Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'll take these guys over 10 below!

I was reading The Downeast Duck Hunter's blog the other day about how much fun he and the Rabid Outdoorsman were having ice fishing or chasing small predators across the wonderful state of Maine.  I try to be a good blog follower and leave comments on most post that are written, so I left a small blurb about how much I thought I would enjoy hunting or fishing with them if the weather was a little warmer.  You see, here in South Georgia if the weather gets to be about 20 degrees we go looking for supplies of water and milk because the world is most definitely coming to an end!!  Being the good blogger that The DEDH is, he replied to my comment with one of his own.  He said that he would rather have 10 below temps than poisonous snakes any day!  Georgia is known for such things as water moccasins and the Eastern Diamondback Rattle Snake.  It seems to me that I read that Maine does not have ONE poisonous snake in the whole state.  In an effort to poke a little fun at my blogging friend from up north, I offer the following pictures and while smiling ask, "What's the big deal?"

Smile!!  The author at a very young age of 19!


I drug up some twenty year old pictures of me and some of my friendsssss.  My hometown was once the home of the Rattlesnake Round-up.  In fact the round-up lasted for about 25 years before strong pressure from environmentalist made the decision an easy one and the Rattlesnake round-up was turned into the Wild Chicken Festival about 10 years ago. (Fitzgerald has Wild Chickens running around its downtown, but that is another post for another day!)  About the time the DEDH was making comments about our local wildlife, the hunting crazy chick at "Hunt Like You Are Hungry" was asking what to do after duck season ends.  I was reminded what we use to do during the time between deer/duck season and turkey season.  We hunted Rattlesnakes!!

No, I am not a complete red-neck!  This was actually kind of fun and very profitable.  At one time, live rattlesnakes were bringing $10 a foot.  All you had to do was find the snake, get over your fear of handling him and sell him at the local round-up.  A 4 foot snake made you $40.  If you had ten of them, you just made yourself $400.  It was easy money, because as you can probably figure out, there was not that many of us doing this!!

We never had a land owner tell us that we could NOT hunt snakes on his property!  How did you do it you might ask?  It requires a long hard hose, a good pair of brier britches and a lot of walking.  Rattlesnakes can be found in the bottom of gopher tortoise holes during the colder months here in the South.  One end of your hose is plugged up and inserted into a gopher hole on the side of a field or any sandy ridge.  The hose is run down to the bottom and twisted several times.  If the snake is in the hole, he will be pretty mad at getting hit with the hose and will began to rattle.  You place your ear to the other end of the hose and if he is sounding off, you can hear him clear as a bell.  In the old days, you would put a little gasoline into your end of the hose and blow air down to the other end.  The fumes from the gas would make the snake crawl out and you sacked him up and took him home.  We changed tactics when it became a concern about using the gasoline and the effects that it may be having on other animals living in the hole.  We developed a hooking mechanism that would catch the snake in the hide and slowly pull him out.  It didn't seem to hurt the snake at all and was better for the environment.  If that didn't work, you started digging!!  Daddy and I might catch 4 or five snakes every Saturday during the months of January and February.  We would sell them at the round-up in March.  It may have been a crazy type of hunting, but it was hunting!!  And it was FUN!!

I haven't hunted a Rattlesnake in the last 15 years, but I really do miss the fun that we use to have.  The round-up is no more, but people around here still talk about it.  All of my friends went hunting with me at least once.  Some of them will say that they went twice.  There first and last!  But most of the time it was just me and Daddy!  That may have been what I liked the most!


Who could be scared of this cute little thing??

So DEDH, I'm going to say that I will leave that 10 below stuff for you to play in, because these dangerous  little guys sure have supplied me with some great hunting memories!  When you want to warm up a little, your invitation is always open to visit South Georgia and I will be glad to guide you on a little snake hunting venture of your own! :)  Hope to see you soon bud!!

10 comments:

Ian Nance said...

