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Old April 30, 2000, 10:20 PM   #1
LoneStar
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On a spring tukey hunt this weekend, I came about 6 inches from stepping on a four foot diamond back. At the time I was carrying my heavy barreled 22-250, with a high 6x18 scope. It occured to me at the moment of the encounter that this was not the best tool for the job of dispatching a snake at 3-6 feet. Here are my questions:

Do any of you have recommendations, or favorite weapons to carry in snake country?

Would a Sig P220 (.45 acp) loaded with shot be a good choice? would it harm the gun?

What should I do with this snakeskin? currently I have it skinned and pegged to a board, but have no Idea what to do about tanning it.

Any help will be Greatly Appreciated.

btw, I generally have a "live & let live" approach to snakes, however rattling near my feet, and coming into my camp are capital offenses. We killed a second rattler in our camp, but 2 guys got after him with their shotguns loaded for turkey, and there just wasn't anythig left to skin.
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Old May 1, 2000, 09:22 AM   #2
Dave R
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I asked the same question to a couple of guys at the shooting range the other day. Both had the same answer--shot from a pistol is not as good as you'd think. First, hollow patterns make it hard to hit. (The rifling spreads the patterna and makes it look like a donut, with the hole right where you're aiming.) Second, if the snake is near rocks or anything hard, you could have nasty ricochet problems. They suggested to stick with standard pistol ammo. And if you're close enough, the muzzle blast alone will dispatch the critter. This is all second hand, but makes sense to me.
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Old May 1, 2000, 12:55 PM   #3
bergie
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Avoidance is usually the best policy, however, as you mentioned, there are times when dispatching the critter has its advantages. Shot would probably do the job at close range, regular pistol ammo would be better, a .22 pistol would do a fine job. I don't think I would count on muzzle blast to do the job anyway. A rattlesnake can strike to something like 2/3 of its length so 3' is to darn close to a 4' snake for me. We have had to kill several rattlesnakes in our camp areas along the Niobrara River in north central NE, most were just pinned down with a long stick and beheaded. Shooting anything at that close of range can splatter or if in a rocky area can send chips flying.
Salt or borax will dryout and preserve the skin, but it will still be rawhide
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Old May 1, 2000, 02:42 PM   #4
Art Eatman
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I've had success on rats and snakes with a 2" Model 34 with shot-loads.

You can always take a rock and rock him to sleep...

If you're wearing boots, step on his head and then use your knife to make one snake into two pieces. Don't keep the short piece! (There was an Aggie that did this--but cut off the rattles. The ensuing activities are left to the imagination of the student.)

After the furor and excitement has died down, put the head on an ant bed; they'll clean up the skull quite nicely.

Enjoy nature!

Art
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Old May 2, 2000, 12:39 AM   #5
rbbrew
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Use vaseline on the inside of the snakeskin to soften it. Don't use too much; just rub in on and scrape off the excess. I still have mine from 16 years ago that my buddy killed in New Mexico.



[This message has been edited by rbbrew (edited May 02, 2000).]
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Old May 2, 2000, 02:37 AM   #6
The Mohican Sneak
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A buddy and I found a couple of nice rattlesnake dens while at the farm last week. Then I wasn't prepared to catch them, but on my next trip I will be.

For 3 years now, I've been looking for a 6' rattlesnake or longer to mount. My plans? Catch him, and then put him in a sack... then put the sack into the cooler - on ice. After he goes into a "hibernation", I'll transport him to the freezer so that no damage is done to the hide. I caught a rattler last deer season, but he was only 3' long and only had 3 rattlers and a button.

The method I plan to use to get the snakes out is a method my uncle has used in the past.

Take an old garden hose, and screw a lightbulb into the "female" end. With a pocket knife, punch two small holes into the hose just above the metal fitting - one on each side.

The lightbulb will allow the hose to slip down into the hole without getting caught on the crooks and turns of the den. Once all the way in, shake the hose and put your ear to your end. You'll be able to hear through the hose if one is down in there by his rattling. If you hear one, take a teaspoon of gasoline and put it in the hose, let it get to the bottom, then blow in it as hard as you can. Apparently, snakes can't breathe gas fumes and he'll come out of the hole - ****** and in a hurr! From then, just catch him best you can - usually with a forked stick or rake. Get ahold of his head, then drop him into the bag and proceed on to the next den.

