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Thread: Discharging firearm in a park?

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    I was out at the Bennett's Creek Park in Suffolk today playing disc golf with some friends. Most of the course runs through the woods, on trails. While we were playing today, there was a huge cottonmouth snake right in the middle of one of the trails. It was acting pretty aggressive, and my friends dog almost ran right over it. I'm glad that nobody in our group got attacked, but I'm very worried about other people who play the course, especially the children.

    My question is, would it be ok to shoot the snake in a situation like this, or even if it was on the side of the trail, where somebody could get bitten? Whenever I play, I carry a little .22 magnum NAA mini revolver, loaded with CCI shotshells, specifically for situations like this. I didn't shoot it since I didn't know if it was legal or not, so that's why I'm asking. It was in the woods, and there wasn't anybody around for a good distance.

    So, what's the proper action to take in a situation like this? Could I dispatch the snake? Would I have to report it to a park ranger after I shot it? Any information would be helpful.

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    Regular Member virginiatuck's Avatar
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    mercutio545 wrote:
    I was out at the Bennett's Creek Park in Suffolk today playing disc golf with some friends. Most of the course runs through the woods, on trails. While we were playing today, there was a huge cottonmouth snake right in the middle of one of the trails. It was acting pretty aggressive, and my friends dog almost ran right over it. I'm glad that nobody in our group got attacked, but I'm very worried about other people who play the course, especially the children.

    My question is, would it be ok to shoot the snake in a situation like this, or even if it was on the side of the trail, where somebody could get bitten? Whenever I play, I carry a little .22 magnum NAA mini revolver, loaded with CCI shotshells, specifically for situations like this. I didn't shoot it since I didn't know if it was legal or not, so that's why I'm asking. It was in the woods, and there wasn't anybody around for a good distance.

    So, what's the proper action to take in a situation like this? Could I dispatch the snake? Would I have to report it to a park ranger after I shot it? Any information would be helpful.
    IMHO, the proper action to take is to leave it alone and give it a wide berth. At the very most, you could tell a park official about it. At the very least, let people that you encounter know about it.



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    virginiatuck wrote:
    mercutio545 wrote:
    I was out at the Bennett's Creek Park in Suffolk today playing disc golf with some friends. Most of the course runs through the woods, on trails. While we were playing today, there was a huge cottonmouth snake right in the middle of one of the trails. It was acting pretty aggressive, and my friends dog almost ran right over it. I'm glad that nobody in our group got attacked, but I'm very worried about other people who play the course, especially the children.

    My question is, would it be ok to shoot the snake in a situation like this, or even if it was on the side of the trail, where somebody could get bitten? Whenever I play, I carry a little .22 magnum NAA mini revolver, loaded with CCI shotshells, specifically for situations like this. I didn't shoot it since I didn't know if it was legal or not, so that's why I'm asking. It was in the woods, and there wasn't anybody around for a good distance.

    So, what's the proper action to take in a situation like this? Could I dispatch the snake? Would I have to report it to a park ranger after I shot it? Any information would be helpful.
    IMHO, the proper action to take is to leave it alone and give it a wide berth. At the very most, you could tell a park official about it. At the very least, let people that you encounter know about it.

    I did inform the people playing behind us about it. But what about the people behind them, and so forth? I see the park rangers driving around every now and then, but not too often.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    virginiatuck wrote:
    IMHO, the proper action to take is to leave it alone and give it a wide berth. At the very most, you could tell a park official about it. At the very least, let people that you encounter know about it.
    I would agree. If you had cell service you could have called the Rangers office and asked if they wanted to come and handle it. But.. a snake in a park is it's home is it not?
    Carry On.

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    ed wrote:
    virginiatuck wrote:
    IMHO, the proper action to take is to leave it alone and give it a wide berth. At the very most, you could tell a park official about it. At the very least, let people that you encounter know about it.
    I would agree. If you had cell service you could have called the Rangers office and asked if they wanted to come and handle it. But.. a snake in a park is it's home is it not?
    True, I'll probably get the ranger station number and keep it in my phone. The snakes aren't a huge problem, but the ticks are ridiculous!

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Sounds like the outdoors is not a place for you.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    t33j wrote:
    Sounds like the outdoors is not a place for you.
    So the outdoors isn't for people who are concerned about others? I never knew that.

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    No... for people who think to destroy wildlife which pose no immediate threat to life or of great bodily injury. For those who would alter an environment intended to be preserved in its natural or close to natural state.

    The simple solution is to leave it alone as has already been covered. Notify the people in charge of the area and let them decide if it's appropriate to kill it, move it, or let it be.
    Sic Semper Tyrannis

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    t33j wrote:
    No... for people who think to destroy wildlife which pose no immediate threat to life or of great bodily injury. For those who would alter an environment intended to be preserved in its natural or close to natural state.

    The simple solution is to leave it alone as has already been covered. Notify the people in charge of the area and let them decide if it's appropriate to kill it, move it, or let it be.
    It's a snake for crying out loud. You act like he is killing dolphins. If one of them ever gets close to me, I'm shooting it. I've seen first-hand what a poisonous snake bite can do to a human.

