View Full Version : Best for killing snakes

May 17, 2007, 04:22 PM
I assume a shot gun would be the best option for shooting snakes. I got some bird shot. Is that sufficient enough? We have little creek with a mudhole/pond in the little bit of woods behind our house. I killed a water moccasin last night with a shovel. The dog got him originally but it got away. I don't think the dog was bit as she seems okay.

I got two small kids that play out there and I missed the snake on the first chop and it got a little closer than I wanted.

May 17, 2007, 04:27 PM
Bird shot will work fine. Probably better than any other load.

May 17, 2007, 04:33 PM
The smaller the shot you use the better more pellets/square inch. I would imagine that snake shooting is a fairly close range endeavour so you could use something like a 2 3/4 inch target load with an IC or C choke to make sure you get em.

May 17, 2007, 04:36 PM
At the distance you would shoot a snake from, it won't matter what you use. It will acting like a solid anyway.

May 17, 2007, 04:56 PM
I like the Snake Charmer and the H & R clone in 410 when fishing or just poking around in the woods. Use 3" #8 shot. Expensive loads but effective.

Around home, I use snake shot in my 38 snub as a carry gun so that I don't upset the neighbors while carrying a long gun. Darned good medicine for snakes.

May 17, 2007, 05:11 PM
My neighbors are cool, walking around with a shot gun wouldn't spoke them. The 38 with snake shot seems like a good idea and I could keep it in my pocket while around the house.

Is there any such thing as a snake trap? I'd rather trap them at the perimeter and then shoot them. The dog does a decent job of keeping them away but I don't want her to get bit either.

May 17, 2007, 06:04 PM
Several years ago when I was a patrol officer in a very rural area, I had new partners assigned to me occasionally. While we were patrolling in the backside of nowhere, a huge snake crossed the road. I slowed the car almost to a stop and took my service revolver out and busted him but good. While he rolled over and over dying, my new partner was astonished at my shooting skills. What I didn't tell him was that while patrolling in areas known for snakes, I always had a couple of snake shot in the cylinder. It became a legend that I was the best revolver shot in the dept. Actually, I am a less than average shot.

I pulled that snake shot trick with several new officers. Very impressive as it is almost impossible to miss with snake cartridge. I never revealed my secret to them.

May 17, 2007, 06:15 PM
I like "snake shot" in a .44 mag revolver - it works well. If you are really using a shotgun I'd use 1 oz or 1 1/8 oz of 9's ( quail loads, heavy skeet loads ) and that should do it in a 12ga.

A 20ga would be ok too - maybe a .28ga but I wouldn't rely on a .410 unless you had to ( it's only 1/2 oz of shot ).

If you can't find 9's use 8's ( I don't like snakes ...).

May 17, 2007, 06:23 PM
:D The judge offered by taurus is a handgun that shoots .410 shells or 45 long colt, check it out at taurus

May 17, 2007, 07:09 PM
ebutler462 - That's a funny story

May 17, 2007, 07:49 PM
I just moved to an old farmhouse and encountered a big rat snake on my back landing. I had no .22 ammo on hand. The only thing I had was my Glock 20. I now have several large bullet holes in my back porch, in addition to a pulverized snake. My one neigbor heard the several gunshots at 6:30 am. We all had a good laugh, but I'm looking at .410's. Hadn't thought about .38 "snake shot" that may be my answer.

May 17, 2007, 08:02 PM
i guess its just me but -CENSORED--CENSORED--CENSORED- is the point of shooting a snake crossing a road? or a rat snake that just eats rodents/isnt posionus ect? shooting snakes in the woods behind your house to get rid of them?, i dont think that is going to do anything but make you feel better. i can see the next day another one just wandering through

i'm all about guns, hunting, fishing ect, but killing stuff for the reason of 'its a snake' is pretty weak.

.......Ammo reccomendation has been covered no need for anything crazy, your typical #7-9 shot clay target ammo is fine.

Bill DeShivs
May 18, 2007, 12:22 AM
It's not "weak," it's stupid.
Snakes eat rodents. Rodents carry diseases. 98% of the snakes you see are harmless. If you leave them alone, they will leave you alone.
I guess people just like to kill things for no reason.

