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  1. #1
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    Anyone ride in rattlesnake country?

    I love riding singletrack but on my last outing my wife and I had three rattlesnakes strike at us within a matter of an hour. She now has no interest in leaving the pavement since we then. I like riding with my dogs too but I'm now very nervous about it. Anybody else have this problem or know of a solution. I even considered breathable little vest for the dogs but most snake bites to dogs I've seen are facial anyway. Maybe my singletrack days are doomed.

  2. #2
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    Natural Solutions K-9 Rattlesnake avoidance

    You need to train your dog to avoid snakes, snakes will not come after a dog, or a person unless cornered.

    You also need to be aware and give them a wide berth when you see them. I've lived in the heart of rattlesnake country for a couple of decades and it is really never a problem.

  3. #3
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    I'd rather have rattlesnakes than mosquitoes. At least snakes want nothing to do with you, whereas mosquitoes want everything to do with you. In the late spring here you simply can not stop for more than a minute or too, it just gets that bad with them. I never had a snake strike at me in AZ, what were the circumstances?
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  4. #4
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    I grew up in Nevada and they were very common. They are also pretty common in the early fall here in Utah too. Not to sound sarcastic, but I just try not to stop riding. At least in areas where I don't have a good view of my surroundings. I also don't bushwhack too often, as it's far more common for them to be in areas where there are shady spots near rocks and large brush. Other than that, I can't think of much more that can be done. Oh, and buy a .22 pistol is the standard Nevada answer.
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  5. #5
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    where were you riding that you had 3 strikes? Hiking, hunting, camping, biking etc all my life and have never had such experiences (all in the West / rattlesnake country).

  6. #6
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    I live in San Diego and have been riding and hiking in the canyons since I was a little kid. I even live on a canyon so I have rattlers pass through my backyard on a periodic basis. I've never had a rattle snake be aggressive towards me. They will usually slither away as soon as they sense my presence. If they have no where to go, they're coil and rattle. At which point I back up and walk around. Usually when I come across them on the trail they don't notice me, and I don't notice them, until I'm 5 yards past them. Beside, the number of people that have actually died from a rattlesnake bite is very low.

    Also, when the temperate drops, the snakes will hibernate, so you have less to worry about.

  7. #7
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    I'm near Great Falls, MT on the Missouri river breaks. I have them come onto my land as well but my Guineas keep them in check on my land. I'd been trail riding on our single track for years without seeing much of them but for some reason on that early fall day that was warm we got struck at 3 times. We never left the trail, they were basically on the edge o the trail and shot out at us as we passed by. No stopping involved. Thankfully they missed but still nerve racking. First time I'd ever seen anything like it but it changed the way I feel about going back on the same trails. As far my own land my Guinea hens were my best investment ever. Before I had them I had to kill several snakes on my property. Now every morning I let them out of the coop and they instinctively patrol my 8 acres and eat bugs, mice, and even snakes. At the end of the day they automatically find themselves back in the coop and I lock it up at sundown. Its a good system and I don't regret it at all. Oh, yeah and we have epic amounts of Mosquitos too. Nice thing is our city sprays for them on the paved trail sections and it shows.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by charging_rhinos View Post
    Oh, and buy a .22 pistol is the standard Nevada answer.
    I carry an American Arms .22 with snake shot when I ride. It works pretty good at close range. A .410 hand gun pretty much blows the hole snake away, but it's a little heavy for riding. Check your local laws. Rattlesnakes are protected in some areas.

    Seriously, don't stop riding because of rattlesnakes. Just be aware and stay on the trail and you'll be ok. The number of people who get a rattlesnake bite are very low. You're more likely to die from a car accident.
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  9. #9
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    I'm not sure about the .22, if you don't get a clean kill they'll just keep coming at you! .44 cal at least.

  10. #10
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    Re: Anyone ride in rattlesnake country?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cody01 View Post
    I love riding singletrack but on my last outing my wife and I had three rattlesnakes strike at us within a matter of an hour. She now has no interest in leaving the pavement since we then. I like riding with my dogs too but I'm now very nervous about it. Anybody else have this problem or know of a solution. I even considered breathable little vest for the dogs but most snake bites to dogs I've seen are facial anyway. Maybe my singletrack days are doomed.
    Leave the dogs at home.
    I have never seen a rattler strike unless it is being harassed.
    Pay attention. Give the snakes space. Do not try to kill them.
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  11. #11
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    I guess they considered the act of us riding past them as harassment then because I certainly wasn't stopping for them. I want as far away as possible from them. I heard in the fall they get a bit more aggressive, maybe that was the case. As stated before, I didn't even see any before that day and I had been riding there quite a bit.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I'm not sure about the .22, if you don't get a clean kill they'll just keep coming at you! .44 cal at least.
    I've been around rattlesnakes my hole life. I had one recently take a swipe at me, because I reached down quickly to turn some water on and didn't see him. He ended up as an appetizer and a watch strap. I've also walked right over one and it never even made a sound. I've never had a rattlesnake come at me. They will strike at you when coiled up as a last resort, a very last resort. They can only strike out about a third of their body length on flat ground while not up against anything. Most of the time you have to step on them or quickly move towards them at close range. They can't strike at you when when stretched out and they don't slither after you. They want to get as far from you as possible. This is the one I just got last summer.

