Contributors to this thread:
Hunting in Rattlesnake country
When hunting in rattlesnake country, what do you wear on your feet/legs? Chaps, rattlesnake boots or don't worry about it. Will be hunting this September where they can be out in good numbers, and want to be smart about it.
High Top Boots and Gaiters.
I hunt antelope here in CO on eastern plains were there are quite a few prairie rattlers. I either where a snake gator that goes to just below the knee or nothing at all. Most of the time I where them going to or from a blind in the dark. When stalking during the day I sometimes will wear them but not always. It is the damn cactus that always bites me.
Have worn boots, gaiters, or chaps at different times when I used to work in snake country. Boots were my favorite but they still sucked. Got to the point I just wore regular boots and hoped for the best, when you work in snake areas every day you get used to it.
Don't live/work in snake country anymore but have been on several hunts in rattlesnake country in the last few years and haven't worn anything special. Its always in the back of my mind now though so I might pick up another pair of boots. Guess I've lost my nerve!
I don't wear any protection in Colorado. We have plenty of snakes all around where I live. Seems ridiculous to wear them hunting if I'm not going to wear them every time I step out the door. And I'm NOT going to do that. Learn to be aware of where you're placing your feet and hands. I've come close to stepping on them a few times, but they are generally not very aggressive. I worry more about my dogs being bitten, which has happened. Having said that, I do wear snake boots hunting in Texas, where the snakes are bigger and more apt to be out earlier before sunrise. In the higher elevations, even during pronghorn season, nights can be chilly enough that they're not very active 'til it warms up a bit.
There are not a lot of snakes where I hunt in Colorado but I usually have at least one close encounter every spring while turkey hunting. I don't wear anything, then have a close snake encounter, then get creeped out and wear my cheap gators for a few hunts, they suck so bad I go back to nothing. I bought the cheapest gators I could find, they are miserable to wear. Whatever you get, go to where you can try before you buy.
I live in and mainly hunt in Texas. It is a part of the state with a lot of rattlesnakes. I often go out without any type of snake protection but last year I came on some snake boots that were really comfortable. Chaps were really hot and I had several snake boots over the years. If you go with boots, I strongly suggest getting side zips. I takes me forever to lace up snake boots. That is why I did not wear them much. The zip ups were light and very comfortable. So much that I wear them most of the time now.
Always wore snake boots (Russell's) hunting here in Florida, especially while quail hunting. Crossed paths with a good many rattlesnakes during those times. Since I no longer hunt my state, I don't give them much thought.
So , anybody know what a rattler can bite thru?
Wouldn’t it be more comfortable if there were a pair of pants made and from the knee down they were made of a bomb proof material?
I wear snake boots because I usually hunt alone any many miles from the nearest help. I have a pair that is very comfortable so I don't mind wearing them.
I lived & hunted in Fla around Gainesville & the only protection I used was rubber boots never had an encounter with a big rattle snake did however see probably 50 pigmee rattlers when I pig hunted the gulf hammocks West of Inverness I also had a close encounter with a big moccasin there as well & thankfully she went the other way. you MUST BE VIGILANT & always on the lookout especially when hunting solo
We went quail hunting once near Hebbronville in S Texas and I wore ballistic nylon chaps. Damn, they were hot ! My legs were cherry red from my crotch down when I pulled those chaps off that night, but I'm glad I had them. From daylight on Saturday until 10:00 am Sunday we killed 26 rattlers, but most of them were only 2.5 to 3 feet long, unlike the 5/6 footers that you mostly see there. I had a lease in Central Texas for years and never wore anything, but I always thought about snakes walking to the blind or tripod before daylight. Busting a covey of quail before daylight tends to make your bowels warm in rattlesnake country !
Hunted in Florida South Carolina Ga Ms Tn mostly in tennis shoes or hiking boots.in standing water you would always go in higher than your boots.A few close encounters but just paid attention.Good Luck Lewis
Snakes 4ft. or larger to eat and skins.1 1/2 ft kill why?
Never worn anything different than my hunting boots, like Lewis, just paying attention...
Will they bite through a pair of rubber boots? Say a pair of Lacrosse rubber boots.
