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Doctor Mud

Dealing with questions from the public about your collecting while you are in the field.

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Ludwigia

I tend to react in a similar way to yourself, although I must admit that there were a few moments where my sarcasm got the best of me at first. The only time that I was at a loss for words was when a forest ranger caught me at it in a questionable area. Fortunately he just gave me a warning and sent me on my way. Needless to say, I never pressed my luck there again :P

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Doctor Mud
26 minutes ago, Ludwigia said:

I tend to react in a similar way to yourself, although I must admit that there were a few moments where my sarcasm got the best of me at first. The only time that I was at a loss for words was when a forest ranger caught me at it in a questionable area. Fortunately he just gave me a warning and sent me on my way. Needless to say, I never pressed my luck there again :P

 

Yes - sarcasm is usually what I want to respond with when the question is more like "what heck are you up to you, you look weird". Honest curiosity is easier to deal with, but sometimes people may come off as condescending when they are just curious.

 

I sure had my share of encounters like yours. I used to sneak into an abandoned marl pit when I was a kid to hunt for fossils. Someone bought it and started using it to dump demolition rubble. Got busted by the owners dog while I was burrowing into the cliff.

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smt126

When it happens to me, I usually tell people what we are up to and show them what we've found so far. I always hope to inspire others to find a love for science. I also believe in trying to be friendly to all and trying to leave this world a little better than the way I found it. You never know how your actions can change someone's life.

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MeargleSchmeargl

I've had many "a wild stranger appeared" encounters before. As others have said, when they ponder what I'm doing, I just show them one of my finds from the site and explain to them what it is. The starry-eyed expression I get from most is priceless, and quite fulfilling. Though usually when I come face-to-face with others, they're hunting at the spot as well, and I like tagging along as a temporary hunting companion, that's always fun.

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Troodon

My close encounters where I collect are mostly with rattlesnakes, scorpions, bobcats, badgers, fire ants that can hurt you so two legged ones would be welcomed :D  

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Troodon
2 minutes ago, PFOOLEY said:

That's a bit unfair...these creatures really want nothing to do with us. :) 

Very true, modified my comment

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PFOOLEY
3 minutes ago, Troodon said:

Very true, modified my comment

:D  I may be weird, but would rather run into rattlesnakes than people...I hardly ever see any of the latter when out in the field. Many years ago, while hiking back from a remote outcrop, I noticed a gentleman walking towards me. My first reaction was "what in the heck is this guy doing out here?". When we met, he seemed to know what I was doing out there (as he was up to the same) and we quickly began discussing ammonites! Years later I found that guy again...it was when I joined this Forum. He is not very active here anymore but @2ynpigo, if you are still around, come back and share some stories!

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Bobby Rico
2 hours ago, Troodon said:

My close encounters where I collect are mostly with rattlesnakes, scorpions, bobcats, badgers, fire ants that can hurt you so two legged ones would be welcomed :D  

Wow you really need to be very aware of your surroundings when you in Hell Creek then. Rattlesnakes and badgers now they would really worry me . 

This has made me appreciate my little Hell Creek collection even more. 

 

Take care Bobby 

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ynot

I have had 3 types of response when I inform "looky lou's" of My reasons for being out there.

1. "eh, what a waste of time". Waki away laughing.

2. "Wow, that is cool" Further questions about the activity.

3. Blank stare.

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oldtimer

Interestingly I had an encounter with my 90 year old neighbor yesterday.  He came over to see how I was doing.  I have been down for a few weeks.  He has lived in this area for 37 plus years.  He made the comment. 'You sure have a lot of rocks on your dinning table".  He picked up a few to look at them and noticed some small pieces of fossils in the matrix.  So I pulled out one I just got done doing some prep to.  I showed him it and told him it was about 300 million years old.  He asked how do I know that.  I explain that it came from the Devonian period and was laid down in this area that long ago.  He then seemed amazed that I understood the time periods and that the fossil was that old.

 

I also enjoy showing off any cool fossil to noobs and explaining what it is they are looking at.  Where it came from and why it is not from the dinosaur era.

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Tidgy's Dad
4 minutes ago, oldtimer said:

Tidgy's dad.  You are lucky they were children that you replied to in such a way as an adult may have understood your body language and left you be. 

But instead they became interested in what you were doing and decided to help a strange man out.

Who knows?  You may have inspired a new and budding Paleontologist.

Strange man? Me? 

Pah! 

Just off to count my legs. ^_^

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caldigger
27 minutes ago, oldtimer said:

 they became interested in what you were doing and decided to help a strange man out.

Who knows?  You may have inspired a new and budding Paleontologist.

Are you kidding?! They were just hanging about in hopes of getting money, sweets or pens(?!!!).  Pens? Really?  What are they aspiring novelists?

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Tidgy's Dad
3 minutes ago, caldigger said:

Are you kidding?! They were just hanging about in hopes of getting money, sweets or pens(?!!!).  Pens? Really?  What are they aspiring novelists?

Biros were a very rare commodity in North Africa back then, so yes, all the aspiring novelists, poets and country folk wanted to be able to write at school. Children would be praised by the family if they returned home with a pen. I used to carry bundles of them, but not on that occasion. 

I gave them a bit of money at the end of the day, much to their surprise at that point. 

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Pumpkinhead

I just say that I'm digging up dead bodies, which I suppose is technically true

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Nimravis

@Tidgy's Dad Adam I would start paying them in candy for fossils- now they need to start finding Dino material for you.

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Nimravis

I do the same as the others have mentioned, I always have things to pass out to curious people. If I am out of state , I usually bring Mazon Creek stuff with me to give out, I like to hold onto recent finds if I am a new site, but if common I will pass on.

 

I do the same if I visit small Rock / Fossil stores out West, I always bring stuff to give to the owner, never looking to get anything in return.

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jpc

Like troodon, most of my collecting is done in remote p[laces, so I rarely run into other humans.  

 

A few years ago, caterpillar and I were collecting ammonites on a ranch that I had permission from the landowner, when a pickup truck came zooming up overland to me.  It was the beginning of hunting season so there were a lot of antelope hunters out, although none on this little piece of land.  I had only met the rancher once a few years earlier, so I was unsure of exactly what he looked like. When the guy drove up to me and angrily asked what we were doing out there saying that you hunters should ask permission, I asked if he was (insert landowner name here).  He said no but that he was his partner.  I told him that we had (insert landowner's name here)'s permission to collect fossils and showed him an ammonite I had just found and he was mildly satisfied but mad at (insert landowner's name here) for not keeping him in the loop.  I had no idea the guy had a partner.  I was thankful that he approached me and not my collecting buddy who speaks very little English.  I am not sure how Mr Partner would have reacted.  

 

But the weirdest question I ever got was...

I used to run Western Paleo Safaris, taking people fossiling out here in Wyoming.  I had business magnets on my truck advertising it.  A guy approached me at a gas station and asked about my business.  I explained it to him.  He looked a bit interested and asked me totally straigh-faced seriously a question that I left me stumped as to how to answer with a laugh.  "Do you ever get the Swedish Bikini team to come out on your trips?"  (This was years after the ads on TV featuring said Swedish Bikini Team stopped airing).

 

 

  

   

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JohnBrewer

I don’t generally get comments on what I’m doing as my hunting grounds are either remote and I don’t see anyone or they places where likeminded are and we show of each other’s finds, without giving the exact location of course! The comments I am more used to are between car and field as I tend to wear a utility kilt. 

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