He was an old boy huh, looks like 17 rattles? Killed lot's of diamond backs and Mojave Green's in CA, they would go into the target setter's bunkers for the shade where the kids setting targets would be when the range was hot.
Rattle snakes are common where I live. Been a long time since I seen one that big. You could get a bunch of fillet off that one. And believe it or not, they don't taste like chicken. They taste like rattle snake.
This thread reminds me there's some rattles and a stub of tail wrapped up in a rag in my reloading room somewhere....meant to dry those a few weeks ago but it has liteally rained every day for a month. Better find them and get some salt...
Having had the good fortune of not yet meeting any of the locals .........
I have a respect for the buzz tails . All of my encounters with them have been in their desert . Out west the Great Basins , Diamondbacks , and to the south Mojave Greens , sidewinders and another I feel I'm forgetting , seem for the most part content to let you walk on by occasionally giving a zzzzzzzzt just to say hey I'm not digging you so close and it's too hot for me to take off . Out there your about 800x better off if you actually get bit to be bit by a 3'+ because by then they know pretty well how much to bite . The big ones are known to strike closed mouth . Which isn't to say that you won't get an actual bite but it's more likely not to happen with a bigger than smaller snake . If I got hit by a 7-8' snake I'd probably just go ahead and have a heart attack on the spot .
I've encountered 3 or 4 rattlers in the woods and high desert over my lifetime; never one as big as that. Killed one of them. Little one that I dang near stepped on.
Like RBHarter said, little ones are the most dangerous. They don't always warn you that they're there and if they bite, they don't meter their venom, just squirt the whole load into you.
I was with an old friend of mine chasing antelope . A huge great basin or Diamondbacks went across the road about 50 yd from us . It had rained so there were road weeds and truck tracks about 7' wide . That one is without a doubt the biggest non-tropical snake I've seen both ends in the weeds and 4-6" deep .
I have always been intrigued by snakes, and never what I would call be afraid of them. Though I will admit to being a High Stepper at times,lol. Think you see a snake, ease up looking, then step on a stick that jumps up about a foot in front of ya. Gives a body a dose of adrenaline,lol.
My dad was like many, it wasn't dead if it was still moving. Then most times it was thrown into the burn barrel and fired up right now.
I have ran across a few rattle snakes, mostly timber rattlers, nothing big.
Copper heads are a different story. I will do them in for sure and I am like others, they come in twos. A lot of times I will smell them before I see them. And the bigger the smellier they are. They are a master at camouflage. I have been with in two feet of big ones and not see them till the move, oak leaves.
I killed two in a matter of minutes in 1993, year of flooding. Late spring,early summer. Buddy was mowing around some gates as we were going to move some calves the next day. This place is on a dead end road, so it always accumulates all kinds of unwanted junk. Wasn't bad this time, a few wheels and metal scrap. We walked around in the knee high grass making sure we got it all. Pulled out a bunch of wire, defiantly not good for rotorary mower.
He fires up the old 806 with the batwing mower and makes a pass where the scrap was. I then went to move both trucks to where he had just mowed. I did a uturn and happened to look in the road. Huh, where did those camoflaged pants come from? Pants hell, a pair of copper heads side by side coming out of what we had both been digging around in minutes before.
Dispatched both with my trusty model19. One was 38" long and the other was over 40", seems like the big one was about 6" around.
Called a taxidermist buddy and dropped them off. They now reside on a vest he made from the two of them.
That was my first go around ever with copper heads. When we were picking the iron up we both noted an odd stink. It was those two snakes for sure.
First rattle snake I ever saw was in December in the late 70's. Buddy and I were quail hunting along a rock wall. It was cold but the sun was out and clear. Snake was on top of a flat rock and my old English pointer pointed it. Kids being kids we figured it was dead, till it sticks its tongue out. Poked it with a stick and it could hardly move.
Makes me think, that was the only time that old girl ever lied to me when she was on point.