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Don't need to carry while hiking?

Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
I was recently hiking in Shenandoah National Park, approaching a magnificent overview with great rock formations, when I got close to a 4+ foot timber rattlesnake, spotted him from only a few feet away directly in my path. Luckily, the view did not distract me so much that I still spotted him. I was able to move away, I am very glad that I was able to observe this magnificent looking snake without damage to him or me.

I was oc'ing at the time, there are some dangerous critters in our woods.
 

MSC 45ACP

Regular Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2009
Messages
2,840
Location
Newport News, Virginia, USA
Shooting that "magnificent creature" would have been a bad idea for many reasons...

I'm glad you both came out of it intact. I can't imagine the Use of Force Policy in National Parks includes shooting venomous snakes. I know it sounds cliche', but its true... Snakes REALLY don't want to bite you because they're mean. They're just protecting their territory or their babies. Unless you're loaded with snakeshot, it would be pretty hard to dispatch that beast with JHP or ball ammo with just one or two shots.

Snakes are best observed behind glass or from a distance. I'm glad you're not telling this story from a hospital bed after a near-death experience. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but it may be a good idea to load your first two rounds with snakeshot on your next hike in the woods. If you carry a BUG, maybe you want to load that with the snakeshot...

Bravo Zulu on your reaction-time and having the 'guts' to NOT shoot that 'magnificent creature'. I'm not sure I wouldn't have unloaded on that beast... and incurred the wrath of the National Parks Service for lowering the population of Timber Rattlers by one snake.
 
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NovaCop

New member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
471
Location
, ,
Us nova guys would unload on that thing like an old western movie.
Don't do well with venemous wildlife.
 
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hunter45

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2008
Messages
968
Location
Myrtle Beach, SC
Please, speak only for yourself. Not all of us in NoVa are pansy city folk. Some of us actually know a thing or two about the outdoors.

I love the outdoors but snakes scare the s*** out of me. My dad got bit a few years back and wasn't able to walk for about a month.
 

pyite

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
131
Location
Yorktown, Virginia, USA
I love the outdoors but snakes scare the s*** out of me. My dad got bit a few years back and wasn't able to walk for about a month.

exactly...I love some wide open spaces, deep dark woods and everything in between but I do not like snakes. I was running along a path in Kentucky in my early teens and jumped over a downed tree. Right as I was about to land, I saw a big fat rattlesnake. I may have levitated.
 

Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Shooting that "magnificent creature" would have been a bad idea for many reasons...

I'm glad you both came out of it intact. I can't imagine the Use of Force Policy in National Parks includes shooting venomous snakes. I know it sounds cliche', but its true... Snakes REALLY don't want to bite you because they're mean. They're just protecting their territory or their babies. Unless you're loaded with snakeshot, it would be pretty hard to dispatch that beast with JHP or ball ammo with just one or two shots.

Snakes are best observed behind glass or from a distance. I'm glad you're not telling this story from a hospital bed after a near-death experience. I know hindsight is always 20/20, but it may be a good idea to load your first two rounds with snakeshot on your next hike in the woods. If you carry a BUG, maybe you want to load that with the snakeshot...

Bravo Zulu on your reaction-time and having the 'guts' to NOT shoot that 'magnificent creature'. I'm not sure I wouldn't have unloaded on that beast... and incurred the wrath of the National Parks Service for lowering the population of Timber Rattlers by one snake.

Actually, the snake never moved or rattled, even with me four feet away or when I took pictures, he never even looked in my direction, just kept sunning himself, and I had no intention of shooting him. I never felt in danger, but if I hadn't seen him and stepped on him...I was wearing hiking boots and long pants, so who knows the result if he tried to bite me... I spoke later with a snake expert, who told me this snake is generally not dangerous unless you step on or very near them.

In the unlikely circumstance that I had to shoot a bear or snake in the SNP, most of the time you are so far away from anyone that they will not hear the shot or be able to find you even if they did. But I would only do so if I felt in mortal danger. I guess a nearby hiker could report you or that they heard a shot.

I do have a question though for anyone with experience with bears in Virginia, which I have not encountered. I understand from my reading that they are generally not agressive towards humans except if you get too close to a cub. Is it effective to fire a warning shot to scare off bears, such as if you encounter one near your camp at night?
 
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t33j

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,384
Location
King George, VA
The most dangerous animals I've come across while out in the national forest were deer.

Humans for me; bears second. I'm not much worried about the bears which is why I'm pretty comfortable carrying a 9mm when I hike.

I can't really think of a single case in the mountains where it'd be necessary to shoot at a snake. In the second or two it would take to draw I could back up and go around. Moccasins maybe, but doubtful you'd run into one in the mountains.
 
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peter nap

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
13,551
Location
Valhalla
I do have a question though for anyone with experience with bears in Virginia, which I have not encountered. I understand from my reading that they are generally not agressive towards humans except if you get too close to a cub. Is it effective to fire a warning shot to scare off bears, such as if you encounter one near your camp at night?

You'll probably never see one Jonsey. They don't really like people although mine will watch me on he tractor sometimes.
Don't leave food out and you'll be OK.
Attacks are extremely rare in Virginia.

_MG_1198.jpg
 

peter nap

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Messages
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Location
Valhalla
I was thinking of you when I wrote this question, I knew you would respond, thanks.

