Another snake story

mulberryknobJune 19, 2012

A week ago Sunday night I got a phone call from my SIL at 11 PM. I knew when I saw his number that something had happened to daughter. At 9:40 that evening she had called him at work saying the dogs were going crazy in the yard and which gun should she take out with her? The 9mil? No he said, take the 22 rifle. At 9:50 she called him back on her cell saying "Get me help. I just shot myself in the foot trying to kill a rattlesnake."

They have a lovely Siberian Husky that hates snakes and he was trying to get to it. The more the dog lunged at it and barked, the more the snake rattled. Daughter got off two shots, hitting the snake with one at least because it started writhing. She took one step forward to get a better look, stepped into a hole and squeezed the trigger as she fell. The bullet broke one bone and shattered another--the pinky toe and next one and went out the bottom of her foot. Off her foot for at least 6 weeks.

Moral of the story. Call a neighbor or wait for husband who gets home at 10:20 on Sunday night.

It could have been worse. She could have fallen on the snake. Luckily wasn't close enough.

They never did find the snake. Hope it crawled off and died. A neighbor a couple miles from them killed 6 rattlesnakes in a week earlier this year.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, I know I shouldn't be laughing at her misfortune, but admit that I am grinning, but only because this sounds like something I would do. I hope her foot heals properly and that the pain is not too terribly bad. At least she has a reason to stay inside and stay cool this summer.

I always call a neighbor if my DH or DS is not around, and we have several wonderful friends who are willing to rush right over, gun in hand, to shoot a snake. Sometimes our neighbors get creative. There was a big black rat snake we wanted out of the coop because it was eating eggs and chicks, but Kristine and I were the only two here. Her dad and another neighbor came rushing over. They didn't want to shoot the snake inside the chicken coop as that would have left a bullet hole in the coop, so one of them put on thick leather gloves and grabbed the snake and threw it out the door, and the other one shot it midair. Kristine and I had expected that he would carry the snake out, so when it came flying out the door about head-high, she and I screamed (like girly girls) and turned and ran about 20' away from the general direction of the coop. By then, the other guy had shot the snake and the two men were just laughing at us. About all we could manage to say was "is it dead? are you sure?"

We have some neighbors a couple of miles up the road who always seem to have a week or two in April or May when they have copperheads popping up all over the property and often they'll kill several per day for a few days. That would drive me crazy. It is bad enough to see one here or there, but a bunch at once would be just too much. The most snakes I've seen in our yard in one day is four or five, and they were all together in a group--a large copperhead and several babies. Chris and I found them by stepping right over them in the pasture as we walked through it. I don't know how we managed to not step on them and to not be bitten. Just plain dumb luck, I guess, because they were all around our feet.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:54AM
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Dorothy, I wondered why your canning session was ONE daughter and 4 granddaughters. LOL She gets 'time-out' for awhile, doesn't she? That is really bad, but I can understand how it can happen. We have known a few guys that have shot themselves in the foot or leg, and they didn't even have the excuse of the fall or the snake. I think all of those were with pistols though and in this case I'm glad she had the 22 and not the 9MM. I hope she is recovering comfortably.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:30AM
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Moral of the story, stand back... and use a shotgun.
A couple of weeks ago, Jerreth was cleaning out our hay barn when we were about to do hay. At one point a large chicken snake appeared, out from under a pallet. She called me at work. I knew better than to suggest that she kill it the way I do. So, I had her get her 20 gauge. She shot (and hit) it THREE TIMES, just to make sure! I was impressed, when I got home, because she didn't damage anything, besides the snake. A couple of hours later, one of our daughters came home and was helping her. A large copperhead stuck its head up, from under a pallet. Our daughter used the same gun to cleanly remove its head. I have to commend my wife. She is terrified of snakes. But she stuck it out. She LOVES her shotgun!

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 6:10AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I hope your daughter heals soon. I have read about you guys shooting snakes and thought that might be a good idea. I use a hoe and sometimes think I get too close for comfort. I can see myself falling in the hole with gun in hand. Dawn the people down the road who have snakes all over for a week or two need to find out what insects the snakes are coming to eat. I have copperheads the first of July because that is when the cicadas emerge. Now I spray at the end of June and don't see as many. If you kill what they eat, they are not going to flock to your yard. This year I am watching closely because things may be earlier.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:23PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Helen, They have a big empty pasture across the road from them that has a huge thicket of native blackberries, and they think the snakes come from there. At the time of year they're showing up we have lots of May beetles/June bugs. I wonder if they're coming to the yard to hunt for beetles that gather under the security light? The copperheads seem to congregate in the garage, and my friend has been known to grab a hoe and chop up a copperhead if she finds it in the garage. I'm thinking maybe there's a field mouse or two in the garage in spring.

