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RATTLE SNAKE ACTIVITY


OldSalt

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I am a little confused about some rattlesnake facts. Most the snakes I have seen while out prospecting around LSD were coiled up in the shade in March or April.

Around LSD and Vulture, what months or temps are we most likely to see rattle snakes and at what times of the day?

What months do they hibernate?

I am concerned because my Wife and Children always want to go prospecting with me and I simply can not relax when I have them with me because I am worried about their safety and I always end up babysitting all of them instead of gold hunting.

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I'll wait for Bill ,Unc Ron and the other locals to chime in on this but in the park where I am staying in Morristown we have had 3 just after dark after after a rain the night before and it was cool.

Every close call I have ever had with a rattler while MDing has been in the winter, NOV/DEC on a warm sunny day, at Stanton , we used to have to make a dawn patrol to clear them from the old Hotel Bldg, now that they have scraped the ground clean I don't supose they have that problem in camp, I have not been in the camp since 1995.

Max

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I'll wait for Bill ,Unc Ron and the other locals to chime in on this but in the park where I am staying in Morristown we have had 3 just after dark after after a rain the night before and it was cool.

Every close call I have ever had with a rattler while MDing has been in the winter, NOV/DEC on a warm sunny day, at Stanton , we used to have to make a dawn patrol to clear them from the old Hotel Bldg, now that they have scraped the ground clean I don't supose they have that problem in camp, I have not been in the camp since 1995.

Max

Yea, I know they like to hunt at night. See, I thought they would be sleeping in Nov/Dec but sounds like they were out in the sun trying to get warm. Perhaps there is no time that can be deemed safer than another time.

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I am a little confused about some rattlesnake facts. Most the snakes I have seen while out prospecting around LSD were coiled up in the shade in March or April.

Around LSD and Vulture, what months or temps are we most likely to see rattle snakes and at what times of the day?

What months do they hibernate?

I am concerned because my Wife and Children always want to go prospecting with me and I simply can not relax when I have them with me because I am worried about their safety and I always end up babysitting all of them instead of gold hunting.

Great topic OS, and I am in the same boat as my wife, three daughters, and dog all enjoy prospecting. What I usually will do is once we find an area we want to hunt, I will head out with the metal detector and try to cover the ground quickly to see if there are any snakes, and once it seems clear of snakes, I let the kids run around the "snake free" area. Of course this is not perfect as you know how kids are, you look back and see the mom yelling at them for venturing into the "unsecured" areas. :laught16: I have had some close calls with the kids though, and it certainly ruins the relaxation of being out in the desert. I think I am going to invest in some snake boots for the kids, but I am having some trouble finding any their size. I look forward to hearing from some of the others. :coffeetime:

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Old Salt,

Actually there is no time of the year in Arizona when it is totally safe not to be on the lookout for Rattlesnakes. Winter encounters with bad results are relative rare. They do hibernate in the colder months and are less likely to be very active. Their distribution in the winter months is limited to where they are denning up. As you approach the spring when rattlesnakes do their breeding, you may encounter some males at lower elevations moving from one den to another in search of females. In the winter you will very seldom encounter a rattlesnake on cold days when there is cloud cover, as they usually only come out to sun themselves.

I ran a trap line for many years in the winter months and encountered quite a number of rattlesnakes at lower elevations, however most all of them were very passive and sluggish. My wife can tell you about my stepping right over the top of one and it did not even rattle. :Huh_anim]: She was walking behind me and being a little more cautious than I was. It took some prodding with my release stick in order to get that rattler to retreat back down the rodent hole that it was probably hibernating in.

My dumb side got a whole lot smarter on that occasion.

I personally think that there are many more dangers at home and in everyday life when it comes to raising children than there is to be found out prospecting with their father in the middle of the winter.

My children and several dogs survived heading for the hills at all times of the year, every chance that we got. My black lab got bit and survived, the encounter was in the month of July.

Here is a good rattlesnake information site, :hmmmmmm: don't jump when you click on the link :scare:

http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files...tle/snakes.html

Jim

P.S. Just noticed that this is my 1300 post on this forum, hope that some of them have been informable.

