Monday, April 28, 2008

Copperhead Road

Out walking along the greenway this morning, I came across this fellow:


I walk five and a half miles each morning, five days per week. This is the time of year when I start to see more and more snakes, sometimes two or three in a single day. But they're usually Black Snakes or Green Snakes, both of which are far more afraid of you than you are of them.

I usually don't mess with any of the snakes I find, but I will take a branch and shoo them back into the brush. If they just lay there sunning themselves on the trail, they can get run over by a bicyclist.

But this was a big ol' Copperhead, just sitting there, right in the middle of the trail, which is paved. And I guess he didn't really appreciate me trying to shoo his ass away. He actually started attacking the branch I was using and moved closer to me. And that was a mistake.

I started wailing on that sumbitch like nobody's business. Beat him 'bout half to death. Then I picked him up (with a stick - I'm crazy, not stupid) and tossed his ass about 8 feet off the trail, into the short brush.

Ol' boy wasn't doing too well at that point. And now I felt bad for him. I didn't have anything to finish him off with. No big sticks, no rocks, nothing. So I left him there.

When I got home, I loaded my shovel into the car and drove back down there to find him and put him out of his misery. But he was gone. Either I'd only stunned him and he managed to crawl off to his cubbyhole, or he'd become lunch for one of the many hawks that roam around down there.

Wonder if he'll waiting to ambush me tomorrow…

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm rootin' for the snake.
Just sayin'...

Lb

FCB said...

Of ALL the laws you've broken, this one bothers me the most.

Anonymous said...

Anonynmous-Sounds good. Let's make sure that poisonous snake resurfaces in YOUR yard to bite your pets, or, perhaps, your children. Come to think of it, I've got a few dozen domesticated Canada geese destroying my yard and replacing it with festering feces at the rate of a pound of poop per goose per day. They're really cute. Would you like a few of them to go with your poisonous snakes?

fcb- Just what chapter and section of the North Carolina General Statutes does this violate? What? Can't find it? That's what I thought.

Poisonous snake + heavily traveled public walkway + removal of same = Community service. Thanks Bob, most of us 'preciate it.

FB

Anonymous said...

smooches to you FB!

Lb

FCB said...

FB - working on finding regulations, but consider this article:
http://www.uga.edu/srelherp/ecoview/Eco40.htm

FCB - former NC Wildlife Damage Control Officer

Anonymous said...

Keep me posted, fcb. I need to know how serious to be in terms of disposing of the bodies of the critters I eliminate from my property.

Whoops, gotta go, the geese are up in the yard again (7th time today). I've got to try to run them out while I've got a few blades of grass still holding the soil. If I let the soil wash into the pond and creek, that's bad for the environment. I can't harm the geese, because that's against the law (and who could harm them, anyway, they're SO CUTE!) Wait a minute, maybe I can't let their poop get into the creek either, as surely that kind of runoff is bad for the environment. I know, I'll run the geese off whenever I can, put up a silt fence along the pond to keep the soil from washing into the pond and creek, and I'll do a pooper scooper patrol on the whole dang place every few days so the poop doesn't hurt anything, and I'll take the poop to the City's sewage treatment plant. Yeah, that's the ticket.

I hope that copperhead I saw last Saturday--the one which got away before I could get back with my shovel, doesn't bite me, the cat, the dog, my son, or my wife while we're running off the geese, on poop patrol, or, heaven forbid, simply enjoying the property we paid so dearly for and pay such high property taxes on.

Copperheads and geese: Fine for non-urbanized areas (which North Carolina is rich in). They're vermin and pests in urbanized areas. They're not endangered species, friend. Somebody keeps making more and more of them. Keeping them off of or away from private property and heavily-used public property harms nothing at all. Surely you must know that.

Are you next going to suggest the reason whitetail deer abound in the suburbs now is because suburban development is taking over their habitat? Because that's another fairy tale, as I'm sure your academic training in wildlife science has taught you. I grew up just outside the Beltline, and in the 1960s there was virtually no development outside the Beltline all the way to the surrounding counties. It was virtually unheard of to see a deer in northern and western Wake County in the 60s and early 70s. In my hunting and fishing magazines, I've read articles, citing academic surveys of wildlife population trends, which suggest there are many times more whitetails here now than when Europeans first stole the continent from the Native Americans. They're flourishing from abundant crops (and ornamental plants) to eat and a near total absence of predators.

Standing by for the copperhead statute, I remain,

FB

Anonymous said...

FB - Take a damn drink!

FCB said...

My final response:
http://www.ncwildlife.org/fs_index_02_regulations.htm

See you Sunday morning, Schnookums!

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm going to give you the credit you deserve for finding out that it's illegal to kill a copperhead in North Carolina. I didn't find such in the booklet you linked, but I'm sure you're right.

And that's great intel to have. 'Cuz now I'm gonna make sure I take my concealed pistol outta my pocket when I go to killin' a copperhead, as I don't want to get in trouble, and we all know we won't get in trouble if we only break one law at a time...

I thought twice about that shovel, too. Mine's in the truck. There are some places where opening up with heavy weapons is frowned upon--like parking lots at the racetrack.

See you soon, Girlie, we'll do a little racin'. This has been fun.

FB