Mathews Inc.
Snake Gaiters Question
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
Scoot 26-Jul-18
Griz 26-Jul-18
Griz 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
Treeline 26-Jul-18
Pigsticker 26-Jul-18
PECO 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
Bowman 26-Jul-18
Treeline 26-Jul-18
Bake 26-Jul-18
oldgoat 26-Jul-18
Bake 26-Jul-18
Scoot 26-Jul-18
Panther Bone 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
Scoot 26-Jul-18
Dirk Diggler 26-Jul-18
Bake 26-Jul-18
Thunder Head 26-Jul-18
Pigsticker 26-Jul-18
stick n string 26-Jul-18
Scoot 26-Jul-18
oldgoat 26-Jul-18
jdee 26-Jul-18
Rut Nut 26-Jul-18
stick n string 26-Jul-18
Scar Finga 27-Jul-18
Rut Nut 27-Jul-18
Scoot 27-Jul-18
Lee 27-Jul-18
Scoot 27-Jul-18
Thunder Head 27-Jul-18
Griz 27-Jul-18
Treeline 27-Jul-18
Scar Finga 27-Jul-18
Scar Finga 27-Jul-18
Rut Nut 27-Jul-18
Jims 27-Jul-18
Jim B 28-Jul-18
SnakePRO1 07-Mar-19
SnakePRO1 07-Mar-19
IdyllwildArcher 07-Mar-19
Ziek 08-Mar-19
Rut Nut 11-Mar-19
Rut Nut 11-Mar-19
Ziek 12-Mar-19
Rut Nut 12-Mar-19
Rut Nut 12-Mar-19
Rut Nut 12-Mar-19
Ziek 12-Mar-19
Ironbow 12-Mar-19
Ziek 12-Mar-19
Rut Nut 12-Mar-19
Ziek 13-Mar-19
Buffalo1 14-Mar-19
Rut Nut 14-Mar-19
Buffalo1 14-Mar-19
Rut Nut 15-Mar-19
Buffalo1 15-Mar-19
Rut Nut 15-Mar-19
Bake 15-Mar-19
wyobullshooter 15-Mar-19
welka 18-Mar-19
Ziek 19-Mar-19
Rut Nut 19-Mar-19
From: Scoot
26-Jul-18
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

From: Griz
26-Jul-18
Watching this one for exactly the same reasons.

From: Griz
26-Jul-18
Watching this one for exactly the same reasons.

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
Scoot- a Pa Game Commission employee and friend recommended the turtle skins. He now works in snake country- so I trust his judgement! ;-)

From: Treeline
26-Jul-18
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.

From: Pigsticker
26-Jul-18
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.

From: PECO
26-Jul-18
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.

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
I can attest to that pigsticker!!!!!!!!! ;-)

From: Bowman
26-Jul-18
You guys got me scared to death now Anyone want my 21 elk points in AZ !!!!!!!!

From: Treeline
26-Jul-18
Hell, yea! I’m all over those 21 points!

From: Bake
26-Jul-18
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 :)

From: oldgoat
26-Jul-18
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!

From: Bake
26-Jul-18
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 :)

From: Scoot
26-Jul-18
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.

26-Jul-18
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

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
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! ;-)

26-Jul-18
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.....

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
Panther Bone- you are a smart man!!!!!!!

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
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!

From: Scoot
26-Jul-18
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?

From: Dirk Diggler
26-Jul-18
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.

From: Bake
26-Jul-18
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

26-Jul-18
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.

From: Thunder Head
26-Jul-18
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.

From: Pigsticker
26-Jul-18
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.

26-Jul-18
The high majority of people of never fallen out of a tree stand but you should still wear a safety harness, right?

From: Scoot
26-Jul-18
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. :)

From: oldgoat
26-Jul-18
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!

From: jdee
26-Jul-18
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.

From: Rut Nut
26-Jul-18
Glad your buddy’s buddy and dog are gonna be OK!

26-Jul-18
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....

From: Scar Finga
27-Jul-18
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.

From: Rut Nut
27-Jul-18
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! ;-)

From: Scoot
27-Jul-18
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

From: Lee
27-Jul-18
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.

Lee

From: Scoot
27-Jul-18
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?

From: Thunder Head
27-Jul-18
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.

From: Griz
27-Jul-18
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?

From: Treeline
27-Jul-18
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.

From: Scar Finga
27-Jul-18
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....

From: Scar Finga
27-Jul-18
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.

From: Rut Nut
27-Jul-18
Well said- I agree. An ounce of protection................