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I don't want to be alarmist about the snake thing, but it's one thing to advise a prospector for his own protection and another when it comes to young'uns running around snake country...I'm thinking back to a fall outing near Decision Corner...There was a bunch of guys sitting around a cold campfire in Bill's camp in the middle of the day just BS'n and right through the midst of everyone sauntered a diamondback about 3' long, paid no attention to everyone around and continued on over to a nearby bush...

Anytime it is warm, snakes can be very mobile and thinking you've made an area safe by walking around it just won't provide the margin of safety I think anyone would want for their kids, family & dogs...My most recent encounter a few months ago was when I pulled my quad into a narrow wash and immediately began beep all around it and gradually went up the wash about 50 feet, climbed up on a high bench area above and worked my way down just past where my scooter was parked...Thankfully I approached the quad from the rear where I could see between the two rear tires, 'cause there was a coontail coiled up between them...If I'd come back down the wash the way I'd left, things could have been bad since I couldn't see where the snake was...I tossed a little sand on it and it went away...I know I didn't park over the snake and I carefully beeped all the ground around there...Yet only 10-15 minutes later, there it was...

I'm up to 4 new grand babies now and I'll take them out in the desert with me but on a very short leash... :twocents: ...Cheers, Unc

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I'm certainly no expert on desert Rattlers, but have had more encounters that I can remember with Motherlode rattlers. I am aware of them and know what to look and smell for, but I never know about my dog, fortunatly for him there is a great vaccine. It requires two doses and a yearly booster, well worth the $15 for each shot! I feel small children should not be able to run around in Rattler country...... could look like a playfull stick to them.

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When I lived in Chino Valley I often took my 4 kids and wife exploring, one particular trip taught me not to rely on snakes hibernating in the cold months. We were out near some railroad tracks, I was detecting the kids running about and my oldest son was hunting lizards. He was a great lizard catcher but I had taught him to be careful of snakes and not to touch one unless I approved the touch/catch. This was late November and snow was on the ground. He started yelling to me that a rattler was near the tracks...I said something like Bull*&^% the snakes are all sleeping. Anyway, I went and looked, it was a rattler and thank God he had learned not to just grab any reptile. Other sightings of rattlers in december and Feburary have taught me to always beware.

Jim, you are too humble...1300 posts mean you have taught at least 1300 things to at least 1300 people...thank you.

fred

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That's funny about smelling snakes Steve. My dad told me he could smell them and I never believed him. Now that I'm older and not killing everything in site (and eating them) I take more time to enjoy, smell the outdoors. Those snakes really do put off a smell that one can recognize if you know what it's smells like.

The last elk that I shot my partner walked within 10 feet of and never saw. I came in from down wind and walked right to it.

PS stay upwind from JB at the outings.

Sorry John I couldn't resist. :innocent0002:

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Hi Ol' Salt,

Just like one of the above reports, I had a nugget hunt where I had run into not one, but two, very agressive black-tail diamondbacks while out detecting. When I hiked back to the truck for a coke there was a third one under the front near the DRIVER'S door. If I hadn't had my cooler in the back of the truck, I'd have never seen him.

Also, about mid-winter in 1999, I detected the old drywash tailings from the depession in "north Morristown". When I was crossing large rocks in the cobble piles, I jumped over three very pissed-off rattlers. I felt threatened enough to tag one with my .44 special. So what. He and his two friends merely retreated under the boulders. I figured That I missed my target. When I returned to the truck three hours later for a break, they were out sunning in the same spot - including the one with the big hole in his middle! After that experience, I started carrying a double-barreled .410 shotgun pistol with a three inch barrel. It really tears them up and I just point it in their general direction, no aiming!

Ben

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While I was down at the claims a couple weeks ago I encountered 5

snakes. One was a large green rattler hiding in a small bush right on

the edge of the trail. It was right after a small thunder storm and almost

dark. I was packing my drywasher,and just noticed a slight movement

as he pulled his head back into the striking position. If I had of took a

few more steps he would have probably got me on the leg. I didn't have

anything with me to chase him with,so I just threw some small stones at

him so he would leave. He was striking at the stones but didn't rattle until

he got up the hill into some brush.

I had just been through there 10 minutes earlier,and there was not a

snake anywhere.

