Reliving the good ol' days

Snake hunting has been a passion with me (Bill) since I was a kid.  The memory of the time my father took me exploring the New Jersey Pine Barrens one summer day and watching a big northern pine snake  Pituophis m. melanoleucus  get hit behind us (after we managed to swerve around and miss it) never left me.  Not only was I sad to miss that prize and witness its demise, it also taught me that snakes can often be found crawling across roads.  I can't recall if seeing that posed picture of a northern pine under a car tire in Clifford H. Pope's 1937 Snakes Alive And How They Live came before or after that incident. 

Anyway, the 'art' of road cruising for snakes really blossomed after I moved to Florida.  The ability to explore out on my own -- no parents around to limit my wandering or warn me away from 'trouble' -- was a new freedom I'd never known before.  Any spare time I could find was rarely (not never, but rarely) wasted on 'frivolous' things like partying when cruising the back roads of southern Florida could be done with those hours instead.  I love walking and field herping, but I have to admit that the greatest total numbers of herps were seen (and caught) on both dirt and paved roads rather than in the bush.  The image below was made to symbolize and epitomize the 'many happy days I've squandered' (apologies to Arthur Loveridge) in the pursuit of snakes by car.

By the way, neither of the folks in this photo are me.  Yes, they did have color film back then when I was out with my dad, but I don't have any good images of those times.  These modern 'actors' are Bill Pierce and his son Codty in February 2003.  They graciously helped me recreate the thrill of finding many corn snakes crossing roads in similar circumstances in my past.