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why we kill them on sight


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PartridgeCartridge
So list looks like-

1. Feral cats

2. Pheasant

3. Limb sitting king of the #*$&^ gamebirds, grouse, p'atridges, whatever.

4. Woodchucks

You forgot bluegills. Nasty little unpredictable venomous things that they are.

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I think that some of you Born Free guys would become snake killers if you had a rattler in front of you with your dogs moving towards it.  I like my dogs more than snakes.

It does always seem the guys a 1000 miles away from the snakes, wolves, or Grizz have the most compassion for them.

and that the guy 1000 miles away on his little computer is the first to make this same tired comment about it.

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I motion to add wasps to the list of KOS animals.

Bosco, I realize rattlesnakes get a bad rap.  And some of the time the poor critters even try to warn you of their presence.   But some areas seem almost infested with them that you have to act.   You just can't have 10-12 of them sunning themselves on your front porch, in the kids playhouse, or in the corner of the garage.  There are some areas they just have to be dealt with.

When we'd visit my friends place you almost had to "clean" the place of snakes upon arrival (this was in Pearsall, TX).   Horses were spooked, etc.  You almost couldn't enjoy yourself.

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After due consideration, all interested party's opinions duly noted and considered, the motion carries forward for voting. All those in favor of this motion to revise the Shoot On Sight list to include 'rattlesnakes, and rattlesnakes only, no other snakey critters to be included such as blue racers, milk snakes, garter snakes, black racers, etc., all those in favor say 'AYE'. Ron says, "Aye." All those opposed say 'Nay'. THere are no nay votes, the motion is carried, the amended list read as follows.

1. Feral cats

2. Pheasant

3. Limb sitting king of the #*$&^ gamebirds, grouse, p'atridges, whatever.

4. Woodchucks

5. Rattlesnakes

Aye.

How about raccoons?  They're just a tree climbing woodchuck.

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bosco mctavitch

I motion to add wasps to the list of KOS animals.

Bosco, I realize rattlesnakes get a bad rap.  And some of the time the poor critters even try to warn you of their presence.   But some areas seem almost infested with them that you have to act.   You just can't have 10-12 of them sunning themselves on your front porch, in the kids playhouse, or in the corner of the garage.  There are some areas they just have to be dealt with.

When we'd visit my friends place you almost had to "clean" the place of snakes upon arrival (this was in Pearsall, TX).   Horses were spooked, etc.  You almost couldn't enjoy yourself.

That's exactly my point, no one is addressing WHY there are so many snakes there.  Like I said earlier, I'll be the first to kill a snake--rattler or not--that I think poses a legitimate threat to me or my dog, etc.  I am not against killing per se.  However, I think that solely killing them in the absense of also doing something about whatever is creating that "infestation" you are referring to is a losing proposition...kill one snake and another takes its place, you likely can't kill them fast enough to achieve more than a degree of the "safety" you want.   However, kill a few you encounter to get rid of the initial problem, eliminate to a large degree the food source (loose feed for those horses attracting mice and rats...might want to start there...) and all of a sudden the infestation of snakes becomes pretty manageable.  I think you guys are mistaking me for a doe-eyed tree-hugger--I'm not.  I just see people purporting to "do something about all these dangerous snakes", and in my experience most of the time they are only seeing a symptom of the real issue, and therefore no matter what they do nothing changes.  I simply think--and this is borne out by experience--that you can do more to get rid of a pest like snakes by addressing whatever is causing a concentration of THEIR food, than you can by killing every one in sight.  The stable I worked around years ago had a lot of snakes...and an unnatural abundance of mice.  In addition to the barn cat that lived in the hayloft they covered an open feedbin with wire cloth and a lid and installed a bunch of raptor perches around the barn and all of a sudden there were a lot fewer mice around...and surprise, surprise there were also a lot fewer snakes.

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As I've said many times. I think snakes are cool. I have never been afraid of them. As a kid I have caught and kept the following; decay snakes, green snakes, ribbon snakes, garter snakes, hog nosed snakes, black racers, milk snakes and caught the largest Eastern Water Snake on record for back when I was 12 years old at Stoney Brook Nature Center in Norfolk MA. Picture in local paper etc, I also bought a boa constrictor when I was 17 or so, He was 14" long when I got him and named him Issac. I kept him through college in my dorm and there was a line in the hallway on feeding day to watch when I gave him live mice. He grew enormous to I would guess over 6 feet. His aquariums kept getting bigger and when I had to feed him big live rats I decided it was time to move on so I sold him. He was as docile as a lamb.

I have no experience with poisonous snakes but don't think I would like them.