Pale face was out with me a few days later and commented about not

seeing any bull snakes. The next morning a bull snake over 4 feet long

came out of the brush ,headed straight to where I was cranking the dry

washer,and darn near ran over my foot . At first glance I didn't know

whether to sh-t or die. :laught16: I carry my odds and ends in a bucket,

he went and checked it out,then went on about his business.

Two racers about drove me nuts running through my diggings, I think

they just enjoyed hearing me cuss. :ROFL:

The last one was a little fellow about 12 inches long with orange and

black bands,he was plumb docile ,so I just looked him over and let him

be.

Checking out the area doesn't work,because those snakes can cover

a lot of ground in short order. Also Dons girlfriend is a vet ,she was down

to two vials of anti venom . Said she couldn't get more until next year.

She had been treating pets with snake bites daily,and was worried about

running out of anti venom.

I named the big green rattler John B,because he was still raising hell 10

minutes after I got to my truck. :ROFL: :ROFL:

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Rattlesnakes around LSD DO NOT HIBERNATE and neither do most of them in AZ. They do become less active as the weather cools down but never think that because there is snow around there is no chance of seeing a snake. I do a lot of prospecting near the 6K' level here and have twice seen a rattler coiled up right in the sun on top of a little snow from the night before. They also were pretty active and both rattled when teased. Right now they are transitioning into a daytime pattern since the nights are cooling. The cooler it gets the more you will see them mid day but they will still be there.

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Checking out the area doesn't work,because those snakes can cover

a lot of ground in short order. Also Dons girlfriend is a vet ,she was down

to two vials of anti venom . Said she couldn't get more until next year.

She had been treating pets with snake bites daily,and was worried about

running out of anti venom.

I named the big green rattler John B,because he was still raising hell 10

minutes after I got to my truck. :ROFL: :ROFL:

Good point, seems the only safe bet for the kids is strict supervision and snake boots/chaps.

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I'm certainly no expert on desert Rattlers, but have had more encounters that I can remember with Motherlode rattlers. I am aware of them and know what to look and smell for, but I never know about my dog, fortunatly for him there is a great vaccine. It requires two doses and a yearly booster, well worth the $15 for each shot! I feel small children should not be able to run around in Rattler country...... could look like a playfull stick to them.

Good info, I didn't know they had a dog vaccine for rattle snake bites; I am going to see if my vet carries it.

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One cold winter I was hired to dig a hole with my backhoe in an old mud pit from an oil drilling site near Columbus,NM S of Deming,NM right on the border. About 6 feet down I started bring up dried grass gopher nests full of snakes including bunches of rattlers, I just dumped them on the pile of dirt, a few minutes later the rattlers started crawling around. I set the backhoe bucket on top of some of them and the Enviro wacko daughter of the geologist I was digging the hole for objected!! I told her "My way or the Highway' and rode my backhoe away, no way was I getting on the ground with about 50 of them crawling around! it was a bright sunny day but cold enought to need a good coat.

The subject has been debated many times on the various forums of kill or no kill, my personal opinion is the Rattle snake that you don't kill is the one that will bite someone's kid or dog or you on your next trip.

Brown Recluse spiders are my nemsis. See pic, 16 weeks to heal!!

post-7251-1222246887_thumb.jpg

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Good info, I didn't know they had a dog vaccine for rattle snake bites; I am going to see if my vet carries it.

If your Vet does not carry it, call around 'till you do find one. My regular Vet does not, so I had to find an alternate. The vaccine will not only save your dogs life, but will save you mucho dineros! A vaccinated dog may not even need an anti-venom shot ore maybe just one. An untreated dog will need many and they are in the range of a couple hundred a shot.

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If your Vet does not carry it, call around 'till you do find one. My regular Vet does not, so I had to find an alternate. The vaccine will not only save your dogs life, but will save you mucho dineros! A vaccinated dog may not even need an anti-venom shot ore maybe just one. An untreated dog will need many and they are in the range of a couple hundred a shot.

Hope I never have to test it but my Shorthair has been on it for 2 years now and soon my Vizsla pup will also.

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If your Vet does not carry it, call around 'till you do find one. My regular Vet does not, so I had to find an alternate. The vaccine will not only save your dogs life, but will save you mucho dineros! A vaccinated dog may not even need an anti-venom shot ore maybe just one. An untreated dog will need many and they are in the range of a couple hundred a shot.