That's the way my uncle has done it for years at the Rattlesnake Roundup that's held in Perry, GA.

Do y'all know of any other ways?

------------------
>>>>>>>>------------TMS---------------->>>


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Old May 2, 2000, 07:10 AM   #7
Art Eatman
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I've used a 1/4" cord and a piece of 1/2" tubing, four feet long, to make a snake-catcher. Feed the loose ends of the rope through the tubing; long enough for a noose up to a foot or so in diameter. Tie off one end. Loop the noose over the snake's head, and take up the slack. Don't pull too tight, or you'll have a headless snake.

While you can then easily drop the snake into a sack without touching him, you might want to show him off. If so, hold his jaws shut with thumb and index finger. DON'T hold him just behind the head!

Have fun, Art
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Old May 2, 2000, 08:38 AM   #8
Gopher .45
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When it comes to snakes, the best thing is to not try to dispatch them unless there is a real problem. Stepping near a snake does not constitute a real problem unless you have already ****** off the guy. As of the early '90s when I was working with a herpetologist, the majority of snake bites came from people trying to dispatch snakes and being terribly ill-informed about doing so. Don't use a stick, rock, your child, or anything smaller than you to beat the critter. Don't sick your dog on it, although dogs tend to fair better than humans in such encounters. Don't try to pick it up and if you do pick it up, don't assume it is dead even after you have shot it. Snakes may be lethally wounded and stunned for the moment, but still bite. Don't yell at the snake as snakes can't hear (they only feel vibrations through the ground). If you do have to kill it, calmly shoot it through the head (pistol shotshells usually work well), then pin the head to the ground and cut it off after the snake is no longer moving. No head, no potential bites. Remember, snakes are very good at being snakes. They will not actively seek out human prey except as a means of defense. Snakes usually try to avoid larger animals just like pedestrian humans try to avoid moving cars, but there is always one or two that don't how the game is played, lived, and died. Avoidance is always a good idea with snakes. Remember, they don't reason about any situation. The brain of an adult rattlesnake is about the size of 1-2 BBs.
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Old May 4, 2000, 02:11 AM   #9
animal
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I prefer to carry a little Ruger Mk1 .22 for snakes and such.
A buddy of mine uses glycerin, salt and arsenic to preserve them ... not sure of the process.

Hey Gopher 45 --- no offense and a little off the rattler subject but there are exceptions, I have personally been chased by large cotton-mouths a number of times. Once, while fishing, a CM swam 30 feet over and tried to climb into the boat (I was not casting in his direction).
Fishing on Federal waterway = no pistol.
Thank God for boat paddles !
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Old May 4, 2000, 08:21 AM   #10
Gopher .45
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Animal - there are definitely exceptions as I noted in my post. Mating season is a particularly bad time because many snakes, dangerous and not, will become aggressive. The subtle point I was trying to make was simply that many people over react to encounters with snakes and if their first thought is not to run, it is to kill the snake. Most snakes don't need killing any more than most people don't need killing, but there are exceptions! However, encounters between dangerous varieties of snakes and people that result in injury to a person typically involve the human being at fault, like stepping on the snake because they were not actually watching where they were walking or deciding to get a stick and trying to beat the snake to death. Many people get bitten a second and third time because they try to hunt down and kill a snake they stepped on and who then bit them. Poisoness snakes do not always inject venom during a bite, but if you let or force the snake to bite you multiple times, chances are if the first bite was without venom, the other won't be.
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Old May 4, 2000, 10:27 AM   #11
Art Eatman
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There's no real point in messing with a rattler "out in the boonies". They're just doing their thing, which is mostly eating mice. The only time I bothered a rattler while hunting was when one decided he wanted the dove I had just shot--it fell darned on top of him. Well, he shouldn't have taken a fang to a gunfight...

Since there is generally more mouse-habitat around rural houses or barns, that's the more likely area to have unwanted company. Around the house area is about the only place I "casually" ruin Mr. Snake's day.