It is possible to walk up on a pair that's setting up housekeeping. This is the time of year for it. The problem isn't the bears being aggressive toward humans, it's the males thinking you're a cub. They will and do kill cubs and yearlings. Back off making a lot of human noise and make sure he sees you, not just some bushes shaking. This is the scene you want to avoid (Unless you're a photographer with very little sense):lol:
bear.jpg
 

PaulX608

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
93
Location
Manassas, Virginia, United States
Growing up around snakes, I've never really clearly understood people's outright fear of them. I'm really glad neither you nor the snake was injured from your brief encounter. I've caught a few timber rattlers in my time. They are magnificent creatures and VERY strong! They're an essential element in their ecosystem. I'd recommend caution and protective clothing rather than the snakeshot, though. I'm not sure I could kill an animal unless I was hunting it or it was trying to kill me. Not much point in killing the snake after it's bitten you, and you'll never shoot faster than it can strike. If it wasn't rattling, it likely wasn't very concerned with your presence at that moment. Timber rattlers aren't terribly aggressive, and you'd just about have to step on it to get struck unless it was provoked.
 

peter nap

Accomplished Advocate
Joined
Oct 16, 2007
Messages
13,551
Location
Valhalla
Growing up around snakes, I've never really clearly understood people's outright fear of them. I'm really glad neither you nor the snake was injured from your brief encounter. I've caught a few timber rattlers in my time. They are magnificent creatures and VERY strong! They're an essential element in their ecosystem. I'd recommend caution and protective clothing rather than the snakeshot, though. I'm not sure I could kill an animal unless I was hunting it or it was trying to kill me. Not much point in killing the snake after it's bitten you, and you'll never shoot faster than it can strike. If it wasn't rattling, it likely wasn't very concerned with your presence at that moment. Timber rattlers aren't terribly aggressive, and you'd just about have to step on it to get struck unless it was provoked.

Some kind of primal fear Paul...or just genetic memories of Eve getting us kicked out of Eden:lol:
I have to fess up that I don't care much for them either but don't kill them unless it's poisonous and near the house.
A couple of weeks ago I came home to this and I picked him up and carried him to the woods. He chewed on me the whole way:banghead:

[video=vimeo;22632106]http://vimeo.com/22632106[/video]
 

PaulX608

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
93
Location
Manassas, Virginia, United States
After moving to the big city of Manassas up here in NoVa almost 15 years ago, I pulled a 6 or 7 foot Black Rat Snake out of my shed beside the little townhouse in which we lived at the time. My wife, a city girl, wanted nothing to do with it. My main concern was getting it out of my shed and down to the woods without hurting it. Once I caught it, it wrapped all around my arm and started squeezing and *ahem* urinating on me(common snake defense). As I walked across the street toward the nearest wooded area, the Central American lady across the street almost fainted! I got down to the tree line and held the critter up to look eye to eye with it and informed it that it wasn't going to eat me or scare me and it should let go so I could release it witout incident. It relaxed a bit and I was able to put it in a better home than my shed. I really find it difficult to hurt critters if I can avoid it. I was raised not to kill anything I wasn't gonna eat.
 

peter nap

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I got down to the tree line and held the critter up to look eye to eye with it and informed it that it wasn't going to eat me or scare me and it should let go so I could release it witout incident.

That ain't exactly what I said to that thing Paul. I'd best not repeat it for the sake of the children.:eek:
 

ocholsteroc

Regular Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2010
Messages
1,317
Location
Virginia, Hampton Roads, NC 9 miles away
Try brown recluse in your house. Those things are deadly also. I hate spiders, so small and you can not hear them coming at you. With a rattlesnake atlest you can hear it rattle. With a bear, well you can see that lol.
 
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Jonesy

Regular Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
416
Location
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
Growing up around snakes, I've never really clearly understood people's outright fear of them. I'm really glad neither you nor the snake was injured from your brief encounter. I've caught a few timber rattlers in my time. They are magnificent creatures and VERY strong! They're an essential element in their ecosystem. I'd recommend caution and protective clothing rather than the snakeshot, though. I'm not sure I could kill an animal unless I was hunting it or it was trying to kill me. Not much point in killing the snake after it's bitten you, and you'll never shoot faster than it can strike. If it wasn't rattling, it likely wasn't very concerned with your presence at that moment. Timber rattlers aren't terribly aggressive, and you'd just about have to step on it to get struck unless it was provoked.

Actually, I much enjoyed observing the snake for a time after I saw him, he had magnificent yellow coloring with stripes. They don't scare me, but I am certainly wary and careful. Luckily, I am very observant when walking in the woods so I spotted him before I could get into trouble. I never even thought of harming the snake, I know they are an important part of the ecosystem. I have a nice picture I would upload, but it is 2.5mB too big.
 
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Marco

Regular Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2007
Messages
3,905
Location
Greene County
Shenandoah National Park
Timber rattlesnake.


Wife saw her first "wild' snake the other day while walking her dog, it was a Timber rattler, all he wanted to do was flee into the tall grass.


I've had to educated my kids about playing in tall grass, moving rock piles and sticks.
Biggest concern is rabid skunks and racoons, had two rabid coons killed within a mile from our house within the last 2 weeks.



While clearing a path to the lake behind our house I discovered what appeared to be a Bear den, haven't seen but one this yr and I think it's the guy living in that den as he was headed that way.

While at another OCDO members house (Louisa) I/we noticed bear scat between his garage and house, but he hasn't seen one that i know of.
 
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