best choice for rattlesnakes?


March 24, 2004, 05:12 AM
Planning to move to the Killeen TX region, although still waiting for the actual orders!
I hear there are LOTS of rattlesnakes and i have small kids, and their grandmother wont visit unless i can reassure her of a dwindling snake population.
I will ;live in the unincorporated areas of the place- maybe harker heights or morgan's point, not sure yet.
So i believe it is legal to discharge a firearm on your own property.
How about a .410 for rattlers? any other rec's?
a quiet 22? high velocity pellet gun?

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March 24, 2004, 05:35 AM
Given the alleged numbers of rattlesnakes in that area, may I suggest Claymores surrounding the house? :uhoh:

March 24, 2004, 05:38 AM
A shovel.

Actually I have no experience with rattlesnakes, just copperheads which they say are much tamer. In all honesty I don't know if there's anyway to kill any snake DRT(hand grenade?). They have such a primitive nervous system that they keep functioning for hours after death, my neighbor describes her husband squealing in fright when he was struck by a rattlesnake that had been beheaded and partially skinned and was in the kitchen sink.

I think the best you can hope to do is either behead it so it has no means of delivering venom or if you're just on a rattlesnake killin' mission shoot it from afar and don't be surprised if it slithers away despite you're emptying your gun into it.

I've blasted chicken snakes clean in two with a 410 than kept coiling up and striking for a long time after they had to have been dead.

March 24, 2004, 07:41 AM
The latest I killed a buzz tail last year was December 2 and I've already dispatched one early this month. I only kill ‘em if they’re around my house or where I’m working; not if they’re just out in the boonies eating mice and enjoying themselves. I probably take out a half dozen a year or so. I use a hoe. Shovel’s good. Ya don’t need to shoot ‘em and you don’t need to kill everyone you see, only the ones that are really a potential threat.
Have fiun.

March 24, 2004, 07:49 AM
It takes a little fabrication, but what you need is an old lawn mower tractor.Thinking around a 16 horse,12 minimum. You will need some good ATV tires off at least a Polaris Sportsman 500 for ground clearance, at least a 48in. blade deck with about 24in height adjustment. A good hydrostatic transmission. Then you mount a 410ga. to the right side of the hood and oh, how about a Hipoint 9mm carbine to the left. Ofcourse, swivel mounts would be used. With a few adjustments here and a tweak there you will have a snake killing machine.Locate,fire, and drop the deck for the finish. Good Luck !!!! :cool:

March 24, 2004, 08:04 AM
Keep your yard mowed and your bushes trimmed up off the ground. Keep any trash waiting to go to the dump such as old tires buckets or whatever well away from the house too, and they just wont have any reason to be near you. They like cool and damp shade in the summer so don't give them any near the house.

Chip Dixon
March 24, 2004, 09:07 AM
Flamethrowers work well if you can find their dens. I'd still have my trusty Mossberg 500A with rec shot and some sort of polearm for single snakes. Long shovels with a sharp edge make a good polearm, they don't damage that easily and slice well. I hate rattlers and copperheads. Copperheads are more of a problem in my area :fire:

March 24, 2004, 09:16 AM
Snakeshot in .38 works well for close encounters as does .410

For quiet defense use a shovel. Just remember not to get too close.

Keep the weeds down around the house, fence and yard. Rattlers will look for shaded areas during the day so try to eliminate that type of areas.

Also if you build a porch make sure its enclosed so snakes cannot get under it.

Best thing to do is remain proactive on eliminating snake hang outs and you should be ok.

El Tejon
March 24, 2004, 09:19 AM
Used to kill timber rattlers with one of those "weed whacker" thingies. Quiet, no rics.

March 24, 2004, 09:19 AM
I've used a variety of weapons to kill rattlesnakes over the years.


Cedar Posts
Belt Buckle
Catch rope
cedar axe
boot heel
weed eater with a brush blade
lawnmower (accidental)
Shredder (accidental)
Haybaler (accidental)

I'm sure there were others, those just come to mind. Basically grab anything that will allow you to beat their head to a pulp while remaining outside strike distance.


March 24, 2004, 09:28 AM
Maybe a Colt Python or Anaconda? :p

Seriously, any caliber you're good with is good. But would you really want to blast a western diamondback with a 375 H&H Mag elephant rifle?

March 24, 2004, 09:31 AM
Another vote for a shovel or hoe.
After that, anything filled with CCI snakeshot.
After that, a shotgun with a very light bird load, like 8 shot.
When/where I lived in Arizona, .22's with CCI snakeshot were very popular for dispatching critters.

March 24, 2004, 09:57 AM
Follow the good advice given by KNZN regarding keeping the weeds down and hiding spots. Whether or not you can shoot legally in the area it is a MUST to make yourself a "snake pole" to nab the critters and keep a machette or hand ax handy to take their heads off. Whack their heads off, then use a shovel to pick up the head for disposal. DO NOT play with the head after you cut it off because sooner or later you WILL get nailed.

If you decide to go the shootin' route just a plain old cheap .22 single shot rifle with snake shot will get the job done without disturbing the neighbors too much. If you want to make more noise I think you can get snake loads in .38/.357 from CCI.

March 24, 2004, 10:15 AM
38 shot loads will take the fight out of them but not DRT in my experience

Then you can finish off if you want with a rock or whatever is handy.

