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Snake Gaiters Question
Rut Nut's bad luck sealed the deal on me getting snake gaiters for my NM elk hunt this Sep. The place I'm headed has a lot of them, so I probably better be prepared. I'm considering the three below. The turtle skins are generally considered the cream of the crop, but I'm wondering if they're worth the additional $100. Anyone have experience with multiple options below?
Turtle skins- about $140 http://www.classicusc.com/store/p/1051-TurtleSkin-SnakeArmor-Gaiters.aspx?feed=Froogle&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIqbawgPK83AIVh7rACh31nQsiEAQYASABEgKyGvD_BwE
Knight and Hale- about $40 https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/knight-and-hale-snake-gaiters-1293156?cm_mmc=feed-_-GoogleShopping-_-Product-_-1293156&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIgu_8rva83AIVERuBCh2G3gVtEAQYASABEgI4zfD_BwE
Scent blocker- abut $50 http://www.forestry-suppliers.com/product_pages/products.php?mi=42241&itemnum=23003&redir=Y
Watching this one for exactly the same reasons.
Watching this one for exactly the same reasons.
Scoot- a Pa Game Commission employee and friend recommended the turtle skins. He now works in snake country- so I trust his judgement! ;-)
Grew up in West Texas farming and ranching, guided in New Mexico and Arizona, and have hunted all across the Southwest and into Mexico quite a bit.
Had rattlesnakes show up in the garage, in the porch, under boards, in the pasture, etc all the time growing up. Never had much concerns with them, just stayed aware of where they liked to be and avoided them.
The closest I have come to getting bit has been in Colorado a couple of times and once down in Arizona. Colorado prairie rattlers seem to have a bad attitude and tend to be in places you wouldn’t expect like coiled up in sage brush about waist high - above your snake gaiters or boots.
The one in Arizona was a black-tailed rattler about 5’ up in a manzanita bush that I was crawling through to get to a glassing spot. Heard the buzz and stopped, looking at my feet. Noticed the buzz sounded like it was up off the ground so slowly started looking close in the brush until I finally noticed his tongue flickering at eye level. That was spooky as hell! That was definitely above any gaiters or boots.
Most of the snake bites I have heard of are from people sticking their hands where they shouldn’t without checking or kicking bushes or cover where the snake was hiding.
I wouldn’t take gaiters on an elk hunt in New Mexico or Arizona- especially if they are noisy.
I have only seen on non poisonous snake in NM in unit 16C so I want be taking anything special come September. I hunt Georgia and we have lots of copperheads, cottonmouths, and rattlers. In twenty years I have worn out several pairs of snake boots. Sometimes I will go a six months to a year and not wear any protection. That comes to an end when I see a rattler and normally when I see one then I will see another in a week or so. So that normally seals the deal for me. Most people are not aware of the devastation of a rattlesnake bite. It is a losing proposition when you just feel lucky to be alive.
Get good ones that have some flex to them. I got a cheap pair of hard plastic ones (Tuff Shins) after a snake encounter a few years ago. They are uncomfortable and I don't like wearing them in the spring for turkey. I would not wear them looking for elk.
I can attest to that pigsticker!!!!!!!!! ;-)
You guys got me scared to death now Anyone want my 21 elk points in AZ !!!!!!!!
Hell, yea! I’m all over those 21 points!
I wonder if there is some record that shows the percentage of bites that are above the knee?
Also, I've thought about the snake chaps before, but I commonly wear thin boots. . . can a snake bite through a thin leather boot?
Snakes bother me way more here at home, because so much of the cover is areas where you can't see your feet. Out west when I've hunted, it never really has bothered me, as a lot of the time it's easy to see where you're stepping.
I hunted antelope last fall in W. Nebraska, and talked to a farmer who's wife had been bitten by a prairie rattler and didn't even know it. She was weedeating around a windbreak, and thought she'd just been poked by a branch from the cedars in the windbreak. They didn't figure it out for 10 days (their dog found a snake in the yard and that made them think to look for bite marks). She survived it okay, but he reported that she now has problems she didn't have before, like high blood pressure. He said they could tell the day the poison went through her liver, as she was in severe abdominal pain.
