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#208688 - 09/29/10 07:19 PM Hunting snakes and turtles for food
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
In California no license of any kind is required to harvest rattlesnakes 24/7/360 by any method. In California rattlesnakes occur from sealevel to over 10,000 feet in elevation in almost all environments. This provides some reason to learn harvesting them for survival food. Besides, they are supposed to taste like chicken!

So, with new pellet gun and soon-to-be constructed snake stick [old golf club shaft extended by aluminum solid rod], I will be hitting the hills soon. I will be accompanied by a friend who claims extensive herpetological experience and some snake eating. I have checked for the location and route to the nearest hospital and anti-venom.

Experiences? Thoughts?


#208689 - 09/29/10 07:55 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
Phaedrus Offline

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 1905
Loc: Great Plains
All I can say is snake is pretty decent eating and turtle is sublime! grin
“You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.” Naguib Mahfouz

#208695 - 09/29/10 08:31 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: NightHiker]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 839
Loc: Colorado
Might want to check out how to ID protected species.
Green Mojave Rattler could be one.

(I don't know but think I saw mention of something like that on Survivorman)

#208698 - 09/29/10 09:04 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
Susan Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
The desert tortoises are also protected.

#208700 - 09/29/10 09:30 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
frediver Offline

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 213
Loc: N.Cal.
Remember that dead rattle snakes can still bite !
The old wives tale about a snake not really being dead till after sundown has some small "bite" of truth to it.

#208701 - 09/29/10 09:32 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
comms Offline

Registered: 07/23/08
Posts: 1502
Loc: Mesa, AZ
Experience hunting and eating. No. Finding, killing, eating Yes.

Advice? Have fun with the pellet gun, hope you can pump it up high enough and have good aim from 10 yards away through the brush for a head shot (or several). Personally I wouldn't 'hunt' a rattler with anything less than a .22 shotshell and prefer my .410 Snake Charmer.
Don't just survive. Thrive.

#208702 - 09/29/10 10:57 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
MDinana Offline

Registered: 03/08/07
Posts: 2183
Loc: Deep south... Carolina
Originally Posted By: dweste
In California no license of any kind is required to harvest rattlesnakes 24/7/360 by any method.

Number one - good luck finding them. I've seen maybe 3 in my 20 years of growing up there.

Number two - make sure you're not hunting on the other 5 days of the year...

#208703 - 09/29/10 11:24 PM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: MDinana]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5796
Loc: southern Cal
You certainly don't need a gun to harvest rattlesnakes. My preferred implement was a shovel, either round or square nosed, mostly because that was what I had handy on archaeological digs. Rocks were also highly effective - quieter and with less pernicious ricochets.

Notice the above is in past tense. Through the years, I have tended to leave the snakes alone - when we meet, they go in one direction and I go in the other. They perform a very useful function in regulating rodent populations, although I guess after you have harvested the rattlers, the logical second course would be mice (Would you like them fried, or roasted, Sir?).

The last snake I killed was over forty years ago and it occurred in a National Park. My oldest daughter was eighteen months old and we had a large diamondback lurking around our isolated trailer site I was occupying during a project there. The shovel worked much better than the revolver in that situation.

In twenty-five years of SAR experience around Tucson, AZ, - some 400 operations, we never had a single snake bite victim. The closest was a gentleman scrambling up a rocky face, who upon coming face to face with a rattler, lost his grip and fell, sustaining multiple fractures. We responded to a myriad of fall victims. That is not to say, of course, that no one was bitten during that time. Undoubtedly, a good many victims walked themselves out.

I did attend a very informative presentation by a Tucson physician on his treatment of some fifty victims in the area. They fell into two broad classes. One was young children playing around their home, typically around steps, who were frequently bitten on or near the face. The second group were young males, deliberately seeking out snakes.

Be careful out there.
Geezer in Chief

#208712 - 09/30/10 12:33 AM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: dweste]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Yes, you can eat them. Catching, cleaning and cooking are easy once you learn a few tricks. Be aware that many turtles carry salmonella, and animals that that inhabit sewage polluted water will be infected by it. So watch how you swing the knife while cleaning, wash your hands, keep uncooked meat away from cooked meat and foods served raw, and cook the meat thoroughly.

Be aware that turtles and snakes don't reproduce very fast. They lay a lot of eggs but their early-life mortality rate is quite high. Just about everything out there feeds on baby snakes and turtles. One hunter working a large area isn't much of an issue long-term but it is pretty easy to exceed the carrying capacity. Something you won't know you have done until several years after the fact.

It also has to pointed out that the most effective gun for dealing with snakes is ... a stick. Who in their right mind shoots them from 10 yards away when you can walk up and bag them? A waste of ammunition to even try to shoot them. Besides, snakes and turtles keep longer if you don't kill them. Just pin them, pick them up, and stuff them into a sack.

Using a gun of turtles isn't much better. Shoot one on a log and it will fall off. Good chance it gets lost. Waste of game and ammunition. Use a dip net. Cheaper, faster, surer, less noisy. When they are on the water's edge you step out into the water and pick them up them when they make a run for it. Or sneak the net below them when they are sunning on a log and they dive right in. Did a lot of that when I was a kid.

In the water shuffle your feet. Alligator snappers and gators tend to bite first, and then move, if you step on them. If you bump them they slink off. They are both ambush predators and if they are interrupted, but not threatened, they simply move and set up elsewhere.

Of course in the water you're going to run into water snakes. Most will run from you but water moccasins can get aggressive. They aren't dangerous at a couple of meters away and unless they are standing still, in which case they are harmless, they are close to impossible to reliably hit with a gun because they move fast. Even a shotgun doesn't do much good. At close range the shot doesn't spread enough to hit a significant area. Makes an lot of noise and an impressive splash.

A pistol loaded with rat-shot shells can serve for ranges under ten feet but a stick is simply the better tool for the job. A stick always works, never jams, never runs out of ammunition. Sticks are also free. Whack the water in front of a snake with the flat of the stick swung overhead and most will turn and run. Snakes sense the impact and vibration from the water. Hitting them never fails to back them off or kill them.

#208714 - 09/30/10 12:59 AM Re: Hunting snakes and turtles for food [Re: Art_in_FL]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
Some very good points.

I forgot to include that in California turtles can only be taken be holders of valid fishing licenses and only by hook and line. My target turtles will be red ear sliders which are an invasive species crowding out, primarily, the western box turtle. I appreciate the turtle handling tips.

Fortunately or unfortunately in my area most of the water snakes, snapping turtles, etcetera do not exist.

Sorry I was not clear: snakes will be captured alive using snake sticks but dispatched in the field almost immediately by beheading. I do not know what the rules are about transporting live rattlesnakes but I think and will guess that unless you have a collecting permit that is not allowed in CA, but I am not putting live rattlesnakes in my vehicle in any event.

The pellet gun is for rabbits, squirrels,and turkeys when in season. For Friday it is to try to zero in the new gun with its new scope and generally make it my friend in the field. I will be bringing targets and a pellet trap box to mount them on.

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