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Archive 2012 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX
  
 
dsjtecserv
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p.2 #1 · p.2 #1 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Like Wayne I have done a fair amount of swamp slogging in south Florida, and haven't had any worries. I have occasionally seen cottonmouths, on or beside the trail, but not enough to worry too much about. But on a hike in Big Cypress National Preserve a couple of weeks ago I had to rethink that. On a 2 mile hike I counted 16 cottonmouths coiled on or beside the trail, before I stopped counting. There were so many that they felt like the cheering section on the sidewalks of a marathon! I've never seen anything like this before.

I think what is happening is that drier-than-usual conditions this year have resulted in less favorable conditions in the prairies and cypress stands surrounding the trail. Because it is eroded a few inches lower, the trail still has a bit of standing water. The snakes apparently are concentrated around the water, waiting for small prey. This was right at sunset, so I think they were coming out for an evening meal.

That said they were not aggressive, so long as I didn't step on them (which I didn't try). They were always highly visible and I usually saw them right when they saw me. They always give an open-mouth display to intimidate any threat that happens by, but showed no eagerness to follow it up, even if I poked them with my sticks. They always let me pass at a safe distance on the trail. But since it was getting dark and I couldn't be so sure of seeing them first, so I decide to end early and not finish by headlamp.

I think I may have a pair of snake gaiters at least along with me next time, just in case I run into a similar odd convergence of snake concentrating conditions.

Dave

Edited on Feb 19, 2013 at 04:33 PM · View previous versions



Feb 19, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Beverly Guhl
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p.2 #2 · p.2 #2 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Wayne: Thanks for the feedback. I definitely like the zipper idea, too. I'd read that it's faster and easier.

Peter: Yeah, those snakes can turn up anywhere. When I was a kid I lived in Virginia; our yard backed up to woods leading half a mile to a creek. I saw snakes all the time. One summer I was running really fast barefoot across the back yard and stepped on a snake. I think a primal instinct kicked in the second my foot felt the snake because I swear I flew up in the air like some cartoon character pedaling air and came down a good distance away. Having never touched or stepped on a snake barefoot I had no reference for identifying the sensation, but the second my foot came into contact I knew it was a snake! I looked back and saw a 12" snake with maybe a .75" diameter body, crawling away.

NOLAGUY: yeah, I already mostly do a different kind of shootin'! It's just that the wildflowers in Texas in the Spring are so stunning; hard to resist. I also try not to let fear run my life, but yeah, snakes are beyond fear for me, they are into the terror-sphere. I hope the gear I wear won't give me a false sense of safety. I'm not sure how much help the chaps and gaiters will be when I'm bending over to photograph a flower; my unprotected upper body will be within striking range! ok.... now I'm breaking out into a sweat..... I'll have to think hard about all this.....

Again, thanks everyone for the input!
bev



Feb 19, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Smiert Spionam
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p.2 #3 · p.2 #3 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


I'm in Austin, too, and I honestly don't think you've got a whole lot to worry about shooting wildflowers. The most likely places to run into rattlesnakes are in/around rocks -- where they've got ample resources of thermal mass, sun, shade, and critters. I have seen cottonmouths (several times out at Hamilton Pool, including having them swim right past me), but they'll most likely be in shady/wet creek bottoms, not the grassy prairie. Take basic precautions, keep your eyes open, and you should do fine.




Feb 19, 2013 at 03:59 PM
Beverly Guhl
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p.2 #4 · p.2 #4 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Smiert Spionam wrote:
I'm in Austin, too, and I honestly don't think you've got a whole lot to worry about shooting wildflowers. The most likely places to run into rattlesnakes are in/around rocks -- where they've got ample resources of thermal mass, sun, shade, and critters. I have seen cottonmouths (several times out at Hamilton Pool, including having them swim right past me), but they'll most likely be in shady/wet creek bottoms, not the grassy prairie. Take basic precautions, keep your eyes open, and you should do fine.