Scary stuff . . .
I've often wondered whether the big camo companies like Kuiu and Sitka shouldn't just incorporate a snake proof material in their pants, from the knee down or something? Surely they could license the turtle skins fabric? Or Sitka and Kuiu make gaiters, why not make them out of the snake proof material?
Someone send them an email :)
I've never worried about rattle snakes my whole life, they've always let me know they were there! Now if I was headed down south to copperhead country and cottonmouth country I might be more concerned! Buy the cheap ones because you won't need them if you just pay attention like you should be anyways while hunting!
I should add, I'm deathly afraid of unknown poisonous snakes :) I'm not afraid of them if I can see them. I'm afraid of the ones my imagination tells me are behind every bush or that I'm gonna step on the very next step. Or that my imagination tells me are gonna slither into my tent or sleeping bag
I don't know what it is about them. I know that a copperhead, which is our most common snake, is not going to kill me unless I have some weird reaction. But it still just bothers me. I'm not sure why.
I've fought this for years, and it's gotten better, as I've gotten it into my head that to do the things I enjoy, I have to be willing to accept the danger. If I take a hit, just please don't let it be to the face or the groin :)
Thanks for the input, fellas. I figured this is how this thread would go-- opinions on the utility of snake gaiters. I know you fellas are right and I know hunting comes with accepting some level of risk. However, my risk is far greater than the average dude given I have type I diabetes. Add to that I've talked with a couple guys who have hunted the area we're headed to and I was told by both "You will see snakes".
So... which of the snake gaiters I posted above would be the best choice? The Scent Loc option looks reasonably light and flexible, but tough to tell from pics. Right now I'm leaning towards those, but I'm not set on anything yet. I'll get the turtle skins if they are markedly better, but I'd rather spend the extra $100 on gas to and from NM.
Copperheads are common sightings fly fishing in the mountains of East TN.
They likely won’t kill you, sure. But, I’d wager they’ll make a man hurt...bad.
My older brother was bitten on the hand by one and spent nearly a week in the hospital. He told me it was the worst pain he’d ever felt. He said it took right at about 5 minutes for the pain to set in, and it was like having his arm in a fiery furnace non-stop.
When a big, strong, athlete tic man, whose fought more dudes than I got friends uses words like “worst pain ever”, I listen. I’m scared of them now. Lol
Old goat- I have seen a total of 2 Timber rattlers in PA. Both on solo backpacking trips in the same general part of the state, but probably 50-60 miles apart First time was the dark color phase and I saw it before it rattled. I purposely walked towards it to see how close I could get before it rattled. I got surprisingly close, although I stayed just out of striking distance. Kind of freaked me out how close it let me get before rattling.
This time there was absolutely no warning! It just NEVER rattled. So I would not count on a rattler giving you a warning! ;-)
my god. so many other things could ruin your trip....stop worrying about snake bite. One of my friends did get bit my a copperhead recently. He spent a night in the hospital and that snake only got one fang in him....I don't think it was too fun for him. by the way...he was bit in the hand.....gaiters wouldn't have done a thing.....
Panther Bone- you are a smart man!!!!!!!
Straight Arrow- LMBO!!!!!!! Yeah, I’m just a p***y! I walked 2+ miles on a snake bit leg. I guess I really should just stop whining about it! Guess you would have just rubbed some dirt in the bite and went back to making dinner. ;-)
This is day 8 in the hospital for me. Snake gaiters would have meant 0 days in my case!
stick n string's Link
Odds are really good that you won't get in a car accident every time you hop in your truck and drive. Given the rationale above everyone who puts on their seatbelt is a big ol' Nancy! :) Haha
OK, I'll try redirect one last time... I'm not looking for more snake stories or individual's opinions on whether anyone should wear gaiters, I'm looking for opinions on the gaiters I posted links to. Anyone?
