How-To

Snakes

Guest post by Ed Head, contributor for Shooting Gallery, Gun Stories and Down Range TV.

“Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?” — Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones and I have something in common—we don’t like snakes.

I can live with the harmless ones, even though they startle me when our paths meet, but the dangerous ones and I don’t get along at all. If you spend time working or recreating outdoors, you’re going to run into a venomous snake sooner or later and in my part of the country that’s going to be a rattlesnake. Here are a few examples:

  • Our old Border Patrol range was infested with rattlesnakes. I once killed 12 in three weeks on that range.
  • A student I was taking through a rifle course at Gunsite sat down to make a shot within two feet of a coiled Mojave rattlesnake. I got him away and killed the snake, but it was a close call.
  • Recently, a friend’s dog was bitten and killed by a rattlesnake. I know several people whose pets and horses have been bitten; some made it, some didn’t.
  • A friend was out bird hunting not long after retiring. Spotting a large rattlesnake, he decided to capture it and was bitten twice. He died in less than an hour.
  • A woman was bitten in the big toe when she stabbed a Mojave rattlesnake with a barbeque fork. She died 40 minutes later.
  • Recently a friend killed a small Western Diamondback rattlesnake he found on his property. Some time later, he picked up the severed head by the three inches or so of “neck” and the head turned and bit him in the finger. He barely survived the experience, spent a couple of days in the hospital and will recover eventually, although the effects of the bite will last for months or longer.

I once saw a man attempt to dispose of a Mojave rattlesnake by smacking it on the head with a shovel. The snake didn’t appreciate the gesture and came off the ground by several inches as it spun about and charged. The rather large man dropped the shovel, screamed like a girl and fled.

Another friend has killed “about a dozen” rattlesnakes so far this year in the vicinity of his house. Last year, he said he killed more than twenty. Personally, I would burn the house down and leave.

When I ride horses, folks sometimes ask if I wear a pistol so I can shoot snakes. Torching a round off while on horseback, especially if riding with others, seems likely to start a rodeo. With my luck, I would be bucked off and find myself on top of the snake. When atop a horse it’s much safer to carefully ride around the snake. This brings up a good point. If I’m in an area where the snake isn’t likely to be harmful to anyone I leave it alone. I don’t kill rattlesnakes just to kill rattlesnakes, but I won’t allow them to be where I live or work—the danger is just too great. And, should anyone be sympathetic to the plight of the poor snake and suggest capturing and relocating them, I can relate several more anecdotes where people were bitten attempting to do just that. As a matter of fact, something like 90% of the people bitten by rattlesnakes are bitten while handling the snake. If you don’t want to get hit, don’t touch them, whether “dead” or not. Speaking of dead snakes, the things can be downright creepy. I’ve seen beheaded snakes, even skinned ones, coil and strike for hours. I repeat: Don’t handle snakes!

A long handled hoe is probably the best tool for dispatching troublesome serpents, but I never seem to have one handy when a rattlesnake makes an appearance. These affairs have settled into something of a routine for me. Startled by the snake, I usually jump about 27 feet, thus handily establishing a world record only unrecognized due to the absence of an Olympic judge. Leaping straight up is ill advised, as coming back down upon the reptile is poor business (ask me how I know). Peering at the snake from my hastily assumed position, I determine if it’s dangerous, then draw my pistol and shoot the snake if necessary. While you might assume shooting snakes at close range is pretty easy, I can assure you it’s not. If you’re lust for a snakeskin hatband overwhelms your common sense and you decide to shoot the snake in the head to preserve the skin, you might find the head shot to be hard to make with ball ammunition. If the snake isn’t coiled, you can usually get it to go into a coil by kicking some gravel into its face providing a bigger target. If you aim at the bottom coil on hard ground, the bullet will usually bounce up through the coils and cause a lot of damage.

Better still, use pistol caliber snake shot to dispatch rattlesnakes. It’s easier to get a disabling hit and it can be fired with reasonable safety in places where you wouldn’t want to shoot defensive ammunition—like on your back porch alongside your house. Composed of a plastic capsule containing shot in place of a bullet, CCI manufactures a full line of pistol caliber shotshells from .22 Long Rifle calibers all the way up to .45 Colt. In my experience, the .22 shot loads are only effective at very close range and killing a snake usually requires several shots. The .38 Special shot loads work pretty well and the .44 Special, .45 ACP and .45 Colt shotshells are devastating when used on snakes from a safe distance—something like 5 or 6 feet away.

How you load the handgun for snakes requires a bit of thought. If you routinely pack a revolver in snake country, I recommend keeping one or two shot loads in the cylinder as the first round(s) to come up when you fire. An alternate method is to keep a couple of rounds of snake shot in your ammo carrier, ready to be loaded into the cylinder if needed. This method is slower, but if you’re a safe distance from the snake, speed isn’t required. Semiautomatic pistols can be carried with a shot round in the chamber, but I prefer to carry a spare magazine with a couple of snake loads. When needed, I simply execute a tactical reload, placing the snake magazine in the pistol, then rack the slide to eject the chambered round and replace it with a shot load. Some pistols have a little trouble chambering the shot loads, something that isn’t an issue with revolvers.

Do a little practicing with the handgun and load you plan to carry for snake defense. A snaky looking stick tossed on the ground makes a good target and you may find your shot goes a little high at these very short ranges and you will have to aim a little low. You can fire the shot loads on paper to get an idea how they pattern at different distances. Shorter barrels tend to throw wider patterns and longer barrels usually shoot a tighter pattern.

Finally, a little advice on cutting the heads off snakes: As I said before, if you don’t have to touch the snake, then don’t. Not being a fan of the often-advised method of stepping on the head of the snake and cutting it off with a pocketknife, I keep a machete in each of my vehicles and have a couple hanging in the tool shed and barn on my property. This gives me a little reach from the bitey end and I feel pretty safe using the machete to slice the head off. Note: I do not suggest chopping, because sometimes this results in the head flying off, usually in my direction. Once the head is removed, I dig a hole with the machete blade, scoop the head in and bury it.

Like I said, I don’t like snakes, but they are a part of life in the outdoors. If you’re alert and armed with the right tools, an encounter with a poisonous snake may be exciting, but it need not be deadly.

Click to see CCI shotshells in 9mm Luger, .22 LR and .45 Long Colt at Cheaper Than Dirt!

To read more about the best guns for killing snakes, read “Snake Guns” by clicking here.

Do you keep snake shot in your pistol or revolver? How do you protect yourself from poisonous snakes? Tell us in the comment section.

Ed Head is a regular on Shooting Gallery, Gun Stories and Down Range TV. He has worked for almost 30 years in law enforcement, first in the United States Air Force and then with the United States Border Patrol, retiring as a Field Operations Supervisor. During his Border Patrol career, Ed worked in a variety of patrol, investigative and training capacities. Ed has an extensive background as a firearms instructor, having trained thousands, ranging from beginners to police, military and special operations personnel. Having taught at Gunsite for 20 years, Ed first trained there under the world famous shooting school’s founder, Jeff Cooper, then later ran the school as the operations manager for more than five years. Ed lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, where he continues to teach and write. Used with permission. 

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (123)

  1. Our laws require you to notify the Natural Resources guys-who are supposed to take care of the problem. Harrumph! If they would have posed a real threat, I’d have shot them without hesitation. I heard later that our DNR people did dispose of them.

  2. You should have shot the dogs. Wild dogs are notorious wild game killers often killing for sport. Our Arizona Game and Fish dept. Encourages the killing of dogs gone wild.

  3. I try to utilize my Concealed Carry Permit everywhere I go, especially on my own property up here in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan. I have seen bear, cougar, wild pigs and wolves on my property and am constantly riding the wonderful trails available with my UTV. Recently my wife and I encountered a pack of 3 wild dogs that chased us for several miles. I had no problem keeping well ahead of them on my Polaris 2-seater, however my Judge pistol was loaded and ready with triple-ought and .45 LC if I had needed it. By the way, Michigan allows a legal owner to carry concealed on your own property without a CPL.

    1. Larry,

      Born in Grayling, lived in Kalkaska for some years and now live in Oregon. Miss Michigan sometimes. But, not the cities in the south, just everything north of Cadillac. Of course, that was a long time ago and things may have changed. I left in 1959.
      While in the Navy on active duty in Florida, I shot with the Sixth Naval District Rifle and Pistol Team. We were sent on some weekends to dispatch wild dogs. Too many apartment dwellers got big dogs and couldn’t keep them, so they just abandoned them. They formed into packs and endangered children and the elderly. What made them dangerous was that they had no fear of people and would band together and attack people Big dogs, German Shepards, Rottweilers,Dobermans and so forth. We, along with the police, were assigned to dispatch them.
      We used M-1 rifles in the countryside and shotguns in the suburbs. Occasionally, we shot the .45’s but were not supposed to. The dogs were really dangerous and aggressive and shooting them was most effective.
      They were also smart. By the second of third visit to an area, they knew we were threats and it made the shots, if any, a lot longer,. But, our match M-1’s were more than a match for the situation.
      However, the jacketed military ammo had a penetration problem even on big dogs, so we had to be careful of the background. Often it was in large fields and nothing behind us. Further, we were generally shooting at a slight downward angle and that meant that most of the pass throughs or misses hit the ground fairly soon. At least, that is what we wanted to believe. I never heard of any problems in our 6 or 8 months of hunting dog packs, so it could not have been too bad. After that, it was 8 months in the Mediterranean on the USS Saratoga. By the time we were back, the dog problems were pretty much solved. But, we did our part.
      In any event, as I imagine you know, be careful with those dogs, they are dangerous.

