I just got back from a solo hike to check on one of the rattle snake dens. It was a good thing I left the dogs home because there was a potential for a bitten dog. About a month ago I was at the den and there was no sign of snakes yet and the dogs were looking for rock chucks they could hear peeping. Today, I came in from the top side of the den and saw these two chucks sitting on top of the rocks.
I’m sure, if the dogs were with me, the chase would have been on and they would have been checking all the nooks and crannies for the varmints. This was the northern side of the den and sure enough on the sunny side the snakes were just emerging. I say just because I only saw five snakes where I usually see over twenty when they get ready to leave the den. It’s kind of ugly to see 10 snakes all wrapped around each other like a can of worms but that’s what it looks like. I have no clue why they do that but after about a week of doing that every day they eventually leave for there happy hunting grounds.
I snapped this picture before trying to get what I thought was a single snake. It turned out to be four. Two decent sized snakes and two smaller ones.
Had I looked a little harder I would have seen the different colors and known there was at least two snakes. I also saw this monster that headed deep into the rocks at the sound of the others rattling.
I have no idea how many snakes are in that bunch of rocks but as I prod into the cracks in the rocks there is quite a bit of buzzing going on. evidently they get along with the lizards because I see several of them coming out of the cracks also.
There are still plenty of north slopes to run the dogs on. Some of them still have snow. But within a couple of weeks these snakes will start scattering and staying where they can keep warm so we’ll start avoiding those areas with the dogs.
Have fun in the outdoors but be aware of the surroundings. Most dogs recover from snake bites in Idaho but it’s a ugly and costly bite.
9 thoughts on “Time to be picky about playgrounds”
Thanks Larry alan, gracie and piper
Larry, Thanks for the head up. I haven’t seen any snakes yet this year, but good to know that they’re starting to come out. There was a recent article on the Project Upland website about bird dogs and snake bites with some good points:
I know that there is a lot of controversy about the merits of the rattlesnake vaccine and strong opinions on both sides. Our vet didn’t think that there was enough scientific information/study to strongly recommend it.
LikeLiked by 1 person
My vet, who recently retired and was a chukar hunter, said the same thing. He treated many bitten dogs and said he never had one die. I do train mine in snake avoidance but that doesn’t stop that incidental bite. I’ve seen a cow dog that was bitten in the face and it was ugly. The swelling eventually went away and the dog lived.
While chukar hunting above the Salmon River I encountered a rattlesnake den. For the rest of the day and the next, every crooked piece of sage on the ground or anything moving on the ground around my feet made my heart skip a beat.
Thru modern tracking and research, biologists have learned that a major predator for rattlesnakes are golden eagles. Seasonal migration of eagles coincide with congregation at the snake dens. Rattlers sunning on rocks are easy pickings for the migrating eagles.
When do you really stop seeing them in the fall?
Usually a few days and nights of below freezing temps will put them away for the winter. An early snow would certainly help.
Steve, what crexrode says is right. Until those times I try and stay on the north more shaded slopes and hunt early in the day. I stay away from afternoon hunts, especially on rocky sunny slopes that snakes use to sun themselves.
I started wondering about rattlers last weekend, when I took the dog fishing with me twice and we were in really rocky ground. Didn’t see any, and I was at high altitude, but having had the dog bit before. . .
Anyhow, it’s snowing again here today. Are you folks still getting it as well?
No snow here but we’re still having some pretty cool mornings. Some of the slopes are in need of a little moisture to keep the green up going. Did your dog recover okay?