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So list looks like-

1. Feral cats

2. Pheasant

3. Limb sitting king of the #*$&^ gamebirds, grouse, p'atridges, whatever.

4. Woodchucks

You forgot bluegills. Nasty little unpredictable venomous things that they are.

Fish species fall under either C & R, U (Catch and release, usually) and contains these species currently-

1. Typical trouts; rainbow, brook, and brown

2. Most salmon species currently inherent to the Great Lakes.

3. Green carp, commonly known as largemouth or smallmouth basses.

4. Hammer handles, commonly known as northern pike.

5. Catfish species.

The venemous bluegill is on the C, K, & C list. (Catch, Kill, and Consume. THat list is currently comprised of

1. THe most common sunfishes; bluegill, redear, etc., also know as brim or bream.

2. Crappie, black & white.

3. Yellow perch

4. Walleye

There is a CBWM, AK list (Catch by whatever means, always kill) and consists of-

1. Dogfish

2. Carp species

3. Gar species

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How about raccoons?  They're just a tree climbing woodchuck.

Raccoons you can put on your personal list, as long as they give me and the dogs a bye, they'll get the same. No, I don't know why, 'cause I don't like them and there's way too many of them. I'll put them on the agenda for discussion at the next general assembly meeting.

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After reading this thread, I counted the people I personally know that have been bitten by rattlesnakes, 16 over a span of about 40 years that I can list off of the top of my head.  These people live within a 75 mile radius of where I spend most of my time hunting.  One of those 16 provoked the snake, so I guess he deserved getting bit.  But there are 15 of those people that said they heard the warning buzz about the same time they were struck.  Rattlers have wonderful camoflauge and are hard to see.  Those 15 people were going about their daily routines, they were not being irresponsible, but they got bit by a creature that was 'protecting' itself.

The 6 or 7 dogs I have lost to rattlesnake bites don't factor in to killing snakes for me.  The cows and sheep lost don't factor in either.  Coming up on a horse that is sufficating because the nose is so swollen it can't breath, its an unpleasant memory of feeling helpless, but its not the reason either.

The reason I kill every rattler I come across is because I am protecting myself, IMHO.  That comes from 15 people in my area, bitten without time to react to the 'warning.'  Oh and one of those 15 was a little boy, about 4 years old when his mother flagged my father down to beg for assistance.  A poor family with just one vehicle, the father had taken their vehicle to work.  She was at home, tending the garden and taking care of her children.  The young boy was playing with his toys in the yard when he was bit.  He made it and has a very disfigured arm, shoulder and chest as a result of all the tissue damage from the snake bites.

If you don't want to harm rattle snakes thats fine with me.  If you can't understand the attitude of folks that live with them thats fine too. I just wonder who has a bit more of the risk involved, those that live in the rattle snake habitat daily or those that visit it for a short period of time?

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bosco mctavitch

I think you're missing my point.  

First, I lived in rattlesnake country for a little over 5 years, and at the time was spending most of my time rock climbing in southwestern Colorado, Southern Utah, Southern Nevada, California, etc...lots of sunny rockpiles in brush, in washes, etc where rattlers like to hang out.  That's neither here nor there, and by no means do I consider myself particularly knowlegable about all things snake--but it's not just "somewhere I've visited for a short period of time".  You who currently live there will obviously do as you please with your snakes, I simply find it odd that people persist in killing snakes and other critters without addressing (or at least without mentioning that they have addressed) the reason the snakes are there in the first place, or answering my question:  "does it work?"  People have been killing every rattlesnake in sight for 200+ years, are you safer now because you kill snakes?  

Secondly, I have already stated a number of times that I would kill a rattlesnake or any other critter that I thought posed a direct threat to me or mine--I've done it before, and I would do it again.  I understand that.  It's not my first choice, but once in a while you have little in the way of other options.

What I DON'T understand is people who go out of their way to kill some critter that "could potentially" pose a threat to them, when they DON'T DO ANYTHING TO ADDRESS WHAT IT IS THAT DRAWS THE SNAKE TO THEIR YARD, BARN, ETC IN THE FIRST PLACE.  I understand killing a snake under the porch...once, maybe twice.  I DON'T understand killing multiple snakes under the porch without also doing something to eliminate the porch as a consistent attraction for snakes.  

Hypothetical situation:  You keep a garbage can full of dog food in your garage with the top off.  You will have lots of mice around, and that will likely lead to having things that eat mice around--like snakes.  You can keep killing snakes all day and they will keep showing up to eat the mice.  The snakes are not the problem, the mice are not the problem, the dog food is the problem!!  

Most situations I have run into are not nearly as simple or clear cut as the above, but I still say with some conviction and experience that without figuring out why the snakes are there and doing something about THAT, killing them does not solve the problem.  