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  13. #13
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    Sorry, I was only joking. Never a reason to kill a snake on the trail IMO.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Sorry, I was only joking. Never a reason to kill a snake on the trail IMO.
    Right on! I agree.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Sorry, I was only joking. Never a reason to kill a snake on the trail IMO.
    Unless the snake tries to kill you? That won't happen however if you avoid it.

  16. #16
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    I was wondering how long it would take for this thread to go "Mountain-lion Knife".

  17. #17
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    How does the gun tell you where the snakes are up ahead?
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  18. #18
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    It has the latest version of Rattlesnake Radar.
    '96 San Andreas
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  19. #19
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    Ha. Bunch of false bravado going on in this thread. I've slept all night in a fighting hole with a rattler curled up in my legs for warmth. When the sun came up and I discovered her, I flicked her out of my hole with the leg she was sleeping on. She was groggy and not even pissed.
    When I encounter them on the trails I ride right on by and they get the picture. If I'm on foot and one communicates with me, I respect her space and walk around.

    That's it. The majority of snake bites occur on the hand. That's your bad if you're dumb enough to engage her. These are peaceful animals with a warning device. Don't tread on me.

  20. #20
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    Oh, so just because you had a teddy bear like encounter means nobody ever gets struck. People get bit every year that never even saw them. Not every encounter is the same.

  21. #21
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    Here's a little one I came across on the trail. As soon as he sensed me he headed for the brush.

    Anyone ride in rattlesnake country?-img_2277.jpg

  22. #22
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    That's a nice wide trail. Our singletrack is about two foot wide with two foot tall brush on each side.

  23. #23
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    Cool-blue Rhythm Rattlesnake avoidance training

    Cody, I've lived in Southern California for the past 30 years and have seen and encountered too many rattlers NOT to be cautious and prepared, whether on suburban trails in the greater Los Angeles, Ventura, OC, Kern, or other areas, or much further away in mountains and backcountry, on bikes or on foot, with and without our dogs.

    Anyone who's ever seen the results of a rattlesnake's bite won't be so glib with their advice to you. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (or to their good fortune in some tricky situations), but so much of what I've read here is bunk and bravado. I fully understand your wife's position and your concern and desire for some sound advice.

    We took all of our dogs for rattlesnake avoidance training, and it was HUGELY effective - not only for the dogs, but for us, as well. There's a trainer named Patrick Callaghan who offers clinics not only in SoCal, but he travels around the country due to popular demand. He also does venomous snake avoidance training clinics, since a lot of folk in other states come up on copperheads, mocs, or other venomous vipers. Check out his website: (Natural Solutions K-9 Rattlesnake avoidance) or if that was edited out, just Google his name and 'rattlesnake avoidance dog training' to find his site.

    You can try all of the protective gear like bite-proof chaps or boots, NONE of which you want to wear on a bike. The best protection is to avoid the critters as best you can, and your dogs can do it best for you!

    After an initial, half-day training clinic, any one of our dogs would give us very clear signals if we came within 20' of a rattler! The training protected them and us on numerous occasions over the years, and each dog had only one follow up session a year after their first half-day avoidance training. The clinics were effective, beyond informative for us, and very reasonably priced. The results gave our dogs and us great protection, and gratefully, peace of mind to enjoy our adventures outdoors.

    I wish you, your wife, and your pups good luck!!

  24. #24
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    Cody, a bit more research and I sadly learned that Patrick Callaghan passed away. His Rattlesnake Avoidance Training continues, and is now helmed by Eric Briggs. His out of state clinics do not mention any in your area, but if there are a number of other interested dog owners where you are, he might travel to your area to do a clinic. Again, check out the same website I mentioned before. Good luck!

  25. #25
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    Thank you Socalgal. I will begin training my dogs soon. I do realize that in many/most cases a snake doesn't want anything to do with us but as you said just one bite can be devastating so its not worth the risk.

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