first cottonmouth of the year

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Paul Foreman, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    he was sunning right beside a piece of driftwood i was about to go after down on the riprap. when he saw me/felt my footsteps, he slid off into the river. i went back up the hill for my 12-gauge and a fistful of no. 6 loads. i figured he'd be back out sunning somewhere nearby when i got back. sure enough, i sneaked up him about 40 yards up stream. one shot sent him off his rock and into the river to a rock just below. i yanked him out with a stick so i could drag him up to my place for photos. the fishcamp owner despises all snakes, but has a special hatred for venomous ones. he will be pleased with my endeavor.
    i normally do not kill or even hassle snakes, especially non-venomous ones. but a cottonmouth this size could put the hurt on a fisherman, child or dog ...

    DSCF7436bcusa.jpg
     
  2. madmax

    madmax Bushmaster

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    I've got no problem bangin' them.
     
  3. Code Red

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    Is it just me, or is it real early in the year for this kind of thing?

    I was hiking in the snow yesterday in Georgia, and you're shooting cottonmouths next door in Alabama.

    Wierd world.
     
  4. Amish

    Amish Scout

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    That skin sure would look pretty on a hat band, sheath, etc.
     
  5. trappersim

    trappersim Scout

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    Yea boy, those suckers give me the creeps. Glad he didn't get ya.
     
  6. B.Mauser

    B.Mauser Scout

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    I got a sunburn on my face yesterday afternoon, it was 61 degrees here in Colorado. Currently its 29 degrees and snowing. :34:


    Nice snake! I understand why you would shoot them at a fish camp.
     
  7. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    yeah, i think its a bit early, too. but i saw a ringneck snake two weeks ago, on a 48-degree day. and that's a nocturnal worm-eating snake.

    i thought about skinning that rascal, but he has multiple holes head to tail. he was loosely coiled when i shot him, from 10 yards or so.
     
  8. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    You may not mean to kill the non venomous ones but I think you just did....;)

    Looks like a water snake to me...got any photos of the belly?

    Is there a pit between the eye and nostril?

    Body shape is all wrong....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  9. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    gkit, it is possible i am wrong. head is definitely wedge-shaped, though. kinda lean for a cottonmouth, i'll grant you, but i figured that for just coming out of hibernation. markings do continue under the belly, as they should. but the eye doesn't look quite right. then again, my close-up glasses go only so far. :15:

    those are some hoss cottonmouths on either side of the banded water moccasin in your photo.
     
  10. Reeper

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    Uh huh I say kill em all and let god sort um out!
     
  11. HardBall

    HardBall Basket of Deplorable Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Dang, already snake season?

    I used to not bother with them, but after my $50,000 trip to the ER, I say kill them all!!
     
  12. stronghorse

    stronghorse Guide

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    Cottonmouths have distinct features, but honestly I would probably only check them afterwards...

    cottonmouth06.jpg

    snaketail.jpg
     
  13. HeadyBrew

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    I think I would rather see a sharks fin swimming towards me than one of those God awful things. I can generally see your typical terrestrial snake and not be bothered by it, but there is just something about a snake that swims that creeps me the hell out.
     
  14. HeadyBrew

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    Exactly. That's a situation where I think I'd shoot first and ask questions later.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  15. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    They are all the same species, Cottonmouth Agkistrodon piscivorus. The small one is just a younger one. I saw another one that day that was twice the size (in thickness)of the biggest one in that photo but it managed to escape.

    Cottonmouths usually have a real light off white to yellowish belly with brownish/blackish splotchy bands. The features posted above are good things to look for too. The head of the water snakes is triangular especially when messed with so that is not the best thing to go by. They are an aggressive snake but non venomous.

    The body shape is the big thing to me, I have never seen one that did not have the blunt/pug nasty thick body...almost like the tail (portion from vent to tip) is short and stubby on a much thicker body.

    No big deal....plenty of water snakes around, you saved a few fish ;)
     
  16. GKiT

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    All snakes can swim but it is that thick body shape that allows the cottonmouth to float on the surface of the water.
     
  17. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    It is just like learning to I.D. edible plants or anything else....study the details and you do not need to get too close to tell what you are looking at.
     
  18. NGshooter17

    NGshooter17 Scout

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    "Excuse me Mr. Snake, may I examine your anal plate?"
     
  19. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Last one I saw, I asked him if I could see his anal plate... he got kinda mad... so I don't ask anymore... just shoot first, and then check later.

    I generally have no problem with God's creatures, but I'm gonna ask him "what was he thinking" about a few he made: cottonmouths, hornets, and wasps...
     
  20. Itegorm

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    Makes me happy we still have around 15 inches of snow on the ground here. Thenagain part of the reason I like MI is that we only have one venomous snake here and they are few and far between.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  21. b owdenja

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    yeah.......... if it swimmin on top of the water don't piss it off..........of course if it right under your feet on the bank, well that's when you learn to hover.
     