May 18, 2007, 01:02 AM
My snake catcher is a 5' length of 1" PVC pipe with cap glued on one end. There are two slots cut into the cap and a 10' tie down strap run through the pipe through one slot and then looped back through the other slot and returns the length of the pipe. The buckle of the zip strap is at my end of the catcher and serves as the handle to pull the loop closed. The capture is really simple, open the loop place it over the snakes head. They will then try to crawl through it and when they are about halfway tighten the loop. Then it's like picking up a stick. If you cinch the loop right behind their head they will fight you. Its not a lot different than fighting about 2lb trout on a fishing rod. A plastic bucket with a locking lid makes a good transport container. (I would advise against placing this all in your wifes car however) I used to photograph a lot of snakes and this method does'nt even ruffle thier scales. Not real good for their attitude though, and if you make em mad they will NEVER get over it.:eek:

May 18, 2007, 01:19 AM
Guys if yer gona pick up snakes that are packing (i.e. poisonous) get a set of real snake tongs:


The improvised solution that Kametic describes sounds reasonable but when you start messing with things that can bite back for my money I'm gona get all of the advantages possible.

May 18, 2007, 04:31 AM
He did say it was a water moccosin in the orginal post.
Which I believe are poisonious.
So shooting it was warranted.

I think what happens is most people are scared when a snake appears.
First reaction,kill first,see what kind of snake later.

Key word is kill, the descision is made right from the beginning to eliminate the percieved threat.

Personally, I don't think I'd revert to my old boyscout training when it comes to determiing if a snake is friendly or not.
It would die no matter what, and by whatever means I had on hand.

May 18, 2007, 09:45 AM
Snakes are awesome, but people who are uninformed about snakes are simply amazing! They are so totally clueless that to them every snake is hell-bent on killing them. I'm not saying that killing snakes is wrong, some of them are lethal and it seems that all the lethal ones have nearly identical benign cousins. I completely understand the mindset of kill it first, indentify it later (especially if you have kids or pets).

I know the woes of the OP, those moccasins are about the nastiest little SOBs on the face of the earth. I recently found out, on a fishing trip to the camp, that my older brother could have competed in the Olympic 100m dash, at least when a moccasin was hot on his tail. I spent the better part of the weekend trying to rid the grounds of mocassins and copperheads. Once again, I recommend the Judge, it is perfect for this. I'll also use a .22 rifle when necessary.

May 18, 2007, 12:37 PM
I've been thumping muskrats with Federal Top Gun target loads (7 1/2) shot in a full choke and it works like a dream. Go with a cylinder bore and get that pattern spread out good to make sure you get em first go round.

Arent water moccasins extremely poisonous? I would want to get rid of them too. Especially if I had small kids and a dog around.

Bill DeShivs
May 18, 2007, 01:17 PM
Most people wouldn't know a a water moccasin (cottonmouth) from a water snake. The coloration is the same, and they both swim, but there are major differences. Most "moccasins" are harmless water snakes.

May 18, 2007, 02:25 PM
By most you mean people who don't deal with them often in the woods?

I shoot snakes. Not on sight though. I also tan the skins and eat a few.

Most people I know who actually deal with Moccassins know exactly what they are. People I know in Washington would be the clueless ones. Of course they don't shoot them either...

May 18, 2007, 03:22 PM
It was a water mocassin, my neighbor checked it out. It was a little over 4 feet long. I see garter snakes around all the time and could care less about them. Around my area in TN there are a lot. People die from them every year but are usually bitten by more than one.

I like dogs and don't shoot them when I see them but if one somehow got into my backyard and threatened my kids, I'd kill it. Same with the snake. I'm not fvcking around with a stick to try and throw it over the fence or make sure it was 100% venomous (which it was), I'll do that after I kill it.

May 18, 2007, 04:25 PM
For me, it's this little monster right here,,,,,,,,,,,


I keep #7 in it when I'm out and about,, those short barrels and the .410 punch are just right from me to you...

I carry it for what I like to call snake control when I'm out frog gigging or fishing around my little slice of heaven.. There are three ponds within shouting distance of my house, and I've had problems with cottonmouths over the years,, and don't even get me started on the copperheads that lounge around on the lawn... I've only seen one rattler,, and I actually leave those huge blacksnakes alone...


Mike U.
May 18, 2007, 09:44 PM
My property is a bird sanctuary. And recently it has turned into a snake sanctuary.
I have a pair of Black Racers and a Coral Snake (that I know of). The bigger of the two racers lives in the attic and I watch him once in awhile as he comes out of this quarter size hole in the wood work. I was watching the other smaller one on my front porch this afternoon as she was climbing thru the Confederate Jasmine vines in front of my sitting spot. She was being harassed by a pair of Brown Thrashers that keep trying to build a nest in the Jasmine vines on the other side of the porch by my front door. I keep taking their nest down, but, they are persistent critters.
I've seen the Coral Snake twice. Once I nearly stepped on the little fella and the second time he was under some brush I was raking. I leave him alone because Corals are very timid snakes and will only bite if you try to pick them up or otherwise annoy them consistently.