A shovel is okay but I haven't found a holster for one yet and they are really hard to conceal :D

Believe it or not, rattlers are hard to hit with a solid round at close range because there's not much mass there and the bullet path is still below the aiming point. A miss doesn't do much good :)

And a 22 solid or HP doesn't do much except make them mad unless you hit in the right place. There's not much vital area - like shooting somebody in the leg.

Old Fuff
March 24, 2004, 10:18 AM
Burrhead, knzn and LD are right on target. The first thing is to not push the panic botton. The next is to clear the property so that it isn't "snake friendly." Last, but not least if you think you will have to shoot them keep a revolver of at least .38 caliber loaded with shot rounds. A shotgun may be better, but depending on the neighborhood it may be overkill.

Once you move in and make friends with the neighbors see how they handle the problem - if there is one.

March 24, 2004, 10:19 AM
I'm in with the "whacker" guys. A grass whip or a shovel makes a very effective anti-viper device. Leave the non-venomous ones alone though--they're your friends, even though Grandma might not think so...:D

TFL Survivor

March 24, 2004, 10:27 AM
Yeah... to minimize potential damage, you want to sever the head in some fashion and then keep the head away from anyone or anything. Any kind of shotgun will work, but I'd rather take my chances with a shovel, hoe or long axe.

If you've never killed a large snake before... it is quite an experience. I remember visiting my great uncle in about 1981 or so, and while I was there, he killed what he called a black racer. Cut the head off with a hatchet and the body writhed for at least an hour. For the first minute or so, I was horrified. The next several minutes, I was amazed.

Keep in mind, it's their property just as much as it is yours regardless of who pays the taxes and there are more of them that there are of you. ;)

March 24, 2004, 10:41 AM
I've lived in texas but now live in pennsylvania. believe it or not I killed more rattlers here in PA. used sticks, shovels, stones. shovel is the most effective.

March 24, 2004, 10:51 AM
Not to hijack this thread, but I'm getting ready to move to a real 'country' location. Nearby relatives tell me about 6-foot rattlers, and one of the neighbors at the new house showed me the skeleton of a rattler he killed last August. It lost an argument with a backhoe. The skull on it was bigger than my fist (and I measure 4 1/2" across the back of the fist).

What would you use on a snake that big? Is 410 enough?

March 24, 2004, 10:54 AM
A shovel is okay but I haven't found a holster for one yet and they are really hard to conceal

How about a shoulder rig? 'Course, you'd walk like Walter Brennan... :what:

So, is a big, slow shovel better than a fast, small shovel? And what about over-penetration? Is a magnum shovel overkill? How about hi-cap vs. standard shovels?


Harry Tuttle
March 24, 2004, 11:22 AM
encourage feral hogs to homestead on your property

March 24, 2004, 11:31 AM
"encourage feral hogs to homestead on your property"

Good idea, then ya can go hunting later!

Keeping the brush down, and making it unfriendly to da snakes is the best. We have some bull, and black snakes at the range. Good fer keepin the mice, and packrats population down. Did have one member who took out a rattler with his .357 when leavin one day. Snake coiled up by the gate, and he merely defended himself:D

March 24, 2004, 11:45 AM
So, is a big, slow shovel better than a fast, small shovel? And what about over-penetration? Is a magnum shovel overkill? How about hi-cap vs. standard shovels?
:D :D :D :D

Then we could discuss the difference between round-point and square-point ....

One of those fire shovels with the teeth on one edge would be about perfect.

I guess one could carry a folding shovel in an ankle rig ...? :)

March 24, 2004, 12:18 PM
If you want pest control advice go to an expert with 20 years in the business. Me.:)
Do what others have said to make the yard unattractive. Also there is a product on the market called Dr.T's SnakeAway, Which is $5 worth of crushed mothballs, that sells for about $50. Spead it around the perimeter of your property and under any porched or similar structures and under the shrubs. You can also just buy the crushed mothballs.

There used to be a product called Bloodmeal that was made from rabbits blood with camphor you can spread your yard with that, it has a less noxious odor, if it is still available.

Also never ever kill a black snake or any non-poisonous snake they do much more good than harm. One of the standing rules in any pest control operation is to NEVER kill beneficials.

If you shoot don't aim for the head,they don't seem to care much. Aim where the head and neck come together.

One time while hunting I shot a small Rattler in the head an thought I killed it, so I took it back to camp and set it on the cooler when my buddy came back and reach over the truck bed to get a soda the snake apparently came to and struck 3 times before he could react. Luckily the shot had blown one of the snakes fangs out and broke it's jaw, it was cold so my friend had heavy clothing on, and the snake was small enough that it couldn't penetrate the sleeves of the jacket , wool shirt and long johns. It's kinda funny now but wasn'e at the time. Actually we were 18 or so at the time so it was kinda funny 5 minutes after it happened

March 24, 2004, 12:38 PM
We used a garden hoe, then grill at 600 degrees for 8 minutes followed by some A-1 steak sauce.

Johnny in Huntsville

March 24, 2004, 12:43 PM
A shovel seems ideal since you can immediately bury the head with your implement of inhumement. Any idea how deep is recommended? How about recipes?

