Sunday, October 07, 2007

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

One of the advantages of living on The Poor Farm is the variety of wildlife one encounters. Last night, about 2 am, I stepped outside "to check the weather" - another advantage of living in the country. As I was taking care of business, I heard a familiar sound I hadn't heard in a while. It was an average example of the prairie rattlesnake.

I hadn't seen one of these for a couple years, which really shocks me. I have my dog's food on the front porch, and it seems I feed a pretty good population of field mice as well. I'd think that would be like neon signs saying "free food" for miles around. My dog was sitting several yards away - apparently she wasn't bothered by the rattler.

This probably will piss off the herpetologists out there, but I'm not particularly wild about inadvertently stepping on one of these suckers. I kill them. I'll gladly leave a bullsnake alone, but rattlers, not so much. So, after hearing the buzzing and not seeing the snake, I went back inside to get a flashlight and a gun. But which gun? I really prefer a shotgun - you can be a bit further away. Up to a point, the further you are, the better for a pattern spread. However, my shells were in my pickup, which meant walking by the snake, and I wasn't quite sure where it was yet. I've killed several snakes with my 686, but it, too, was in the truck. I could load up the '94 large loop carbine, but I had the Kimber Compact Custom ready beside my recliner.

So, 1911 goodness it was. The snake was tucked next to the porch beside the steps leading to the ground. I had been doing my business on it. No wonder it was upset. I killed two rattlers at once there some years ago as I was on my way to work. I was dashing out the door when the rather arresting sound of the pair stopped me in my tracks. I dispatched them with a shotgun. One had it's head and rattles vaporized, the other seemed dead. I hung them on the fence, and when I came home, the birds had devoured the headless body, but the other snake had worked it's way off the fence and pooled around a post several feet away, where it had finally expired. I was a bit late for work, so my supervisor demanded "proof." He just wanted the rattles, so I cut 'em off, put them in a baggie, and the next day presented him with the trophy. He got a lot of mileage out of them, telling the story of "the best excuse for being late he'd ever heard."

Anyway, I tried for a head shot, but was unsuccessful. I'd better get some more practice with this pistola - I used the whole magazine. It also had a failure to feed on the last round - something that hadn't happened before. I was shooting straight down, so maybe that had something to do with the jam. I didn't get the head shot, but I did sever the "neck" an inch or so from the head, plus the rattles are toast.

Plus, I can't figure my dog sometimes. Babs (short for Babalicious, a nickname for an old girlfriend) is usually frightened by gunfire. She can be found in her doghouse when it's range time on The Poor Farm. Last night, she was totally unconcerned with the shooting.

I used to have a pretty large bullsnake around. I'd bet it was at least four feet long. It had a kink in it's long body. The snake got that kink from me. After my father died, I had to get his equipment ready for auction. Mostly, that meant putting air in flat tires so my buddy and I could tow them to another farm where we were having a combined auction. I kept running into this snake, and I was tired of retrieving my heart after it jumped from my chest. I had a twenty odd inch Crescent wrench with me when the big sucker startled me. I heaved the wrench at the offending snake, and actually hit it. Thus, the kink. I'm sure it's died of old age by now, but I used to see it fairly frequently.

I'm not completely phobic about rattlers, mostly I just don't care for them. Anything that is poisonous and wants to bite me isn't going to be wildlife I want to love.


Bob's Blog said...

I'm with you!

Anonymous said...

Good work, Jeffro. And thanks for the linky! I'll be by often...