Rattlesnakes
Last Post 07 Jun 2015 11:01 PM by Benjamin Crain. 44 Replies.
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Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
Lost Dutchman
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07 Jun 2015 04:05 PM
I just moved to the Colorado Western Slope from Texas, and now I am learning the weather and wildlife here, but I also spent a few years in Washington and Utah. Coming from Dallas it is the flattest land on earth and nothing but sprawling cities and concrete with a few lakes around town and on the edge of town. Each September 1'st is the beginning of Hunting season for Doves and we all set out to West Texas for dove hunting, and there are always rattlers, sometimes so bad that people refuse to walk. But during mid summer people tend to ignore the bigger problem which has grown all the way into Down Town Dallas and that is the Water Moccasins. Plus during the deer hunt it is usually still warm enough that the Copperheads are still out and they like to feed in camp because that is where the mice and rats are coming to find food.

Each area of the country is different and now that I am here in Grand Junction I am learning the Western Slope just the same way I had to learn everywhere else I have been. Since we moved here three months ago I have seen a badger, heard a cougar, seen plenty of lizards, seen some antelope and prairie dogs, a few mule deer, a rattlesnake, and a whole hell of a lot of introduced Eurasian Ring Neck Dove that crap all over my cars. When I went to visit my father in Utah the problem was even worse and that is because dove are not hunted here and in Utah like they are in Texas, and I fear this introduced species is going to slowly fill in for the Passenger pigeon over time, and they are a nuisance. One thing I noticed strange last week when driving down the canyon is that I spotted three squirrels with long tails, I know Colorado has some but up until now I haven't seen a single one. In Texas you have to shoot and trap squirrels on a regular basis to keep them from destroying your attic, here they are just snake food I assume.

I know the terrain so the least thing I am worried about right now is a Rattlesnake, but that being said I got a hell of a lot of Black Widows and Brown Recluses invading my home, and thank god we have a cat and a dog that detect them when they come in at night and start walking the ceiling. I like to educate people about Rattlers because if you give them space they will return the favor, I don't like killing them because they really control the varmints, but when I have to I always make sure they end up on the dinner table, most of the time they are very meaty and good eating. Just slide the meat off the ribs after being cooked and enjoy, that and they have a nice back strap that can be pan fried in an iron skillet in butter with a little salt and lime that is to die for. I don't care for it breaded and make sure when you cook the back straps people don't watch, because the meat will wiggle around in the pan as it cooks.
LEO LORENZUser is Offline
Lost Dutchman
Lost Dutchman
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07 Jun 2015 04:53 PM
Wow...backstrap on a snake?! and ribs too? Seems like that would be the whole darn body of the critter. But sure sounds tasty to me. I can understand the rattlers keeping the camp clean of vermin and such. But way out in the hills and canyons I dont think the vermin really matter as much as having rattlers infesting the favorite panning or detecting site. Spiders getting into the house....gee. I just got back a few weeks ago camping in the eastern Sierra's south of Carson City and several of the days it got cold and rainy and even snowed too. I had the propane Heater Buddy in the tent, which didn't actually have a floor but just a tarp, (it was actually an ice fishing hut made by Clam, but I use it in cold weather as a tent) Well during the night, after the tent got nice and warm...we noticed a couple brown spiders on the wall...and it then occurred to me that the warmth from the tent surely attracted them. Not sure what kind they were but I was thinking likely a recluse. Now I gotta rethink what I do. At night when you shine a headlamp around you can spot those spiders with their glowing eyes in the dark.
Leo
Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
Lost Dutchman
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07 Jun 2015 06:45 PM
It reminds me of my days out in the field, always shake your boots and check your bed before you get into them. I can see where the spiders are nesting and if you come out to our place you can see it for yourself, the problem is I have to get underneath it to spray it out and until I buy a painters suit and put on my full face shield I do not care to have them raining down upon me as I use a pressure hose to clear out their nest from right below.