Snake Boots are better vs snake gaiters. They just work better against cactus and snakes. They do not shift, etc and not as hot. JMHO.
snake boots for me, fell two yrs ago and kicked one , it did not strike me, just looked confused
Rut Nut's Link
I live and hunt in Florida and South Carolina. Snake boots all the time-except really cold weather. I've had several close encounters with diamondbacks and water mocassins. Just takes a second of inattention and even then.... Read Elknuts' Snake Bite Ordeal.
Just get SOMETHING and USE it! Trust me....................................you do NOT wanna get a WET bite from a rattler! : (
I got snake boots after my ordeal in July. It is almost 7 months now and I am STILL dealing with the effects of tissue damage! STILL have (constant) pain in lower leg/foot with swelling and numbness. Dr. says it should go away in another 6 months or so, but he said has heard of folks needing 2 to 2 1/2 years to be totally back to normal.
I wear my snake boots every time I go in the woods now and will be getting gaiters also this spring so I have more options.
When you have time read my story and look at the pics- it will give you a better appreciation of what rattler venom can do! ;-)
I was super fortunate, unlike Rutnut. I was struck twice and most of the venom was on the OUTSIDE of my bites as the snake didn't penetrate much. I would never take the chance and wear boots.
So now I'm wondering if I should just go with the boots instead of gaiters.
Steve- they WILL bite thru rubber boots unless they are specifically SNAKEPROOF rubber boots.(they DO make those)
I got Rocky SNAKEPROOF hunting boots first. But intend to get gaiters for when I backpack and want more support for carrying a load in a pack. I was recommended the Turtle Skin snake gaiters as they are supposedly the lightest and most comfortable.
I wore my Rocky snake boots hunting in Sept. in fairly hot (80’s) weather but had a very thin moisture wicking boot sock- think that made a huge difference. And I got used to lacing these boots after several days. I actually kept them laced and learned how to loosen them to get feet out without unlacing.
dirtclod, read Rut Nut's post and link, you may gain some insight. Foot longs turn into six footers and they will hurt your ass and kill your dogs. You do what makes you happy, but venomous snakes die around me.
Just realized the date today- exactly 7 months- still wearing knee high compression stocking for the swelling and having shooting nerve pain off and on while I write this(on top of the constant aching pain). Dr. Said it would be like this but I did not believe him!
For those of you saying be vigilant and observant, I was looking for snakes literally moments before I was bit. It never rattled and was well camouflaged in the grass. Unfortunately I stepped over a trickle of water in a swampy area and stepped right next to it. Didn’t rattle even after it bit me! : (
Thanks for all the input on this! Much appreciated.
I'm waiting for Kuiu or Sitka to realize the market and make their gaiters snakeproof . . . .
I carry a .357 loaded with snake shot and shoot everyone I see big or small !! and NM has a lot of them. I use gaiters because I need real hiking boots around here......rough terrain !!
You won't need them till you do! I've lived in rattler country most of my life and have never been struck at! I'm old, that's a lot of years!
Well, if you think it's that important, boots or gaiters might not be enough. My neighbor was bitten above the knee by a prairie rattler in the northern Colorado front range. Fortunately it was a dry bite. But he cut himself up pretty good using way outdated first aid (use your imagination).
While shed hunting last year, I was standing right next to this guy when he started to rattle as he scooted under the rock. They can be hard to see!
From what I read over 90% of poisonous snakebites are below the knee. But it appears the rattlers out west have more of a tendency to climb up into brush than our Eastern Timber Rattlers.
When I hunted turkey in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, New Mexico I always wore snake boots luckily never had an encounter. A buddy put his cushion down one morning in Georgia before light and tried to get comfy but a big stick under him was bugging him. Then after a few minutes the big stick started to squirm. He got up and found that he was sitting right on top of a sleeping copperhead good thing he didn't reach under to move it and also that it was a real cold morning.
I got hit just above my gaiters (was walking along a bank about a foot high) this year in Wyoming. Kuiu pants do nothing!! Right on the kneecap. Felt like someone hit me with a hammer. Fortunately it did not inject because it didn't get any penetration. Knee ached for 2 weeks. Doc said there was probably some dry venom on the tips of the fangs. I was lucky. I thought about Rut's adventure a lot on the way home.
I bet you did Chris! ;-) Glad you had a better outcome!