March 24, 2004, 12:51 PM
Skinner Texas Rattlesnake Chili
taken from The Cook Shack at


2 Tbls. oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
*1 cup cubed rattlesnake meat (or chicken for the less adventuresome)
2 Tbls. chili powder
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 cups fresh tomatoes,chopped,or two 14.5 oz. cans, undrained
2/3 cups (6 ounce can) tomato paste
2 cups water
2 cups of macaroni (or other favorite pasta), uncooked

In 5 qt. saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil and saute onion, greenpepper, and garlic until tender but not brown. Add ground beef and rattlesnake meat (chicken); saute until done, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer about 2 hours. before serving, add water and return chili to a boil. Stir in uncooked pasta; continue boiling, stirring frequently, 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender.
Makes about 6 servings

March 24, 2004, 01:10 PM
joab, how do you dress one out ...?

First you hang it by the hind legs, right? :)

March 24, 2004, 01:15 PM
I got to kill a ratler once with a front end loader that had almost no tread on the tires. He was slithering away from me. I pulled up right behind him and squeezed him right out of his skin. I'm thinkin to myself, this one's for Adam you SOB. :evil:

March 24, 2004, 01:29 PM
What few rattlers we have around here are in the woods and rarely seen around houses (except those houses built in the woods :D ). Copperheads and cottonmouths are bigger problems.

Ditto to above, try to keep your house area unfriendly to them - especially having items laying on the ground (lumber, buckets, etc.) that they may find attractive. It is usually the reaching in on something like that that will get you bit. I have found that garden tools work best when you have them. Otherwise, like when I'm berry picking, I carry either a .357 or a .45 with shot shells. These things seem to pattern quite well out to about 8-10 ft. Any snake farther out than that is far enough for me to get away from.

Brian Williams
March 24, 2004, 01:31 PM
I use one of these Stoneypoint shooting sticks with the shooting rest on it to hold them down just behind the head and then cut the head off with a pocket knife. I got a 4' rattler this way in Central Pa last year on a canoe trip.

March 24, 2004, 01:33 PM
We exterminated a Mojave Rattler during the fall Quail season here that was as big around as a softball and 5 ft long.

This guy was huge and a buddy of mine almost stepped on him while going into a wash.

The snake had a cottontail rabbit in his gut. Found it while dressing him out for the grill.

Ughh, the smell of that rabbit when we opened the gut was horrid.

Dispatched the snake by the way with a 12 guage field load 7 1/2 shot shell.

March 24, 2004, 02:13 PM
.410 is plenty but...........
don't kill them unless you must, they keep the rodent population in check,
a large garden hoe works well if one is to close to home.
try spreading ceader chips (one brand name is "ceadercide") from the lawn & garden store frist "they claim it will keep snakes away...

March 24, 2004, 02:14 PM
Lenny how much meat is on a Rattler that big, and how much do you think it weighed?

Detachment Charlie
March 24, 2004, 02:37 PM
By refering to your kids' grandmother and your concern about #1. her not coming to vist because of the rattlers and #2. her safety from the rattlers, she must be your mother. Because if she was your wife's mother, she'd be your mother-in-law...well I think you get the idea.:evil:

George Hill
March 24, 2004, 02:59 PM
You need a Ranger. Awesome Anti-Snake Weapon.

March 24, 2004, 04:29 PM
Man I hate snakes....

I have been up close and personal with some really large rattlers

Did I mention I hate snakes????

I also recommend a Hoe...nice and sharp

No...I didn't call anybody a HO! attention people


March 24, 2004, 04:45 PM
Keep the brush away, scatter camphor under the house and don't worry about it.

A garden hoe or .22 should do just fine, if you really NEED to kill it. Thing about a Hoe is you can PICK UP the snake and RE-SETTLE it elsewhere.

Heck, Steve Irwin uses nothing but a stick he finds on-site.

When I was a kid living in AZ we hunted rattlers with .22 rifle. We used CCI stingers. My cousin Ronnie used a 12 ga shotgun, took the head right off. We'd skin 'em and stretch the hides to sell to tourists. Fun job for a 9 year old!

March 24, 2004, 04:51 PM
Moth balls are the way to go. I put them on the tree line in the backyard and around the fince where my pull is. Boy there is nothing like pulling the skimmer lid to see a snake looking back at you. I had a problem with cotton mouths and ring snakes getting into my pool (the skimmer basket). You know one would think that with all the chemicals that I have to put in there that it would keep them out.

March 24, 2004, 05:14 PM
I always tried to relocate them, rattlers are easier to handle than most, got one on my desk now who's just daring me to try. However the wife never fancied toting one around, so she used an old singleshot .410 never had any problem with one returning from the dead.

March 24, 2004, 05:30 PM
Swamprabbit - Where in Kentucky do you live that has cottenmouths?

Zach S
March 24, 2004, 05:57 PM
Two that come to mind is a shovel, and my M85UL loaded with shotshells.

Though I've heard of them, I dont think I've ever seen a rattler here. Most of what I see are copperheads, and 9 times out of 10 thats in a JY.

Dave R
March 24, 2004, 09:00 PM
Dunno if your property is fenced or not...

But when my Daddy was a boy in Wyoming, whenever they had problems with rattlers on a piece of property, they'd run pigs on the place for a month or so.

Pigs would kill every rattlesnake in the pasture. And you were usually good for several years after that.