Now, if only I could get a snake that will eat some of those damned tree rats. :p

If the snake is non-poisonous, there is no viable reason to kill them. I can understand killing the snakes that are packin' as snake bites from one of them could permanantly change your life or end it. I'm not so non-chalant with Diamondbacks or Vipers. ;)

May 18, 2007, 10:18 PM
I'm a city guy, always have been. I don't really hunt (but I am going duck hunting soon for the first time), I don't camp, I'm just not a real country-boy outdoors type. And snakes freak me out! Plus, I can't tell poisonous from not. Sure, I know they are generally more helpful than harmful, and I don't like killing anything that I don't need to, (which is why I've already found a place to clean the duck if I even get one; if I kill it, I'm eating it), but in my opinion, the best thing to kill a snake with is a hand grenade!:D

May 18, 2007, 11:02 PM
In the last 8 years I've killed four snakes on my 1.1 acre property here in NC. Only 1 of the 4 was poisonous. It was a baby copperhead I found in my driveway. Stepped on his body and cut his head off with my pocket knife. He was less than a foot long.

Of the other three, two struck at me, even though they were not poisonous.

One was a northern water snake that almost cleaned out my goldfish pond till I took him out with a brushaxe. I had a year long war with this snake. Photographed him three or four times below the water surface in my pond. Could never get him to where I could catch and kill him. Caught him by hand once and he bit me and I let go. Wasn't into shooting him in my pond in my front yard. I watched him swallow one of my fish whole one morning as I was leaving for work. Finally last spring I was moving the waterfall from one end of the pond to the other. As I was picking up pieces of slate and moving them I caught sight of him between two of them. Slipped the brushaxe in between and hooked and sliced him.

Another was a rat snake that I ran across twice in one weekend. I was moving a brush pile and he struck at me. I decided to live and let live. Next day I was moving an aerator and he struck again. Then I struck, with a machete.

Had another rat snake clean out two birdhouses of baby birds. Killed him before he got to the third.

I don't go out of my way to kill them, but I also don't tolerate the ones that become nuisances on my property either.

May 18, 2007, 11:34 PM
For some reason, when I see a snake my feet can't be controlled. My brain disconnects and my 38 connects with said reptile of any denomination.

A story was told about the civil war in which one of the generals gave the order to kill every person in a town where there were many churches. A soldier reminded him that there were chuch going folks in the town, surely a lot fo Christian folks that would not be of harm to the troops. The general upheld his order to kill them all and let God grade them.

I don't grade a snake as to whether he is a danger to me. I ain't scared of but two kinds: A big one and a little one. In my state it is illegal to harm endangered snakes with a $500.00 fine. Since I won't know he is of said status, I have a shovel handy so that I can bury the evidence. I don't have time to grade him as I have a pretty quick draw as soon as I get a visual. Folks, I am 6'2", weigh 200 lbs, am an ex-cop that ain't supposed to be scared of too many things. But a snake freaks me out. If the Game Warden nabs me, so be it. I take no chances with snakes.

Understandably, they do some good, but they also make my wife extra work getting the stains out of my underwear when I get too close to one before I see him. Call me a coward and I plead guilty. I keep a supply of shot cartridges in my 38 to add to my guilt and a shovel to alleviate it.

May 18, 2007, 11:57 PM
BEST would be

-10 gauge,
-No. 9 shot

But just about anything will work, from .22lr shotshells on up, though I'd prefer a .38 special or bigger, and 6 shot or smaller. That head with fangs in it is a small target, so you want a lot of pellets sent that way.

I like snakes. I don't kill them unless they are poisonous, and even then I might let a poisonous one get away. I love screwing with hognosed snakes when I run across them, though I haven't in many years.

May 19, 2007, 12:04 AM
Speer cartridges in 38 have 134 #9's and they scatter quite well in a 2" 38. They are super effective up to 10-15 feet on the critters. Most any hardware store has the CCI Speer medicine for critters like snakes and rats.

May 19, 2007, 03:59 AM
Read Patrick F McManus' story about snakes. Can't remember the title. Anyone who Knows who that is would know what story I am talking about. Ah poor Retch Sweeny :D

May 19, 2007, 09:32 AM
Weedwacker, give us a heads up on the story. What info does it convey? Most of us don't even know where to find it.

Jim Preston
May 19, 2007, 02:59 PM
Weedwacker- that would be "Never Cry Snake", from The Grasshopper Trap.
I love snakes. I love the way they feel, I love they way they look, I love the way they work, I love what they do. They are incredible animals, worthy of our respect, and get a bad rep because off their association with Satan.
I would shoot on sight if I saw a cottonmouth.
Cottonmouths are agressive SOBs that pose a threat to my dogs and family. They are, I am pretty sure, the second most agressive snake after the black mamba.
Shooting a corn snake, rat snake, etc., is dumb. Snakes are a positive force, and itt is a shame that so many people are afraid of them.
Most of the 30,000 deaths by snake each yar occur in Asia and Africa, in semi-developed and undeveloped areas where people often don't have shoes, much less antivenom.
If I saw a copperhead I probably wouldn't shoot, but I would kill a coral snake.