Snakes over freezing temps any day. Any day. Snakes can be handled with a shotgun. Hypothermia and frost bite cannot.

Trey said...

Ian, I'm not sure which would sting more. A snake bite or those temps! I really would like to go shoot ducks with those guys though!!

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

ahahahah. I love it. We own a snake.. a cute bull python named George. But those poisonous ones are the snakes I stay away from... especially when I'm wading. Props for being man enough to handle that one!

HLYH

Molly said...

I remember going to the Rattlesnake round up!! I though y'all were CRAZY for doing that! haha!
But I didn't know that you hunted them and then sold them. That's pretty awesome! Learn something new everyday! I also always wondered what happened to it.... guess I'll have to come witness the wild chickens sometime soon!!

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Okay, I've started responding then deleted back so here goes...

Several years ago, I took my wife on our honeymoon to Disneyworld. It was during Christmas vacation and when we flew out of Bangor, Maine it was 8 degrees. When I dove into the pool in Orlando, it was 58 degrees. For some "weird" reason I had the entire pool to myself. So then the next day we're at Animal Kingdom and I'm wearing a tank top and cargo pants. This employee waddles over and asks me if I'm crazy. She went on to explain that she was wearing all of her winter wear plus extra thermals. So either I'm tough, or well I won't go any further...

As far as the snakes are concerned, holy crap... never liked them, guess I'm scared of them but I've never actually been in the field down south so I suppose it's not as bad as I think. Still, you've got some guts to embrace mayhem like that...

Next hypothermia can happen anywhere, and in Maine it's during all seasons. Once the factors kick in (air, water, contact, etc.) then the body struggles to maintain heat. In the later fall and early winter, our water temperatures get below 40 degrees while they peak around 60 in the summertime. Either way, Maine water will force any person over time into hypothermia. Fortunately, we prepare for it and exercise much safety in what we do especially now that we have children. That's part of the reason I do more ice fishing in January now as opposed to chasing sea ducks. The key to staying safe is proper gear, smart company, good decisions, and eternal readiness. We just had a student at the University of Maine get frostbite while walking across campus this weekend. He simply was not dressed for the conditions and paid the price. During that same weekend, I went out into the woods searching for deer yards and a spot for a new stand. Not once did I chill in four hours. I suppose the above factors would apply for rattlesnakes, with the correct gear and plan of action.

Finally, I'll sum up this long winded response with two things. One, we'll figure out a time down the road to get you sea ducking... and two, please leave the rattlers in the gopher tortoise holes when you do get "downeast"...

If you're tough enough, I'll let you wrestle some lobsters...

Nice post man, albeit crazy...

DEDH

Trey said...

DEDH- Tony I am starting to think that you would fit in just fine here down south! You may melt during the summer months when temps reach the high 90's but other than that you would be OK! As far as me up north.....I guess I could put on a LOT of clothes because I would love to try my hand at some of the things that you guys do!! Even lobster fishing!!! Thanks for being a good sport and I fully expect for you to return some of the ribbing that I have been sending your way!!

kmurray said...

Oh you guys are all too funny! I love watching this whole thing burst forth over the blogs ;-P

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

You're alright man, I haven't got the energy to poke at you simply because my stealthy tactics are employed in a major act of retribution towards the Rabid Outdoorsman. Besides a member of a fraternity whose chapter in Maine dared to offer me a bid has to be a man of good character...

Trey said...

DEDH- Thanks man, I try! You might want to check out a post that I wrote about my little fraternity last July. It is called "Always be AEKDB". You might just like it!

Rabid Outdoorsman said...

Wow, I can see I need to monitor this site a little more closely. Buying snake boots tomorrow for my annual pilgrimage to Florida to hunt turkeys. The great thing about snake boots, they do little to protect your A$$ when you are hurrying to sit and hide when a big tom goes gobble, gobble!

Last year we saw several pygmy rattle snakes but we ran over them with the truck. lol.