March 24, 2004, 09:23 PM
I'd vote for a sharp shovel or hoe. Ma has two hoes, a garden hoe for weeding and then her snake hoe which is very sharp. She stretches them out, pins the head with the hoe and puts a little weight on the blade. Blade goes through even the biggest ones I've seen just like a carrot. We destroy the buzztails around the house, barn, and corrals. The snakes in the back 40 we just avoid. Cats will irritate the snakes enough that they will leave and are real cheap even if struck.:evil:

March 24, 2004, 09:24 PM
I suggest an A-10 with Napalm.:D

If you cant get some of that, get some above-ground diesel tanks, and surround it with Claymores. Make sure that you know that the tank is your enemy in this case, and not the rattlers. The tank wont explode like that.:evil:

March 24, 2004, 09:25 PM
I have had a great deal of experience working with snakes throughout my life. I have kept, bread, and lectured to kids and medical proffesionals about snakes for a long time.
First, don't kill a snake unless you have to. If it is on or near your property, I would suggest using a long walking stick or garden tool. A richocet could hurt or kill you or your kids, and is definitly overkill. Sometimes snakes need to be killed (when on or near your property), but killing them just because they are snakes is childish, ecologically ignorant, and potentially dangerous. Do not handle poisonous snakes if you are not very experienced (doesn't seem like too many people hear need to be told that BANG! BANG! THUD! SMAKCK!).
Snakes keep the varmint population way down (better than cats).
Mothballs are a very good idea (but not if your kids are young enough to think they are candy).
Cedar is very toxic to snakes! Might I suggest using cedar mulch or chips around the house (outside perimeter only), and around the bases of any trees or bushes on your property.
In that area of Texas Bull snakes are common. They can look like rattlers (even rattle their tail, but don't have a rattle. They rustle the leaves, and brush with their tails and it sounds a lot like a rattle snake). Bull snakes however have been known to eat ratllers. They also are known to be one of the best snakes for keeping rodent, gopher and rabbit populations under control. Some farmers actually release bull snakes into their barns and near their silos for this purpose. There are many other kinds of snakes which can and do eat rattlers: Indigo snakes (which are very endangered and bring a very hefty fine if you kill or even pick one up). Kingsnakes, milksnakes, and even coral snakes can eat rattlers too.
Coral snakes are the also found in the southern parts of Texas. They are red, black, and yellow. Coral snakes are usually not very large, but are quite poisonous (they are related to the cobra family). Corals can look a lot like harmless milksnakes (if the red bands are next to the yellow bands its a coral, if the red bands are next to the black bands if is probably a harmless milk snake; the saying to remember this is "red next to yellow, kill a fellow, red next to black, venom lack").
Copperheads and sometimes cottonmouths can also be found there. They are not likely to kill an adult, but can easily kill a small child, dog or cat.
When your kids are young, teach them to stay away from all snakes to be on the safe side.
If anyone gets bit, go directly to the hospital, and bring the hopefully dead snake with you so the docs can identify it and give the correct antivenom if necessary.
You don't have to be afraid of snakes, just cautious.
I recommend getting a good field guide or two for the native reptiles and other wildlife in your area.
There are also two poisonous lizards that may be found in the southern most parts of Texas, the gila monster, and the mexican bearded lizard. They probably won't kill you, but they hurt like hell (from what I have heard, and can cause a lot of local tissue damage).
Many snakes can strike up to a half or two thirds of their body length. Also, six foot rattlers are becoming more rare. They can be as big as seven or eight feet (possibly more). However, this is VERY unlikly. If you are about ten feet or more away, it is almost impossible to get bitten. If out in the wild, and that far away, just go somewhere else if possible. If you get close enought to hit it with a short stick you could get bitten. I would use a six foot walking stick if I were you. They make snake hooks and tongs for proffesionals, but I don't recommend them for the average person.
A coyote on the other hand responds very well to a 45 ACP or 44 Colt (try not to use the stick on the coyote:) ).
Good luck!

March 24, 2004, 09:53 PM
I'll second all that dockwithglock said. Also be aware that in some areas (Arizona included) it's illegal to kill or even relocate rattlers. YMMV. Of course if there's a problem snake, here in Tucson they won't even send anybody out anymore to take care of it, and even when they did, all they'd do is pick up the snake, move it about 1/2 mile, and dump it, sometimes in other people's yards (OK the easement in front of their property). Although I'd never advocate breaking the law :rolleyes: shoot, shovel (or grill :D ) and shut up may be in order :evil:.

March 24, 2004, 10:23 PM
I have shot exactly one 4 foot rattler. The body contorted around for maybe an hour after the head was removed. They aren't worth eating - too bony, and the meat is like crab in texture.

I will make an unusual suggestion - if it rattles, LEAVE IT ALONE, don't kill it, unless people are in immediate danger. Many rattlesnakes in the wild no longer rattle (including mine) because of (un)natural selection - the ones that rattled when people walked around have been shot the past hundred years or so. The ones that didn't rattle often escaped notice, and as a result survived, bred, and passed on their inclination to not rattle.

They do help control pests, and if it does you the courtesy of rattling, try to let it go.:)

March 24, 2004, 11:02 PM
I second what LD said about handling the head... DON'T. The first one I killed by holding it down with a stick & chopping off the head with about 3/4 inch of neck left. About 2 hours later, when I went to pickup the head from behind, at the cut part of the neck-stub, the d**n thing twisted on that 3/4 inch & tried to get me. I've killed 2 others & I've smashed the head, & scooped it with a shovel to bury it.