Jim Preston
May 19, 2007, 03:03 PM
I would kill a coral snake because they are of the same family of cobras, which kill 10,000 a year. I don't want anything like that near me.
Bird shot should work.

roy reali
May 19, 2007, 04:30 PM
I read and reread your post here several times. Apparently you believe a .44 magnum revolver with bird shot is more effective then a .410 shotgun. Can you explain how you arrived at that conclusion? Did you pattern both firearms for comparison?

Maybe a revolver would improve my ability to hit dove on the wing.:confused:

May 19, 2007, 07:02 PM
eButler ---

Is your story alluding to the origing of "kill them all let god sort them out"?

I heard it came from the crusades when a cristian castle was besiged by muslims who were then attacked form behind / flank by another cristian army, the worried archeres on the walls were told to simply shoot for "god will know his own"

As to shooting snakes it's a waste of a good rodent control agent and ammo, if they are poisonous and around the house compound they need to be removed / driven off or whatever but otherwise live and let live...

May 19, 2007, 09:24 PM
I have a problem shooting a firearm into the ground. I wouldn't want to chance the ricochet or spray from whatever the bullet/shot hit.

I'd suggest a shovel.

May 19, 2007, 10:03 PM
Off topic ,,,, but unless you're in rocky territory....

Mother Earth is pretty forgiving of a bullet or two,, or some little pellets....

May 19, 2007, 10:33 PM
I had some good laughs reading some of your posts.:) Thanks for sharing.

I manage a ranch and carry a North American Arms mini revolver 5 shot in SS .22 mag with the 1 1/2 " barrel, first two chambers loaded with shot shells. I does a good job on a buzzworms at 4 or 5 feet.

I was driving in yesterday and caught a three foot rat snake that was crossing the road with my hands. Drove on to the headquarters and carried it to a log cabin storage barn that I'm having a mice problem in and let it go. I better make a note to let my wife know :D

I like snakes and take all the non-poisonous ones I can to the headquarters.:)

May 20, 2007, 07:51 AM

You are shooting at an angle away from yourself. You are several feet away from your target. Not to worry about a ricochet or spray doing any harm to you. Careful not to be shooting toward someone as there is always a slight possibility that a richochet could result going away from you, not toward you. Generally, when you are doing the world a favor of deleting snakes, the ground absorbs the load.

Country, I admire your identification practices. Good to have a vermin eliminator in your barn.

I am an old man, got a few degrees, none of them on snake ID so I let God sort them out. You gents that can ID them, I envy you. Since I either can't or won't ID them, I get them to h*** out of my immediate surroundings. I am scared of snakes, big, small, dead, or alive. My weakness and I admit it without prejudice.

May 20, 2007, 01:01 PM
would kill a coral snake because they are of the same family of cobras, which kill 10,000 a year. I don't want anything like that near me.
Bird shot should work.

From wikipedia:

No deaths related to coral snake bites have been reported in the United States since coral snake antivenin became available. Before that time, the estimated case fatality rate was 10%.

Coral snakes are not aggressive or prone to biting however, and account for less than a single percent of the number of snake bites each year in the United States

May 20, 2007, 04:26 PM
Coming home from church today there was a 5 1/2 foot bull snake in the middle of the road. So I stopped and took my golf club that has been transformed into a snake handler and pulled it to the side of the road. I caught it and held its head in one hand and drove the remaining 3 miles to the ranch to let it go. I'll have to take a picture of it, it's a pretty golden brown color. I'll release it around the headquarters to continue to do it's job.

I don't have any degrees, but I enjoy educating myself on nature and wildlife. You too, will appreciate and enjoy them much more.;)

May 20, 2007, 10:24 PM
Coaral snakes are about the least dangerous poisonous snake out there, they have a temperment described as placid by many and furthermore have one of the most ineffectual venum delivery systems out there, basically you need to let them masticate on some body part, they don't have powerfull fangs like most other snakes and there mouth hardly opens far at all.

Sorry but if ya get bit by a coral snake ya probibly deserve a darwin award.

BTW I am told that here in AZ if you get bit by a gila monster (poisonous lizard) Fish and Game will write you for harassing it as they are protected and simply to not go out and bite people.... the bite people who pick them up or otherwise harass them.

Also if anyone is intrested I red somewhere that 75% of rattler bites in man were alcahool related... makes you wonder...

May 21, 2007, 03:21 PM

May 21, 2007, 03:28 PM
I'm still sticking with the hand grenade