    2. Howdy Shipmate!
      Yep, I’m heading for Kalkaska to get my license plates soon as I eat some breakfast. I retired from the Navy in 81, and built me a log home just outside of Fife Lake on 40 acres. Love Michigan, but these winters are getting brutal on my ol’ butt. Not unusual to hit 30 below, altho the last 2 winters were OK.
      No stranger to wild dog hunting, as we had several packs running the jungle and ammo magazines on the ammo depot areas of Guam. Those “boonie” dogs were small but tough.

    3. Larry,

      Retired in 1991, after 31 years, 9 months and 19 days — but, who counted?
      We owned property just off Manistee Lake and my cousin has one of the largest holdings of lake front property there. He used to do most of the winter plowing in Kalkaska county for private businesses. He owns “The McCullen Company” that did a fair amount of construction in good weather and snow plowing in the winter.
      I remember the winters, not fondly but well. We used to ski behind the snow plows, like water skiing — but you had better remember to drop the tow rope whenever there was a bridge. Otherwise, you ride was going to come to an unexpected conclusion.
      I visited Guam several times, en-route to the Philippines, Australia, Korea or Japan. Walked across it once. Not my favorite place in the whole world but did not spend enough time there to really know what I was talking about. However, liked Diego Garcia better. Better diving and some really exotic sea shells. But, lots of shark in the lagoon. Found the wreck of a PBY-2 Catalina washed up on the beach and seriously corroded by the sea air. Always wondered about the story behind it.
      Anyway, if you get wintered out there, take a look at Oregon. Where we live now and not that bad a place — if you do not have to work for a living. The winters are shorter and not nearly as cold in the valley and on the coast. Sort of San Diego north without all the people.

  4. Roy Holbert……That’s a BIG copperhead. Wise to put him away…They are very colorful just after they shed, but hard to see along rocks,weeds,etc. by creek banks. Neighbor here in WV killed one just yesterday, coiled up beside his well.
    We are in much more danger from liberals and their mush-minded cronies than any reptile….

    1. Charlie in WV, thought that the liberal politicians in D.C. were reptiles. No, LOL, it is too tragic a thing that Americans have more to fear from their government than from a venomous snake.

    2. My wife doesn’t go into the back ranch area without her Bond derringer loaded with #8 shot 410..

  5. It has been my experience that rattlesnakes don’t like to be splashed with water. Since I normally come across them on horseback, I’m not about to get off my horse to kill a rattlesnake with my bare hands and riding boots, so I pull out my water bottle and give it a splash. I call it “snake be gone” because it goes away. I usually ride with my dog who has had snake avoidance training. Very effective thing to do for your dog.

  6. I’ve seen black snakes climb 12′ to get to a swallow’s nest, up the side of our guest house’s T-111 siding.

    I never saw it until the wife asked me what was that above my head.
    Good think I have a strong heart.

  7. I have a doctorate degree in applied physics. I still to this day CAN NOT explain how I and three others seen a 4 foot copperhead climb bottom to top of an aluminum sided house.IT devises all laws of physics, as well as logic. Within a week I had glass block basement windows, central air, window locks and geese.

    1. Zib*,
      I have a JD in law and I cannot explain snakes ability to climb either. However, in addition to working one summer at the Ross Allen Serpentarium in Silver Springs, Florida, I also worked part time at Philippi Park, not far from Safety Harbor, Florida. My uncle was park manager and was kind enough to employ his nephew, pretty much on my schedule of college classes during the school year.
      One of the tasks in the park was trimming palmetto fronds. Several times I or others saw and reported rattlesnakes at or above eye level in the palmetto. The shaft below the existing fronds would have already been stripped of fronds and, while not exactly smooth, offered no readily visible limbs, fronds or other traction enhancing parts. Yet, there the snake would be. They would be stretched out on several fronds and did not generally rattle, just lay stretched across the fronds.
      I doubt that they could coil and strike but if you grabbed a frond to hold while cutting it, you might have received a nasty surprise. I never saw or heard of one of those reclining rattlesnakes attempting to flee or avoid human contact. They generally would just lay on the fronds, possibly waiting for birds but I do not know that to be fact. Otherwise, why climb up the palm tree shaft?
      We were supposed to kill them, as park visitors included children and who would play around the areas completely unaware of the proximity of snakes.

    2. Snakes…as they move, so do they climb. The belly scales give them purchase on any but the very smoothest surface. Palm tree trunks would be easy.

  8. Charlie in WV, love your comments about copperheads and cottonmouths, having dealt with both, but mainly cooperheads where I lived in Oklahoma, they are aggressive little nastys. And sometimes, not so little. Lived in a rural area. Saw a copperhead crossing the road on to my property, must have been 6 ft. long. Never knew they got that big. Had a pretty dog, blue-tick mix, didn’t want her snake bit, nor me. A blast from my 20 ga. to the head stopped it. For all you tree and Bambi hugging, bleeding liberal hearts, you’ve never walked out you front door to struck at by a copperhead coiled up on your front steps, or you would be singing a different song. It happened to me so often, I always had my pistol with a rat shot round ready when I stepped outside.

  9. In nearly 50 years of living and hunting in the American Southwest, and over 20 years of living and hunting in the East, I’ve willfully killed exactly ZERO snakes. The only one I’ve accidentally killed was a small rattlesnake that died when I stepped on it accidentally while bowhunting in a dry creek bed in the San Gabriel mountains. Rattlesnakes are the most common snakes around my home, but only people who have recently moved here from the city kill the rattlesnakes – or people who have small children to worry about. The rest of us either leave them alone, or move them away from our houses. I’ve moved hundreds of them and have never even come close to being bitten. It takes a bit more skill to move them, than it takes to shoot them – which is probably why the city people kill them rather than learning how to avoid them or move them. If you can’t learn to live with the potentially dangerous things in Nature, then by all means, stay home and watch TV or confine your “adventures” to city parks. Try not to shoot the pit bulls in the city parks, even though they are potentially dangerous (more so than rattlesnakes). There are also people with guns, and they can be dangerous when provoked – so try not to shoot them either just because they carry guns (I’m one of them). It is also not unusual to find a mountain lion sleeping in your driveway here, or a bear in your swimming pool. Do your best not to shoot them either (I know it’s difficult, because they might be dangerous). There are some responsibilities that go with carrying a gun, and maybe the most important one is knowing when not to use it. Some people have a difficult time with that, and as a consequence, many people would like to see all of us disarmed – because WE might be “dangerous” to them.
    There are times when rattlesnakes probably need to be killed – especially by mothers with small kids. But the father of those small kids should learn not only how to kill them, but also how to move them somewhere far away from his kids. It’s an outdoor skill that most city people don’t have, and I understand that – so it really doesn’t bother me at all when they kill them. But I expect a little more from myself after more than 60 years of hunting all over the U.S. I don’t really want all the wild places “sanitized” for my benefit. We dislike ISIS because they behead people who did them no harm and were no danger to them. Is that the type of behavior you want to take into the wild places still left in this country? Are people with guns really indiscriminate killers of all things they are afraid of? Are hunters really just “killers”? Fearful people with guns, make me nervous. People who kill just for a “kick” also make me nervous. Yet it really doesn’t bother me when homeowners kill rattlesnakes on their property to protect their kids and pets. It might be a bit sad, but sometimes it just has to be done. Many people don’t have the time or the ability to relocate rattlesnakes, and it’s none of my business whether they kill them or not – and I seriously don’t have a problem with that. I do have a problem with people who are just looking for something to shoot with their new gun, or their new “snake” loads. Rattlesnakes are protected by Fish and Game for a reason – and there’s no penalty for killing a rattlesnake on your own property, or within the “bag limits” set by Fish and Game (2 rattlesnakes here where I live). Personally, I only kill what I’m going to eat, and I wouldn’t hesitate to kill a rattlesnake to eat if I were hungry and that’s all I could find to eat. Fortunately I’m a good enough hunter with either longbow or gun to be able to feed myself in wild places, and have never had to kill a rattlesnake to feed myself. And I’m certainly not going to kill one for any other reason, because for me at least, I don’t need to. What you do, is your business, as long as you don’t violate Fish and Game laws.

    1. You mention “city people” in a disparaging way. Well, I was born and raised in a city. In the East no less! Now I live in New Mexico and, while I certainly won’t go out of the way to kill a snake, when I found a rattlesnake on my porch, I killed it. There’s no shortage of rattlers around here so no worries about endangering them. But is if it’s on my porch it’s going to get killed. No waste though, I ate it.

    2. Mike,
      I wasn’t aware that telling the truth was in any way “disparaging”. If so, then that’s just the way it is. As for where you were born and where you live now, congratulations and welcome to the Southwest. And as for the rattler on your porch.. Well it IS your porch, right? Did you expect me to have an opinion on that? Many of the people around here have rattlesnakes in their yards, fields, on their porches, in their garages and sometimes in their houses. It doesn’t even warrant a conversation around here because, like housekeeping, it’s a non-event. It ranks right up there with dishwashing as a topic of conversation. We have a lot of them, and more this year than I can ever remember in the past – most likely due to the severity of the drought. I get tired of “deporting” them over the mountain, and have no hard feelings with those few who feel they have to kill them instead (usually because of their kids) – nor do most of them have a disagreement with me over my deporting them, as long as I take them far enough away that they won’t come back any time soon. BUT… A few are outraged by those who kill them, and are also outraged because I deport them. They feel like they should be able to call the Sheriff’s department or the fire department, because they are having “an emergency” when a rattlesnake shows up – and are further outraged by the poor service they are receiving from the Sheriff and fire departments. (I’ll leave you to guess where those people come from, but you only get 3 guesses and the first two don’t count). Some of those people move back into more populated areas, and some of them eventually relax and become pretty good people to be around.