March 24, 2004, 11:04 PM

Some suggestions from a Wyoming/Montana guy who has had live experience.

Hogs, yes they do the job, but unless you can borrow them, they bring their own problems with them. Do you really want to try to raise them yourself? Even when you can borrow them, there are still problems.

August is when the snakes tend to go blind. When they grow large enough to molt their skin, the clear horny plate over the eye gets cloudy just before they shed. When that happens, they will strike without rattle, at anything & everything. There are other theorys I see.

I've had to give first aid for rattlesnake bite in the field, it's no fun. If it's in the area of your house, kill it. I don't know how much property you plan on owning, but I've seen them start a den in the middle of a ranch yard. The 'they are always shy & will slither away from you' story is just that in my experience. They are a confidant predator & not afraid of much. Cautious yes, fearful no.

Mothballs & cedar do tend to work.

If you determine that a shovel or hoe isn't going to always be at hand & don't want to carry a long gun, then a snake shot loaded revolver in .38 or .44 is good. There are a coupla things to keep in mind when using snake shot though. The lands & grooves will spiral the shot load just like a solid bullet, it tends to spread pretty rapidly from a 4" barrel. Do some testing to determine what's a safe effective distance for the gun & load you intend to use. If you load your own snake shot, & yes it's possible to do that, keep the velocity down. Too much propellant gas tends to 'blow holes' in your shot pattern. You can get more of a halo than a pattern. One of the older Speer manuals has some excellent information on loading shot capsules.

You know, I just got to thinking. I wonder what one would do if it struck at an electric cattle prod? Bet that'd ruin it's day.

:D 900F

Jeff Thomas
March 24, 2004, 11:06 PM
Glad to see a lot of charitable, wise responses suggesting avoidance and relocation before killing. I used to deal with 'em by use of a snake stick, pinning, bagging the relocation. Real men catch 'em live. ;)

Make sure you teach the kids how to handle themselves in snake country ... cognizant of the weather (no rattlers in winter), don't put your hands / feet where you can't see what's around, good boots for brush, etc.

Truth is, when I hunted snakes live with friends, we often came up empty handed. They are seldom as common as most people think, and stories of them chasing hunters, etc. are BS.

Enjoy your new home, as well as the wildlife.

Regards from TX

March 24, 2004, 11:27 PM
I remember many years ago at 29 Stumps, an M-60 tank did a real fine job on a Mohave rattler's head. We did the rest with a skinnin' knife, nice hot fire and some seasoning salt.

March 25, 2004, 03:30 AM
You need a Ranger. Awesome Anti-Snake Weapon I got two of them:D This one's technique is to snatch them up by the tail and fling them into the air repeatedly...keeps him busy for hours:D

So far he hasn't been bitten, or it didn't show if he was, but my little dog got it twice in the last year and her face swells up like a sharpei - it looks hilarious, I wished I'd taken a picture of it last time.

March 25, 2004, 03:48 AM
Anybody else ever hear of turkeys attaking and killing snakes. I have a real fun book on rattlesnake lore packed away somewhere that tells that story. Of course the same book tells about a cowboy who was bitten in the foot and killed by a rattler and his boots were passed down to a friend who died soon after and to another friend who also died soon after and so on until somebody looled at the boots and found a fang stuck in one of the boots that was killing the men. Fun book, full of crap but fun.

March 25, 2004, 05:24 AM
Anybody else ever hear of turkeys attaking and killing snakes

Turkey buzzards eat snakes - after they've been run over by a car:D

March 25, 2004, 09:13 AM
I know barnyard turkeys will go after snakes, so will geese and ginny hens (someone help me with the spelling here), but I never had any around hot snakes, just little black rat snakes. Just a caution on anti-venin, accepted practice of treatment now is to leave it alone, many more people have complications from the anti-venin than from the snake bite. The snakes in the US really aren't that bad.

March 25, 2004, 04:28 PM
Rattle snakes are not as common around here as they once were.

Rattlesnakes do not always rattle.

Rattlesnakes can kill your dog. (trust me, I learned the hard way)

Rattlesnakes near your home should die.

IF you want to leave them in the wild that's fine. One within seein' distance of the house soon to be dead.

Do NOT introduce hogs to control snakes (I hope that was a joke) I'd gladly take a pasture full of snakes over hogs. Snakes aren't as prolific or economically damaging. Snakes are easier to control.

Rattlesnakes mating is a rare sight. I killed to that were...ummm...still stuck together. It was amazing the amount of people that wanted to see that.

Rattlesnakes are occasionaly eaten by Bullsnakes. SAVE THE BULLSNAKES

Cats will not keep snakes away. They pretty much ignore each other.

Snakes will crawl over a catch rope. (BUt its a good story to get the kids to sleep on a campout)

Rattlesnake, battered and fried, does not taste like chicken, it tastes like crap.

If you decide to skin a snake, go jump in the septic tank first to cover the smell.

Cottonmouths scare me more than any rattlesnake.

