The article about Austin Stevens (feature article, March 2016) and rattlesnakes was intriguing. It is interesting to hear a perspective on rattlesnakes from someone who deals with them so much.
I agree that it is a shame these animals are misunderstood and while it is understandable people have some fear of them they are a valuable part of the environment.
The Q&A with Austin Stevens Snakemaster regarding rattlesnakes brought back lots of memories.
We used to see big diamondbacks on some property we had near the Brazos River. Every once in awhile we would shoot one to fry up at camp but most of the time we let them slither by as long as they did not slither too close.
Editor: I have also shot a rattlesnake to eat before but quite frankly don’t like the meat enough to take out another one. I would much rather take my snake sticks and move them elsewhere if needed. The more I learn about them, the more I understand the role they play. And also the more I learn people should keep a good distance between themselves and those fangs.
Playing around with rattlers is generally not a good idea unless you really know what you’re doing and what kind of trouble you could bring upon yourself.
…and More Snakes
Mr. Doggett, I just read your article on snakes (Doggett at Large, April 2016). Thought I would share a picture. This was taken in 2014 near the La Salle-McMullen County border.
It was an oil patch worker who worked for the same client as I did. I was told it measured 9 feet, but I think it was really more like 7 ½ to 8 feet. In your professional opinion, what do you think?
Love the magazine.
Joe Doggett: Thanks for sending the photo of the big diamondback. It looks very impressive (with a realistic girth proportional to a really long snake), but I’m not a qualified judge of images these days.
The fact that the guy is extending the snake from his body suggests that the snake image was enlarged. Maybe, maybe not. Somebody savvy with computers probably could tell more; sadly, it’s easy to alter images.
Regardless, I would say that it’s a very large rattler. Too bad a qualified herpetologist wasn’t there to bag and transport it to a zoo. If it was anywhere near the size claimed it would have been a magnificent find.
This, of course, is assuming nobody stepped on it…
Thanks again, and look twice around those mesquite and pear clumps.
I have been reading Steve Lamascus comments about various calibers of rifles and wish to share with you my latest project. We have a deer lease in Lampasas County that we have been on for over 20 years and have been practicing selective harvesting of our herd. The ranch is in the Lucy Creek Wildlife Management area. In 2014 I was able to take a 12 point 150 B&C buck at 502 yards with an older model 77 Ruger 25-06. That’s another story.
I was talking with a good friend, who custom loads ammunition, about what would make a good custom rifle and he made an interesting suggestion. I was able to buy a used/abused Howa 1500 in .30-06 thru gun trader for $350. We found a local gunsmith who mounted a Shilen 26-inch # 3 contour barrel on the Howa in 6.5 X 06, reamed the barrel to Ackley Improved, and did the bluing for $450. A Boyd thumbhole laminated stock for $99 and a Burris Fullfield II 3-10 X 50 on a one-piece base that I already owned completes the rig. The finished rifle is a real beauty and shoots like crazy! I was able to take six deer this past season with it, at ranges from 175 to 300 yds.
My current load for this rifle is Win Super X .30-06 brass necked down to 6.5, WLR primers, 60 grains of Reloder 22 behind a 120-grain Nosler ballistic tip bullet. My reloader estimates that this combo is pushing the Nosler bullet at around 3,400 fps. We will be going to the range this spring to run chronograph tests to verify muzzle velocity.
Editor: Steve is a great writer and has a way of inspiring readers to try out some of the things he writes about. That makes it exciting for us to publish his gun writing every month. Thanks for sharing with us.
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