      We have way, way, too many rattlesnakes around here this year and they are about as “endangered” as flies and mosquitoes. (Significantly, we have almost NO rodents around here this year as a result). But even though I have always hunted, I take no pleasure in seeing the death of any creature. So I move the rattlesnakes for the selfish reason of not having to watch them die. If I found it necessary (a kid too close, for instance), it wouldn’t bother me any more than finishing off a mashed cat along the highway that was suffering. It’s just something that has to be done, so get it over with and get on with it. But on MY porch, that rattlesnake isn’t going to scare anyone, or harm anyone – so I’ll move it when I get a few minutes to put it in a barrel and drive it over the mountains. I promise not to try to tell you what to do on your porch, if you promise not to tell me what to do on mine. Does that sound fair?

      And try as I might, I can’t help but be impressed by the fact that you ate the snake rather than burying it or throwing it in the trash. It’s something I would probably do if it ever came down to it – and I would try to do it justice in the kitchen. Wasting entirely edible creatures just doesn’t seem right – to me. Other people have to decide for themselves what constitutes “waste”, or what’s edible, and I’m not even slightly interested in judging them. Good luck, and thanks for the comments.

  10. Over 50 years as a herpetologist and handgun licensee in NY State have taught me that even rattlesnakes don’t want to be near you. Encountered far from human habitation, they don’t need to be killed. You don’t have to like them to back away and not shoot them. If you do kill one, ask yourself if it was really for “sport,” because it was exciting, or because it made you feel macho.

  11. The gentlemen are absolutely correct. I lived 18 years in the Superstition Mountains. Killed probably 6 diamondbacks and a couple of Green Mojave’s. Now I get to put up with Copperheads. A hoe is your best friend! More people are bitten by Copperheads, they like to confront you.
    I had a friend in Tennessee who swore that a chainsaw would bring in Copperheads. If possible leave them alone!

  12. I caught and sold rattlers to Ross Allen back in the 60’s . Gasoline poured out of a coke bottle, down a garden hose, always brought them out of the gopher tortoise holes. Only used a few drops of gas, then blew the fumes through the hose. Don’t remember them being lethargic….mostly PO’d and hard to put in the sacks. Hunted along the Tomoka River mostly.
    The guy who said snakes are only defensive must not have met many Cottonmouths or northern Copperheads. Most of them would follow you home to bite you.

  13. Dear Dunne — easy to see who the ignorant one is — hope you enjoy getting bitten — right in the face

    1. Dunne
      Obviously you are a tree hugging liberal who has absolutely no sense about the wild, as Stephen says you are the one who is ignorant and hopefully one day you might survive the snake bite you receive because you tried to walk away from that snake that you already have walked too close too before you saw it.
      It really is sad people like you are allowed to reproduce.

    2. Peoples opinions, are sometimes decided by watching to many Disney outdoors movies about cute fuzzy little animals, and not based in reality. Mother Nature is unforgiving,, and will kill you if given a chance, and by ignorance.

    3. Lance,
      Thanks for the nice comments before about Silver Springs and Ross Allen’s Serpentarium. In some respects, it was one of the best times of my life and so it meant a great deal to me.
      In this case about Dunne and his comments, and your response, I completely agree. Some people insist on forming uninformed opinions and then choose to elevate them to the level of a religious belief. In my opinion, you could not be more correct. Many years of experience with nature and it is just what it is and nothing more. It does not share human feelings, beliefs but instead operates on some primitive, programmed level. Snakes are a part of nature and they are not miniature humans that slither around on their stomachs. Nor, are they highly rational, thinking beings.
      On the other hand, maybe Dunne shares more with snakes than I initially realized. If you understand how Dunne thinks, then you can understand how ISIS terrorists can feel it is God’s calling to behead or burn Christians because of their belief. Same sort of mind set, just different basic focus. They are always right and any one who disagrees is stupidly wrong.
      One of my favorite sayings: “You are entitled to your own opinions; but, you are not entitled to your own facts”. Dunne has moved from opinion to assuming it is fact, probably because it is what he wants it to be — but, that is not what it is. Nature, and snakes, could care less about his opinion and if he makes a mistake, the snake will bite and not give him a pass just because he thinks it should.

    4. Well said and absolutely right. With nature, you get it right the first time. If you miss a beat you may get away with it , or not. And if not, there are no do overs.
      ISIS is a snake. To kill the snake……you cut off the head….
      Be safe…

  14. I know what you mean about rattlers as I was been bitten by one many years ago & it still gives me nightmares. A friend & I were dove hunting in Central Texas when we walked into a den area. There was at lease one rattlesnake under every bush & others crawling out of every crack in the ground. Thank God for a 12ga shot gun & plenty of shells.

  15. I carry a Judge with a couple of #6 410 shells followed by 45 Colt HP. Works well on snakes, crawling or walking.

  16. I winter in central Florida now and spend a good bit of time hunting hogs. I carry a S&W 357 with 3 rounds of snake loads and 3 JHP rounds. The 3 snake rounds are 1st up then the JHP in case of a PO’d tusker.

  17. I’m definitely a gun guy, but I don’t understand this snake shooting mentality.

    Snakes don’t actively chase and attack people (if they do, then by all means shoot away). They typically coil up and show they mean business. If you have time to draw your firearm, you definitely have time to just walk away.

    As stated before, snakes play an important part in our ecosystem. Do you really like the idea of an out of control diseased rodent population?

    Now if you have a dangerous snake is on your property, I’d suggest relocating it if you can. If you don’t know how to move it safely, then call someone that does (animal control?).

    I dunno, maybe it’s just me– but I feel that shooting a snake should be a last resort. Just my 2 cents.

  18. When I was in college in South Carolina I had several runins with snakes.
    One summer I worked with a Engineering firm. We were measuring ground locations for setting steel beams. As I walk in to a spot to set a mark I was walking through a tall group of pompass grass. As I got closer to where I had to set the pole I heard the rattle of its tail. I turned around and walked back out. As I was explaining the situation to my crew a job
    lead man, A black guy who was tall and big, asked me where it was, I showed him and he went in with a bush axe. In a few seconds he yelled out to inquire if this was where I heard it and I said yes. At that point, he reached down and lift up a rattle snake over his head. It was dead the head was gone and he had himself a nice trophy.
    Another time, we were surveying a property along the Savanna river on the SC and GA line. Since I was the lead man, each morning I was given the revolver to carry out front. Many time you could hear me unloading the .357 on or into a nest of cotton mouths. One of the supervisors would claim the dead snakes and cook them up for lunch or dinner. It was a very strange job that summer.

  19. Actually, if you can identify the species snake to the doctors treating you it will help with the treatment. So, kill it and bring it, less the head , with you . or take a picture of it. Have someone else do this for you if possible, remain calm, and seek medical treatment ASAP

    1. ASAP IS RIGHT! The faster, the better. Learn how to treat snake bites and how to use an EPI-PEN
      (Epinephrine). If someone is allergic to snakes or spiders (or any thing else), they will die without the med injected into the blood system within several minutes. Always carry a tourniquet and an EPI-PEN and tell your partner how and when to use them. It will save your life.

  20. Interesting article.
    I’m sitting here at the computer now, looking at an 8-coil set of rattles from a run in with a Western diamondback that was coiled and ready to strike me while dirt-biking up near Corona in California. I spotted him directly ahead of me and lifted my legs (probably completely backwards over my head!) and he missed. I knew my friends 11-year old son was right behind me about 100 yards so I dumped my ol’ Yammy IT175, and waved him off, then got a big-ass rock and smashed the bugger to a pulp. I cut off his head (carefully) and rattles off, and discovered he had a second set of fangs a couple inches down his throat. Apparently the Western diamondback have them, but the Eastern DB’s don’t. I heard the second set weren’t poisonous, but used to help grip their favorite food, the ground squirrel. Some snake guy told me that the noise and vibrations from my bike probably aggravated him. I had another run-in back in Virginia with a thoroughly pissed of cottonmouth while fishing in my jon-boat. onbase at Dam Neck .He shot right off from the bank and charged the boat like he was after me. I goosed the throttle and beached the boat about 50 yards up, where my family was camped-and I swear to God, that damned thing swam right up to where I beached, climbed right up the bank and headed for us. I finally grabbed the firewood ax, and chopped its danged head off. My Dad just about had a heart attack when he saw the snake heading for the picnic table. I have never been afraid of snakes, and actually I’ve been interested in them-but those 2 episodes were a little over the top.
    When I’m out west prospecting , or down south I carry a Judge and the first 2 rounds are handloaded .45 LC with #4 shot. I shot a copperhead with it once, and it pretty much took the whole head off.

  21. The .22 LR and .22 Mag shot shells are the only ones with #12 shot, all the rest of CCI ‘s are loaded with #9 shot which has too many gaps in the pattern. I get the empty capsules and load them with #12 shot. I use either a 45 Colt or 44 Spl revolver when I’m out and about here in the southwest and those loads will quickly dispatch a rattler. This method was written up by Mike Venturino in Handloader Mag.

  22. Used to hunt Timber rattlers along the Appalachian Trail. Found / shot a dandy with CCI 45acp snake load. Cut off head & buried under large rock. Put headless snake in backpack and headed off mountain. Felt the snake coiling and striking against my back for approx. 45 min…….very spooky.