From: Jims
27-Jul-18
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.

From: Jim B
28-Jul-18
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.

From: SnakePRO1
07-Mar-19
As someone in the Snake Bite protection industry, if you aren't wearing Snake Guardz From Crackshot Corp. your gear is only snake bite resistant, not snake bite proof. Snake Guardz and Chapz are guaranteed 100% snake bite proof and have a Million Dollar Product Liability policy on them. https://youtu.be/X6wmVUvNdhA

From: SnakePRO1
07-Mar-19
As someone in the Snake Bite protection industry, if you aren't wearing Snake Guardz From Crackshot Corp. your gear is only snake bite resistant, not snake bite proof. Snake Guardz and Chapz are guaranteed 100% snake bite proof and have a Million Dollar Product Liability policy on them. https://youtu.be/X6wmVUvNdhA

07-Mar-19
I've hiked thousands and thousands of miles in rattlesnake country and seen dozens upon dozens of rattlesnakes. Never been bit. I can't imagine them being anything other than superfluous on an elk hunt. Many of the rattlesnake bites that happen in this country are from people handling them.

From: Ziek
08-Mar-19
"They have good reviews I believe"

Really? Do you know ANYONE who has tested multiple gaiters, that has had multiple strikes, in real life situations that could give a valid review?

Scoot. You're getting a lot of anecdotal responses, because VERY few people have had any experience with even one product under actual conditions. Rut Nut says they would have saved him, but even that is just speculation. They might have saved him. I would also question their effectiveness. Do any sellers/manufacturers guarantee to pay your hospital bills if a snake does penetrate them? Edit: just saw SnakePRO1's post. Seems like if you want protection, all other features like comfort, and quietness are irrelevant.

The fact is, snakebites are relatively rare, even for people spending a lot of time around them, or maybe especially for them, since they're likely to be paying more attention. Even if you are struck, about 1/3 of rattlesnake bites are dry bites. Many strikes also hit areas that aren't protected by gaiters. I can't speak for all snakes everywhere, but I disagree with Treeline about prairie rattlers. I've killed dozens around my property over the years, and seen many more. Mostly, they just want to be left alone. The vast majority of the ones I've killed, usually with a small shovel, or with a broadhead tipped arrow held in my hand, carefully manipulating them to cleanly severe their heads without damaging the skin, didn't strike until after being harassed for a while.

Lastly, if you do decide you would be more comfortable using them, be sure to wear them ALL the time; while hunting, around camp, if you stop the car anywhere to take a piss, everywhere. You never know where you might encounter a snake.

From: Rut Nut
11-Mar-19

Rut Nut's Link
Ziek- “speculation?!” Watch this video and then tell me it’s just speculation! ;-)

From: Rut Nut
11-Mar-19
Ike- I had the same attitude before I was bitten. Always thought I had a good eye when I was out in the woods and would see or hear a rattler before I got close. I was Looking for snakes literally seconds before I got bit! It never rattled before or after it struck me and I did not see it until it was actually striking me. Sure wish I would have taken the threat a little more seriously! : (

From: Ziek
12-Mar-19
"This is day 8 in the hospital for me. Snake gaiters would have meant 0 days in my case!" "Rut Nut says they would have saved him, but even that is just speculation." "Ziek- “speculation?!” Watch this video and then tell me it’s just speculation! ;-)"

Rut. It is speculation. Unless you can go back and relive that exact scenario with every type/brand of snake gaiter made. Are you willing to put on any snake gaiter advertised as such and let another buzzworm have at your leg? ;-) All you can say with any confidence is that, 'Snake gaiters MIGHT have meant 0 days in my case!' I'm NOT advising against using them. They might protect your lower leg. On the other hand, they might not, and they don't protect above the knee (you need snake chaps for that), and they don't protect you if you sit on a snake, put your hand near one while collecting firewood, brush up against an elevated rock/ledge/bush where one is sunning, crawl into one when stalking, or any of a thousand other scenarios. It's a dangerous world out there.

From: Rut Nut
12-Mar-19

Rut Nut's embedded Photo
Rut Nut's embedded Photo
Ziek- I measured the bite. The top fang mark was 13” up my shin. I measured so I knew how high the boots or gaiters needed to be.

From: Rut Nut
12-Mar-19

Rut Nut's embedded Photo
Rut Nut's embedded Photo
Yeah, nothing is going to protect you 100%! (EVEN condoms ;-)

I can’t find it now, but while doing some research I came across a statistic that over 90% of snakebites occur below the knee.