Snake facts by Smoke

March 25, 2004, 04:50 PM
"killing them just because they are snakes is childish, ecologically ignorant, and potentially dangerous"

But it doesn't make me a bad person....right???:o

March 25, 2004, 04:50 PM
Cedar is very toxic to snakes!
These hills are full of juniper - doesn't seem to bother the snakes none.

I'm more worried about the junipers and fire danger - they are like having bombs on your property.

March 25, 2004, 08:14 PM
Just a caution on anti-venin, accepted practice of treatment now is to leave it alone, many more people have complications from the anti-venin than from the snake bite. The snakes in the US really aren't that bad.

I hope this is a joke! antivenom had always been horse serum based. This kind of anti venom DOES cause a good deal of serious reactions. The practice of using it for all vemonous bites has long been stopped. What this means is: it is only used when a bite is deemed to be limb or life threatening, and the new non-horse serum derived crotalid anti venom is not available. In medicine the the disease must be worse than the cure. However, many poisonous snakes in the US can be VERY deadly! We don't ahve as many people die of them here as they do in Asia or Africa, but if you get a bad enough envenomation you may be better off to get the proper treatment. If you need the older serum (the newer one may be unavailable in some places, or not in enough time), there are procedures for dealing with potential complications, before and if after they MIGHT occur.
Many snakes in the US are not that bad... but to say that all of them "really aren't that bad" could cause someone reading this to flat out refuse treatment when it could save their life. There are at four types of indigenous snakes (and MANY imported poisonous pet snakes), that all can potentially kill someone!
Too keep this a technically gun related post: If you MUST shoot a snake wouldn't it be cool to use snake shot in a Cobra Carry?! (by the way, does anyone have one, and do they like it?)

March 25, 2004, 08:31 PM
Try mesquite ...burn it down to coals. Maranade in Dale's sauce for an hour. Salt and pepper. Only turn the meat once.
The best killer of snakes is an eight foot section of grey outdoor conduit...just whack 'em...then use the hoe to cut off his head. All very quiet. :D
Mark. or your favorite firearm...22 to 12 ga.

March 25, 2004, 08:31 PM
"killing them just because they are snakes is childish, ecologically ignorant, and potentially dangerous"

But it doesn't make me a bad person....right???

I feel the same way about snakes as I do about guns (almost).
1) use your own as you see fit (if its found on your property it's yours)
2) Don't touch anyone else's unless they consent
3) Never point it at anything unless you plan to shoot it.
4) Snakes don't kill people, people kill people! (O.K. this is not true but I'm tired and probably too silly to be writing a post) But Guns Don't!
5) Make sure it is not hot before you handle it without extreme caution
6) You shouldn't need a license to own one, but you should be a responsible owner
7) You can never have too many!
8) Don't tell your neighbors how many you have.
9) "Don't Tread on Me!"

March 26, 2004, 04:02 AM
I hope this is a joke! antivenom had always been horse serum based. This kind of anti venom DOES cause a good deal of serious reactions. The practice of using it for all vemonous bites has long been stopped. What this means is: it is only used when a bite is deemed to be limb or life threatening, and the new non-horse serum derived crotalid anti venom is not available. In medicine the the disease must be worse than the cure. However, many poisonous snakes in the US can be VERY deadly!

I'm not a medical person, but have done a little reading up on it (particularly the veterinary side) because of the proximity of venomous snakes to my home, and I recently read a veterinary piece from a vet out in Arizona somewhere who treats a lot of rattlesnake bites in canines and felines andhe is very reluctant to give the anti-venom. He seemed particularly more concerned that a second anti-venom treatment is likely to be very harmful to dogs, and stressed that pound for pound canines and felines don't do as badly with poisonous envenomations as do humans.

The folk wisdom in my neighborhood is "nahh, don't worry about it, snakebites don't hurt cats and dogs any...." - which isn't strictly true, I had to have a copperhead bitten cat put down a few years ago because it caught a secondary infection after the snakebite that got down into it's jawbone.

March 26, 2004, 10:50 AM
The Scene:

Twelve year old pax is hiking along with her daddy during deer season some years back. They are walking along a trail which runs halfway up a steep mountainside, with a steepish cliff on the left side and a steepish drop off on the other side. Little pax is in front. Suddenly, her dad grabs her to make her stand still, and there is a rattlesnake in the middle of the trail.

We are both carrying deer rifles, but neither of us has a walking stick. Obviously it is just plain stupid to shoot a deer rifle into a pile of rocks. There don't appear to be any nearby sticks of the right length. There are plenty of loose rocks.

Dad's standing policy on rattlesnakes is to kill 'em all, whenever spotted. Even if that weren't his usual policy, there was no way back to the truck except down this particular trail with no way to go around the rattlesnake (which incidentally was plainly not going anywhere, was right in the middle of the trail, and was buzzing furiously at us).

So we commenced to killing that snake. Dad dropped a very large rock on her head, and both of us followed up with multiple other large rocks hurled down on her head and the rest of her body.

On her head? How do I know it was a her? Simple. Rattlesnakes are live bearers -- they do not lay eggs like most snakes do. They give birth to live young.

I learned this right there on the spot. The dead rattlesnake's "guts" suddenly started slithering every which direction.

There were at least 14 of them.



