Bruce Drake

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.
She didn't lie to you, you just didn't understand the point of "That's a frigging snake boy!"


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My brother found a 4 footer in his deer blind this weekend when we went to clean them out and do maintenance on the lease.
The blinds are 4x4 box blinds made of old cedar fencing set atop 10' 4x4 posts and anchored.
Like to broke his neck exiting the stand with an eight foot wooden ladder. We laughed about it later.
A .38 SPL home made snake shot load did it in over the side window.
Sorry, no pictures. just didn't think about it at the time. Too much excitement!


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It might have been for him, too.
He was shaking pretty badly once on the ground. I had to deliver the payload to the snake, and by then, it was pretty pissed off.
He installed stairs to the stand with 2"x8" steps laid flat, cause he fell off the ladder once.
We figured the snake had worked its way up the stairs step by step and somehow got under the door. His stands aren't exactly square and plumb, like mine. The door was a very loose fit and warped at the bottom.
Anyway, we redid the door, so nothing else can get around or under it.
What the snake was doing there is anybody's guess. Could have chased a mouse up there, but no food is kept in the stands.
Anyway, won't happen again after we fixed the door.


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Wow, that would be tasty! I have only seen 2 live and loose ones in Illinois, both were timber rattlers. I think there are a few more in the southern tip. We have cotton mouths and other nasty water snakes. Kids usually shoot 5 to 8 each summer at the pond while fishing. Both girls carry a 22 on the hip and an extra magazine.


Not a rattler but Sunday my wife and I were moving stones in the back yard she had moved one and asked what's that? There was a little (maybe 6 -8 inch) King snake under it (trying to stay warm I figure). I gathered him up and escorted him to the tree line. He was perfectly content in my hands and seemed to enjoy the walk. Now if that had been a Copperhead, he and I would have had an issue. :)
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These photos remind me of when I was on active duty stationed in Mobile Alabama. On a weekend one of the metalsmiths was repairing some damage to the hull of his aluminum skiff. He had been out fishing on a river when a cottonmouth dropped out of a tree into his boat. Anyone who has been around cottonmouths knows they usually have a chip on their shoulder. John figured his best course of action was to shoot the snake with his .22 pistol. I can’t fault his actions as he did what he thought was best in the circumstances.

He got in some good practice doing metal patches and, since he worked in the metal shop, he had access to aluminum, rivets, and fuel tank sealer. Probably the worst part of the experience for him was all the good-natured kidding he received afterwards.

Living in Minnesota I don’t have to worry about pit vipers, or fire ants, or scorpions, or …

But, it does get cold ;)


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Good eats.

Never saw even half that many rattles, usually 4 to 6.


They have been out and moving this year in northeast Ala. Two largest I have seen were 17 rattlers and button and 21 rattles and button. It pays to watch what you are doing when in woods. This the first year I have even seen any in the area in over 10 years. Stay alert if you are out and about.


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They have been out and moving this year in northeast Ala. Two largest I have seen were 17 rattlers and button and 21 rattles and button. It pays to watch what you are doing when in woods. This the first year I have even seen any in the area in over 10 years. Stay alert if you are out and about.
NOT what I wanted to hear! So far, knock on wood, never run into a Rattler and VERY happy to continue that trend!

A college buddy years ago told me the story of a Cottonmouth dropping in the boat with him and his dad. Dad pulls 38 and puts 5 holes in the bottom of the boat b/n kid's legs! AND misses the snake! We were in Eastern Carolina, and used to see a LOT of cottonmouths. Here in AL also. They DEF have a few chips on their shoulders. Only ones I will go out of my way to kill.


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Where I live, Rattle Snakes are fairly common in the Moosic Mountains around me. One county to the west actually holds a Rattle Snake "round up" every year. Just to the East of Scranton PA There is a High End Housing area and Golf Course called Glen Maura.
I got the job of photographing all the wild beauty of that undeveloped woodland in the early 1990's from the land developer. Kind of a neat job. I got there and they gave me a Subaru 4 wheel vehicle to use ...they said go in as far as you can...explore and photograph the areas that were beautiful!
Later I found out they used these photos to lay out the golf course!
anyway spent 5 days doing this. Within a few years there was a 18 hole International Golf Course and a super expensive land sale.
Big money buying expensive lots and building whopper houses!..... Then within 3 years from the houses going up all there were were complaints of all the snakes in peoples yards!
On that photographic sojourn..... I saw more rattlers and copperheads then I ever wish to see! I had one Big Black Milk snake that actual followed me for about 1/4 mile when I was on foot.
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Friend got one last week, about 4', no noise. Just sunning it'self buddy looked down and saw it. Emptied his 40 mag on it.


I've been chased by a water moccasin bank fishing near lake Houston. That was scary. Seen one on this place out by the highway, likely hunting along the road side ditch and all the culverts. I read about a hunter in I believe Alabama that described the strike from a rattlesnake as being hit by a bat on the back of his calf. Yikes. He had a snake bite kit and survived.