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    I'll toss in my 0.02 becaue I'm on both sides of that fence.

    I do kill snakes close to the house. That's about it though. Copperhead are the most non aggressive snakes around. Wanna get bit, go play with a water snake. They aren't poisonous, but they hurt like the dickens.

    We're running out of environment to deal with fast Hunter. Snakes have a very definate place in it. If it weren't for them we'd be up to our armpits in vermin.

    We simply cant kill everything we don't like or could be dangerous. There are unintended consequences. If we could, there would be a lot of dog hunters sleeping in the deep and I could bow hunt in peace.


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    The snakes do have their place in the scheme of things. Even the poisonous ones. They kill rats mice and other vermin controlling their population.

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    Is this going to turn into a "pit bulls are good/pit bulls eat babies' faces" thread?

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    Glock27Bill wrote:
    Is this going to turn into a "pit bulls are good/pit bulls eat babies' faces" thread?
    It did the last time.

    As I recall, I had a Little Mary call me "Killer" for shooting a Copperhead.

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    I understand both sides, but if the snake is a threat to people and animals, then something needs to be done. It wasn't out in the brush, it was right on the trail where people walk. Those cottonmouths are all over the place there. We were over there on Saturday, and one of them was hanging out in the water by the boat launch. I'm not trying to go all cowboy and slaughter every snake in the park (I didn't shoot it today, for instance), but that course gets played a lot. I was only asking for future reference. As I said before, I'll just save the ranger station # in my phone and report it next time.

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    OC a walking stick and whack it!
    James Reynolds

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    ProShooter wrote:
    OC a walking stick and whack it!
    That'll give you diabetes.

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    That's an issue that is normally the subject of municipal ordinances, unless it's a state park. Even if it is a violation to discharge a weapon, though,there would be a couple of good defenses, assuming that someone reasonably believed that there was a present danger posed by the venomous snake. If you just happened to see one, and there was no reason to think it was likely to bite, then that's probably a class one misdemeanor for cruelty to animals (killing any animal is aper seviolation).

    The defenses are 1) "sudden emergency doctrine" and 2) "self defense/defense of others".
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    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    If I came across a venomous snake in a park where lots of people are known to be around, I'd call the non-emergency number and see if animal control would take care of it.

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    nova wrote:
    If I came across a venomous snake in a park where lots of people are known to be around, I'd call the non-emergency number and see if animal control would take care of it.
    In the meantime, could you look around for a largish stick already laying on the ground - no, do not break off something that's still living - and use it to move said serpent to a less threatening locale? Triple sumersaults with quadiple twists are not necessary, but you might get style points from an audience.:P

    Or if you are not inclined to play directly with snakes but are that concerned about the safety of others, please be sure to stay in the vicinity and warn those approaching the area of the presence and potential danger of the snake.

    As has been mentioned by others, you are essentially sojourning through the snake's home grounds. So long as it is not actively engaged it trying to hurt you to the extent you cannot otherwise get away from it, it is better to just go around it.

    stay safe.
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    Mmmm.

    Tastes like chicken.

    I was unaware that snakes had a season. Or would that be a non-season?

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    Reminds me of a story from a few years ago.

    Wife's family reunion at Rockwood Park, off Courthouse Road in Chesterfield County.

    Day after the first cold night of Fall. Saw no less than a dozen copperheads that had crawled out of the woods to warm themselves on the paved hiking trails. Have never seen this many poisonous snakes in one day before or since.

    I think one of her cousins procured some new boot-making material.

    Hundreds of folks use that park every day, especially in the summer. If only they knew what lurked in the woods! Other than that one day, I can count on one hand the number of poisonous snakes I have seen in the wild over a 40 year period.

    No need to kill the snakes, unless they become a problem near your house. Even then, I would ask one "why did you move to the country if you don't like wildlife"?
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    mercutio545 wrote:
    I was out at the Bennett's Creek Park in Suffolk today playing disc golf with some friends. Most of the course runs through the woods, on trails. While we were playing today, there was a huge cottonmouth snake right in the middle of one of the trails. It was acting pretty aggressive, and my friends dog almost ran right over it. I'm glad that nobody in our group got attacked, but I'm very worried about other people who play the course, especially the children.

    My question is, would it be ok to shoot the snake in a situation like this, or even if it was on the side of the trail, where somebody could get bitten? Whenever I play, I carry a little .22 magnum NAA mini revolver, loaded with CCI shotshells, specifically for situations like this. I didn't shoot it since I didn't know if it was legal or not, so that's why I'm asking. It was in the woods, and there wasn't anybody around for a good distance.

    So, what's the proper action to take in a situation like this? Could I dispatch the snake? Would I have to report it to a park ranger after I shot it? Any information would be helpful.
    omg, this comment just made me laugh out loud. I mean no disrespect, but it just hilarious. "My question is, would it be ok to shoot the snake in a situation like this?" hahaha. Dude, I can just imagine you looking for a reason to unload on something.

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