The question seldom addressed is where Medusa had snakes. Underarm hair is an even more embarassing problem when it keeps biting the top of the deodorant bottle. -- Terry Pratchett

Gus Dddysgrl
March 26, 2004, 02:49 PM
My small Swiss Army knife and a forked stick has worked well.:uhoh:

:evil: :neener: :D

March 26, 2004, 03:54 PM
No snake that does not pose an immediate threat should be killed. They are an important part of the eco system. Tossing small rocks would have made the snake leave and solved any immediate threat or you could simply have left it alone and it probably would have been gone by the time you came back.
If there is an overpopulation problem in the area or if they set up house keeping or are in the immidiate vicinity of your home it may be prudent to kill them otherwise leave them alone.
That just good eco conservation

March 26, 2004, 08:01 PM
No snake that does not pose an immediate threat should be killed. They are an important part of the eco system

My rule of thumb is that if it's poisonous or a danger to my poultry and in close proximity to my home it's dead. In the woods I typically wouldn't kill a snake unless I have a specific reason - like if it's big enough to make a hatband out of:D

March 26, 2004, 08:59 PM
No snake that does not pose an immediate threat should be killed. They are an important part of the eco system. That might be so. But then, I consider my family and friends to be a mite bit more important than any snake. Por eso I have, and will continue to, kill any and all lethal snakes I find anywhere that those individuals might decide to stroll.

March 26, 2004, 09:57 PM
It was years ago when I was about 10, and I was at my grandfathers ranch in south Texas. It was a cow feeding morning and I was getting antsy because nobody seemed in a hurry to get started (growing up feeding the cows was my favorite ranch job, plus I got to go shooting once we were done). I loaded my grandfathers 22 pistol (an old 9 shot revolver) that my grandmother had once used to do trick shooting with. Put everything in the pickup, found myself ready to go and waited....and waited....and waited, the men were in another one of those never ending adult discussions. Finally somebody tossed me the keys to the truck and told me to go load a few bales of hay from the hay barn (in hind sight I think it was just to get me out of their hair). Always excited to get the opportunity to drive on my own, I listened with thinly veiled impatience while I got the usual safety lectures about snakes. You know, “always lift the bale away from you”, and “don’t get close to one, they can strike from farther away than you think”, just the usual stuff.

Well, after the 75 second drive to the barn (and that includes a gate) I backed up to the stack of bales and started loading those incredibly heavy things (at least they were at the time, I don’t think they make them as heavy as the used to). I had a couple loaded and all the sudden I heard it! A rattle! I think I jumped up and backwards about 5 feet, and landed on top of the hood. I surveyed the ground for any of the evil creatures, leery of their incredible striking capabilities and not just a little afraid that I mind end up snake bitten while hiding on top of the truck. I found the thing coiled up no more than ten or fifteen feet away, all set to bite me! Being bitten while hiding on the truck hood didn’t seem a very noble way to go, so I decided I should at least try to kill it before it killed me. I wasn’t supposed to shoot without some supervision, but I figured my parents would rather have me alive to spank rather than dead to bemoan that silly rule.

After crawling across the top of the truck to the bed, I carefully stretched as far as I could into the open window to grab the pistol. “Crap (at that age that was the limit of my expletives), too far away” I thought. Deciding that if that snake was going to bite me anyway I might as well be bitten while trying to get the pistol, I went ahead and made a dive (the likes of which any Olympic class diver would have been proud of) through the open window expecting the snake to bite the soles of my feet, I could almost feel the snake breathing on me through the soles of my boots. I grabbed my only chance of survival (driving away would have been just to embarrassing, how could I call myself a man if I ran from a snake?) and aimed... Just in time I remembered how I had been told that shooting from inside the cab could make you go deaf (ok so they exaggerated a tad). I carefully stepped out of the cab with pistol in hand, dutifully aware of the snakes ability to strike from farther away than you expect. Again I aimed for the head....and aimed for the head....and aimed for the head.

“Crap! Why can’t he just stop moving his head around?”

Deciding that even snakes have some sort of vital organs I shot at the more steady body of the snake...nothing happened. Judging by the increase in rattling apparently the noise annoyed the snake. So I shot again, and again, and

“Oh no! Must be bad ammo”.

I quickly emptied the cylinder and re-loaded. As I was doing this I noticed from the brass that came out of the cylinder, that not only was the ammo faulty, somehow the factory had forgotten to even put a bullet, or even powder in the brass. That seemed odd, but I couldn’t afford it more thought, there was a deadly snake right on my heels that I had to kill. Again I pulled the trigger over and over again, after but a moment I realized that most of the box must have been bad ammo! I groaned at my luck, and with blazing speed I reloaded yet again. My fingers were loading so fast and I was shooting so fast the individual cracks became a roar of mighty firepower. Before I knew it I was completely out of ammo. It had required an entire 50 round box of 22’s to lay low the mighty snake, but by golly, there he was all bloody, and as the roar from my mighty pistol subsided I was aware of the sounds of silence. I had won! Thoughts of a snakeskin belt, or maybe a new pair of snakeskin boots filled my head. I started to walk towards the snake but just in time I remembered that even a dead snake could strike, something about “muscle memory”. Not quite sure how a muscle remembers something I nonetheless marveled at the incredible killing abilities of the lowly snake from a safe distance across the barn.