FWIW, Art
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Old May 5, 2000, 02:49 AM   #12
animal
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Gopher45 : Nicely put. From looking at your posts, I think we're in almost total agreement.
It was particularly good of you to mention dry bites (a subject often overlooked). I might disagree a little on capturing or killing a "biter". As long as the snake is identified and it poses no further danger, let it go. However, positive ID of the snake is important; especially considering the ineptitude of some ER doctors. Snake bites are rare and the M.D.s don't see them very often. I know of a case here where AV was administered to a man bitten by a Chicken Snake ! He nearly died from an adverse reaction to it.
I totally agree with "most snakes don't need killing". It especially makes me sick to see a dead King Snake or Hognose.

Rattlesnakes ? Well, they're kinda tasty.
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Old May 5, 2000, 05:04 AM   #13
Al Thompson
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Good thread..

Talking about snakebite and Docs - one of the Dept. of Agriculture folks was bitten by a Cotton Mouth while clearing out a beaver dam.

She did stay overnight in the hospital while every MD in the area came by to look at her. Her supervisor told me that he lost count after the first 15 or so wandered through. Pics were taken and much interest was shown...

Giz
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Old May 5, 2000, 11:45 AM   #14
dZ
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Water snakes are the Terminator of the legless world.

I was always getting bit by common water snakes as a kid

Cotton mouths know they are bad and will haul out to sun on your canoe.
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Old May 5, 2000, 12:43 PM   #15
bergie
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Fred and Joe were out huntin one day, and Joe had to take a ****. He stepped around some shrubbery, pulled it out and started pissin on a rocky bank when he was suddenly bitten on the end of his dick by a rattlesnake. Shrieking in pain and fear, he started running and jumping around. Fred got him calmed down, found out what happened, and ran back to the truck to get help. He grabbed his cell phone, called the doctor, told him his buddy had got bit by a rattler,and asked what to do. The doctor told him that he had to suck the venom out of the bite. He ran back to where Joe was laying down, and told him that he had gotten a hold of the doctor.
"What did he say?" asked Joe.
"He said you're gonna die"
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Old May 5, 2000, 02:07 PM   #16
Art Eatman
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Now, bergie, would you tell that joke to your grandmother?

, Art
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Old May 5, 2000, 06:57 PM   #17
animal
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bergie...

Joe survived. He got to the doctor and was told it would have to be amputated.
Desperately, Joe went to other doctors for other opinions but each one told him the same thing..... amputation.
After going through 10 docs. and being truly desperate, he decided to try "alternative medicine" and went to a new age healer. the hippie reject healer took a look, charged Joe $10,000, did his mumbo jumbo and pronounced Joe HEALED !
Joe said, " You mean you don't have to cut it off ? "
Healer sez, " Nooooo maaan,(with a puff of wacky smoke) in a couple of weeks it'll fall off by itself."
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Old May 5, 2000, 07:24 PM   #18
swampgator
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Art,
My grandma told it to me! Oh, okay it was actually my ma!

Gator
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Old May 6, 2000, 12:34 AM   #19
William R. Wilburn
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I was too youg to remember.
But, way back before California became the PRK my Dad, after too large a dose of sour-mash, decided to eliminate the numerous rattlesnakes that had denned-up in a low cave behind the house. Well fortified with Black Jack Daniel's Snake-Bite-Cure-And-Courage-Enhancer he stuffed his pockets with twelve-gauge shells, grabbed a flashlight, procured a shovel, and proceeded into the cave.

It required much coaxing by freinds and family to get him to crawl back out. No volunteers to go in after him.

I still haven't figured out how to load a shovel. Are they on the assault weapons list?
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Old May 6, 2000, 11:39 AM   #20
The Mohican Sneak
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While we're on the snake jokes.

This southern woman asked her son to go to the creek to fetch a bucket of water for that nights supper.

So, the lil' boy with bucket in tow headed off for the creek.

He came back about 10 minutes later, sweating profusely - white as a ghost.

The mom asked "now Billy, where's the water I sent you for?"

Boy - "Mom, there's a SNAKE in the creek... a BIG DAMN snake! "...

Mom - "you silly thing, run on back down there and get the water. Remember, that snake is more scared of you than you are of it".

Boy - "If that's the case momma, that water ain't fit to drink!"




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Old May 7, 2000, 04:08 PM   #21
Jeff Thomas
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Well, I have to throw in with Gopher .45 on this one. I was an amateur herpetologist myself for quite awhile, and kept quite a few hot (venemous) species ... including rattlers from all over the U.S.

