Thursday, June 11, 2020

Snake avoidance.

Although we have never had a problem with rattle snakes I have always done some snake avoidance with my dogs. Tucker and Dakota went to snake avoidance class while Jake and Grady were taught by me. Sometimes you have to wonder if it really works but once in a while the right opportunity comes along to help ease the mind. Mine was today.

While rehabbing on a logging road with my dogs I came across a bull snake on the road. At 60 degrees he wasn't moving much so I didn't know whether the dogs had even crossed his path as they jogged around looking for some kind of prey. So I called them back down the road ready to give them some stimulation when either they reacted to the snake or the snake reacted to them and surprisingly they both stopped right next to the snake and looked for me to release them to go play.

Neither dog acted as if they smelled the snake and the snake wasn't interested in getting any attention so I snapped the photo and walked the dogs down the road where they proceeded hunting for whatever they could find. I went back to the snake and pushed him around with my cane aggravating it some until it was hissing and striking at the object.

I than called the boys back and when they saw the movement of the snake they retreated quickly without any stimulus. It's a nice feeling to know that the avoidance is there.

I don't know why the dogs didn't smell the snake because I have seen them react from the smell of snakes before but it was obvious they had no idea at our first contact. None of this will ever solve that chance meeting but it will eliminate the curious dog that has to see what the snake is doing and go in for a closer look, especially puppies. 

This also shows that generally snakes won't react to dogs or other objects like canes unless provoked. Knock on wood that our fortune with snakes will stay the same for the coming years.
For some reason the movie portion isn't working right so you'll have to imagine the snake striking at my cane. I'm about to give up on this technology.


Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

My bird dog, and my wife's darling and prized possession, was bit by a rattlesnake last year.A very scary experience, to say the least, which resulted in my high speed, for a Jeep, race into town and to the vets on a Sunday. Fortunately, he came out okay.

He was bit on the face and lost a bunch of fur there, which spread down his side. It grew back in a different color, but oddly has turned back to what it was. Anyhow, it was there that we learned about rattlesnake vaccine, and he's just been to the vet for his booster.

I'd note that there's been a lot of water snakes around this year for some reason and he hasn't taken any notice of them while we're fishing. Maybe snakes don't have much of a smell. We were bird hunting when he was bit, in a very brush era, and it makes me shudder to think that I'd fallen into a deep (as in five or six feet deep, hidden dry ditch just feet from where he was bit. My not being bit was, I'm quite sure, an example of the Divine looking after the foolish. Like Maclean's character in A River Runs Through It, I tend to go places alone in my autumn years where I probably ought not to.

Tuckers Chukars said...

P,M and A. Until this year I thought snakes had a lot of smell. Now I wonder. We too have seen a lot of snakes this year. Most have been bull snakes on the road since I can't get out into the brush quite yet. I'm glad to hear that your bird dog came out of the experience alright. Especially since it was also your wife's prize possession. If she is anything like my wife I'd be still hearing about it today if anything had gone worse.

Keep going to those places you ought not until your legs won't carry you there anymore. Part of our love for the outdoors is the unknown. But, as I have found, it might not be a bad idea to carry one of those life saving devices to let someone know you need help. I often am told I shouldn't go out alone anymore but I also know that one of the reasons I love being where I end up is because I was by myself (and the dogs), setting my own pace and not worrying about anything else but me and the dogs.

Sometimes you have to experience it to understand.

Pat, Marcus & Alexis said...

"Keep going to those places you ought not until your legs won't carry you there anymore. Part of our love for the outdoors is the unknown."

That's very true. And having started out going out by myself as a kid when there was nobody else to go, but certainly taking my hunting companions when I could, I'm too acclimated to that to change. At 57, I'm still in really good shape (I'm often shocked by the bad shape of my contemporaries), but I'm definitely not as spry as I was even at 47. And I'm crowding the age my father passed and way past the age that my grandfather did. I'm probably one of those guys who will meet my end out in the field.

I've hunted all my life but this is the fist hunting dog I've ever had. My wife always wanted a dog and my going out into rivers and the like to retrieve birds myself was one of her claimed motivations for getting him. He's a great dog and while he's really hers most of the time he suddenly becomes mine if I starting getting the hunting gear out. He's been great and I'm really glad we got him. Had he not made it, I'd be living in the garage. He's really added to the experience and I love to take him.