  23. I understand that snakes, particularly venomous snakes, inspire visceral loathing in some people. But in a great majority of cases killing a snake is simply unnecessary. If it hasn’t bitten you or your animal it will go away without any confrontation if it is otherwise undisturbed. If it has already bitten you, nothing other than revenge is accomplished by killing it. Leave snakes alone and let them continue to kill rats and such whose diseases CAN kill us.

  24. In the 60’s I visited a local, personal museum in the CA Foothills. The Owner Rick was all or mostly Sioux, late 60s or into his 70s.. His wife was a descendant of the original homesteaders. The museum (really their collections) was housed in part of the original ranch house, built about 1859. As typial for a such a house the family has added onto it several times. It was by no means a tight structure.

    I spotted a small live rattlesnake (maybe 18 inches long) coiled under one of the display cases. It must have followed mice in throughsome small hole in the wall or foundation.

    Rick picked up a Rolling Block Remington 22 (circa 1890’s?) from a display in his collections and loaded a 22 shot cartridge. He aimed carefully and from about 6 feet shot the snake through neck behind the head, leaving the head still connected to the body. He said you should use a shot cartridge so you had no bullet bouncing around the house and try to leave the head attached to the body. He then described having killed another rattler in the house, then searching for a long time for the head because it had blown off the body.

  25. I second that motion Chris, I’ve ran across many snakes in my life and only killed one. I wanted to know what it taste like. Water Moccasin is just as tasty as anything else you put on a grill.

    1. Taste like a cross between chicken and frog. Depends on the seasoning too tho. Season salt and pepper is the way to go in my book

  26. For about 20 years I’ve used a .44as the ranch/house gun. Empty chamber under the hammer, then 2 .44 CCI shot shells then 3 Hollow points. Shots for the snakes and hollow points for anything bigger.
    Also have a Savage 24V thats .30.30 0n top and 20 Guage below. It been a great truck/jeep gun.

    1. Well, if he’s talking about an old style single action, with the firing pin on the hammer, it makes lots of sense. Load one, skip one, and load the rest. Then your hammer rests on an empty chamber…safety first

  27. Before you kill a rattlesnake be sure IT is not a “protected species” or you do you might wish you left it bite you .Liberals Do Not consider you a desirable species .

  28. I live in west central Texas. About 2 decades ago I killed a 6′ rattlesnake. I skinned the snake and hung it over the shower curtain rod overnight to cure so it could be mounted. About 0300 in the morning, I am awakened by an earth shattering scream. Apparently my wife sat down to use the toilet without turning the light on and the snake skin slipped off the shower rod on top of her. My name, as you might have guessed, was an explicitive for about 3 solid weeks after that. Since then, the wife always turns the light on in the bathroom before plopping down on the seat. I must be the test pilot for some marriage counselor because I did not learn the first time. I killed a small rattlesnake in the front yard. It could not have been more than 8″ or 9″ long. I thought it would be educational to put it in a baggy full of water and in the freezer and show the wife to be leary of snakes in the yard. Yep, you guessed it. Before I told her about it, she opened the freezer door and I am on the crap house list once again. These are both true stories. I am fast approaching 4 decades of marriage. Wonder how it lasted this long? I’m just lucky that I didn’t end up in the freezer, too.
    Be safe and NEVER mess with a red headed Texas woman!

  29. Out of sight out of mind is how I thought for many years. When I ran up on one occasionally my mind worked the opposite direction, every flicker of a branch or twig bouncing up and touching my leg said SNAKE. Now I’m consintrating more on the ground directly in front of me than the task at hand. Moving stands, camera’s and scouting new areas for the upcoming hunting season. I solved this problem by purchasing a pair of good quality snake proof gaiters, I took the manufacturers word for many years that they were indeed snake proof until recently. Last Thursday on my day off I was relocating two stands to a new location. Stepped around a huge bolder in my path and yes you guessed it I was struck by a 6ft female rattle snake surrounded by what looked like a dozen 1ft baby rattle snakes just above my ankle. After jumping back and repeatedly going OMG a hundred times I continued on with an adrenaline rush that seemed to continue until I was sitting 22ft up my relocated stand. My mile 1/2 walk back was one of a nervous laughing that I got away with it and these things work awesome. Also thought about all those years roaming though the woods by myself and miles away from help and no cellular service. Spring through the first frost I never enter the woods without wearing my snake gaiters. Do yourself and family members that worry about you while alone in the woods , protect yourself.

  30. My favorite snake story was one summer, as a teen, was working in the hay mow of the barn stacking bales that came up the elevator from the barnyard where the trailers full of bales would come in from the field.

    The mow was poorly lit and therefore it was very glummy if you got too far back. The bales came up the elevator and dropped off onto the mow floor and I would drag them, by hand, one by one and stack them up.

    As I walked up to grab another bale I noticed a white butterfly fluttering around one of the bales. It seemed to just stay around the side of the bale. I walked up to get a better look but something told me not to touch it.

    I retrieved a pitchfork from the barn beam and jabbing it into the bale, pushed it ahead of me over to the open mow access door so I could see better. Glad I did for about 18 inches of a cottonmouth was sticking out of the bale and was waving around mad as hell. Sure glad the person who threw the bales on the elevator did not get bit.

    I pushed the bale out the door down to the ground, went down the ladder and turned the bale over with the fork. Darn snake was still going at it waving around. I slapped it with the fork and broke its back, cut the bale strings and got it out and stomped it on the head until it was flat. About 4 foot long.

  31. As a younger man, I used to kill and eat rattlesnakes, as well as sell their skins. I have never seen a beheaded snake “coil and strike” as stated above. I’ve seen them writhe and twitch, but never “coil and strike”. Besides that, what would it do to you? Maybe put a blood stain on your sock? It has no head / fangs at that point. I’ve never seen a “skinned” snake do any moving whatsoever. The head, however, does remain dangerous and deadly for days. I used to cut it off with a shovel, and bury it AT LEAST 2-feet deep to avoid anyone coming in contact with it.

    1. Coil and raise it’s headless stump to strike ? Never seen that. Have had a headless rattler attempt to strike me as I picked it up though. A fresh kill, immediately skinned, will squirm. As well as fresh, skinned, chunked and dropped in a hot fry pan of oil will cause the muscles to contract.
      This is also true of water eels. We used to catch salt water eels and eat them, along with other fish. The eels react like a snake when chunked and dropped in hot oil….ummmm, yum !

  32. One day you wimpy red necks are gonna shoot yourselves in da foot. Just pick the snake up and throw it off the porch. Or cut his head off and cook him up for supper.

  33. How very sad, that grown men are so terribly fearful of inoffensive, small, slow animals. American poisonous snakes never attack, they only defend. They move at less than half a mile an hour. They are a crucial part of our ecosystem, and eat huge numbers of rodents which carry disease, and destroy crops and property.

    If a person is not able enough to step around a snake, and treat it with the respect due to any of God’s creatures, that person is much too immature and fearful to be trusted carrying a gun.

    1. “American poisonous snakes never attack, they only defend” – I think you need to meet some of our Pygmy rattlers and Water moccasins here in SW Florida. They don’t try to get away, just coil up and dare you to come closer. And once they decide to strike, I certainly wouldn’t classify them as slow!

      That wouldn’t be too bad if you’re an alert adult in short grass and didn’t have your mind on something besides watching for snakes. Also I have dogs and visiting grandchildren that I care about more than keeping a few more venomous snakes alive. But that’s just me.

      Also your “They move at less than half a mile an hour” comment is pure BS also. I’ve seen them move about as fast as I can trot when they want to – especially black snakes. And those, along with other harmless snakes, are welcome on my property.