If you haven't eaten rattler you are missing out, they are actually really good. A lot of people will fry them like fried chicken but then it "tastes like Chicken", instead I like to cut the back straps off with a filet knife and use those in an iron skillet with butter, lime, and a touch of salt. It really brings out the flavor, but the rest of the snake is pure muscle and ribs and you just cook it in a Dutch oven slowly and the meat slides right off the ribs and just needs a little salt and pepper, it is really good.

But what ever you do don't try to catch one live like you see on TV, they can drive their fangs through the floor of their mouth directly into your hand, and even if you have control of the head even a 4 foot Rattlesnake is strong enough to close the circulation to your hand by strangulating your forearm and start working it's head out of your grasp. Some people can do it and make it look easy, but even a rattlesnake wrangler will tell you to never attempt to hold a 6ft Rattler, they are just too powerful.

But remember this, hours after you have killed the snake the head can still bite you and will, so don't save it to look at, just blow it off or cut it off and bury it in the dirt. People in camp will want to see the head and fangs if you bring it back and somebody can easily get bit.

Trust me, I know my snakes, as a kid I used to catch them and give them to Biology Classes that had live animals. Every year in Texas when they come out of the dens people go out in waves to catch them and they are then sold to people that eat them, and I have literally seen a cardboard box loaded into the back of a Mercedes with 40 very large Live Rattlers in it. There is not any car on earth I would be caught dead in like that. The purchaser was from China and he paid $3.29 per pound for the live snakes. Look on the Internet about the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round up, if you notice most of all of those snakes are manageable size and can't strike above your chaps, the larger and more dangerous snakes are sold off for food and hides very quickly. But I should also mention, none of the snakes are bred, all of these snakes are caught every year as they come out of their dens in the wild. There is no shortage of these snakes where I come from to say the least.
joseph LoydUser is Offline
Buzzard
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07 Jun 2015 06:51 PM
A true story about running over a rattle snake .I was driving down a road that is known for rattle snkes .It was late Aug.and as I was driving into camp I seen a very large snake in the road at night ,and aia thought I would run over it .That was a mistake just trying too run over it .Make it short I spent the next two and half hours getting that snake out of my engine area of my truck .My brother in law went trough the same thing .That is why I slam on my breaks just before the snake and slide over it.
Member LDMA and several other clubs in CA.
Benjamin CrainUser is Offline
Lost Dutchman
Lost Dutchman
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07 Jun 2015 11:01 PM
Y'all will have to forgive me for my Texan, there is a big difference from running over one and driving over one where I come from.

Joseph,

I hit a possum doing about 75mph on a freeway one night and that thing got stuck in my wheel well until I could come to a stop, it sounded like broken washing machine out of balance, I had possum chunks and blood everywhere. Another time in Southern Utah I saw a trucker come through a heard of sheep at night on HWY12 South of I-70 where it is still Open Range and that poor bastard had sheep guts lodged into every crevice under his rig.

Actually brings back good memories too, there is no place on earth like the top of Boulder Mountain Utah where my father and I used to Elk hunt. Nobody back then ever went to the top so it was like a sanctuary for game and fish, and absolutely beautiful. From what I understand even today the high altitude and weather keep most people off the top that is thick with Elk and some of the best trout fishing on the planet because the mountain has never really been tapped by mankind because it is so isolated in the middle of the Southern Utah Desert, but that was before 4 wheelers so I sure more are venturing up to the top of the mountain now.

If you ever want to truly visit a mountain in North America that creates it's own weather and is so high up it in the middle of nowhere take a road trip there, just make sure you have a serious 4 wheel drive and be prepared to get stuck having to sleep a night or two on top of the high mountain plateau, it creates snowfall year round when the weather says clear skies. 11,000 plus feet and the top is enormous and mostly level. Lets put it this way, I want my ashes to be spread on the top of that mountain, there is something truly special about it. Hopefully when that day comes my family wont have to apply for an EPA permit to spread my ashes, god knows I carry enough hardware internally to require a permit just to cremate me.
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