Rattlesnake Hunting with Monte James [PHOTOS]
I love to hunt. Mostly I like to sit in a tree stand and wait for deer to come walking by. I love the challenge of hanging a stand in the right spot and everything that goes along with it.
So the other night I'm texting back and forth with 'the world famous' Monte James (Territorial Rodeo Update) and to make a 'long' story short, we started talking about 'Rattlesnake Hunting.'
I made a few bold (bull*&^) statements and he said, 'no, really--you'll have to come out and we'll go rattlesnake hunting.' He even sent me a couple pictures of an obviously successful hunt.
As you can tell, these snakes are some that I could stand being around. Doesn't look like they'll need to much time with that kind of heat. Really though, it kind of had me thinking, so Monte sends me a little story to go along with his pictures. (If you know him, you know Monte's a pretty good storyteller.)
This is fun! Come out and well go hunting for the ratt-a-tat-tat anytime you wish... you just missed the best hunting time though by about a week. They are "denned up" on the Big Stone Hill you see overlooking the Niobrara on our ranch.
The den is a simple small rabbit hole that goes way back in the side of this massive stoney hill. They have lived in that den since we bought the ranch in 1975. They like to lay in the sun..in the warm days of Spring...but can't venture too far because if they get caught in the cold they are toast. They must always maintain somewhere between 70 and 80 degree body temperature ..that's why sometimes you will see them in a big "ball" right outside the den trying to keep their body temp consistent.
By now they have moved out to "greener pastures" to hunt for mice and birds. Over the years we have had people run stove-pipes out of the den in to a 55 gallon barrel and kill them with diesel. They have blocked the den up and poured chemicals in to eradicate them. Still they live on!
We still have guys in "space suits" that come out with shotguns to off them.. which I think is very unsporting. The best way is with a big stick. That's old school. I myself only harvest about 5 year.. and then only the big'unz.
I think they are a very necessary part of nature and they will literally not strike unless you provoke them and "pick a fight". Plus they give you plenty of warning. The only person that has ever gotten bit at our place was a drunken construction worker that tried to pick one on up by the tail and snap his head off when they were putting the highway through about 15 years ago. That didn't work so well for that feller.
The only other time they are aggressive is during late August and/or early September when they shed their skin. This leaves them blind as the peel comes over their eyes and they will strike and anything/everything in self defense. Who can blame them. By the way.. ask Jerry Norton about our snake hunting near disaster. It's very funny and VERY dumb and involves beer! Nuff said.
Come hunt with me after Dakotafest when they are denning up again. You'll have a blast! Make sure you bring proof of insurance though. haw haw.
That my people, is some funny mid-west Wild and Western 'lore' from Monte James. From the looks of this picture he must be pretty good at rattlesnake hunting.
But wait, there's more. Wednesday night I'm out talking to my neighbor Al, and somehow we got started talking about rattlesnakes. He said he'd got an e-mail from the neighbor in between our houses (Jon) that had a big rattlesnake in it. I said 'how big'?
He said, 'Big!'
Bruce Gietzen at News Channel 25 in Waco says:
For those of you who don’t know where Midway is, it is about half way between Burnet and Lampasas on 281....... very rocky, lots of karst and covered in cedar (mountain juniper) this is the second one of these this year, the other was over by Tow which is at the upper end of lake Buchanan on the west side about 20/25 miles from midway but same kind of country
Pat Long and his son in a blind to hunt hogs near Midway when this guy poked his head in! Pat's son shot the snake... it's 9'6" long... with 22 rattles, the head more than five inches wide, the fangs 2.5" long. Anybody going for a walk in the woods this weekend?