  22. proud dad

    proud dad Scout

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    Plus Mosquitoes and Ticks
     
  23. KajunKat

    KajunKat Guide

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    Can't believe nobody has said anything about that nice old model 12 yet.
    I am waiting for the spring to get a couple of them to put on my bow limbs they look cool as all get out. Snakes skins that is, not model 12s....
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  24. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    thanks, kat. it's a 1945 army issue mp riot gun, cylinder bore, parkerized, of course.
     
  25. herpingmad

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    you killed a harmless water snake.
     
  26. WKS1977

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    With the shape of his head, my first thought would've been poisonous also. Seeing a snake always shoots my adrenaline through the roof. :)
    That is a sweet looking 12 Ga. Nice and basic.
     
  27. sulaco

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    We're eat up with cottonmouths where I'm from. I kill them almost year-round. I don't mind most snakes but cottonmouths are demon spawn. Heck, I see just as many cane brake and timber rattlers and let them be, but the cottonmouths have to die.
     
  28. Ralph

    Ralph Scout

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    I once had a friend whose motto was "the only good snake is a DEAD snake!" He reminded me of this when he shot a bull snake while we were hunting in Southwest Kansas on year. In his defense; when I saw is 12 ga. coming down about a foot from my feet; I knew there was a snake. Having liked there (had moved to the other end of KS) my first thought was "Thank G*d you saw it before I stepped on a Rattler and pissed it off!" Was not happy it was bull snake but would rather have dead bull snake than live RATTLE SNAKE!
     
  29. sbkittrell

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    I don't think so. Hold down your control key and push the "+" key five or six times to enlarge the photo and you'll see that the head is definitely triangle shaped, plus the snake is thicker in the middle than most water snakes I've seen. Also, if it's just out of hibernation, even down in Alabama, it's going to be thinner. I think he killed a cottonmouth. There's a lot down here where I live too and I've killed one right up next to my house.
     
  30. dac

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    So am I really the only one who has a problem with the fact that he killed a snake that was in no way bothering him?I don't see that point in killing something just cause it is what it is.
     
  31. Keyser Söze

    Keyser Söze Usual Suspecto Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    its A Cottonmouth ...disguised like a water snake
     
  32. oldpinecricker

    oldpinecricker Guide

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    snakes

    Kill them all. There's enough of them that the few you and everybody else kill won't matter in the survival of the species. There's no way we could eradicate all snakes so the ones that get in the way should be either killed or relocated by an handler.

    Personally I hate the damned things. I can say the same about centipedes, spiders, scorpions, hornets and wasps and mosquitoes.
     
  33. kodiak2688

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    not enough room for me AND them...

    The cottonmouths down here in central Florida, in the St. Johns River swamp where I hunt/fish/hang out, tend to nearly black. They are the only aggressive venomous snake we have, that I have dealt with personally. Rattlesnakes will run off...moccasins will chase yer ass!!

    I was hit once, in the right inside calf by one these boogers. Ironically, even though it was underwater, it was a "dry bite". The bite got pretty nasty and I felt like I had a fever, but no pizen, thank God!

    For a few years afterward I killed almost every one of them I came upon. Stopped counting at 73.

    I HATE those vile creatures....but, I guess they exist for a reason. I just ain't smart enough to know what it is.
     
  34. leverett

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    Snakes are amazeing creatures ive had a few as pets but I absolutly despise any snake that lives in the water if there were a few I wouldnt have a problem but the shear numbers makes them a nightmare im geting a frog gig this year last year for an emergency defense I was cornered on an island in the middle of a river with my fiance.
     
  35. GKiT

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    So far you are the only one but I am sure there are more.

    Life would not be much fun if you were limited to only killing stuff that was bothering you.

    It is a water snake but they will make more...no doubt.
     
  36. gdpolk

    gdpolk Guide

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    I generally agree with you. However, I have no problem ridding the world of every single tick, mosquito, horse fly, chigger, poisonous snake, or wild hog (highly destructive, invasive species in my area) that I see. Pests, destructive and invasive species, and critters that can kill me get an automatic pass to the afterlife. All other animals are protected unless are to become my dinner.
     
  37. Unicoi

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    The reddish/banded water snakes here in Georgia can be very aggressive. With the light winters over the past few years in the south,snake population is booming. Got to be the same next door over in bama. Good job.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  38. strong tower

    strong tower Scout

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    If we were "limited" to killing only "stuff" that bothered us, the prisons would be a lot more crowded. :22:
     
  39. b owdenja

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    Well, he said "the fishcamp owner despises all snakes, but has a special hatred for venomous ones. he will be pleased with my endeavor." , so if he wants to be able to use this camp you pretty much have to do want the owner wants.

    So is it just me or should everyone just get off this guys back........... it's not like he killed the only remaining brontosaurus in the world.

