My whole life. I grew up in California. My first herps were Fence lizards or swifts or something. When I was 9 or 10 I started keeping snakes. I caught a couple garter snakes and my brother brought me a 4ft. gopher one day he found outside a friends house. Lots of fun. Before I moved to Washington when I was 17 (and then BC) I released them all back into the wild. I don't know if that was the right thing to do, but I did. I never lost a snake (well, I LOST one, but I mean that literally). The lizards weren't so lucky as I thought they ate grass for the first couple years. Lucky the little buggers were usually a lot faster than a 10 year old. My coolest one was a California King I found while I was skateboarding to work at Carl's Jr. one day (best fast food ever). I can't wait to actually own a captive bred one soon- hopefully making a trade for one in the next few days.
Sorry for babbling.. lets hear some more stories!