I don't shoot in Austin. I go out to ranches in the hill country and along the Pedernales where there are rocks, grasses, real snake habitats. I've stood in the exact location where a friend was bitten by a rattlesnake last year. Thus my concern. But, yeah, here in Austin I don't worry really.



Feb 19, 2013 at 04:07 PM
DGC1
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p.2 #5 · p.2 #5 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Plasticphoto wrote:
Having lived, hunted, and photographed in West Texas all my life, I have seen a million snakes and as a surgeon a million bites. In my experience ,snake boots (http://www.rockyboots.com/snakeproof?mm_campaign=d62669ea9895c8ce1f6232236234fab7&mm_keyword=rocky%20snake%20boots&gclid=CKqnnpLnvbQCFQ_hQgodJ3IAMA) will prevent most accidental bites. Not getting drunk and trying to catch rattle snakes will prevent the rest.


I too have been shooting here in Texas for 30+ years. The above is sound advice. I see you are in Austin. Go to McBrides and I'm sure you'll find snake boots there.



Feb 19, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Beverly Guhl
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p.2 #6 · p.2 #6 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


DGC1 wrote:


I too have been shooting here in Texas for 30+ years. The above is sound advice. I see you are in Austin. Go to McBrides and I'm sure you'll find snake boots there.



Thanks!!!!!!

bev



Feb 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM
AmbientMike
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p.2 #7 · p.2 #7 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


I've dealt with water moccasins a lot in the bottoms around here. Mostly if you see them you're ok. If you are outside striking range (2/3 length of snake apparently) top speed is under 4 mph , probably more like two for mocassins. But you often don't see them. I took the fangs out of a 3 ft. moccasin I was 15 seemed cool still have them. Not as big as you'd think. If I was worried about it I would probably get thick socks and boots. I usually run around in flip flops and tennis shoes. I'm really good at seeing them, though. Still I get surprised. There are some ornery ones that will come at you but mostly they sit there and hope you don't see and kill them. You are much bigger.

Bee stings kill a lot more people. I went to a medical meeting with a relative one time. Continuing educationBasically if you get bit you go to the hospital. Nothing you do in the field works and you need a crash cart to administer antivenin.

They're dangerous but so is the 4 wheeler. You'd be hard pressed to find 10 snakebite deaths a year in USA. But you might take precautions until you get better at seeing them.

20-50% of snakebite have no venom injected.

California has the Mojave green. That would worry me more or if I was hiking and couldn't immediately drive to ER.

If you are in TX you're in snake country. I have removed moccasins from my parents driveway and sister's back porch. I don't kill them anymore I relocate them.





Feb 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM
MalbikEndar
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p.2 #8 · p.2 #8 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


At the Tucson Desert Museum they say the main risk factors for snakebite are

1. Age 18-25
2. Male
3. Been drinking
4. Have tattoos.

The also said, if I remember correctly, rattlesnakes can strike up to 2/3 their body length. They said high boots were not a guaranteed protection, but said nothing about kevlar.



Feb 26, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Michael White
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p.2 #9 · p.2 #9 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Avoid areas with game trails and or water and snakes shouldn't be a problem. They tend to hide in those areas searching for food. Protective clothing is a must weather it is for snakes, bugs or the uv rays.


Feb 26, 2013 at 08:22 AM
Greg Campbell
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p.2 #10 · p.2 #10 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


IMO, maintaining awareness does not require working yourself up to levels of high anxiety. I shoot a lot of Aridzona's monsoonal weather during the evening and after dark, and encounter multiple snakes each year. If walking/hiking, simply make a conscious habit of scanning the ground ahead. If stationary, _always_ look before moving, and never reach down to ground level without making a thorough visual search for any of the buggers.

The critters will not slither up and attack you for the heck of it. While standing still, admiring the weather, I've had snakes unknowingly approach me to within a few feet before I spotted them. If this happens, don't freak out - your leap to safety may drop you onto another biting, stinging, poking, or impaling desert denizen. Plot an escape path and take one big step away. Crisis averted. (You may even find the subsequent adrenaline rush to be rather pleasant! )

Obviously, if you're doing any work in tall grass, some of the above may not suffice. Best get some protective clothing as suggested. Since you have a basic snake phobia, some manner of de-sensitization will likely help. Visit a nature museum, etc. where you can handle some herps. Once you can appreciate them to some degree, the stress of an unexpected encounter will plummet. Heck, you may even wind up photographing them!