In my case I stepped right next to it, because in that split second before it struck, I saw it basically coming straight up at my leg. So the only way it could have got higher was if it was on an elevated perch or climbed up in brush, which Timber Rattlers apparently are not likely to do.

After watching the above video, I decided to get the Rocky snake boots first. I use them now every time I go in the woods.

From: Rut Nut
12-Mar-19
I plan to get the Turtle skins gaiters so I can wear them with my backpacking boots which provide more support, especially under a load.

Turtle skins were recommended by a friend who is also a PA Game Commission employee who works in the area where I was bitten. He says everybody he works with wears snakeboots or gaiters when out in the field and has at least one close call story! ;-)

From: Ziek
12-Mar-19

Ziek's embedded Photo
Ziek's embedded Photo
But you don't know how effective the gaiters would have been. Again, would you be willing to use your leg as a test for the effectiveness of any snake gaiter? All you KNOW is that whatever you had on, didn't offer any protection. Thick or baggy pants MAY have prevented the fangs from penetrating, so MIGHT have tall pack boots, or MAYBE snake gaiters.

I have used snake boots many times hunting in TX but never in CO, and have encountered snakes in both states. I've never been envenomated. So I guess both approaches worked. ;-)

I can say this; they are much stronger critters than I had previously imagined. I prodded this TX western diamondback for a while trying to get him to pose pretty for a photo. When he finally connected solidly with the stick I was using, he almost knocked it out of my hand. I was wearing snake boots, but I doubt they would have helped much as I was playing with him. They may or may not have helped in an unexpected encounter, but I doubt they would have helped much. Another time I was out on a sunny Thanksgiving morning trying to call in coyotes. I came around an overhanging ledge, and buzzing erupted all around me. I stopped where I was to look around. I had wandered just outside a prairie rattler hibernaculum and they were out sunning themselves. I was and had been within striking distance of at least a couple. I carefully moved out of there. Take whatever precautions make you feel better, but I wouldn't rely on any of them.

From: Ironbow
12-Mar-19
Ziek, I haven't spent a lot of time in snake country, but I lived where there were prairie rattlers for 2 1/2 years. During that time I lost a dog to one, which I walked by twice working on fence. Dog smelled/saw it and got struck twice in the face.

I was moving a mower late one evening and was struck twice in the leg. Fortunately it was a small snake and didn't penetrate much, maybe I was standing on it. Don't know. All I know most of the venom was on the outside of my leg. I was very fortunate.

So you don't have to spend years and years in snake country. Just the wrong place at the right time.

From: Ziek
12-Mar-19
Ironbow. Agree. And that's part of my point. I see snakes, literally right out my door, sunning in my driveway, on both of my archery ranges. They can be anywhere. I have two large log ends standing right near my shop door where I clean my chain saws and change chains. I was just finishing up cleaning one with a tooth brush when I dropped it at my feet between and behind the logs. I almost reached down to pick it up without looking, but decided to reassemble the saw first. When I looked for the toothbrush, it was laying on top of a coiled rattler that had been there all along. Glad I didn't just reach down for that brush. I've stepped over them a few times also, seeing it just in the nick of time. If I thought snake gaiters were necessary, I really should wear them ALL the time, every time I step out of the house. Not doing that.

We also had a dog struck in the face, about 3 weeks before she was scheduled for snake avoidance training. Luckily, only one puncture, clean through her lip. She was pretty sick, and spent one night in intensive care, but recovered. I've always worried more about the dogs than us. The training seems to work. At least neither dog has been bitten since. I reinforce their training every time I kill a snake.

From: Rut Nut
12-Mar-19
Ziek, I just don’t understand your reasoning................you think thick or baggy pants will stop a rattler’s fangs that can hit so hard it almost nocks a stick out of your hand??? And then you say you doubt SNAKEPROOF boots would have helped if you had been struck by that rattler you were harassing??? Why not? I just don’t get it.

I intend to return to the spot Where I was bitten this Summer to finish the trip I started. I don’t plan on INTENTIONALLY testing my boots or gaiters on Rattlers. But I will be taking every REASONABLE precaution. One thing I learned through my reading and research is to use a hiking staff wherever you walk. I use one when hiking and backpacking, but unfortunately I left it back at camp when I went for water. They say keep it out in front of you, especially when walking thru grass, brush or anywhere else snakes could be hiding. Use it kind of like a blind man uses a cane. They say chances are if you are using it in this way, the snake would likely strike the pole before it strikes you.

