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Probably

Gentle readers, I would bet that you have heard that commercial where the guy has had a few too many drinks but says he is “probably” okay to drive home. That he “probably won’t get stopped or have an accident. I will use that analogy in this column.

As I was getting close to home last Saturday night, I noticed the bright light over the walk-in door on my shop was not on. Hummm, I wondered if it had burned out or if I had turned it off accidentally when I put the tractor up earlier in the day. What if there is someone in my shop tonight? Probably not. That’s silly. “A snake under every rock,” that’s my motto. Ya can’t be too careful! As I pulled into the driveway, I looked for another vehicle parked somewhere not to be noticed. Nope, no vehicles. Just the same, I pulled up in front of my shop and parked with my pickup facing south.

The walk-in door on my shop is on the south at the east end. To be safe (snake under every rock) I took my pistol and eased around to the front of the door. It’s dark, so I can barely see and what light I have is coming off my headlights. I left my truck running with the lights on just in case the bad guys shoot me and they will need a get-a-way vehicle, right?



There’s probably no one in there and what’s that in front of the door? For a moment it looked like a snake lying there full length right next to the door. Oh Jack, it’s probably just the shadow off of the headlights and if it is a snake, it’s probably just a bull snake as I haven’t seen a rattler in almost four years on my place. Of course, I’m smart enough to know that they are here, I just haven’t seen one. I took one more step and reached for the door knob when this rattler reared up right in front of me with those rattles singing their own little unmistakable tune. I have to tell ya, he scared the “hee bee jee bees” right out of me. I fell back, went back to my truck, put my pistol up and got a small grain shovel out of the back as that was the only defense weapon I had to pin him down with. I took a flashlight and the shovel and went back to the door where he was still coiled and giving me a stern warning not to approach any closer. I pinned him with the shovel only to have him coil the remainder of his body around the shovel handle and the fight was on. I finally got to the point where I could open the shop door and retrieve a regular shovel that was leaning against the wall just inside. I managed to cut his head almost off and toss him out away from the door.

Yes, I know, there are those of you who would have just stepped away until he left and go on about your business. Let me paint you a picture. Here’s an old guy who has been bitten by a rattler 30 miles from the emergency room and none of his neighbors are home at the moment. So, he has to drive himself through the traffic trying to get somewhere to get help before it gets too bad. It’s better for me to kill the snake and lessen the chance that it might put me in that situation in the future. I have lived with rattle snakes almost all of my life and have been fortunate to have not been bitten. We did have one dog and one horse bitten and that’s enough for me. Recently a 6-year-old lad was bitten and it cost him his life. You do it your way, and I’ll probably do it mine!



I went out the next morning early to cut off his rattles as I save them. I have a bunch! He was still trying to coil up when I got hold of his tail. That will also wake you up faster than a cup of coffee. I tossed him out in the pasture and the birds of prey took him away. He was almost 3 feet long at 35 inches. A big snake for a prairie rattler.

Live and learn and I have always found in most cases where there is one, there is another and I will keep my eyes open for sure!

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, remember, “a dead rattle snake is better than a live one anytime” (Mad Jack). I’ll c. y’all, all y’all.

Mad Jack Hanks

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