As the heat of battle melted away I carefully approached and noticed that there where lots of holes in the body, nowhere near 50 but I figured that was ok since a lot of that ammo had come from the factory without any bullets or powder. Beginning to fear that my new belt was ruined and boots would be completely out of the question. I found some long sticks and drug the snake out to the grass. I loaded the rest of the hay and drove back to the house, saddened at my loss of a snakeskin belt, but proud of having overcome what had to be one of the deadliest animals known to man. I pulled into the driveway and steeled myself for the intense interrogation I knew I would face for having shot without permission. My grandfather and dad walked out and looked at me. My dad said, “I heard you shooting up there, what happened?” After I told them about the mighty battle that had raged just a few hundred yards from the house, my bravery was rewarded with forgiveness from my dad and a comment from grandfather, “It took you a whole box?”

March 28, 2004, 07:47 AM
I definitely got the answers I am looking for! Thanks!

BTW: yes, it is my mother. Not that i would send my M.I.L. into the rattler's den either. Just a lucky guy I guess.

Cut grass really short.
Pour a concrete patio so i havea 'for sure' open and un-grassy area.
Cedar chips and/or moth balls under porch and wherever else.
no junk piles in yard.
long handled shovel nearby.
Reserve caliber of choice (Thunder-5 45/410 with birdshot?) only for the ones that are an imminent threat.

Sounds effective, reasonable and ecologically responsible.

March 28, 2004, 08:09 AM
Claymores, cpileri, you forgot the claymores!

And the quad .50s. Gotta have quad .50s, right?


Say, how do snakes like pepper spray? ;)

March 28, 2004, 08:24 AM
Say, how do snakes like pepper spray? No they don't. Capsasin is one of the new pesticides on the market. We use it mostly for ants and spiders. But snakes definetly don't like it. Black snakes at least. It should work on rattlers but probably not on moccasins for the same reasons mothballs don't work on them.

March 28, 2004, 12:40 PM
I live out in Wyoming and we have more than our fair share of rattlers out here. Personally, I'm willing to use anything I can to kill one. The most fun has to be a pistol though. If its looking at you (and somehow they always are) you can point the gun at it, move it side to side very slowly it will follow the barrel of the gun with its head. then when you fire it will actually strike the bullet. No idea why they do that, but its funny as hell when its all over. Don't forget that they're still deadly even after they stop breathing.

March 28, 2004, 03:47 PM
I am really impressed by the lack of hysteria here. I'm definitely in the "leave it alone or relocate it" camp, but I dont believe that anyone has said not to kill one that is a clear and present danger to people/pets/livestock. Rattlers are rare and protected where I live. Because they are'nt common. people tend to over-react to any sighting

Couple of points:

"Snakebite Survivors Club" - decent read about peoples encounters with snakes (Also recommended: Beast in the Garden. Cougar / human interactions, balanced viewpoints.

The photos I have seen of tissue damage from rattlesnake envenomation is absolutely horrific. Antivenin or not, its not good.

Steve Irwin is an idiot. He'll get nailed, its just a matter of time and karma.

If every copperhead people reported seeing around my area was an actual copperhead, copperheads would be almost as common as 3 to 4 foot sticks lying on the ground;)

March 28, 2004, 06:09 PM
then when you fire it will actually strike the bullet.
I have read that in old cowboy tales, and wondered if it was really true.

Probably works better with a slower round like a 38 special or 45 long colt (standard load).

I have a similar story to ahenry ... I once used up 12 22's on a 6 foot rattler. Not much vital area to hit, and at close range the bullet is still below the line of sight.

A 3/4 ton gmc pickup works pretty good to kill them :)

March 28, 2004, 07:09 PM
Steve Irwin is an idiot.

On his good days, sendec, on his good days....

March 28, 2004, 07:45 PM
Steve Irwin is probably the best snake handler I've ever seen, I've never seen him handle a snake in any way that would harm it. There's another Aussie Bloke, a red-headed fella however, that shouldn't be allowed to dig worms. I have no doubt that 25% of the snakes he handles, hot or otherwise, dies soon after.

I just finished Snakebite Survivor's Club, in fact it's sitting on top of one of my cages by the computer. Great read.

March 28, 2004, 11:22 PM
$50 says you don't see two snakes per decade in Kileen. I've heard various reasons for the decline in rattler population, and the bit about fire ants eating their eggs seems the most plausible to me.

I'm fairly convinced that copperheads are like fruitcakes. There's really only one in the world, and the nature museums or whatnot just trade him off. Anyway, if you see a copperhead, just ignore him. They're only really aggressive if you step on them. Don't ask.

The snake to worry about in that part of the country is the moccasin/cottonmouth. They're nasty little b*stards. They WILL climb things, contrary to popular belief, and four .38 snake loads doesn't always do them in. It will, however, immobilize them enough that the chainsaw can polish them off.

I don't know if Kileen has a lot of limestone like the Hill County area does (haven't been there in a long time), but there's enough rock on the surface there to preclude the use of a firearm most of the time. They like to curl up on big rocks, so BE CAREFUL. Four rules and all.

Sniping rattlers at a thousand paces with a matchlock might prove your skills, but a good hoe will be better. Raise it high and come down hard, and then just start a-choppin. The only good rattler is a pinkish goo soaking into the lawn.

Oh, btw, this is one of the BIG reasons that we all wear boots around here.

If you move to Harker Heights, say hi to my dad. He'll probably do the title on your house.

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