Thanks for the info Steve, that gives us folks with dogs one less thing to worry about when we are out in rattlesnake country.

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And I thought I was pretty safe since I usually only get to md' in the winter months... I best be more carefull especially since I have no experience with snakes and would probably not see it right off the bat. The posts about them hiding under the cars/ATV really gives me the willys. I've never checked before getting in or opening the tailgate! I have gaiters but have not brought them with me because I thought I was pretty safe during winter months. I assume that gaiters only work if you wear them...

ps, can a rattler bite through the leather of my Bates boots? After all, gaiters cover my ankles but don't cover my foot....

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And I thought I was pretty safe since I usually only get to md' in the winter months... I best be more carefull especially since I have no experience with snakes and would probably not see it right off the bat. The posts about them hiding under the cars/ATV really gives me the willys. I've never checked before getting in or opening the tailgate! I have gaiters but have not brought them with me because I thought I was pretty safe during winter months. I assume that gaiters only work if you wear them...

ps, can a rattler bite through the leather of my Bates boots? After all, gaiters cover my ankles but don't cover my foot....

kamikaze,

Here is some information from experts but I am sure that some expert will refute it......

Rattlenakes are most active at temperatures between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore, if you are active at cooler or hotter temperatures, you reduce the likelihood of encountering snakes.

Wear leather boots. Rattlesnakes usually can't bite through leather. By wearing sturdy leather boots and baggy pants, the leather boots afford some protection against the rattlesnake’s fangs and the baggy pants might cause the snake to misjudge its strike. But even with all of the proper precautions, there’s still an infinitesimal chance you could get bitten.

If climbing rocks, never put your hands or feet where you cannot see and don't step over logs or rocks without first checking the other side.

A coiled snake is not necessarily aggressive. This is a defensive pose so, if left alone, they usually will not strike.

If you do encounter a snake, back away slowly and give it a chance to escape. Believe it or not, the snake is more afraid of you than you are of it. A snake caught by surprise can be dangerous and deserves respect.

One of the most common Rattlesnakes in Arizona is the Western Diamondback, here is a good information site..... http://creationwiki.org/Crotalus_atrox

Another common Rattlesnake in the southwest is the Mohave Green, here is some good information.

http://www.scif.com/safety/losscontrol/Art...p?ArticleID=572

I hope that this affords a little information in answer to your question........

Jim

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Kamikaze;

The fear of snakes is worst in people that don't understand them and/or have never been around them.

But, you are correct in thinking you may not recognize one that is in it's natural enviornment...they are hard to see! I respect rattlers but do not fear them...jsut watch where your feet are going, look before you step, never reach into bushes without knowing there aren't any critters there...watch out for odd looking sticks...I have stepped over, stepped on, stood beside and swung my coil over rattle snakes...most did not rattle and not once have I been bitten. some luck but mostly 'cause the snake wants to be left alone and knows it can't eat me. Most of the time you will not need to worry about snakes on a cold winter day...they are cold-blooded afterall. If I see lizards out that reminds me to be a little more cautious...

Fred

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Also when in an area that has alot of growth or cover, rocks, rotted brush or trunks of cactus etc. Keep your shaft and coil ahead of you at the ground level and your eyes alert this will also minimize chances of you being caught off guard to the presence of snakes and other critters that dwell in the area. That has worked for me in the past.

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Thanks for the great tips! I thought I was safe hunting during Oct/Nov/Dec/Jan but I now realize I have lucky thus far. I guess it would be wise to wear my gaiters in the future.

Fred, I will remember that lizard relationship. As I recollect, the only time I saw lizards was on one occasion when I happened to travel during the summer. It was so unbelievably hot, I had to quit hunting by mid-morning. I've never experienced heat like that ever before and still wonder how people manage to work during the summers. After all, construction and other outdoor jobs go on year round, I would imagine... Anyway, I did see lizards running from under bushes as I hunted but I was wearing my gaiters that time. We have no snakes where I live so the only snakes I've ever seen have been in a few pet shops when I visit the mainland US... I felt pretty safe having a pane of glass between us especially since I think they were non-venomous. The pet shop clerk was starting to give me the eye since I was standing there looking at the snakes for quite a while... lol

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