Sounds like you have been EXTREMELY lucky over the years! I hope for your sake it continues.

I was fortunate to make it thru my ordeal, so I’m not gonna push my “luck” from now on! ;-)

From: Ziek
13-Mar-19
"...doubt SNAKEPROOF boots would have helped if you had been struck by that rattler you were harassing??? Why not?"

Mainly because I was 'playing' with it. Most likely it would have hit something other than a lower leg. But, to the rest of the story: I was turkey hunting. When I first saw it I had just awakened from a short nap. The snake crawled in front of the blind and disappeared into a patch of cactus. Just as I was thinking, I better keep an eye on that cactus patch, he crawled out and headed right towards the blind, no doubt looking for a bit of shade. Had I not been paying attention he would likely have joined me in the blind, and maybe joined me in my nap. Boots or not, that would have sucked.

As to the baggy pants. A snake strikes a person out of defense. They only detect the surface of an object, and aim there. Might just miss your leg. Maybe, maybe not.

The point of my comments is, there are just too many variables to RELY on any type of protection. And even if you use boots or gaiters, or whatever, unless you use them 100% of the time you're in snake country, you're just as likely to not be using them when you actually need them. Even you didn't bother to have your hiking stick with you. ;-(

Snake bites are rare, and usually occur to folks harassing the snake. Use what makes you comfortable, when you think they may be prudent. I would still use them down south where the snakes are bigger and more aggressive. Otherwise, I also hope to continue being lucky, or maybe more accurately, not to be unlucky. ;-)

From: Buffalo1
14-Mar-19
In the United States, 7,000 to 8,000 people are bitten by venomous snakes each year. 55 percent of people bitten by snakes are male, ages 17 to 27.

85 percent of bites are to the fingers and hands.

13 percent of snakebites occur on the feet and legs, rarely above the ankle.

57 percent of snakebite victims were handling the snake at the time of the bite.

28 percent of snakebite victims were intoxicated.

Denim clothing can reduce the amount of venom injected by a snakebite by 60 percent or more.

On average, five Americans die from snakebites each year.

From: Rut Nut
14-Mar-19
Interesting.......................................considering I am 53 y/o, was not handling the snake at the time, was not drinking alcohol and got bit high up the leg...............................

Just curious Buffalo- where did you find those statistics?

From: Buffalo1
14-Mar-19
Rut Nut- I got up at 2:15AM to take a leak. Had Bake's question about common bite areas. I got on google at found the %'s. Don't really know what site. I guess FBI or Russians could tell be the exact location. I'm thinking around Webmd.

From: Rut Nut
15-Mar-19
Ok- thanks Buffalo. Some surprising figures there. I guess that 90% below the knee figure that I saw was just for leg bites.

Well, I don’t really care what the statistics are....................after going thru what I went thru, I will take all reasonable precautions. I never want to go thru this #%@&$ again! : (

From: Buffalo1
15-Mar-19
Rut- you had one bad deal. Thankfully, you still on top of the earth.

I have been around a lot of moccasins in my part of the country and thankfully, never bitten.

From: Rut Nut
15-Mar-19
AMEN Buffalo! Definitely BLESSED!

From: Bake
15-Mar-19
Thanks for looking that up Greg. I appreciate it

I’m about to pull the trigger on some Sitka gaiters. Tired of wet pant legs in Turkey season.

I wonder if they’d help in a bite situation ;)

15-Mar-19
Who knows Bake, but at least you’ll look good when they take you to the emergency room. ;-)

From: welka
18-Mar-19
I hunt in NM where there are Mojave’s. I hunt with guys every year that don’t wear gators and I think they are crazy. You likely have about an hour to get to a hospital and the anti might work. I have seen 7 in 4 years and almost stepped on 3 of them. I hate how warm they are and stiff, but would not take a chance. Hope those that don’t wear them have some luck banked somewhere!

From: Ziek
19-Mar-19
"I hunt in NM where there are Mojave’s."

Here's another tidbit I found out a few years ago. Snake venom varies quite a bit, not only region to region, but even within a small area and population. We had a dog bitten in our area a few years ago (northern Colorado front range - prairie rattlers). The venom was analyzed in order to properly treat the dog. They found a neurotoxin component similar to mojave rattlers in it. When I researched it, I found that it is not all that uncommon. The dog did recover but spent several days in intensive care.

From: Rut Nut
19-Mar-19
It also depends on the time of year. Venom can vary in toxicity by the season.

  • Sitka Gear