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Old July 13, 2017, 06:37 PM   #1
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"I'm glad he went silent"

This year's spring turkey stalk was different from any I'd ever experienced in the last 20 some years.

I was hunting with my oldest son on my parent's place, and it had been a pretty slow start to the morning.

With some persistence, we got lucky and struck a hot tom a bit on up in the morning. He was in a cedar thicket across a long field from where we stood just inside the woods.

We set up on trees pretty close together at the edge, me calling with him as the intended shooter.

After about a half an hour of the tom working steadily toward us, it sounded like he couldn't have been 20 yards away or so, but we still couldn't see him.

It was a very green spring early on here in Missouri, and the grass in the field was easily waist high. Perfect for him to be burning a hole in us peering through it with his 10X eyes, and us not to have a clue.

He went silent, and it was as if he was never there.
I've been busted blinking more than once, so that's not so unusual.

It got different some forty minutes later when my son decided to get up.

The day was warm so he had removed his jacket as we set up, wadding it up between his thighs on the ground.

When he lifted it after he stood, he stepped back and said, "Dad I'm glad I didn't pick up my jacket like I started to before I stood up, there's a copperhead under it!"

I was skeptical, assuming he was mistaken. To some folks, every snake looks like a copperhead and he'd not seen an actual copperhead in the wilds before.
But when I stood and stepped over to look, he was right!

Every inch of a three foot copperhead coiled up snug and ready to strike.
Must've slithered in after he'd sat down, though I don't for the life of me know how he didn't realize it. That was a BIG copperhead compared to the ones I've seen with my own eyes.

I quietly replied to him as we stood looking at it, "I'm glad that bird when silent. Lift your jacket first or harvest that bird, either way you'd have likely been bitten."

I've never had anything close to that happen in my years of stalking turkeys.

All I can say is that I truly am grateful that someone was watching over the boy that morning, bird in hand at the end of it or not.
Vegetarian... primitive word for lousy hunter!
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Old July 13, 2017, 06:42 PM   #2
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Gun control is like stopping drunk driving by making it harder for sober people to drive.
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Old July 13, 2017, 07:26 PM   #3
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Yup, he was looking out for y'all.
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Old July 14, 2017, 03:23 AM   #4
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Old July 15, 2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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My story is not hunting or snake related so I won't post it, but I can 100% say that there was something looking over your son today.
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Old July 15, 2017, 01:38 PM   #6
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Wow. Ditto on overwatch.
(If anything that's a +1 for rattlers that let you know they're there. )
!أنا لست إرهابياً
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Old July 16, 2017, 12:56 AM   #7
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Thanks for your snake story, your belief in an overwatch, and the heart to post it. Glad too that you got a hunt in with your boy, and got on a bird together as well.

Darn copperheads seem to turn up about everywhere..... I feel they are the most common viper in my area. A three foot copperhead would be a big one...glad that your boy was safe.

Bamaboy (now a young man) and I got one hunt in this year, first day. We used to be able to hunt 2-3 days a week, those days are over for good I suppose. As he and I stood together at dawn, he heard 2-3 different birds that I could not pick up with my now declining hearing. Finally one gobbled much closer, and we fooled with that closer tom all morning. No sightings, no shot, but we had fun. At the end of the hunt, the young man scrambled up a steep ridge well ahead of me, and I don't think he even breathed hard. I plodded along on my hiking staff, he was waiting at the top. When I got up there he was grinning ear to ear.....and quipped ... "This is like hunting with Gandolph". Funny guy. Got my sense of humor.

AlL was hot and green early this season too. Foilage, bugs and snakes were out by mid season in force. I saw the biggest timber rattler of my life about 10April, streatched out along a log in the bottom of a narrow hollow. I was hoofing it pretty hard, tryinig to close down on a rambling gobbler. At the last moment, my eyes recognized the stack rattles and I avoided him.
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Old July 17, 2017, 07:13 PM   #8
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Reading this thread led me to go looking for articles on poisonous snake bite first aid. Seems that there aren't too many attractive options if you're out of range of a hospital. Can anyone shed some light?
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Old July 17, 2017, 08:36 PM   #9
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Honestly the only effective treatment that I'm aware of is antivenin, and that may or may not be accessible to someone who's been bitten. That would depend on if the healthcare facility in the area happens to have it.

I don't believe that a copperhead or timber rattler will typically kill a healthy adult, (and those are the only real possibilities where we are), but it will make one sick enough they may wish that they were dead.
Children and the elderly are a different story as I understand it and the risk is greater, but as always I may be full of beans.

Had he been bitten, we'd have had to first cross a creek that required some effort with it's steep banks.
The trek back to my parents would've been several hundred yards of not so simple terrain.
The last hundred and fifty working up a rather steep wooded hillside.
He outweighs me by a good 60 pounds or so, I'd likely not have been carrying him for much if any of it.

With the psychological and physiological reaction to having been bitten, he would have been in serious trouble by the time that we were able to get there.
Trying to get paramedics with the appropriate antivenin to where we were, wouldn't have been any easier in my mind and he'd likely not have been in much better shape by the time that they did.

I truly am grateful.
Vegetarian... primitive word for lousy hunter!
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Old July 17, 2017, 09:09 PM   #10
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Wow! Glad you guys are okay. That was a very close call!
The ATF should be a convenience store instead of a government agency!
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Old July 19, 2017, 04:35 PM   #11
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Like the others here, I too am glad nuttin' bad came from the encounter. Always a fear of mine(because of some close calls of my own over the years) that going out for a good time in the woods might end up with a visit to the ER or worse.

Originally Posted by turkeestalker View Post

I've never had anything close to that happen in my years of stalking turkeys.
Many of the most vivid memories made for me while hunting, have to do with something other than killing my quarry. Kinda what makes hunting so much fun. After hunting turkeys for almost 40 years I have found that when a Tom that has been aggressively responding to my calls, gets that close I know I should see him shuts up and disappears without a sound, is generally because he sees or hears something he don't like. Even when they get close and expect the hen to see them, They don't just shut up completely, same with when hens intercept him on the way. At least he gives a good-bye gobble or two to let you know he knows you're there and he might be back. And it's not always the hunter that spooks him. Around here lots of aggressive hen calling and Tom gobbling attracts 'yotes. Many times when that Tom is close enough to hear him spit drum and then shuts up and sneaks off, it's because he's caught a glimpse of a 'yote, or other predator. I wonder if in your case the Tom(if he really was within 20 yards) did not either see the snake moving towards you, either on the ground or coming outta a tree or bush, or heard it somehow. Odds are the snake went for the warmth of the jacket on the cool ground. Either way, someone was lookin' out for you.
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