I think I found the reason old goat Isn't afraid of snakes…
It's relatively simple. Pick the quietest pair. I've got a cheap pair eyewear around the place Rattler's brand but they're made of noisy material. I wouldn't wear them trying to sneak up on anything but I wear them when I'm out fencing or anything else in the pasture. Or if I'm dove hunting I'll wear them. Just about stepped on one in the middle of September Muzzleloader hunting at 8300 feet. Last place and time I figured to see one.
I'm sorry I didn't answer your question. . . . I don't have any experience with any of the choices. I have looked at the Turtle Skin gaiters on multiple occasions, even gone so far as to have them in "my cart", but I've never pulled the trigger. If I were to buy, those are the ones I would get. They have good reviews I believe
All I'm saying is there is lots of stuff can ruin your trip and snakebite is way down the list of probability. I live in one of the copperhead capitals of the US....I can count on one hand the number of people I have know who have got bit.....and gaiters wouldn't have helped none of them.
I tried on a pair of gaiters but never bought them. I don't like the way the fit. I wear snake boots. I have had the same pair of rocky light snake boots for years. Ive even epoxied the soles back on. I put many a mile on them during our 2 month long turkey season. There not heavy and give me more confidence than a gaiter would.
Straight arrow’s comments are valid but dealing with rattlers are a whole other story. Most people don’t wear snake protection where I live but most are not in the outdoors as I am.
The high majority of people of never fallen out of a tree stand but you should still wear a safety harness, right?
SnS, I'm confused-- are you arguing for or against your point you made above?
I know it's not likely and I agree lots of other things can wreck the trip. I'm getting gaiters. :)
I like one of the guys above grew up in West Texas where every year the DPS (state troopers) bring in rattle snakes to the rattle snake roundups so big you wouldn't believe it unless you seen them, spent a LOT of time all over the West since, never felt like I needed snake boots, especially wearing hiking boots as most people get hired on the hands or ankles anyways, hiking boots will protect you from the able bites, nothing will protect the rest of you. Just buy a good set of gaiters instead!
Funny this thread came up today.... I live in NM and drew a archery Antelope tag. A friend of mine called today and we were talking about the hunt he asked me, have you got a pair of snake gaiters ? He was asking because a friend of his was out with his dog and they stumbled onto a big rattler dog was bitten on the face and he was bitten on the leg. They were close to a town, called 911, drove out to the road and met an ambulance...He said they both were going to be ok.
Glad your buddy’s buddy and dog are gonna be OK!
Scoot, i was trying to say regardless of how much experience you think you have with rattlesnakes, they dont ALWAYS rattle, obviously, so wearing snake protection when you are around snakes is not something that isnt just for ppl who "dont pay attention". Directed towards those who are saying that snake gaiters/boots are not necessary....
Turtle skins are the better option, that's what I have. I live in AZ, and I have walked over and by a lot of rattlers, and I have killed a ton of them. I will be wearing them on my hunt this August.
Just killed 4 footer in my driveway. Where there is one, there is usually another. For me it's better safe than sorry.
Apparently the Turtle Skin gaiters are made from Kevlar and thus the light weight(8 oz). Probably why they cost so much more-Kevlar ain’t cheap! ;-)
SnS, i gotcha. I thought you were saying the opposite earlier.
I can't get my hands on the scentloc ones. I think i'll order them and return them if i don't like them. If that's the case I will step up to the turtle skins.
Thanks everyone. Scott
I worked in snake country for years - used to wear snake boots all the time - from my experience the gaiters are noisy as hell. If you are truly concerned with snakes get a good pair of snake boots - they aren’t noisy, they are comfortable and will protect you, if needed. After a couple years of wearing them I went back to a regular boot because they really aren’t necessary and are damn hot in south GA. I used to try to get the rattlers riled up and I couldn’t ever get them to strike! They really want no part of you and most are bitten in the hands.
I've got a potentially dumb related question-- I've always assumed a venomous snake's bite will to right through a leather boot. Is that true?
Ive had Lacross, Irish setter and Rocky snake boots. They were all made out of a heavy canvas. I don't think your in danger of them biting thru leather. Problem is most leather boots don't cover your calf.