    2. Oldawg,

      First, I think you are right in what you said — all of it.
      I spent almost 4 months in Silver Springs dealing mostly with eastern diamondbacks. We started out patrolling the Serpentarium, herding the tourists around to the exhibits and the shows and progressed to “snake wrangling”, meaning we went out and collected snakes.
      Ross Allen had a fairly fool proof method, which sounds goofy but worked quite well. Eastern diamonbacks would den up with gopher turtles and use the same holes in the ground. Allegedly, they would also share the hole with other varmints but I did not personally observe that. The technique was to locate a likely hole (if the sand on the edge of the hole was loose, you could see the drag marks of the snake going down the hole), put about 5 feet of garden hose down the hole and, with a funnel, pour about a pint of gasoline down the hose. The fumes would settle in the hole and drive out the inhabitants.
      In the cases of the snakes, it made them ill and disoriented. They were very sluggish and lethargic. Then, we could actually pick them up barehanded but if caught doing that, it meant your job. You were required to use a snake stick and drop the snake into a “croaker sack”. That was a large gunny sack coated on the inside with tar. What it was used for was shipping pulp from the orange juice plants to feed cattle on the diary farms. The bags were generally pretty much waterproof and free in those days. They made excellent snake bags, because the tar coating prevented them from getting their fangs through the bag.
      Finally, if you were lucky, you got to put on a Jon Hall type African Bush Jacket and go into the snake enclosure. You put on the show for the tourists, catching snakes with a snake stick, walking around among several hundred rattlesnakes crawling around your feet, and at the end of the show milking a snake you caught as part of the show. What made it relatively safe was that no snake in the pit was longer than about 3 feet. That way, they could not strike above your snake boots and so you were quite safe — but, the tourists did not know that.
      Milking was easy once you got over the nerves of grabbing a live rattlesnake behind the pits on the head and holding it as it coiled around your arm or lashed you with its tail. You forced the snake to open its mouth and put the extended fangs over the edge of a pilsner beer glass and then you massaged the pits on the back of their head, forcing the drops of poison out of their fangs and into the glass. Looked a lot like orange juice — the venom.
      Some of the more foolhardy would drink the contents of the glass after milking the snake. As long as you had no open sore in you mouth, there was no danger. You could digest the poison without harm if it did not get directly into your blood stream. However, at least in theory, if you had an open sore in your mouth and drink the venom, it was the same as being bitten. I never did that and only a few of the really senior people ever did.
      In any event, in the space of 4 months, I saw a lot of snakes. Literally hundreds. When they wanted, they could move incredibly fast, especially in the strike. We used to tease a snake to get it upset with our snake stick, and then we put an inflated penny balloon on the end of the snake stick and extended it down right in front of the snake. It could strike and recoil so fast you actually did not see it move. It was blinding speed. Further, they could move across the ground quite quickly. Not slow at all. In cold weather, they moved slower due to their being cold blooded reptiles and needing a pretty constant, fairly warm temperature.
      Finally, snakes seemed to have personalities just like people. Some were dumber than a box of rocks and exhibited ridiculous behavior. Today, I would label them Democrats. Others were like your worst nightmare of your ex-wife on a tirade. We were able to spot those after a while and those were the ones you teased to break the balloon.
      It never took long and the tourists did not want to wait too long while you prodded the snake with your stick. Some were just perpetually angry, most of the time, or so their behavior seemed. Quite aggressive and not very passive. It is just plain hooey to class all snakes as behaving the same way. They had personalities just as people do. And, some got up on the wrong side of the bed just about every day. Further, it was not always the larger ones. Sometimes the smaller ones were the nastiest.
      So, the fellow singing Cum By Ah about snakes was speaking from, perhaps, desire but not experience or actual knowledge. If only everything could be just as we want and not as it really is. One of my all time favorite quotes goes something like: “You can have your own opinion; but, you cannot have your own facts.”
      Some snakes are aggressive for no apparent reason and others were shy and retiring and would prefer to withdraw rather than fight. But, we had to treat them all as the worst of the lot. In any event in a relatively short time, they were milked, killed, skinned and made into hatbands or belts and the meat was canned for sale to tourists.
      Working at the Serpentarium was a wonderful experience and I made good money — plus, I met a lot of very pretty northern girls from rich families. Not a bad way to spend a summer vacation for a college kid. Of course, it did not hurt if you did not have good sense.

    3. MacII,

      Enjoyed your post. Interesting and entertaining. You’ve had a lot more experience with snakes than I have, but your comments make sense. Certain types of snakes seem to have common personalities within that type, but then they are certainly not all alike. I suppose the season, the sex, how recently they have eaten, etc. all affect their mood, just as with most critters – even the two-legged ones.

      The venomous ones I have had the most experience with have been the four found in SW Florida – the eastern diamondback (predictable), the pygmy rattler (mean), the water moccasin or cottonmouth (aggressive) and the coral snake (timid). We were first to build in an area that was wild and overgrown, so we constantly had experiences with snakes until the area became more populated. Now we rarely see anything but black snakes and garter snakes – which is fine with me!

      This subject has certainly generated lots of interest and different opinions!

    4. Oldawg,

      Yes, I have had an interesting life. My father always encouraged me to “go for it” when opportunity came along and I generally did.
      I agree with your experience with snakes. It rings of truth as far as I know. Especially, about the pygmy rattler. We never, ever messed with them at the Serpentarium because they were small, quick and downright mean. One of them was the type of snake that bit my son. The other was eastern diamondback.
      My experience with cotton mouths is quite limited, but similar to yours. Same with Coral Snakes. Rather pretty in some respects.
      Thank you for the kind words.

  34. I’ve had snakes in my house, and in the yard. I thumped one in the house with a frying pan, and pushed it outside, where I cut off the head with a shovel. Killed one outside with a .22 with birdshot. Took a couple of shots. I keep a 44 beside my bed loaded with CCI shot, but I’ve read that the ammo doesn’t hold up, and that the plastic shot holders will come loose after one or two shots, and the shot will then jam the revolver. Anyone had that experience?

  35. John and J. Harper; As much as I agree with both of you, and don’t kill snakes myself, there are times and places where they really do need to be killed. Young kids often don’t know that rattlesnakes are dangerous, and I understand when my neighbors who have young kids, kill the rattlesnakes they find where their kids play. Adults don’t have anything to fear from rattlesnakes as long as they are even reasonably alert and are as careful around them as they are around guns (people who aren’t safe around guns are probably not safe around rattlesnakes either). But then there are adults who are terrified of nearly everything wild – especially if they are “City Adults”. In the process of having to move many of them to another location on a regular basis, I’ve learned some things. I respect them, but don’t have any personal fear of them. So I keep a plastic trash can handy for moving them and I’m very careful about handling them. One very important thing I learned on one of the many trips to relocate them, is that it’s not only illegal to kill them if they don’t pose an immediate threat, but it’s also illegal here to move them more than a mile. I was releasing one when a Fish and Game truck pulled up and the officer asked me and my girlfriend what we were doing. When we said we were relocating a rattlesnake found outside our front door, she wanted to know if we lived more than a mile away. We did, but it wasn’t more than two miles at the most. She told us what the law was, but said to go ahead and release it anyway. Apparently they are territorial and won’t survive if you move them too far (which is something I didn’t know).

    I learned something else recently. We were “babysitting” a neighbor’s young dog a few weeks ago and she stuck her nose into a rattlesnake while out on a walk near sundown, and got bitten on the lip. She is young and not terribly smart. Although I’ve had hounds that were bitten and none of them died, I was afraid that my neighbor’s dog might (not my dog, but my responsibility). She got pretty sick within about 30 minutes, so we took her to the vet. I’d never seen a dog get that sick from a rattlesnake bite, but I suppose they’re all a bit different and this one got pretty sick. The vet thought she had about a 50/50 chance of surviving without treatment. The cost? The anti-venom costs a little over $900 and it has to be administered slowly to avoid killing the dog – and the dog had to be watched all night while the anti-venom drip was administered. It took about 12 hours before she was able to be picked up, and the total vet bill was a little over $2000. We relocated the rattlesnake the next day, but I did learn a lot from that one little rattlesnake. They aren’t a “deadly threat” to adult humans, but they are to a young dog – or to a young person. I’ve moved 3 or 4 of them since then, and I’m more careful about moving them sooner rather than later. I’m also careful not to release them too near a residence where they might be a problem for someone else. And as much as I’d like to obey the laws, I’m not going to worry too much about whether it’s a mile or two miles. You can only pile so many rattlesnakes on a patch of territory. I don’t NEED to kill rattlesnakes as long as I can move them. But at the same time, I understand that there are people who do feel the need to kill them, and I have nothing against those people who do. They’re not malicious creatures, but as with most wild things, they do have to be treated with respect.

    1. If I find a rattler on my property, they will be DEAD! I have no problems with snakes in the wild, but if they pose a threat to me or my family by the mere fact that they should not be where we live, they will be put to sleep—permanently!

      I have nothing against snakes in general; in fact, I welcome the gopher and king snakes that sometimes appear in our back yard. They kill roof and Norway rats that infest the large field over our backyard fence, and they pose no threat. I once found one about 4 feet long in the middle of the asphalted street in front of the house, gently picked it up and deposited it over the backyard fence into the field.

      I leave snakes in the wild alone, unless they pose a threat. My wife and I, plus a friend and his wife, found ourselves camping in a spit of land next to a local river several years ago. A rattler had slithered itself between us and a steep adjoining bank. We couldn’t leave easily, and the rattler was trapped. We killed the snake with a machete while it was crawling, skinned it and roasted it over a fire. An environmentalist friend whined that we shouldn’t have killed the snake. I explained that we had no choice.

  36. Was out prairie dog killing one day and saw a rattler on the road. Shot I and went to cut the rattle off. Soon as I picked up the rattle end it start writhing. Scared me and I quickly dropped it, got into the car. Started it and drove the left front tire onto the head. It can wiggle all it wants it isn’t going to hurt anybody. Got the rattle.

  37. Yes Speer is but they aren’t “out sourcing enough” and are extremely hard to get. They only shipped 90 boxes of 38 in July.

  38. Untried, but I’m guessing that ‘The Judge’ loaded with .410 #9 shot or so, would probably be the tool for the job!

  39. The only good snake is a dead snake. I am a snake redeemer! I use an American Derringer M-4 which fires .410 shotgun shells through a 4 inch barrel. My wife uses a Taurus Judge revolver with .410 shells. Another good choice would be one of the Bond Arms derringers in .45/.410. A load of number 8 shot will redeem any snake, is available at Walmart, and is much less expensive than CCI shot-shells for a pistol. Living in Texas, we shoot a lot of snakes. We also wear tall snake proof boots when working outside.

  40. There are a lot of BS stories about snakebite victims. Unless you actually step on a venomous snake or you pick one up, it would be very unusual to get bitten by one. I remember that all of our marine Corps ranges in California, we frequently saw rattlesnakes. Some Pacific rattlers, some red diamondbacks, and a few Mojave rattlers. It was illegal to harm or molest them. I only know of one person bitten by a rattler the entire 6 years I was there. He stupidly picked up a Mojave and got a bite on his little finger. It did make him very sick. but he didn’t even lose his finger. While a bite from these pit vipers can be deadly, it is extremely rare unless it is untreated.

    These snakes are very valuable to the eco-system and should be left alone unless it is absolutely necessary to kill one. For those who like to hunt, fish and trek into the wild, they are part of what makes it wild.

