When Jen found that snake down by the chicken tractor last week, I started carrying around the .44 Magnum that I inherited from my dad. In an old fashioned leather holster, nonetheless. It’s comfortable enough, but I feel a little ridiculous wearing it. It’s huge. But loaded with shotshell, it’s like carrying a shotgun with an 8″ barrel. Sure any of my 9 mms would do the same with shotshell, but they don’t feed the shells correctly -I guess it’s because they produce less recoil. The .44 is a revolver, so recoil is not an issue.
Saturday evening I took the gun off long enough to take a shower. The dogs were playing outside. Then, just as I got out of the shower, their barking changed. I could tell there was a problem, because Boomer and Apollo hardly ever bark at the same time and Helo had a wierd bark going on. I thought that maybe a goat was out. When I got out there, Apollo and Boomer had something trapped between them. Whatever it was, it was between them but out of my view. It was behind a stack of empty mineral buckets. I yelled for them to get off of it. Helo was all too happy to yield. The other two were a little harder to dissuade.
As I got closer, I could hear a noise. Wishful thinking kicked in. I was hoping it was a cicada vibrating on the ground. Boomer and Apollo have chased those things around before.
Just to be safe, I eased my head around the buckets. I was unpleasantly surprised by a rather large snake of unknown species and unknown toxicity. It was coiled up and shaking its tail. It was just after sunset, so for all I knew it was a rattlesnake.
I finally got the dogs back in. While in, I grabbed the .44 and headed back out, still in my boxers. 3 shots later and the snake was no longer a threat. Actually, it wasn’t a threat after the first shot. The second and third shots were for piece of mind. Piece of mind that it wasn’t suffering, and that it wouldn’t cause us or any of the the animals any suffering.
At this point, it appeared to be dead, so I went back in to check the dogs for bites, just in case it was poisonous. I checked on the snake later. It moved some when I shined a light on it. One shot to the head with my .22 stopped all movement – permanently.
The next morning I got up early to get a good look at the snake. Turns out it was a rattlesnake. It was just over 4 feet long. It was big enough to eat my entire flock of fowl. In fact, it looked big enough to eat Helo.
I wish I had thought to ice it down after I killed it. We are vegetarians for ethical reasons. That being said, we only eat animals that we kill or are willing to kill ourselves. We would have at least tried to eat the snake.
I don’t like killing snakes. I usually go out of my way to relocate them, but I have to draw the line at rattlesnakes, or snakes that could be rattlesnakes. I will continue to carry the .44 around. At this point, I don’t care if it does look like I’m playing cowboys and Indians.