Good question Scoot. I have a pair of Russell Moccasin Compnay's Mohican Stalkers that I had made at 16" after a close call my buddy had in central PA during turkey season. They are just as high as their Turkey Hunter boots but lack the cordova sides, just leather. I can't easily stick a sewing needle through the leather but is that thick enough to stop a big rattler? I'm questioning that now but have been wearing those boots since the very early 90s. Anyone know if leather stops a strike? And how thick does the leather need to be?
Had a prairie rattler strike the toe of my boot last year - on the rubber rand over leather. No penetration of the fangs. Spooked me pretty good as I just saw him as he struck when I was walking through the sagebrush. He started rattling after the strike. Dropped my binoculars and tripod when I jumped and they were right in front of him.
Thumped that one with a judo and he will decorate a bow.
My dad had one strike his cowboy boots and it didn’t penetrate.
Good leather stops cactus, mesquite thorns, and wire. Canvas does not. I feel pretty comfortable with a full leather boot in thorny snake infested country for my feet and ankles.
You still need to be careful with snakes that can strike above your boots, though. In snake country you always watch where you put your hands.
In most cases, unless it is triple vamp leather, (very very thick), leather will not stop a snake bite! I am not afraid of snakes at all! I have bird dogs, and will catch a rattler, break off their fangs and snake break my dogs with them. or reinforce previous training... I have caught and killed a ton a rattlers! they are critters, and very unpredictable. I have stepped over rattle snakes and they never moved or made a sound, I have also had them 10 feet from me and they rattle like crazy and go in the opposite direction. I chase them down and kill them all! A snake will cost you thousands of dollars and weeks or months or years of pain and suffering. Is it wort it to not wearing snake gaiters in snake country? Not to me! Gaiters aren't that noisy, and I wear them with shorts in the hot months. Just buy them, wear them, and move slow! I believe that people who say otherwise don't understand the nature of the beast and are careless.
On the other hand at 8, 10, or 12 thousand feet in elevation, you probably don't have to be to worried. In the prairies and flat lands, in real snake country, be very concerned!
Just my thoughts and opinion, not gospel....
Just another point, you can wear them under your camo/ hunting clothes and be just as quiet while still being protected. You don't have to wear them on the outside of you pants.
Well said- I agree. An ounce of protection................
I work in rattler country every day and never have considered wearing gators. I've had close encounters but there's no way I'd wear gators every day at work and while scouting/hunting in rattler country. The last thing a rattler wants to do is bite you...they want to warn you to keep your distance and stay away from them! I run into several every year and just pay attention around me and keep an eye and ear out. There are certain areas and vegetation, rock where rattlers tend to spend time...and it's definitely worth slowing down and being more cautious in those areas. I cover gobs of country while elk, deer, and antelope hunting and there is no way in heck I'd wear chaps! I think there would be a lot better chance of someone dying in a truck accident driving out to their hunting grounds than getting bitten and ending up in the hospital from a rattler bite! I'm not saying that rattlers aren't deadly...I'm saying if you are super cautious you likely won't have any problem. If you are concerned about rattlers..it may be better for you to wear gators, tall boots, or what ever makes you comfortable.
It's true,rattlesnakes don't consciously at least,warn you.They can't hear.I've hunted them all my life and most,I've seen before they rattled.Rattling is a nervous reaction.Don't count on them warning you.
Most rattlesnakes can't penetrate most leather boots but there are so many variables.You would be surprised how much it helps,having pants over the boots.New Mexico does have Western Diamondbacks and a large one can be pretty formidable.
I personally dress for the temperature and terrain and don't wear any kind of snake protection except pants over the boots and don't put feet or hands any place that I can't see is clear.
I do understand that snake proof gear can be a great comfort to some and I say go for it.I'd be looking for light and comfortable if that's possible and again,think about where you place your hands and watch where you sit.On hot,bright days,snakes need to be in the shade.On overcast days or or early and late,they could be moving.Also be careful around water holes.Enjoy your hunt.