  41. My S&W Governor is my preferred snake blaster. Within 15 feet or so, a .410 load stops a snake every time. At this range, the gun throws a wide enough pattern that careful aiming isn’t required, and you can make an effective shot even you fire very quickly or if you are retreating. I never go out without my Governor during snake season.

    1. Bill,

      Thank you for the info. I own a Governor and like the gun a lot. I thought it would be just fine on snakes and I have shot several milk cartons with quite satisfactory results — but, no actual expereince on snakes. Now, I will be more confident and believe that my thinking was correct. So, thank you.

  42. Why do you feel the need to shoot a snake for being in it’s own natural environment. That’s like someone walking into your back yard and shooting your dog or cat when they see it. Just leave them alone and they will not bother you. They don”t hunt people. It is a proven fact that most bites happen due to a poor decision by the person being bitten. Not to mention all of the non venomous snakes that are killed every year due to mis-identification. Snakes are an important part of the ecosystem and as has been mentioned they are our best defense against rodent population outbreaks. A little education about conservation goes a long way.

  43. This is a good article, but… There’s another side as always. Rattlesnakes kill a lot of rodents that carry Bubonic Plague, and the rodents bother me more than the snakes. I relocate a rattlesnake away from my home on a rough average of about one per week – because I don’t want my dog or someone else’s dog bitten. I’ve never had to kill one yet. People with kids should probably kill them, but when it has to be done, we should all be aware that we are losing a valuable rodent-killer. Vets call rattlesnakes “gentleman snakes” because they always warn you and will crawl away if they can. It’s a personal choice, but I’d rather have a few rattlesnakes around and a lot fewer rats, mice, gophers and ground squirrels. But if you have kids around, the rattlesnakes have to go. Thanks for the article and video. It’s really well done.

    1. They don’t always warn you. That’s a myth and, in fact, according to a Utah university the ones that don’t rattle will become more prevalent because the ones that rattle are more likely to be killed off.

  44. I have used 38 Spl CCI snake shot on several occasions in a Ruger 357 revolver with good results. Last time I tried it in a S&W 38 revolver and it seemed totally ineffective. Could the difference in barrel length (2″ for the model 60 vs about 5″ for the Blackhawk) significantly affect the shot velocity and/or pattern to cause this effect? Or are some rattlesnakes tougher than Moccasins? Regardless, a 20 ga. did the trick!

    1. The short barrel allowed the shot to disperse in a very wide pattern instead of keeping it in a tighter group with the longer barrel kind of like a shotgun would.

  45. I go out of my way to kill rattlesnakes, regardless of where I find them. Every time one of the hunters in our deer camp comes back to camp and say I saw a big one today, but I didn’t kill it. I give them heck about it and always say what if one of us get bitten by that snake tomorrow, how are you going to feel? Snake bite is a really serious matter and not to be taken lightly. Here is Arizona there is no danger of them becoming extinct.

  46. My rattlesnake story – catching & killing by hand (then eating)

    I had previously written this story to some people who were asking about rattlesnakes. Since it was already written up, I thought I’d post it here.
    ————————————————————————————————-
    I first went on a cross-country vacation when I was 15 and we went to Arizona. We went there several times the next couple years. We stayed 2 weeks or so each time, and I was really surprised and disappointed that I didn’t see a rattlesnake. Later in 1998 when I was 18 I started college in Abilene, Texas. I’d go exploring a lot, and for several years I looked out for snakes but never saw any. One of the areas I would explore a lot is the Brazos River near Fort Phantom Hill. This particular area where I would explore is about a mile hike down a steep hill from the road down a narrow trail. Then, from the road where I’d park it’s about 20 miles to the hospital. I was always very careful when I was there, because I usually went there by myself. The area was also out of range of my cell phone. I was also concerned, because the walk back to the truck is all up-hill, and it’s pretty steep. It always gets my heart pumping climbing up, and I usually have to stop and rest a couple times on the way up. I knew this could be very dangerous if I were to be bitten, because an accelerated heartbeat would spread the poison in my body faster. I did several things to try to keep myself safe. Among them are:

    A walking stick – You can use this to poke and prod ahead of you, and to move vegetation out of the way that is blocking your path/vision. It could also be used to move a snake that is blocking your path if it won’t move and that’s the only way through.

    Stomp – Remember, snakes are deaf, they can’t hear you. However, they feel vibration in the ground very well. If you are in an area that is especially dense and you can’t really see to know if the area is clear, stomp harder than usual as you walk. This will alert the snakes to your presence and give them a chance to move on before you even get close. This is another thing you can do with a walking stick; thump the ground ahead of you. If you alert a snake, hopefully it will bite at your stick instead of you.

    Sawyer Extractor – I too have one of these and have carried it when I’m in the wilderness away from help. The instructions say you have to use it within the first couple of minutes of being bitten for it to be effective. Besides snakes, this can be used to remove the poison from stinging insects. I’ve thankfully never had to use mine because of a snake, but I did use it once when I was stung by a wasp. As I used it, I could see the liquid poison pumped out of the injury site in the clear suction cup. I’d been stung before by wasps and always had a large welt. I was really surprised that after I used the extractor, it barely swelled up at all. Just a very small bump. These are really great to keep in your packs, since they’re good for snakes and bug stings. You can buy them at Wal-Mart for $12 or so. If you only need to use them once it’s worth it. Everyone in my family has one.

    Leather Boots – Most snakes strike between the ankle and shin, so wearing leather boots instead of shorter height tennis shoes can help protect you if you’re bitten.

    Don’t step/reach where you can’t see – Use a walking stick to prod if you don’t have a clear line of vision so you don’t get bitten by a snake that you don’t see.

    Communication Device – Depending on the area you’re in, a cell phone, satellite phone, or personal locator beacon. Yes, it could be expensive especially for that last two, but if you’re in a really remote location it could save your life if you need to summon help. You could get bitten jump back startled, and fall over a ravine or something and break your legs or something. If you couldn’t reach your vehicle, you could die in the wilderness.

    If you do see a snake, keep a body length away from him. (His body length, not yours) Most say ½ to ¾ its body length is a safe distance, but a full body length better ensures your safety.

    What will your sleeping arrangements be? I’ve read that you should be careful when using sleeping bags in snake country, because heat sensing pit vipers such as rattlesnakes use their heat sensing to find warm places to sleep for their cold blooded bodies in the cool desert night. This can be dangerous if the warmest thing they sense in the area is you in your warm sleeping bag. I’ve read that they can end up next to you, and then if you roll over in the night in your sleeping bag, they’ll bite you. Another thing you don’t have to worry about if you use a hammock.

    Hm…that’s about all the snake tips I can think of right now. On a related note, has anyone here ever been to the Rattlesnake Roundup in Sweet Water, Texas? It’s about 30 miles from where I go to college. I’ve been there several times. It’s pretty cool. People come from around the world to go to it. Check their page for rattlesnake field tips and more related info. I know what you mean about the smell. That place has hundreds of them there. The whole building smells like them.

    I did finally find, catch, kill, and eat a western diamondback rattlesnake. And, I believe I was wearing shorts and sandals when I did it…at night, while trusting someone else to hold his head down with a stick as I grabbed behind his head with my bare hand. Kids, don’t try this at home. My brother and I went to Fort Phantom Hill Lake at night to hang out like most of the other college kids do. As I drove across the street at the lake, I thought I saw a snake dart across the road. I parked with my lights shining where I thought I saw the snake go in the very short grass.

    I hopped out and told my brother maybe it’d be a rattlesnake and I could finally catch one. I got close enough to it in the grass to see its rattle, and yelled for my brother to get my broom handle from my truck that I used as a walking stick. He got it and said he’d pin it to the ground so I could pick it up. I said, you do realize I’m trusting you with my life. Don’t you dare slip when you’re holding him or I could be dead. He ensured me that he would use the utmost care and caution.

    He pinned it down with the broomstick as I moved in closer and grabbed him behind the base of his head on his neck between my thumb and pointer finger. Before I grabbed him, my hands were shaking from the nerves and stress (I also have essential tremors, and stress makes it worse) and I was also concerned because I was afraid my hands might slip from my unsteady hands, causing me to be bitten.

    So then I tried to make sure I had a tight death grip hold on him, to make sure he didn’t slip and bite me. But the longer I held him tight; my hands began to get weaker from my muscles tiring. I was amazed at his strength. He was about 4-5 feet long and very thick solid muscle. He tried fighting me. It was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes of my life. I had tunnel vision on that snake, I was so focused on him and being cautious. I could hear his rattle buzzing violently as he wiggled and squirmed, wrapping himself around my arm that was holding him. He was many pounds of pure muscle. It was quite a struggle to maintain my grip on him as he tried to wriggle free.

    I looked at his head while he fought me. I was surprised at how large his head was. He was the largest snake I’d ever caught before. He opened his mouth and I could see his large fangs with his pink venom sacks glistening in the light from my truck headlights. Since this was a lake/park where families and kids played, I thought it would be in the best public interest to kill the snake. I could have relocated it, but I always wanted to eat one, and have a trophy. So, I told my brother to go get my Cold Steel Bushman knife from my truck.

    I found a spot on a mesquite tree where a large branch had been trimmed, so I used the flat surface as a cutting board. I held the snake with one hand while I beheaded him with the other hand. I got a plastic Wal-Mart sack from my truck and put his head and body in it. To make sure his fangs couldn’t prick one of us through the sack, I put the sack inside an army ammo can that was in my truck to transport him in.