    Just my opinion.

    john
     
  40. Paul Foreman

    Paul Foreman Bushmaster

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    hey, ain't nobody on my back. no comments here bothering me at all. just glad to be here ... :)
     
  41. wulfesinger67

    wulfesinger67 Guide

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    ive had to many encounters with these cant stand them either. and if a snake suprises me i can honest say i can identify them in a instant! they are all Rattleheadedcoppermocassins and they will be delt a swift and sudden death, afterwards the shall be skinned cleaned and cooked.
     
  42. knifeman85

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    I don't think i would have shot it with the 12 ga....I wouldve used my 22 mag my wife bought me for christmas.I carry a pistol in the woods for a few reasons and he killed one of them.The other is also a snake,,, of a two legged variety.By the way,that IS a great lookin mod. 12.
     
  43. rlh2

    rlh2 Guide Bushclass I

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    I would have killed it too and never looked back.
     
  44. 45jack

    45jack Supporter Supporter

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    And flies. I have no use for a critter that feeds on feces then copulates in my potato salad.
     
  45. tree-ratsniper

    tree-ratsniper Guide

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    I'm a snake fan & used to have a few as pets when I was a kid (milk, garter & rat-snakes). However cottonmouths/water moccasins are one of the most nasty foul-tempered aggressive critters that slithers & I would have shot 'em too! :dblthumb:
     
  46. wilderness

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    I remember when I was growing up, ANY snake that was in or near water was for sure a 'cottonmouth' according to all the 'old timers'.
    I use to catch water snakes and scare the heck out of them :D
     
  47. darkwolf777

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    Being in Louisiana, I can tell ya IF it was a watersnake, we have more than enough to keep the world populated. Last year I went to a favorite fishin spot and every fish I dragged in had a damn snake attached by the time it got to me. I caught 23 fish and killed 35+ snakes. When I left there were still more watersnakes than I could count on the bank, on logs, in trees.... I just hate them now. Good job Paul, I'd have got him too. My guage ain't as cool as your's, but works as good ;)
     
  48. GrizzlySWPA

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    Good on you, I'm not all a fan of snakes, poisonous or not. I would have shot the bugger, and left him - dead or not, I'm not touching it. Haha.

    About a year back, we came upon a dead snake on the trail, and my buddy picked it up and was checking it out. Suffice to say, I got it in my head that he was going to throw it at me, so I threatened to shoot him. I was deadly serious!

    Then just this last summer, while out doing an overnight kayak trip, a snake swam right towards my kayak and disappeared under me. I don't think I've ever paddled to land quicker.

    Spiders, and all those critters don't bother me, but snakes are way beyond a no go for me.
     
  49. GKiT

    GKiT Supporter Supporter

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    Jelly fish, now there is a beast of little value. Don't be too hard on the tick and the mosquito. Ticks keep lots of people from going into the woods and that helps to keep things quiet. Malaria cleans up 1.2 million people a year so its not all bad either.

    It is so interesting to me that some folks would be bothered by the killing of a snake. It is a neutral act.

    People that kill snakes of any kind do not bother me, people that will never kill any snake do not bother me. The number of people that can not indentify a snake correctly bothers me a little, even though it should'nt.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013
  50. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Respectfully, I don't know where in NJ you live, but i see from your profile you grew up doing outdoor stuff, but you kinda have to live down here with this kind of snake to really understand. Kinda like killing house flies I guess. A pest, but poisonous... I don't know you, so I don't know your comfort level in the woods, experience level, or where you go to get outdoors. I'm assuming it's not "out in the country". Imagine a poisonous, agressive snake the color of concrete, that liked to hang out on sidewalks, that you couldn't see until it moved, and when you did finally rouse it, it didn't have the sense to leave, but moved toward you, rather than fleeing like any normal snake. If you are fortunate enough to live in the country, let's say it was a green snake, grass colored, with stripes, looking exactly like astro-turf... Any snake that looks like it is not going to get the benefit of the doubt. Hope that explains it's situation a little better.

    Let me put it another way... I went squirrel hunting last wednesday after work... 2nd to last day of the season. I shot a little guy up a tree, watched the bullet hit him and move him backwards... watched him shake a little as he lost his grip, watched him fall, and heard him hit the ground. Lost sight of him as I moved through the brush to get him... when i got there, he was gone. There was a hole in the base of tree that I think he crawled into. i was sick. i stayed a half hour, looking for a blood trail, anything, to recover my kill. i was screwed up spiritually for 2 days afterward... went back out sunday to see if i could find anything there, and to make my peace with him. I still feel bad. I wouldn't even eat a moccasin. Might skin it and wear it as a hat band out of spite.

    I don't shoot them if they're traveling away from me... but moccasins are not docile (related to the copperhead), and my comment about the anal plates was designed to show the futility of trying to sort out first and shoot later... In the case of a slow moving coral snake, yeah, i'll figure out if it's a "friend of jack" or a "deadly fellow"... mocs and their copycats don't get the benefit of the doubt. Also, life eventually teaches you to be cautious and you lose your idealism.

    And if after that, you still don't understand (though you may still not do it yourself), then we will have to agree to disagree.

    Respectfully,
    Seeker
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2013

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