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Old 07-24-2016, 03:57 AM
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Default Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

I am looking to hike to an area where I can wade and the fishing should be pretty good as I don't believe many people have gone there. My question is how to avoid the snakes.

I live in Northeast Ga so as you may know our primary venomous snake here is the Copperhead, a pit viper, which makes no noise to alert you and is very, very well camouflaged. These snakes are typically timid and non-aggressive but the thing is you cannot see them and that's how people get bitten here in Georgia.

How do you guys do it when hiking to an area?
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Old 07-24-2016, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

What I do is to watch the ground as best I can, mainly looking for movement. At least that's what seems to work best for me. I pay very close attention to rocky areas and tree falls and try to look before stepping.

I ran into two rattle snakes last year. One got quite aggressive and coiled up with me about 6-8 feet away. It coiled up right in the middle of the trail where two kids riding bikes were coming at it from the opposite direction. I yelled at them to stop and it took twice to do that. I pointed at it and their eyes got as big as dinner plates. They would have gone right over and/or beside it.

The second one was just slithering on across the trail and I heard it in the dry leaves.

Copperheads are a different matter like you say. I have seen one of these and it was heading away from me.
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Old 07-24-2016, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

I spent a good part of my earlier years living in GA (Carrollton) where my twin brother and I would see a lot of Copperheads and Cottonmouths around the lake on my parents property, especially when Frog gigging at night..This was the creek that flowed into that lake and before it was cleared and manicured, it was a hotbed of slithering actvity...

Click the image to open in full size.

Here is some useful information on Copperheads:

Copperhead Snake Information & Facts

I learned, prior to moving down there, to always be aware where one puts their feet and hands and to avoid walking along fence lines, when fishing for Trout around a lot of the streams flowing off the Eastside of the Sierras. As kids, we saw a ton of rattlesnakes along those creeks...not so much these days.


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Old 07-24-2016, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

I have hiked thousands of miles in KY, TN, NC, WV, VA, And Northern GA. Across all those thousands of miles, I can count on one hand the number of copperheads and rattlesnakes I have seen. For me, I consider it a numbers game. I don't worry at all about snakes. I have greater odds of getting in a car crash on the way to the river than I do of seeing a benomous snake, let alone being bitten by one.

That said, I always scan the trail ahead and keep my eyes open when scrambling over and around rocks. Just good common sense. I reccommend the same for you. Be a little observant, but don't let the idea of venomous snakes deter you.
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Old 07-24-2016, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

Do you carry a wade staff? If you have to go off a well marked trail, you can use a staff to kind of poke at the grass/leaves (whatever) ahead of you before you walk through it. You could also use a branch, some other telescopic pole, whatever. The longer the better.
If the risk is really bad, consider wearing snake gaurds.
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Old 07-24-2016, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

I've spent a good portion of my life fishing, hunting or trapping where I might encounter snakes. Most would have been non-poisonous, but there was the possibility of poisonous too, especially Copperheads. In all those years, about 50, I never saw a Rattlesnake & only 2 Copperheads. That was mostly in MD.

Now in SC, the possibility is higher plus there are Cottonmouths here, but still from the statistics I've read about bites, it's not frequent.

Since I spent a lot of time around water, I was always aware of common water snakes which can be very aggressive, and even though non-poisonous, their bites can still be nasty with possible serious infections. Black Snakes were another snake I encountered often enough & they too can be very aggressive and inflict a nasty bite. I didn't want to get bitten by any snake.

I made it a point to always move slowly any place where the view of the ground was obstructed. Also as others have said, a walking stick or wading staff is a good idea. I used a walking stick like a blind person might to probe the ground ahead of me. Both of the Copperheads I saw were avoided by doing this. I never had any problems seeing them, even though they're well camoflauged, as long as I paid attention.

As has been said, it's best to just pay attention and watch were you walk. Take your time, because being in a rush is where you'll make a mistake and again from statistics most poisonous snake bites occur because the person stepped on the snake. I wore rubber chest waders much of the time when fishing & trapping, and even though they don't really provide protection against a bite, they do provide a different target, being a looser fit should I step close to a snake. I have had water snakes strike at my boots a few times.

