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Death in The Dove Fields

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by SevenMaryThree, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

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    This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Tonight I was talking to Tron and he suggested I post the story here. So here it goes...

    ______________________________________________

    I had an "interesting" hunt last night and knew you guys could appreciate the story.

    Yesterday evening I went dove shooting with my friend Eric and his two young kids. This was my 5th ever hunt in Arizona. We got to the spot early to stake our claim but someone was already there. No biggie...we drove another few minutes to the next watering hole. While Eric got his kids set up I went out on recon to get a feel for the new spot and the best way to approach hunting it.

    I almost immediately put up a small covey of quail, found the remnants of a deer skull, and saw a lot of coyote and javelina spoor. I continued for about 200-250 yards along a wash, mostly with quail scouting in mind. As I walked alongside the wash my eyes were on the ground looking for feathers and signs of bird dusting. I was walking very slowly...stopping every couple of yards to dissect the terrain with my vision.

    I had just come to a stop when it happened...without any warning what so ever I heard the most evil hiss and saw ivory needles headed for my calf at blinding speed from less than a foot and a half away.

    I reflexively jumped back and shot from the hip while trying desperately to un-ass that piece of geography. That son of a bitch ran out of coil literally *one inch* from my leg. Now, getting bit by a rattlesnake while wearing shorts does not sound like much fun. I am also here to tell you that neither is setting off a shotgun at your feet. I missed shooting my own foot by about 4-5 inches.

    My first shot miraculously hit him about three inches behind the head but was not too well centered. He was still very much alive and very much pissed off and regrouping for the second strike. I got into my stock and gave him the second barrel at about 14-15 inches from my leg.

    Holy. Sh!t. The surge of adrenalin was enormous. I reloaded and looked to see if he had any buddies before I moved another muscle. After about a minute of looking for more snakes and holes in my legs, the shakes set in and I started to sweat like a pig. It was not hot out. Cool and cloudy last night...

    I picked the bastard up and carefully made my way back to where Eric and the kids were...the exact same way I had came. When I got back he mentioned something about me looking a little shook up, but I don't remember what exactly. The only crystal clear memory I have is of that gaping mouth and the white death inside of it as it bolted at me. I never heard the gun go off, only seeing the explosions on the ground at my feet.

    There were a lot of "what if's" going through my head last night. What if I had taken one more step? What if my weight had been on the other leg? What if my gun had been open or on safe? I had untested reloads in my gun that I had made just four hours before...what if they hadn't gone bang? What if I missed? What if I had shot myself?

    Last night was just not my time to die. Saint Pietro Beretta was with me. I would have never fathomed in a thousand years that I would ever use a 28 gauge O/U loaded with 8s as a defensive weapon. These pictures were taken about 45 minutes after it happened and the snake still did not know that he was dead. The crash from the adrenaline hit me like a train and I felt like I had aged another 10 years in just a few minutes.

    We got back to my place and skinned him out while we drank Oktoberfest and had a cigar.



    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. jmac_cope

    jmac_cope Active Member

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    Who had to wash the piss out of your camo pants?

    John
     
  3. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

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    John....er, um...it wasn't piss, and required a garden hose prior to my wife allowing them in the washing machine.

    News of snake encounters like mine are way, way up all over the state. And they aren't warning with a rattle like they used to. People that follow these sorts of events say that we haven't experienced rattlers in these kinds of numbers in a long time. I'm new here, so I don't know.
     
  4. Charlie Becknell

    Charlie Becknell Well-Known Member

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    Thank goodness you shot him. I saw a kid that got rattlesnake bite many years ago, it was horrible.
     
  5. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

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    An adrenaline rush is a nasty thing to go through. I can't think of one positive thing to say about it. I'm glad you were looking hard and moving slow. Well done.
     
  6. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

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    What state is this? I looked at your text, but saw no mention. Rather interesting that snake population up; one thinks that with a hot dry summer, population would be down due to fewer rodents. This sure raises a question: How can there be more snakes, what are they eating, or trying to eat? (Dove Hunters? Skeet Shooters?)

    I am from So-Cal, and whenever I'm in the Mojave during temperate climates, I wear boots. Cold weather, not so much worry about snakes. The worst would be a Mojave Green, very poisonous, seen one only once...beautiful snake, lives in a very narrow altitude zone on the desert. Years and years ago, saw the critter...about killed him by Husqvarna, but fortunately missed...



