night snakes are everywhere. The best place is Walla Walla WA, There they get 4 feet long!! Go to Shafter for Trimorphs
JeffB - but just take pictures
BobMackin - OF COURSE. I've seen trimorphs on 118 and the top of the Big Hill


JeffB - Bob Where do the prettiest sockhead splendida come from
BobMackin - The prettiest I've seen have come from Sierra Blanca (by far)


AndrewG - Ever seen a bear or cougar in west TX? Do you keep much of a captive collection anymore - If so what?
BobMackin - Yes, I've seen LARGE black bear and cougar in the bend.


JeffB - herpinboy go ahead
herpinboy - what kind of frogs do you have there in Washington
BobMackin - Hyla regila, tailed frogs,red-leg frogs spade-foots
BobMackin - Lots of neat salamanders


JKellar - I only take photos anyway, how common or at all do people find alterna day hunting? or is there even anywhere left to day herp?
BobMackin - Early in the spring try at Amet lake. They're pretty much a nocturnal snake


Rhinocheilus - What is the most snakes you have seen in one night?
BobMackin - Actually several hundred rattlers on Sasabe road one night in AZ
BobMackin - There were always 8 or 10 in the headlights at any given time


JeffB - Bob when did you make your first Trans-Pecos trip
BobMackin - I wound up there in 1969


matt2- what areas have ya found the Mexican milks most common?
BobMackin - Highway 3073 around Hebronville in the valley
BobMackin - They like it cold so don't go in too soon, I've seen them at 62 degrees after everything else has quit crawling


AndrewG - What was your favorite alterna collected?
BobMackin - I found the most beautiful one I called Narrow Bands. She looked like she was laid out on a drawing board
AndrewG - where from?
BobMackin - Absoulutely perfect! The Gap, Unfortunately she became egg-bound


Herpo - bob, what are you looking for in the sierra blanca area? and what are you actually finding there?
BobMackin - Milksnakes and alternas mostly
Herpo - found a milksnake there yet?
BobMackin - No but still trying. I'm sure they're there. The last couple of years it's been dry
Herpo - very, good rains this fall though, and some snows
BobMackin - Cool, that sounds promising. If it rains too much my favorite road washes out


Rhinocheilus - What is the best looking wild phase of Crotalus molossus in your opinion?
BobMackin - High Mountains in AZ They're the gold phase and pretty hard to beat
BobMackin - Try the top of Mt. Hopkins, The green ones in the bend are pretty but not like the golds


JeffB - Bob where do the speckliest alterna come from
BobMackin - Shafter and west, I saw two patternless ones, one by the put-in and one in Shafter. One was in a rainstorm swimming across the road in a flood
BobMackin - An emories was swimming with it


matt2- are there certain time periods more favorable than others for the milks or no?
BobMackin - Absoulutely, when it's raining. Go in May if the dark of the Moon is late in the month otherwise in June
BobMackin - Try the top of the Big Hill or 118
BobMackin - The prettiest ones come from the top of Peppers Hill but they're rare


herpinboy - what kind of skinks do you have there
BobMackin - Northern and Southern Alligator lizards, thats all
BobMackin - Pretty much this is a cold rainforest


Herpo - bob, any see any alligator lizards in the bend?
BobMackin - Sure Texas alligator lizards high in the Christmas Mts. around the Terlingua Ranch and in the Basin


herpster - what do you personally think is the best road to cruise in west texas, in order to see the most snakes in total, and the biggest variety of species?
BobMackin - Anywhere in the valley. In the Big Bend the best road is the river road or Hwy. 1111 north of Sierra Blanca


Rhinocheilus - What's the strangest non-herp you've encountered? Strangest herp?
BobMackin - Probably the black bear we saw in the park one night The strangest herp is a blue bullfrog we saw by Lajitas. The 4' Night Snake was definately wierd
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