Snake Country


The snake you see in the above photo is a mojave rattlesnake. These rascals are a particular problem because they have a neurotoxin and a hemotoxin. In addition to their double potency, they seem to have a nastier disposition than other varieties of rattlers. This one was killed during a gunwriter event at Gunsite this past week.

Folks who live in snake country should take the time to learn to recognize the poisonous snakes in their area. It’s really not right to just kill every snake that you run into because snakes just do too much good. Quite frankly, I don’t even kill poisonous snakes unless they are hanging out too near my house, my camp, or my critters. I do kill them when they are close enough to surprise me and place me & mine in danger.

Folks who have dogs are well advised to expose them to snake-avoidance training. This training takes very little time, costs very little, and is extremely effective. I have killed three rattlesnakes that my dog alerted me to. And, in each case, thanks to the training, my dog was keeping her distance while sounding the alarm. Your local vet should be able to put you in contact with the training in your area.

Just about any firearm will do when you have to dispatch a poisonous snake. However, during the warm months, I keep some of the CCI shot cartridges handy for whatever pistol I happen to be wearing. I’m sure that the .22 shotshells will kill a snake, I’m just not convinced that they are all that effective. However, the shot shells in .38 Special, .44 Special, and .45 (both Long Colt and ACP), will do just fine.

The best advice I ever got about dealing with poisonous snakes was from my father. He simply said, “Don’t put your hands or feet anywhere that you can’t see.” To that I will add, if you have the Combat Mind Set and are truly in Condition Yellow, the chances of your being bitten by a poisonous snake are very small. Know what they look like and stay alert. But, for goodness sakes, don’t go around killing every snake that you see.

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26 Responses to Snake Country

  1. Richard Mann says:

    The .45 Auto shot shells are the best of the bunch based on my testing. I also load my own for the .327 Federal – 60 grains of # 12 behind a 60 gr. XTP works nicely for snake and other smallish critters.

  2. Rev. Roger Shervington says:

    Tried the .22 CCI snake shot a few years back on a medium-sized Pacific rattler. Six rounds only served to royally piss the varmint off. I followed up with two hollow-points and finished the job. I have had great success, however, with the .38 CCI snake shot cartridges.

  3. Jack Kellum says:

    Jim,
    I’ve enjoyed your writing for years and like your style. I’ve also listened to your music and like a lot of what I hear. I’ve hand loaded for 42 years and Skeeter, Elmer and others got me started and helped with great info. Now it is yourself, Mr. Taffin, Pearce, Venterino and a select few others who guide me.
    Living in Arizona I found your snake article most interesting.
    Now for a comment. Hoyt Axton was a good friend and when he wrote Pancho and Lefty the fast tempo was what he intended. It was originally on Snowblind Friend but is also on YouTube if you have never heard his version Willy and Merle put the brakes on an upbeat tune.

  4. Hank Sheffer says:

    Jim, I have come across a few of the mojave variety in my time out here riding and hiking around the Superstition Mountain area. They are truly angry, nasty and aggressive critters. On the other hand, I have found that I can get away from most of the others faster than they can get away from me . . . in opposite directions. I have been forced to kill very few over the years–and that usually only where they were too “in-close” to the house. Bull snakes (the good guys) generally take care of those matter for us.
    Good article–thanx
    Hank

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