Contributors to this thread:
Will be hunting mule deer in South Central New Mexico. Unit 36 to be exact. How many who hunt in this general type of terrain would wear snake gaiters? I'm not even sure this is snake country or not. Coming from Wisconsin, I've never encountered a snake while hunting.
Thanks for any input Dan
Unit 36 elevation ranges from around 10,000' in the White Mtns to perhaps 5000' at the far east and west sides. Above 6500' I think you would be hard pressed to find one. Above 8000', I wouldn't even think about them. Below 6500' you would probably not see one in a week. So, if you are hunting high, you shouldn't need them. If hunting low, I personnally would probably not wear them. For the $40 or so they cost they might make you enjoy the hunt more if you aren't worried about getting a snake bite. One reason I might wear them if hunting low- in the second half of the summer we get near daily rains, and the weeds and grass grow tall- making seeing one difficult.
hmmmmmm, been seeing more and more rattlers in Northern NM. 8500ft+ Never used to think about snakes on an elk hunt, now we do.
If you are in the pinon/juniper zone you could see a big fat rattler without a doubt, I was going through tall grass and saw the grass moving right where my next step was going to hit, I was lucky I saw it and jumped backwards about 20 ft, it ended up being about 5 ft long and about 6" round. Another time I was by a tank and had a prairie rattler rattle at me, he was coiled up in a cattle track indention and I was only standing a foot away and didn't know until he rattled.
I have seen many more but those were the only close calls I have had, I still wouldn't wear snake gaiters but I would be vigilant.
9er, do you think snakes are changing their normal behavior (evolving for lack of a better term) or do you think the snakes encountered are just odd ball outliers? I know the mohave rattler genes are here in Roswell and I don't know if that has anything to do with the oddities. I think it was this past year quail hunting my buddies dog got on a rattler, it was dec or jan... pretty much way too cold to find a snake.
I've spent plenty of time in 34 and 36, I've never seen a rattler in either.
Ohio- May just be the warm weather we've been having, not sure. The area I am speaking of is a mesa/mountainous area above what is Antelope country. Very rocky/volcanous ground. Maybe some rattlers have moved up the hill-we've killed 2 on the hunt in the last 3 years.
9er, the rattler that dog found was in 32 and I think we had a light dusting of snow. It was by no means warm out. The last few winters out here have been cold.
I hunted above 8500 ft for 7 years and never saw one, Three years ago I almost stepped on a 14 incher on a stalk wearing only socks. I never saw it but my wife saw it move when I stepped over it, then the next year my wife and I encountered a 3 footer in the dark on the way back to the truck. Both were between 8500 ft and 8800 ft. We now wear gaiters every day.
I have seen giant rattlers in 34, 6' plus and way above 5K feet. I wear them now (gaiters) after nearly getting bitten twice on my last NM antelope bowhunt. I have seen them close 3 times while hunting elk in PJ country. Why take a chance,? I want to watch for elk not where I put each foot down.
I just make sure to have a rattlesnake tag in my pocket and never see one ;o) LOL
Here's a 4ft 10inch western diamondback with 13 rattles we found this weekend at about 6500 feet. Unit 37
Thanks for all the replys! I went ahead and ordered two pair, one for my son as a gift and a second for myself. He will get a lot of use out of his because of his age and that he's building preference points to hunt in states like Arizona. For me it'll allow me to hunt more and farther from camp without worry of snakes as I make my way back to camp after dark. Thanks again. And GOOD LUCK to all with your hunts this fall!