Had a bit of excitement today…

Landlady and M came in last night, right on schedule. This morning after breakfast they did some work on Landlady’s house, while I went to work on the Lair. M came down and wanted to go to town for plumbing parts, and I tagged along, putting the dogs in their respective places first.

When we got back I had a ciggie, released the hounds, and went down the ridge to Landlady’s house. No sooner were we in the meadow than Claire’s dogs and Little Bear got very excited about what was under a pile of OSB scrap that Landlady had used to roof over the generator when it rained last weekend. The dogs didn’t act like they were hunting a rat, they acted like there was an enemy under there. They cheerfully obeyed me when I ordered them away. Then I picked up one sheet of OSB…

Did you see that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the one with the snakes? This wasn’t quite that bad. But I saw a good-sized Mojave Green coiled and rattling at me along with a second, smaller snake, and dropped the board right back down again. I yelled at the house, “Who’s got a gun?” Turned out I was the only one there with a gun, but I wasn’t too thrilled about going after the snakes with OSB in one hand and a pistol in the other, when I didn’t know where under the OSB that big Green had gotten himself to. So I handed my 1911 to M, leaned over, and picked up the board.

Last spring I had an embarrassing incident involving a rattlesnake and a pistol. Since then I haven’t been very confident about my ability to kill squirmy things with a .45, and M always was a better shot than me anyway. Yeah, he missed twice and the third, a solid hit, didn’t seem to impress the Green very much. He handed me the 1911 and I didn’t do much better, getting what should have been but wasn’t a solid kill-shot on the second bang. Landlady came over with a shovel – I cut the damned thing’s head off and it was still looking for something to bite, though its mobility was now seriously impaired.

That still left the second snake, at a minimum. I moved another board and found it, much smaller and a different species. M had run up the ridge and came back with a 12-gauge which, though a few minutes ago I would have considered it overkill for such a small snake, now seemed maybe barely enough. He blasted the thing and all we could find at the bottom of the impact crater was a minor portion. We finally found another chunk hanging from a branch of the cherry tree, and never did find the head.

So! Lessons learned: A .45 is not a particularly impressive fight-stopper with a rattlesnake. A shotgun is messy and perhaps excessively effective. A shovel works just fine.

Private to M’s Mom: This story is complete fiction, I just made it up. Really. M did not ask me to say that.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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7 Responses to Had a bit of excitement today…

  1. Are those things actually edible? In all those old westerns, One always sees those hardened cowboys pop them on some sort of stick, cooking them up on their fires and then eat them. If they are edible what the hoodels do they taste like? No tastes like chicken answers please….

    Hey who else am I going to ask? It’s one of those things that I always wondered about….

  2. Joel says:

    They’re perfectly edible, though I’ve never met anyone who barbecued one on a stick. People generally cook them in chili, which is so heavily flavored I couldn’t begin to tell you what rattlesnake really tastes like, though I’ve allegedly eaten it.

    Me, I chuck them in the trash.

  3. They taste kinda’ like bald eagle!

    I used to have a lady-friend who could not only rustle up a rattler, but kill, dress, and cook it. The backstrap is a tasty portion, but rarely more than a mouthful. I sometimes wonder if that lady was a keeper – she was quite a hand. Best of all – unlike most ladies so talented – she didn’t dip snuff or chew ‘baccy!

    I’ve been seeing a lot of rattlers since the rainy season picked up – probably a 1/2 dozen in the last couple weeks. If I find one near any of the buildings it gets relocated – but if I had kids or dogs running loose – I’d probably send them on to other hunting grounds too. Most of the time when I snag ’em with my homemade snake stick they don’t even rattle as they don’t catch a heat signature from it. I drop ’em in a tall container and put ’em several hundred yards away. This doesn’t mean they don’t eventually find their way back – but it takes ’em a few days!

    I wouldn’t necessarily fault someone for killing them – but I just got tired of doing that to something that was generally minding its own business and trying to survive like everything else. I’ve never lived around water moccasin or cottonmouths – but I’ve heard they’re an entirely different proposition with a temperament that would make a mojave look meek.

    Now – if TSHTF – they’ll likely become a menu item.

  4. Joel says:

    I’ve got nothing against rattlers living their lives, free of molestation from me. But the dogs are under my protection. They’re mostly sensible about snakes – we had one bitten last summer, but it wasn’t one of the regulars – but still I’d worry. Any snake we encounter on our walkies, I try to steer the dogs around. Any snake we encounter on the ridge where the dogs’ yard is – dies.

    And yeah, if I were hungry I’d cut the meat into chunks, dip them in flour/corn meal batter, fry’em up in heavy oil and find out once and for all if they taste like chicken.

  5. this is a very pretty rattler. I have never heard of them; make a nice hat band!

  6. M's mom says:


  7. Matt says:

    Rattlesnake is quite tasty. Mohave especially so. Soak the meat overnight in some butter milk then flour, cornmeal and fry. Tasts just like Chuckawalla or Iguana. Also tastes pretty close to catfish. Watch the little bones though.

To the stake with the heretic!