    When I got back to my University apartment complex, I took the ammo can into my room. I left him in my room in the sealed can for several hours. I decided to skin him on my porch, to make sure I didn’t make a mess or smell in my apartment. I took an empty jar and put his head in it, and cut off his tail and put it in too. Then I filled the jar with 91% rubbing alcohol from Wal-Mart.

    I used some fishing line and tied his body to the railing on the porch. Then I used my knife to skin and gut him. I thought it’d be funny if another college student walked around my apartment building at night and saw me on my porch with a knife in my hand, blood all over, and snake parts here an’ there. That’s somethin’ city folks jus’ don’t understand. But, no one happened to walk by. I rolled up the skin and put it in a ziplock bag in the fridge, planning to flesh and tan it later.

    When I gutted him I was amazed that his heart was still beating a couple beats every few seconds. He had been beheaded 5 hours earlier, and then sealed in an ammo can with no oxygen for several hours and his heart was still beating. They are tough little critters. I cut his heart loose and held it in my hands as it continued to beat every few seconds. I dropped his heart in the jar of alcohol with his head and tail and watched as it pumped a couple more times, pumping out a tiny red cloud in the alcohol as it cleared the blood that was in it and pumped alcohol into it in its place. Then I cut up the snake into 6 inch pieces.

    I did not know it before that night, but my brother has a strong disliking to snakes. He asked what I was doing, and I said we’re gonna eat him. And he said, “No WE ain’t.” Then he watched as I brought the pieces over to the sink and rinsed them under warm water. Well, when I did that, he just about fainted; because when I put the cut up sections under the warm water, the heat caused the muscles to start contracting and twitching, and kind of wiggling, and that really freaked him out.

    Then I put some flour in a large ziplock bag. I took the wet cut up sections and shook them in the bag. Then I fried them in my cast iron skillet full of oil on the stove. The meat was flaky, kind of like fish, but also had a taste and texture somewhat similar to chicken, but with a more gamey taste. After several minutes of prodding by me, I finally got my brother to take the smallest taste.

    I ended up getting busy and left the skin in the ziplock bag in my fridge for 8 weeks or so. Then one day I realized how long it’d been there, and I remembered that it needed fleshed, and meat doesn’t keep that long in the fridge and it’s probably gross by now. But, I wanted my rattlesnake skin trophy, so I decided to try anyway. I opened it on the porch and it smelled horrible.

    I’d purchased a piece of particleboard at the hardware store that was about 1 foot wide by 5 feet long. I stretched the skin on it and used a plastic spoon to flesh it. (scrape any meat and fat from the skin) It smelled horrible, as the meat was rotten after 2 months. I used the plastic spoon as a catapult like kids do in food fights and flipped the small pieces of rotten meat into the yard off my porch. I knew they’d be eaten by the birds that always picked around every morning.

    After I’d cleaned the skin, I tacked it to the board, scales side down. I’d tanned mammals, but not a snake before, so I looked on the internet to see if I could find information about it. I read one site that said you could brush the flesh side of the skin with car antifreeze, then place it in the shade and let it dry. Repeat several times and you’re done. I thought I’d try it, and it worked, but it was stiff and didn’t look as nice and bright as professionally tanned rattlesnake skins I’d seen.

    Anyway, I have the jar with his head, tail, and heart on a shelf in my room, and I have his hide on my wall, along with 2 more that I bought at the Rattlesnake Roundup. I mounted them by cutting some short sections of a maple tree about the thickness of your pinky. I cut them in sections about as wide as the snake, then trimmed them neatly with my knife, and tied a length of brown natural jute twine to each end of the sticks to hang them by a tack on the wall. Then I wrapped the top of the edge of the snakeskin around the stick, and tacked it to the stick where it wasn’t visible. Then I tacked them up side by side on my wall.

  47. To the moderator . . . .

    Please fix your blog so that when we get an email with a new comment, and we click “Reply”, it actually goes to the actual comment we want to reply to instead just to the thread. It’s very aggravating trying to scroll through all the comments to try and find the one you want to reply to.

    Frankly, half the time i just say “Screw it.” and give up.

    Surely CTD has some IT people on the role who can correct this.

  48. Great place, Silver Springs Ross Allen Reptile Institute. I lived in Ocala for some time in my earlier days. Love Florida. You are absolutely right about the toxic effects of different venoms. I live in So. Ca. now and we do have the Mohave greens here. Occasionally I’ll hear about landscapers or other construction workers being bitten. Nasty venom. We also have the red phase diamond backs known as Pacific Reds. Pretty snake, but just as deadly 😉

  49. I was told by Adventures Outdoors in Smynra, GA that CCI was no longer producing Snake Loads and the last of them are on the shelves.
    They only had few in 44.
    Speer is still making shot capsules, but they are gobbled up as soon as they hit a distributors.

    1. I think Speer is still selling the plastic shot capsules, so you can load your own shot shells if you are set up to reload. I have some in .38 and .44.

  50. Spent time in the outdoors in both Florida and Arizona. Worked one summer while in college at Ross Allen’s Serpentarium in Silver Springs, Florida, catching snakes and by the end of the summer milking Eastern Diamondback rattlesnakes for the tourists. Great way to meet girls from New York and Pennsylvania vacationing in Florida. We handled snakes daily and frequently, for the benefit of the tourists. I was careful and never bitten but several people who had worked there longer than I had been bitten.
    Most rattlesnakes in the US have a hemotoxic poison (except the Mojave, which is vastly more dangerous with neurotoxic venom, like the black mamba or most cobras).
    I carry a Smith & Wesson Governor with 4 rounds of 2.5 inch 410 fine shot and two 45 Colt. I did not own the gun when I could have used it and cannot say for sure that it will be effective or the ranges it might work. But, it does a really nice job on milk cartons on the ground from about 5 feet out to at least 15 feet. If the snake is further away, he is free to go, as far as I am concerned.
    Hemotoxic poison, if an adult, in reasonable physical condition, bitten in an extremity is usually survivable, with suitable treatment. I have a son who works on golf courses in Florida and he has been bitten twice, once by a pigmy rattler and once by a small eastern diamondback. He survived both but hospitalization and treatment in both cases substantially exceeded $100,000. Yes, that is correct — over $100,000. I concluded that if the poison did not kill you, the medical bill might.
    Heotoxic poison causes, among other things, severe clotting. When we milked the snakes in the early 1960’s, it was sold for creation of medicine to treat hemophyliacs — those who are usually born with the inability to clot blood. If death results, it usually results from a heart attack or stroke caused by plugged arteries. Your heart pumps a liquid fairly well but doesn’t work at all well with solids. The clotted blood looks like dark brown-red or black cottage cheese. I have seen pictures. What is necessary for emergency treatment of hemotoxic poison is to restrict blood flow to critical body parts like the brain or heart or lungs. If bitten in an extremity, like the lower leg, a simple restriction of blood flow followed by proper medical treatment usually works. Remember, if you are standing up that most snakes can strike up and out about 1/3 of their length. In other words, a 3 foot snake can strike out and up 1 foot. If you are an average adult, standing up, your area of vulnerability is close to the ground. That is why snake boots are generally so effective.
    You may suffer some long term muscle loss from atrophy if the blood flow was cut off too long. Watch out for severe infections that often occur after a severe bite. Snakes mouths are not sterile.
    Seminole Indians lived with rattlesnakes for years Once bitten, their treatment was to lay down, relax and allow their body to develop its own antivenom. If they died, it didn’t matter. If they fell asleep and woke up, they would survive.
    Neurotoxic venom, like in the Mojave or the coral snake causes a breakdown of the ability of nerves to transmit impulses — like the autonomic breathing reflex and can be a great deal more life threatening than hemotoxic venom, or so I was taught. But, with exceptions not found here in the US, most poisonous snakes are hemotoxic — excepting of course, the Mojave and the Coral Snake.
    The Coral Snake has a very small mouth and is not overly aggressive or dangerous. The Mojave has a reputation of being overly dangerous and often aggressive and is best avoided at all costs, or so I have read. But, it is not widely dispersed in the US. Mostly southern Arizona or New Mexico. My only experience with a Mojave came in southern Arizona, near an RV park playground where grandkids could play. I shot the snake with a .22 pistol several times and buried it with a shovel. Never touched it with my hands.
    Most every snake, if possible, will avoid attacking a human. Compared to a snake, we are giants. Would you willingly attack a 20 foot tall giant if you could avoid it? That is how it was explained to me Often, snake bites happen because the human does something foolhardy, as mentioned in the article. The other times, it is when the snake is surprised and has no readily available escape — so it defends itself. Wouldn’t you? However, my son was bitten twice on his golf course, inspecting greens, hazards, ditches and so forth. The snakes obviously felt that they had to attack and in both cases, the first indication of a problem was the snake bite. He never saw the snakes before they hit him.
    Obviously, the lesson is to be constantly observant in snake country or if you see one.
    The only time I was close to being struck happened when dove hunting in Florida. I was searching for downed bird and stepped over a tuff of grass in a swampy area. My friend, luckily close behind me, shouted to stop. I did and his 12 gauge discharged. A couple shot pierced my trouser leg but missed me entirely but the most of the shot charge cut an eastern diamondback in two. I never saw the snake before the shot. My friend said that the snake was shaking its tail vigorously but no sound — it has lost its rattles. Sometimes happens when a snake sheds it skin and we had a very few snakes in the serpentarium with no rattles. Do not rely on the sound alone. You may never hear it. So, be careful and I absolutely agree that you should not handle the snake, alive or dead. I did when I was young and not overly bright but would not do so now. Older and, hopefully, wiser.

  51. I worked as a ranger on a golf course here in Florida. Shot 35 water moccasins using CCI Blazer .22 LR shot shells. Worked great!