    Heard the true story of an offroad motorcyclist having a rattler in his lap...a rattler tossed up by the rear tire of a motorcycle ahead of him. Fortunately, the viper carrying rider had on leathers and the snake slithered off. Double adrenaline dose, speed and a dangerous viper.

    It is a myth that rattlers always rattle before attacking. And if it is really a heavily snake-infested area, wear high boots and chaps. I know some geologists, on mapping projects, that refuse to go into the "field" without proper covering on feet and legs. The San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles, for example, are simply rattler infested. I once saw what I guessed to be a seven foot diamondback crossing a road near the JPL while going into the San Gabriels via mountain bike. Absolutely impressive.

    "We gotta be careful out there..."
     
  7. Mapper

    Mapper Member

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    I just happen to have been one of those mappers. Never wore chaps but sure had the boots. Cottonmouths and copperheads are pit vipers too and they do not rattle. They all have bad attitudes. A 44 revolver with home made shot shells was my favorite medicine. You need to work on your snake eyes. Eventually it becomes second nature.
     
  8. shadow

    shadow Active Member

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    I'll bet that on ride home it felt like you had mashed potatoes in your shorts !!!
     
  9. Tron

    Tron Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    It sounds like you suffered from Reptile dysfunction.
     
  10. oz

    oz Active Member

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    good thing it wasn't the one in the news a couple of weeks ago. 12 foot diamondback.
     
  11. grntitan

    grntitan Well-Known Member

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    Damn, now that was a good story!! Glad he missed and you didn't. Beats the hell out of all my hunt'n stories.
     
  12. trapshootin hippie

    trapshootin hippie Well-Known Member

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    Why would anyone go hunting in snake country wear short sleeved britches anyways? That's a dumb thing to do.

    Gnej
     
  13. Bruce Specht

    Bruce Specht Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad it worked out the way it did. Thank God your reflex kikced in an you avoid a lot of pain and suffering. Maybe shorts around there isn't the way to go??
     
  14. jhoward

    jhoward Member

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    Closest I ever came to getting bit was on a dove hunt in west central Florida when I was 17. I was looking for a downed bird in some palmettos and was in mid step, my left foot about 3-4" off the ground and my eyes happened to be sweeping across the path when the ground where I was about to step moved. I was moving slowly as I looked for the dove and was able to stop, standing on one foot. After a few seconds I was able to pick out the diamond pattern in the grass. I followed the snake's body till I got to it's head and eliminated it. 20+" pygmy rattler, it apparently didn't know I was there as it was not coiled and never rattled, I would have stepped on the last few inches of its tail. Not sure if it would have been able to reach above my boots had I stepped on it. It was actually a very pretty snake, pygmy rattlers tend to be colored differently than most, this one was a deep green, if it hadn't moved, I'd have never seen it.
     
  15. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

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    This happened near Gold Canyon, AZ.

    Yeah...shorts were a dumb move. Like I said, I'm new to the desert. I'm starting all over again as it pertains to the local fauna. I won't make that mistake ever again.

    But in my own defense, we were headed out to a watering hole that was mostly devoid of "snakey" habitat and brush that I had hunted several times very recently. We got there early only to find that it had been claimed by other hunters.

    Plan B had us setting up at the next watering hole down which had a lot more cover. In hindsight given the time of day, temperatures, and the autopsy results, I'm pretty sure this guy was asleep and digesting his dinner when I came upon him. Hence the sudden and unannounced strike.
     
  16. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    Welcome to Arizona and nice shot ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  17. 22hornet

    22hornet Well-Known Member

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    Good shot. It should be noted that if it were digesting lunch or asleep, it would have been sluggish and a little slow. It was probably huntin'.

    As an aside, I work on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in what is traditionaly a rattlesnake infested area. I haven't seen but 2 or 3 rattlers all summer. Must be the dry year we are having.
     
  18. 391 shooter

    391 shooter Well-Known Member

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    Uneven terrain, snake chaps and snake boots only way to go, cheap insurance.
     
  19. SevenMaryThree

    SevenMaryThree Member

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    No...I know jeans or BDUs would not have helped too much unless the drape of the fabric took the hit.

    But back at home on the shelf were my Columbia BriarShun pants. While not snake proof per se, they are really, really heavy and probably would afford some level of protection.

    Had this happened to Tron, he would have been screwed. Every time we've gone hunting he wears skinny jeans. Something about being concerned about hunting pants making his ass look fat.
     
  20. handlepuller

    handlepuller Well-Known Member

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    Very good story, well written. And, you skin a nice snake!
     
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