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.