Deer and Snakes - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Deer and Snakes

Was out scouting yesterday and saw a young 10 point feeding by the road. The deer seemed healthy for the exception of a injury to its right front leg. It was swollen at the knee and was walking with a limp. Could of been hit by a car or perhaps some other freak injury. Don’t think it was a hunted related wound from last season due to the obvious swelling. Got me thinking he could of possibly been bit by a rattlesnake. There is a healthy population in the area and I always use caution when walking. A deer on the other hand doesn’t . Pulled a camera card yesterday and there were fawns on it running and jumping all over the place . Also spooked a few that went bounding through the woods which in my opinion would be the equivalent of running through a minefield. Perhaps when they’re just milling about they could sense a rattlesnake in hiding and back off but I could also imagine it capturing a deers curiosity and the deer possibly pawing at it. So just curious what your thoughts are on deer in rattlesnake country ? Is getting bit a more common occurrence than we may realize ? Do they have more of a immunity to venom than perhaps human do ? Is getting bit a death sentence to a whitetail ?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Thanks
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 11:56 AM
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I've wondered the same thing. After several very close encounters myself, I've come to believe it's the fact that rattlesnakes are unaggressive (when not messed with or spooked) that animals and people are not bitten often. They know deer and people aren't prey. I'm sure it's possible, not likely in my opinion.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:18 PM
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Deer are tough creatures and i believe most deer will over come a rattle snake bite. When i was young my great grandfathers brother owned a bunch of land that was farmed and we would watch doe stomp the crap out of copperheads when they got close to fawns. One day we watched this big old doe stomp over this one spot and there were 3 dead copperheads laying there after she left.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:30 PM
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Very interesting, be cool to witness seeing that. Copperheads are very aggressive from what I've heard.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:31 PM
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Likewise out here pchunter1231. When we had horses we had rattlesnakes strike them on a regular basis. Vet told us not to be concerned they will overcome whatever the snake has to give. Also many bites on a larger critter are dry bites.

I carry a gun because I'm to young to die and to old to take a ass whipping.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:38 PM
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You'll often find small sapling regenerating next to old logs when there little regeneration in the area.I've heard it's because deer avoid sticking their noses near logs in rattlesnake country.True or not,I don't know.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-09-2019, 12:58 PM
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I don't think a snake is too likely to even strike at a deer's legs. Now a nose that would touch them, maybe.

Snakes know they can't eat a deer so they certainly don't want to waste venom on them. Thus they are more likely to just avoid the deer if it is at all possible.

Here is an example of how snakes will avoid striking anything they can't eat.

A friend of mine was out looking around for some grouse over Labor day weekend with is four German Short Hair dogs. He knows the area well and knows it to be good snake country.

After being out for about three hours, it getting hot and both he and his dogs getting tired he saw one of his dogs actually stepping on a large rattle snake. He yelled at the dog to come but the dog was close so it just stood there with feet actually on the snake. The snake didn't even coil or buzz. Since he yelled two more dogs came running over to the one standing on the snake. Now there are three dogs with feet actually on the snake.

That caused the snake to coil, start to buzz and also elevate its head into a strike position and start rotating its direction from one dog to another. It still hadn't struck at a dog though. Jim had to do something pretty fast though because it was only a matter of time until one of the dogs got hit. He took off running away, while calling the dogs. That worked and the dogs started running to catch up with him.

Once he had three dogs out of harms way he stopped and looked back for the forth dog which had been back the trail a bit further. He it came running to catch up to the pack. It too ran right over the snake, on its way to get caught up. It wasn't struck at either.

I am sure not all snakes would be that tolerant, but the fact is snakes really don't want to strike anything they can't eat. If threatened enough though they will sometimes strike in self defense. But sometimes they don't even do that. I have had snakes I wanted to get pictures off that were crawling away so I touched them with my boot only to have them take off crawling away even faster to the point I couldn't even get them to coil or buzz while making their escape to a rock they could get under.

Most people simply have a way over extended fear of rattle snakes.

Everyone who spends any time walking around in snake country walks past snakes, within easy striking distance all the time and have no idea they even had a snake within feet or even inches of them.

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Last edited by R. S. B.; 09-09-2019 at 01:03 PM.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-15-2019, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R. S. B. View Post
I don't think a snake is too likely to even strike at a deer's legs. Now a nose that would touch them, maybe.

Snakes know they can't eat a deer so they certainly don't want to waste venom on them. Thus they are more likely to just avoid the deer if it is at all possible.

Here is an example of how snakes will avoid striking anything they can't eat.

A friend of mine was out looking around for some grouse over Labor day weekend with is four German Short Hair dogs. He knows the area well and knows it to be good snake country.

After being out for about three hours, it getting hot and both he and his dogs getting tired he saw one of his dogs actually stepping on a large rattle snake. He yelled at the dog to come but the dog was close so it just stood there with feet actually on the snake. The snake didn't even coil or buzz. Since he yelled two more dogs came running over to the one standing on the snake. Now there are three dogs with feet actually on the snake.

That caused the snake to coil, start to buzz and also elevate its head into a strike position and start rotating its direction from one dog to another. It still hadn't struck at a dog though. Jim had to do something pretty fast though because it was only a matter of time until one of the dogs got hit. He took off running away, while calling the dogs. That worked and the dogs started running to catch up with him.

Once he had three dogs out of harms way he stopped and looked back for the forth dog which had been back the trail a bit further. He it came running to catch up to the pack. It too ran right over the snake, on its way to get caught up. It wasn't struck at either.

I am sure not all snakes would be that tolerant, but the fact is snakes really don't want to strike anything they can't eat. If threatened enough though they will sometimes strike in self defense. But sometimes they don't even do that. I have had snakes I wanted to get pictures off that were crawling away so I touched them with my boot only to have them take off crawling away even faster to the point I couldn't even get them to coil or buzz while making their escape to a rock they could get under.

Most people simply have a way over extended fear of rattle snakes.

Everyone who spends any time walking around in snake country walks past snakes, within easy striking distance all the time and have no idea they even had a snake within feet or even inches of them.

Dick Bodenhorn
I heard old tales that a deer is immune to poison snake bites due there Gaul Bladder or some other internal organs, any opinion on that? I also was wondering since I have 9 goats and im sure you know the places where they feed, I never have had one snake bitten that I know of.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 02:55 AM
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I had a dog struck on the paw last year and watched another one take a swing and a miss at my dog this year. My neighbor had a goat killed by one. I don't take my dogs out of the yard from May to October. The one that took the swing at my dog was in my backyard. From my experience they seem pretty dangerous.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 09-16-2019, 08:49 AM Thread Starter
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I have pretty much made the decision I will not be hunting the Sinnamahoning area until I get snake boots. It seems every time we go up there we see one. On three separate occasions we saw a rattlesnake crossing 872 right by our camp. My brother was up there yesterday and one crossed the road on our camp side only a couple hundred yards away. Freaks me out a bit . Run into them down here in the SW part of the state but the area I go to up north is polluted with them. Too many in my opinion.

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