Why aren't we talking about solving the problem???

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Sorry I do not think I missed the point of a person that lived in an area with snakes for almost 5 years, I have 46 years of dealing with them, its not an issue of who has lived where.  I also have not made assumptions of 'why the snakes are a problem that we have created.'  I tried to give you examples of how its not so easy to know that the snake is going to be a direct threat.  They do not always rattle first, they sometimes never rattle.  I think I find it odd that you know better how to solve the problem without knowing my area or practices.  As to does it work, hmmm can't say there is perfect data on that.  I do know there are less chances of encounters with less snakes living, so I am going to venture it has helped.

Most of the rattlers I have encountered have been in pastures, not close to houses.  Because snakes are a problem in our area most folks keep the animal chow in rodent proof containers, livestock feed is not stored near the house because we do have the ability to think and try and limit the food sources for the snakes we do not like.  Those of us that have had first hand damage from snakes tend to be really sensitive to what draws them to places we may be.  Since this is an arid climate and concrete is less expensive than wood around here, house construction is commonly concrete slab on grade so there are not porches that provide hiding places for our prairie rattlers.  Most folks keep their yards maintained so they can reduce the hiding places for pests and hopefully spot the rattlers easier, but again, most of our snake problems do not occur around the houses like you are assuming.  At first I was pretty upset that you think the rattler problem is something we cause and started to respond as such, however I would prefer to learn what I can do to limit my encounters with those snakes.  I have told you above some of the things we do around the 'houses.'  I would love to have more advice on what we could do better as what we have been doing for the last 100+ years (how long my family and I have been in this area) is not working and people are still being bitten by rattlers.  

Most of our rattler encounters occur in pastures, prairie dog towns are a real problem.  We believe and operate our grass land with the idea of having good cover, trying to maintain a minimum grass height in excess of 4" year round.  Thats a bit higher than our average rattler that is only about 2" tall when lying on the ground.  I guess we could graze it to the dirt so the rattlers would be easier to see, but we find that counter productive to providing grazing for our livestock or habitat for wildlife.  And with good wildlife habitat we tend to have decent habitat for rodents,,,,,which those pesky snakes enjoy dining on.  We can't wait for the 'cold season' to use our land as we have had encounters with rattlers all 12 months of a year.  So if you can tell me some good practices we could use and still have the ability to generate some income off of our grass without huring wildlife habitat yet reducing the chance for encounters with rattlers, I would appreciate that too.

Trying to rid our area of prairie dogs is something that really opens up another can of problems.  Seems there are folks that think those rodents deserve protection,,,,,,,of course they do not have to deal with them on a daily basis but thats a complete different problem.

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bosco mctavitch
My comments about houses, porches, yard, etc were directed at others who commented about snakes under their porches, on their porch, in their yard.  Since I know you are not really asking for advice, I'm not going to presume to give any--I would simply point out that, as others have already said killing the relatively few snakes you do see has little impact on the overall population and would argue that killing them has had little impact on your chances of a snake encounter, and that it has NOT solved your snake problem.  As such, killing them on sight as a means of population control seems at least suspect.  I doubt we'll come to any sort of agreement on this, my only goal in pushing on this as hard as I did was in raising the other side of the issue--which you addressed to a large extent, but others made no acknowlegement of--that there is a reason the snakes are there.  You mentioned prairie dog towns--seems a good home for a snake, and as you said it might make more of an impact to do something about them than the snakes.  Without getting into the history of land-use in your area and all sorts of much more contentious issues that would end up involved int he conversation I suspect that my point was directed more at the folks who would kill the snake under their porch without thinking to fill that space in, than it was directed at you.
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Umm, if I had a rattler under my porch, I'd kill it.  I'm not going to try to get rid of all of the mice or whatever else it eats in hopes that it'll leave.
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PartridgeCartridge

I guess if they are gonna kill 'em Bosco, there is just no reasoning with them. I believe your arguments have been rational and reasonable. Killing for protection is one thing, killing on sight is another entirely.

Sometimes, I guess you have to write off the wanton and indiscriminate killing of wildlife to regional custom, no matter how unfounded in science and enlightenment it may be. History is rich with examples of extinctions based on regional or societal ignorance.

People used to do the same to our timber rattlers here. same with our copperheads. Now you will be jailed if you kill one or even catch one. As a kid I could always count on finding a few around our feed shed or under feedbags piled high over the winter. Usually just picked them up with a pitchfork and gave them a toss into a fence row. I even killed a few but I was just a stupid kid then.

Every creature has an intricate reason for existing, the meaning of which we cannot understand until its too late usually.

Kill all the snakes you want. Me, I'll just pass.

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