And, every year, a good friend still comes to AZ to collect snakes for the zoo back in his home state.

Snakes, almost always, just want to be left alone. If possible, just walk away ... better for you and the critter. To be honest, IMHO hunters hurt their reputation when they kill anything other than the goal of their hunt. I find it especially ironic when folks kill every predator (including rattlers) that they find, and then complain about the number of varmints (gophers, squirrels, rabbits ...) damaging their land. Seems foolish to me.

If you decide to capture a rattler, don't use the 'forked stick' approach. First, practice on a nonvenomous snake - a mistake is no big deal with those. And, unless you have a 'snake stick', just find a sturdy branch that has sort of an 'L' at the bottom - rather like a golf putter. And, press gently if you don't want to hurt the critter. The bones in their head are supposedly fairly fragile.

For me, I just admire 'em when I'm lucky enough to catch a glimpse. They're amazing creatures, and like many animals, the world would be less interesting without them.

Take care. Regards from AZ

[This message has been edited by Jeff Thomas (edited May 07, 2000).]
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Old May 8, 2000, 11:03 PM   #22
El Rojo
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I work for a boys camp over the summers in the CA Sierra's. I have discovered over the years there is absolutely no reason to kill snakes. I am definiatly guilty of such crimes, but as you get older you get wiser. 99% of the time the snake is going to want to head the other way from you. I have even come real close to stepping on them. They either just crawl away quietly or they start rattling and backing away, leaving me with a rather high heart rate. Only once did I have a snake come my way. I don't know how to explain it, but he crawled up right underneath the log I was sitting on. I jumped a good ten feet. I think he must have thought me or the fire I was standing by must have the biggest ground squirrel heat signature he has ever had on his scanner.

I never get to carry while I am hiking, but it is really easy to hold the snake down by the head with a stick and then your boot or shoe and simply cut off his head. Why waste your ammo. Snakes are by no means a formidable adversary to us. So why kill em? They just like to eat vermin and go their own way. If they are in your camp, just use a stick and haul out of there a couple hundred yards and let em be.

By the way, the only time I ever cooked one up, he wasn't worth the effort. Not enough meat on them bones.
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Old May 9, 2000, 10:08 AM   #23
Art Eatman
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El Rojo, ya been messin' with those little wussy Kaliforny baby-rattle snakes.

Get off in the brush country southwest of San Antonio, on toward the Rio. They have rattlers down there that don't need poison; they'll break your knee with the strike!

Some guys on our old deer lease near Uvalde killed a 6'-6" rattler and brought him in to play "show and tell" at camp. Now, my hands are long; I reach 9-1/2" from tip of thumb to tip of "The" finger. Encircling that snake's body with both hands was a snug fit.

Tastes like chicken...

, Art
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Old May 9, 2000, 10:50 AM   #24
Dr.Rob
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gfunny when i lived in AZ we had a HUGE scouting jamboree.. lots of adults worried about the kids safty with all the rattlers.. after two days the rangers were bitching about the scouts endangering the rattlers.

We used to actively look for diamond backs and gila monsters in the sonora desert and while they can be dangerous they are best left alone.

Snakes back east 9water moccasins, cottonmouths, copperheads seem much more aggressive than the average rattler in my opinion.. and backeast.. (well in WV) in late may the place is crawling (pun intended) with snakes. A water snake can be easily misidentified as a copperhead/moccasin/etc as they can be veryfat and very territorial.

I'd rather leave them be too.. but I carry snakeshot in WV. In colorado.. you just have to know how to deal with snakebite and watch out for "sunning rocks" where rattlesnakes might be laying around catching rays.
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Old May 9, 2000, 02:17 PM   #25
Oleg Volk
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Having read about snakes as a kid, I was concerned about the venomous kind. I have come close to stepping on vipers and had often wished to take an air gun to them.

Now I live in a state with few venomous snakes but they are still a concern. I am curious what kind of footwear and pants to don in snake coutry in case they see me first and strike? Are denim and sneakers enough or should I wear something more sturdy?

Also, would hitting their spine around the middle be enough to disable them or head shots are necessary? I am not likely to have anything better than a ten-shot .22 or a 5-shot .38 when afield

------------------
Oleg "peacemonger" Volk

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