  52. I agree…..when in the field. But, not when they are in my space, yard, porch, barn, and such. Non poisonous ones are ok. Poisonous ones go bye bye…

  53. I hear ya. Have lived in the South East. Georgia and Florida. Love it ! You know the saying, “close but no cigar” . I agree , if they can be left alone I leave them. If they try to take up residence in my yard or barn, or on the porch, they’re dust !

  54. Great, if you’re outside city limits and it’s legal to shoot. If not, snakes are pretty fragile creatures. A good whack on the head with a long enough stick renders them sufficiently disoriented to allow you to hold the head down with the stick and cut it off with a good knife or shovel. That’s how I deal with them, but, it’s not for the squeamish ;-). Big ones can be cleaned, chunked and marinated and placed on the BBQ. Skin is useful as a hat band or bunk house decoration….;-)

  55. Killed a LARGE water moccasin that next to my neighbors dog pen. Used the mentioned .38 spl. shot shel in my S&W 66. It took three rounds to disable it. Finished it off with a .357 JHP..
    Regarding most snakes, I have been told they won’t hurt you, but, they will make you hurt yourself! Re: Jump 27 ft. ????

    1. Dale – You must have been several feet away from that moccasin for the .38 shot load to not do the job. I had one on my front porch one night and I ran past him into the house where I keep an old Charter Arms 2″ bbl .38 with shot loads in the first two chambers. I thought he would be gone by the time I got back out with it, but he had not moved. I shot from about three feet away and it sure did the job! Made a mess on the wall tho.

      I usually don’t kill snakes except for the poisonous ones on my property. I have dogs and can’t afford those vet bills!

  56. It’s been many years since I went out into snake territory — I’ve since become a suburbanite, dammit — but back when I did, I carried an extra .38 revolver loaded with shot shells JUST for snakes: a S&W 637 Airweight was my preferred piece, although I have used a Ruger SP101 as well.

    In case anyone thinks I was over-reacting, I should point out that the “snake territory” was in Africa: black mambas, spitting cobras, boomslangs and vipers. Ugh… makes me shiver just thinking about it.

  57. IMHO, I’d be more afraid of the shooter with ball ammo than the snake. Here in the southeast we have copperheads, pigmy rattlesnakes and timber rattlers. I suspect I’ve been within close range to many but have never been bitten although I did have a 3 foot copperhead crawl across my lap when I was young. I offered no resistance and it went on it’s way. I guess my take on snakes is that like hornets, fire ants and wasps they’re best left alone if at all possible and if not then a hoe or stout 5 or 6 foot stick is the alternative.

  58. A few years ago I went dove hunting in an area I knew to be snake infested. I shot a dove and it fell on the far side of a small embankment. Being very careful I racked another shell into my 12 gauge shotgun. Looking around every step I mounted the embankment. Once on top, again looking closely I started scanning for the dove. Then chills raced up my spine as I heard the dreaded rattle. Freezing in place, I looked down. No more than 2 feet from me was a western diamondback coiled with its head back. To this day I have no idea how I did it but I heard a shot go off. That snake was over four foot long. I never did find its head.
    I learned that looking once isn’t good enough. Now I scan where i step at least 3 times.

  59. I don’t agree that it is necessary to get rid of snakes. I walk in areas they are located and carry a snake stick. I move them. Yes, even rattlesnakes. Without snakes and other predators we would be overrun with vermin such as rats, mice, and voles. I leave snakes alone otherwise, backup, go around them and let them be. Too many people think the wilderness should be suburbia for them while they are out and about. BS. Too many people like to KILL everything just for the fun of killing something. BS.

  60. Great, if they ( cci shot shells)were only available.
    In Florida we have the same problem with water moccasins or cotton mouths and rattlesnakes.
    Here, when you walk the property its snake boots and a shotgun.

  61. I’m no Indiana Jones, when it comes to snake, but as far as I am concerned, the only GOOD snake is a DEAD snake. Where I lived at one time, it was Copperheads, you had to worry about. My first 2 rounds, whether auto or revolver were rat shot. The best ‘snake’ gun I ever had was a 20 ga. shotgun loaded with 6.5 or 7 upland game loads. You think a .45 is devastating to a snake, you should see what a 20 ga. does at close range.
    Preferred my 20 ga., if I had time to get it, usually when I was close to my house.

  62. Weird snake experience. I’ve been around rattlers out here in west Texas and coral snakes (and rattlers) in east Texas a long time, but something different about this experience. I always just gave them a wide berth.

    Couple of years ago I was out dove hunting at a friends ranch. Knocked one on down and it landed in a patch of brush surrounding one of the tanks on the property. I was looking for the bird, heard a rattle, located the source PDQ, brought the 870 up to my hip and fired.

    I knew better. They kill prairie dogs, rats, and other vermin. I had no conscious control over my actions, I was thinking with my spinal cord. If I’d a been a caveman in a loincloth with a spear or a rock I would have done the same thing.

    Didn’t eat the snake (this time), but it made good coyote bait.

    By the way, I ain’t usually that good at hip shooting.

  63. I have done a great deal of bushwhacking (hiking where there are no trails) and ghost town exploring in states like Utah and Montana, and I have encountered a lot of rattlesnakes. Some have tried to kill me or my companions, and some have slithered off into the brush. If they didn’t threaten me, I didn’t threaten them.

    I always carry a COBRAY/LEINAD 5 SHOT 45/410 shot pepper pot pistol which has served me well, but I have killed rattlers with guns, shovels, machetes, rocks and whatever was at hand of the time.

    Rattlers are poisonous . . but very tasty.

    1. @Mikial: Snakes are tasty, (Tastes Like Chicken) but they are not poisonous, they are venomous. 🙂
      Fresh picked sage and lemon pepper rattlesnake make a great grilled trail meal.

    2. Yeah, good distinction, if they were poisonous you couldn’t eat them. I stand corrected. But I think you know what I mean. 😉

      Semantics.

      Nevertheless, they are tasty. We used to cook them for our Boy Scouts when we were leaders back when the Boy Scouts actually went camping and learned outdoor survival and woodcraft rather than how to find the right transit bus and how to be alternative sexual lifestyles inclusive.

  64. Hi Ed.
    I like the part about the proper tools. But as you wrote…
    In the wild just let the snake be. It has a job to do keeping rodent populations down and it wants nothing to do with humans.
    Just leave the snake alone unless it is in your house or workplace. All your examples of people being bite by a rattlesnake attacked the snake first. If not properly trained, dogs are very aggressive towards snakes. There are classes to train your dog to alert you, but stay away from the snake. Rattlesnakes are not aggressive, if they see-hear you, they will attempt to move away from you. (sometimes slowly taking their time because they were probably basking, digesting or napping.) When the snake knows its life is in danger, it’s your typical life or death struggle and the snake will act accordingly. If your not a snake wrangler, and you don’t have all the proper tools, leave the snake alone!
    Lack of training and proper tools in doing a specific endeavor is the recipe of most misfortune.
    Peace and Preparation.

    1. 😉 XDDDDD

      So true!

      That’s a good one. My wife and I both burst out laughing over it.

  65. Keeping a clip of shot shells in the gun with a couple extra clips of ball ammo handy, would seem to be a good plan. Find a snake or vermin, of whatever sort, and if a few rounds of the shot shells don’t do the trick you can switch to the hard stuff. Even seems a good idea for urban areas, one of those shot shells might go through a sheetrock wall, but not much further. But I can’t find any 45s anywhere.

  66. I like snakes, they eat rats.
    Rats can cause a lot of damage to wiring
    on your homes and vehicles.

    Don’t kill snakes, just leave them alone.

    1. Yup. If it hasn’t bitten you you’re far enough away that you don’t have to kill it. If it’s in YOUR habitat…maybe. If you’re in his…let him go.

  67. Rattlesnakes do a lot more good helping keep rodent populations in check than they do bad. If I encounter one around the house, he’s a goner. But in the wild, I steer clear and leave them be. They don’t search us out to do us harm, so boots and snake chaps in snake territory.

    Dogs are another issue, snake aversion training may help, but killing venomous snakes in the wild is not going to have a measurable effect on dog safety, though hats with snakeskin bands may become the rage. Around the house or farm, absolutely make hat bands. In the wild, they will quickly be replaced by their offspring depending on food availability. Unless you frequent that spot a lot and kill every snake you see, the net change in snake population will most likely be zero.

  68. I always carry a PVC pipe with a rope down one end and up the other, making a loop at one end. The pipe should be at least 6-7 ft long. If you encounter a snake that needs to be dealt with, slide the loop over the head and with one hand pull hard in the loose end of the rope. The will generally decapitate the snake and you won’t need to spit shot out after you pull it off the BBQ.
    I have snake loads for my .22 rifle but have never used it.

  69. If you spend anytime outdoors, eventually you will run into a snake—especially if you live in the Southwestern United States. And pretty much, that snake will be poisonous.
    Like I said, I don’t like snakes, but they are a part of life in the outdoors. If you’re alert and armed with the right tools, an encounter with a poisonous snake may be exciting, but it need not be deadly.
    Snakes are not poisonous, they can be venomous!

    1. Years ago, when I could still see iron sights, a snake showed up on the wood pile at my Moms home. She don’t care for them any more than I do so I got the S&W 18 I kept there for her and took a 10 foot shot with HP Stingers. One shot and his head was hanging by just some skin. I was very proud of myself, and probably gloating, until she said it most likely thought it was an insect and jumped into the bullet’s path. A Kentucky girl knows these things. I cleaned the Smith and put it and my ego back away.

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