It's almost hunting season here and I am pretty depressed about not being able to go this year. I just had knee surgery. I started thinking about all my memorable hunting trips and wrote this.
I found a rattler in the back yard a couple years ago. I chopped off its head, put it in a box, put the box in another box and put the boxes in a trash bag so the trash men don't grab it. I don't like snakes. I don't even like pictures of snakes. Everyone tells me they are Gods creatures and tell me about ecology and their right to be here, inform me of the odds of being bit by one and blah blah blah. I don't care. I don't like snakes. What in the hell was God thinking! (That was kind of a religious joke, if you missed it.) Here in the high desert mountains of Colorado, I have seen more rattlesnakes than any other kind of snake. I've never been bitten and don't plan on it. For me the only good snake is a dead snake. Yes, I know how that sounds.
My friend Buzz and I hunt in places that have lots of snakes. We go where the elk are. Or at least Buzz thinks they're there.
I advise them to take a hair rope with them next winter because snow snakes are timid and no one knows if they are poisonous. They laugh nervously and return to their beer. They may not believe me but I can make them think I believe me. I've seen more than one snake bite kit in a persons vehicle after having heard my yarns.
I carry some aspirin in a nitro glycerine heart medicine bottle in case Buzz accidentally falls off a cliff arrow first and kills an elk that happens to be wandering by.
Buzz cracks me up. He takes hunting very seriously. He spends entire weekends tuning his arrows and new fangled glass laminated longbow. He practices for hours and spends more than my annual income on archery gizmos and camouflage. He washes all his clothes in no-scent soap. He cleans my truck with it every hunting season. He sprays all kinds of scent killer stuff on his boots and clothes before we go in the forest, lights up a cigarette and says "Lets go get'um grampa." Unnoticed, I rolled my eyes. They got stuck in the back of my head for a minute. When he looked at me I just nodded my head and smiled.
On a slow day (they're all slow days with Buzz)
Buzz will regularly look at my feet and yell "Snake!", where upon I invariably do my snake dance which consists of jumping ten feet straight up in the air and somehow teleporting about ten yards away. I think it's the only reason he hunts with me.
Buzz is a physicist. He calibrates radiation for medical equipment. I have no idea how that makes him a physicist. He doesn't have fuzzy hair or smoke a pipe. He says watching me helps him understand the laws of physics better. He also claims to have improved my reflexes by about two hundred percent. Some where in physicist heaven Albert Einstein is smacking himself on the forehead.
One day he'd made me jump quite a few times and I was frankly getting pretty cranky about it. I'm older than Buzz and a lot of times when Buzz took after a trail I'd tell him I would go around the other side of the mountain or whatever, and then instead I'd go back to camp and eat something or take a nap, so that's what I did that day. Sitting in a lawn chair at camp, I had gotten a pine martin to almost start eating out of my hand by throwing crumbs of donuts at him and we had become pretty good friends. I named him boogie because he could climb faster than any animal I've ever seen. A pine martin is about three feet long and very thin. It's kind of like a ferret but bigger. They are usually only found in Wisconsin, but I've seen seen some critters that look just like them here in Colorado so I assume that's what Boogie was. It was a very special treat.
Buzz came back to camp with, Surprise! nothing but blisters. He took off his boots, grabbed a donut, and asked what I'd been doing. He declined some of my excellent creek coffee. He never really got the knack of straining the pebbles with his teeth I guess.
I told him I fell and decided to come back to camp. Concerned, he asked how I fell. I explained I was climbing this cliff, when I noticed a vine in my hand. After a second or two I recognized it as what was supposed to be holding me up and then I shot back down to the bottom, jarring my old, bad leg, "You know the one that hurts every year? Well, I limped back to camp and put it up in the air and put some ice on it and I feel considerably better." I tell him something similar every year, sometimes twice and every year he buys it. Physicist my butt! He's dumber than a Yugo full of anvils.
I started to talk about snakes and I asked him if he had ever seen a furred snake. He started laughing, but I stuck to my guns and told him about my grandaddy killing one in 1931 the year after he killed the white snow snake and how they were very rare and almost extinct nowadays. I think he almost believed in snow snakes too. About that time Buzz made a phhhhbbt noise, set his donut down on the stump next to him and sure enough, Boogie darted out to snatch his donut off the stump.
It took me a while to get Buzz out of the truck. (Why would you lock the doors to get away from a snake?) After a while he started acting peculiar. It was nice to have him back to normal again.
I'm sure he knows about the speed of light and laws of gravity better than Einstein now. He didn't bother me with snake sightings after that. It was a great year, we didn't get anything.
happen If I told my friends
it was a snow snake?
|These are the size rattler I see the most. They are almost invisible, twice as venomous as a full grown one and don't make enough noise to react fast. Many get to be six feet. I don't worry much about the big ones. They warn you off. My grandad had a big manilla envelope marked "Rattlesnake eggs: Do not open." It contained a contraption made of rubber bands and paperclips that made a rattling noise when you opened the envelope. I lost a few friends showing them that envelope.|
This is unsolicited, He doesn't even know this is here.
PS he just made me a very light fast recurve bow I can pull. He just gave it to me.