If I was in areas where there might be a high concentration of poisonous snakes for hiking I would invest in some type of "snake proof" boots or other means to limit the possibility of getting bitten especially if I would be a good distance from immediate medical response.
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Old 07-24-2016, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

When I walk in areas with high possibility of snake contact I bounce the tip of my wading staff on the ground in front of me.

Walking through an old apple orchard last year I heard a bunch of snakes taking off through the dry grass as I walked through. Seems to work for me.

One other area I am careful of is while climbing on large rocks or small cliffs I will sweep the flat spots above me with my wading staff before putting my hands up there.
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Old 07-24-2016, 03:20 PM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

Living in Australia I think we get more than our fair share of Snakes .
Some of the rules I live by are invest in a pair of gators ,take heavy steps the vibrations will let the snakes know to get out of the way , always look before stepping over a log ,Boulder ect, when climbing out the river always bash the bank with a stick your not trying to hit anything, just scare any snakes away before you climb out
,never try to Poke or throw anything at a snake you may see .allways Cary a pressure bandage and read up on what to do if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten . I was unlucky enough to step on a Tiger snake once ,fortunately I had on my gators he struck at my leg but no harm done as his fangs could not penetrate through my gators and waders to reach my leg I was pretty shaken up by the experience I can tell you !! . I've spotted hundreds of snakes over here as long as you leave them alone they will not bother you .
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:00 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by geordie41 View Post
Living in Australia I think we get more than our fair share of Snakes .
Some of the rules I live by are invest in a pair of gators ,take heavy steps the vibrations will let the snakes know to get out of the way , always look before stepping over a log ,Boulder ect, when climbing out the river always bash the bank with a stick your not trying to hit anything, just scare any snakes away before you climb out
,never try to Poke or throw anything at a snake you may see .allways Cary a pressure bandage and read up on what to do if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten . I was unlucky enough to step on a Tiger snake once ,fortunately I had on my gators he struck at my leg but no harm done as his fangs could not penetrate through my gators and waders to reach my leg I was pretty shaken up by the experience I can tell you !! . I've spotted hundreds of snakes over here as long as you leave them alone they will not bother you .
Just a bit of advice:
If you live in North America, you do NOT, I repeat NOT, want to ever use a pressure bandage or the pressure immobilization technique on a snake bite!!!
The pressure immobilization technique is great against a venom that's the neurotoxin, as it helps keep it from spreading to the important bits. But we don't have snakes with a neurotoxic venom in North America. Rattlesnakes, copperhead, and other North American vipers have necrotizing/hemotoxic venom, which will be made MUCH WORSE by using a pressure bandage and/or pressure immoblizing technique.
If you do get bit, loosen up your boot laces, belt, and remove any jewelry (your whole body will swell). Immediately call 911, even if you can get yourself to the hospital. Know your weight, so when you call, they can have the hospital start mixing antivenom before you even get there. Knowing your weight and calling ahead of time can make the difference in keeping your limb or even more. Antivenom has to actually be mixed ahead of time and dosed according to weight, so it's best to not sit there waiting on it.
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Old 07-25-2016, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Hiking and Avoiding Snakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by nevadanstig View Post
Just a bit of advice:
If you live in North America, you do NOT, I repeat NOT, want to ever use a pressure bandage or the pressure immobilization technique on a snake bite!!!
The pressure immobilization technique is great against a venom that's the neurotoxin, as it helps keep it from spreading to the important bits. But we don't have snakes with a neurotoxic venom in North America. Rattlesnakes, copperhead, and other North American vipers have necrotizing/hemotoxic venom, which will be made MUCH WORSE by using a pressure bandage and/or pressure immoblizing technique.
If you do get bit, loosen up your boot laces, belt, and remove any jewelry (your whole body will swell). Immediately call 911, even if you can get yourself to the hospital. Know your weight, so when you call, they can have the hospital start mixing antivenom before you even get there. Knowing your weight and calling ahead of time can make the difference in keeping your limb or even more. Antivenom has to actually be mixed ahead of time and dosed according to weight, so it's best to not sit there waiting on it.

Hmmmm...this rattlesnake is: "The most common subspecies of Mojave rattlesnake (type A) has a neurotoxic venom that is considered to be the most debilitating and potentially deadly of all rattlesnakes..."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crotalus_scutulatus

...and I have run into these aggressive critters while dove hunting on more than one occasion...


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