I do think that cicadas were early here in south-central OK. They were making the usual midsummer racket in April, which is far too early. Everything has arrived early here this year including snakes, turtles, hummingbirds and frogs. I hope all the insect pests go away early, but I doubt that's going to happen. With everything so early, it makes me feel like the great outdoors is on "fast forward" this year. Grasshoppers were on time but not in terribly high amounts, but with the continued average temps and above average rainfall for the last month or so, new grasshopper hatches are occurring constantly and in high numbers. At the rate we're going, I'll soon have more grasshoppers in my garden than plants.


    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Good memory, Carol. You're right, in times past it has always been two daughters and 4 granddaughters on putting up days. Yes, she gets a reprieve this summer. I took her to the Dr this morn because her husband is a day sleeper and the Dr said, "Be sure to keep that boot on and keep the foot elevated above your heart." So she sits in her recliner with 3 heavy duty pillows on the foot rest, which does the job.

She still wants her corn though so I will pick it and take it to her. She can husk corn from her chair and I will blanch and chill and pack. It will be another week or two, so by then perhaps she will be off the heavy pain meds and be more alert.

George, someone suggested she use a shotgun and she said, "With my luck, the Dr would have had to spend hours picking pellets out of my foot."

Dawn, when my oldest was home, we killed 8 big black snakes in our chicken shed in one summer. Most of those son grabbed by the tail, pulled out of the nest and whipped onto the floor like a bullwhip where I could whack it hard with the hoe.

We lived here for over twenty years without seeing black snakes but the last five years we've killed 2 or 3 every summer. Two already this summer and one I whacked with the hoe but not hard enough as it left in a hurry.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:39PM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

One summer night in July I killed 6 copperheads just out my back door. I got a razor blade and slit one of them. There were 14 cicadas end to end from whole and sound to mush with eyes. Nothing else was in that snake. I just sprayed the area under the elm today with Sevin. I have not seen any cicada exoskeletons but I hear them in trees. Maybe my elm doesn't have as many as it did before I started spraying. Since I started spraying I only see one or two copperheads a year and usually those are scared up by the lawnmower. I have been known to have my hoe ready and make a circle at dusk with the riding lawnmower just to see if I can get them to move.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:57PM
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Reading these remarks brings back memories of when my brother was in Little Rock taking Chemo. His DD called them and told them that snakes had been getting into there dove cage and eating the doves. My SIL called me to see it I could make their cage snake proof. I took one of my fence chargers to their house in De Queen Ar. and made POS. and NEG. wires around all the post supporting the cage, which was about 24' x 8'. After completing the task I call my SIL in Little Rock, she then relayed the message to my brother who was too sick to get out of bed, and told him that Larry put up an electric wire to keep the snakes out. He, in his Witt said "my, my, I have never heard of anyone building an electric fence to control snakes, I bet he did not have to use very tall post, because I've never heard of a snake jumping over an electric fence". Even though he was dying he still kept his wonderful Witt.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 8:09AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy, You are such a better country woman than I ever will be. I cannot bear to even look at a snake much less stand close enough to chop one with a hoe.

We have lots of black snakes and the first few years we tried to tolerate them because they control rodents. Once they started wrapped themselves around our little keats and chicks and squeezing them to death, we stopped tolerating them. We see them a lot more than we see actual chicken snakes. Among the venomous snakes, I see Timber Rattlers (commonly called velvet-tail rattlers here) more than I see anything else, although I see a lot of copperheads too.

We've always had lots of non-venomous water snakes but the last three years we've had cottonmouths in the lily pond. I am just about done with the lily pond for that reason and think more and more of filling it in. I'd miss the water lilies but I wouldn't miss the cottonmouths.

Helen, Between our house and the Red River to our west there is one old farm/ranch. It is used mostly as a weekend place now by one of the adult children who grew up there. He has so many copperheads on his property at night that he says when he sits on his front porch at night and shines a flashlight into the yard, there will be this huge amount of snake eyes looking back at him. He just sits there on the porch and shoots them, but no matter how many he kills, more of them just keep coming.

Larry, He surely did kept his wonderful sense of humor, didn't he.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Moral of the story. People fear snakes much more than guns and bullets. While one should be cautious around both venomous snakes and guns with bullets, people's risk perceptions lead them to overestimate the potential risk of venomous snakes, and underestimate the potential risk of guns.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 12:43PM
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My only fear of the gun is that I won't have it in my hand when I see the snake, or that once I have the gun, I can't find the snake.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Dorothy and folks, those are awful story about mistakes one can do in fear. I heard that more that 80% of the snake related deaths are because of fear/shock rather than poison. I catch snakes in open field but I have fear about the snakes in the night or in dense woods. I hope your daughter recover from the wound soon. -Chandra

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 2:49PM
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