(edit) Found these folks - http://www.exoticanimalworld.com/directions.asp Go play with their snakes!

Edited on Feb 26, 2013 at 09:05 PM · View previous versions



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:37 PM
 

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Greg Campbell
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p.2 #11 · p.2 #11 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


The VAST majority of snakebite cases are classified as 'illegitimate' and are the direct result of the human deliberately antagonizing the snake.

http://tucsonreptileshow.com/Reality%20Bites%20pdf.pdf

"...Alcohol is almost always involved, demonstrating that testosterone, alcohol and rattlesnakes are a dangerous combination."



Feb 26, 2013 at 07:45 PM
capt don
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p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


I shoot out in the Everglades with Wayne Willison and we both wear Rocky snake boots and I can assure you that they work. About 2 years ago I had a cottonmouth try to chew his way thru my left boot to no avail, I didn't see him in the brush and must have almost stepped on him, Hooray for Rocky, money well spent, thanks Anne, wife bought them for me for Xmas that year.


Feb 27, 2013 at 11:49 PM
oldrattler
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p.2 #13 · p.2 #13 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Beverly; Saw your post and thought of these... http://www.homedepot.com/buy/tools-hardware-safety-security-personal-job-site-safety/echo-kevlar-40-in-full-wrap-chain-saw-chaps-145147.html#.UTM9QFeyN8E They might get hot in the Texas summers. Jim


Mar 03, 2013 at 12:16 PM
Steve Torelli
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p.2 #14 · p.2 #14 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


The best snake defense is awareness, a good pair of boots and a .410 shotgun. Probably in that order.
Good luck.



Mar 03, 2013 at 01:29 PM
Greg Campbell
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p.2 #15 · p.2 #15 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Steve Torelli wrote:
The best snake defense is awareness, a good pair of boots and a .410 shotgun. Probably in that order.
Good luck.


I appreciate that the 410 is last on your list, but unless you are the second coming of Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez, and can shoot the snake out of the air in mid-strike, a gun is not going to do a hell of a lot of good. I have no issue with firearms, but do object to the random slaughter of critters. If you have time shoot the snake, you have time to simply step away from it. Besides, snakes make good photo subjects.



Mar 03, 2013 at 05:48 PM
Wobble
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p.2 #16 · p.2 #16 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


I have a King snake that lives under the small barn where I keep the lawnmower. The last time I saw him he was easing back under the barn and slapping his tail on the ground making noise like a rattlesnake. I guess he was just letting me know he was there.

Red on black, friend of Jack. Red on yellow, you're a dead MFellow.



Mar 03, 2013 at 07:43 PM
jcbenner
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p.2 #17 · p.2 #17 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


As has been mentioned several times, snake gaiters and boots:








Mar 06, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Michael White
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p.2 #18 · p.2 #18 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Unless its a cottonmouth/moccasins and you watch carefully you should be ok the only way to get bite by a rattler is by stepping on them or trying to play with them. If you hear the rattle stop find out it location and if you not in range move slowly in the opisite direction if not freeze and wait it will bore with you once it figures you are not a trat and move off maybe even right over you feet. But as long as you still and non threatening you should be ok. The first type I mention are very aggressive but they hang mainly around water.


Mar 09, 2013 at 07:39 AM
Keith B.
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p.2 #19 · p.2 #19 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


A handy, lightweight stick, such as a Leki Pole sold for hiking, will help you probe and pre-test any overgrown area you might want to venture into.


Mar 11, 2013 at 07:25 AM
DGC1
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p.2 #20 · p.2 #20 · Snakes & landscape shooting in TX


Michael White wrote:
the only way to get bite by a rattler is by stepping on them or trying to play with them.

This is a complete load...



Mar 11, 2013 at 11:44 AM
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