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Rattlesnakes and altitude?
Contributors to this thread:
Inshart 26-Jul-22
Rut Nut 26-Jul-22
wyobullshooter 26-Jul-22
[email protected] 26-Jul-22
swede 26-Jul-22
fuzzy 26-Jul-22
Darrell 26-Jul-22
JohnMC 26-Jul-22
Treeline 26-Jul-22
Treeline 26-Jul-22
butcherboy 26-Jul-22
Muddyboots 26-Jul-22
azelkhntr 27-Jul-22
Inshart 27-Jul-22
Rocky D 27-Jul-22
soccern23ny 27-Jul-22
Bake 27-Jul-22
StickFlicker 27-Jul-22
bad karma 28-Jul-22
BULELK1 28-Jul-22
TGbow 28-Jul-22
Blade 29-Jul-22
fubar racin 29-Jul-22
Mew'n 30-Jul-22
From: Inshart
In general of course. I realize snakes "prefer' the warmer climates (thus lower elevations).

After reading the Rattlesnake thread it got me to thinking, we hunt at about 8,000 feet. Do the poisonous snakes inhabit these elevations as well? I'm guessing they "might" but I've never seen one.

EDIT: After posting this I Googled it - says they go as high as 13,000'. Have any of you seen them at these higher elevations?

From: Rut Nut
LUNGSHOT posted a pic of one they killed in Colorado at 10,000 ft in the other thread.

See the PEAK SEASON FOR RATTLESNAKE ACTIVITY thread..................

The overwhelming majority of the areas I hunt are in the 7500-8500’ range. On rare occasions I’ve hunted up to 10,000’. In over 35 years of bowhunting elk, I’ve never seen anything other than water snakes. That said, I hunt mostly thick timber. If I were in rocks/sagebrush, I can assure you I’d always have my snake chaps on…just in case.

I went on a Bighorn Sheep hunt in the Rampart Range near Colorado Springs in the early 1990s. In doing my research for the hunt I asked the biologist for the area if rattlesnakes were a concern. He said they would not be found above 7500 feet. That was not correct. I found 2 in an old quarry that was at least 8500 feet.

From: swede
I feel pretty safe in Oregon and Washington at 6,000 feet.

From: fuzzy
We see more rattlers in Virginia at 3,000 to 5,000 feet than lower elevations. Probably more due to terrain than elevation.

From: Darrell
One of my spots in NM at 7500-8000 consistently has timber rattlers. Never seen any higher than that but there are a lot of things that exist that I haven't seen. :)

From: JohnMC
Seen a few at around 8000 ft. in Colorado. They all have been really small compared to the ones on the plains. Those are small compared to the ones you find in the south. But to be safe I'd skip hunting elk in CO all together if I was you all. Go to grizzly country they are much easier to see.

From: Treeline
Heck, there’s rattlesnakes in grizzly country as well! And wolves!

Had someone get bit at Fish Creek Falls outside Steamboat a couple of years ago. That was about 8K. See them wherever there is sagebrush and ground squirrels.

From: Treeline

Treeline's embedded Photo
Treeline's embedded Photo
This one was at about 7,500-8,000. Saw two baby ones that I just let go about their business. This one struck at me so got a judo to calm him down!

From: butcherboy
Never saw one on my dads BHS on the Rio Grande Gorge hunt. There are a lot of them there too. He saw a few scouting. I’ve only ever seen one at around 7500-8000 ft while elk hunting. My brother saw it first and set the world record for the long jump! Lol

From: Muddyboots
8000' seems to be the upper limit for those I have seen here in southern NM. Per my experience they are more common in brush and rocky country, and not so much in timber. Probably because they like to feed on smaller rodent type things. I know a guy in what looks like the snake capital of the world about rattlers on his property- he said he doesn't have them because the sets mice traps everywhere.

From: azelkhntr
At first I thought this was rattlesnakes and attitude and I'm like, yeah.

From: Inshart
Thanks, I've been hunting between 8,000 and 10,500 since 1993, and haven't seen one yet - lot of those spots are rocky ledges and outcroppings - I'll be a bit more vigilant from now on. No way I want an experience like Perry (Rut Nut).

From: Rocky D
I’ve seen rattlesnakes at 8,000 feet in the Huachuca mountains in Arizona.

From: soccern23ny
Colorado can be found at 8k

Saw a snake at 10k too. Wasn't a rattle snake but I dont see why they couldnt have been that high as well

From: Bake
I've seen snakes in CO at about 9300 feet. They weren't rattlesnakes, but if any snake can live there I'm not why a rattler couldn't/wouldn't.

From: StickFlicker
I've seen rattlesnakes in the 6,000 to 8,500 range in the mountains of northern Arizona. But they tend to be different species than we typically find in the lower country. At these elevations, I usually see the Arizona Black Rattlesnake (that many incorrectly call a Timber Rattler) or the Black-Tailed Rattlesnake. They seem to be a little more docile than the Diamondback and Mohave which are more common in the lower desert areas.

From: bad karma
I know a fellow who was bit by a rattler at 9500 feet in Colorado during a rifle season. Yes, it was warm that day but...9500 feet is 9500 feet. That was about 30 years ago.

I've seen them up around Willard Peak here in my home state, scouting for Mnt. Goats/9,500 ft.

Not fun in the loose rocks and cliffs!!

Stay safe,


From: TGbow
They everywhere..lol

From: Blade
Found one while elk hunting at 9,000 ft. on Pennock Pass which is located West of Ft. Collins, CO

From: fubar racin
Seen a lot one day fishing NW of Red feather lakes CO I think 8500-9000 feet haven’t seen any higher than that though Iv heard of em in the same area but higher in elevation.

From: Mew'n
Almost stepped on an Arizona black diamondback at 9500’. They don’t live below 6500’! Looked like a shadow stretched across an elk trail. Locals say diamondbacks den up around 10k, but never seen it myself. We’ve seen rattlers 8 to almost 10k, but not many. They’re usually docile, but you do have to keep an eye out for them.

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