Hi Ho Dusty, And The Great Snake Hunt

Don't Try This At Home

In the early 70's, when I was a young lad, I was living and working on a small Texas ranch. This was a part- time thing, because I worked full time as an airplane mechanic for the U.S.Navy, just outside Beeville Texas. I worked on the structure and hydraulics systems of the aircraft. But I loved the ranch life. South Texas teams with all sorts of wildlife and reptiles, and being out working the cattle or checking fences, there is a good chance you are going to run into something. All my life I wanted to have a job where you work with wildlife, but lack of schooling prevented me from having that dream. But that is another story. I love all of nature and am particularly fond of snakes.

I also love horses. When I moved to the ranch from Beeville, I inherited a stallion that was as ornery as a mule. He was a beautiful white horse that shined in the sun after a good brushing. And he would stay that way until we would have a good rain storm. That's when I found out how he got the name Dusty. He would pick a nice muddy spot and roll in it. I swear, I would hear him laughing as he was making a muddy coat. It was like he knew that I would have to brush him out after he dried off. And I did! All you horse owners probably know what it's like to brush a dusty horse. We didn't have an outside faucet. I would sponge off as much as I could, then hope he didn't roll again before I got him brushed.

As I said before, Dusty was an ornery old boy, and didn't like to be ridden much. I usually had to trick him to catch him. After I got a rope on him and saddled him up. I would swing up and brace myself for the next little ritual that we would go through before moving on. Now I think old Dusty pictured himself as a rodeo bronc, because he would always try a few bucking moves to get me off. I was pretty skinny back then, and would grab on and stick like a tick. Quickly he would realize that I was staying on (most of the time) and would decide to do what he was trained to do.

As I mentioned before I am fond of snakes, and am always watching for them. Well sir, on that hot and beautiful Texas day, I was headed back to a little pond, way back in the pastures about a mile and a half away from the house and barn. My mission, to check on the cattle and I figured while I was back there I would dismount, tie Dusty up, and do a little snake hunting. Now the reason I would tie up Dusty is this. He would spook any time he saw, smelled, or heard a snake. I say heard, because there are tons of rattlesnakes in south Texas. It was nothing to see at least a dozen or so sunning themselves among the cactus.

What a great plan I am thinking as I am riding along, enjoying the sights, sounds, and odors of flowering plants all around me. This is the life, I am thinking to myself. Just then I sighted the pond and something else lying close to the waters edge. It was the biggest rattlesnake I had ever seen! At the same time it detected us, and started rattling! Dusty exploded! He whirled almost unseating me! I lost control of the reins and instinctively grabbed him around his neck with a death grip. We cleared all the fences and brush on the neck- breaking run back to the barn. After that if I wanted to go out and count the snakes I would walk, but very carefully I might add!


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 2 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Hello Richard 1988

Yes sir, I have been around them all my life. I have lived all over the United States, and there has always been snakes. And I always wanted a good look at them, so I am always trying to catch them. Thanks for your comment.

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Richard1988 2 years ago from Hampshire - England

This was really interesting! It's clearly a very different way of life when you have so many snakes around. Here in England there are very few species of snake around and I don't think there are any that actually pose a threat to humans... Other than a painful bite! Great hub :)

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PADDYBOY60 2 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Hi shanmarie

I don't get angry, like some animal activist I know. Some times it can't be helped. Kind of like a him or me situation. Believe me I have had some close calls. Thanks for your comment. :)

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shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

Well, I have been known to hold them. I was mostly joking. However, having lived where poisonous snakes can and do come around, they scare me and they do get killed for safety reasons.

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PADDYBOY60 2 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Hi shanmarie

Even though I don't agree with that saying, I appreciate you reading and commenting.

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shanmarie 2 years ago from Texas

You know that saying...the only good snake is a dead snake....I agree when I see one in my yard, house, along the road, etc

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PADDYBOY60 2 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Howdy Shyron

I really do miss Texas. And maybe someday I will come back for a visit. I have a brother that lives just outside of Houston. I am more afraid of the Black Widow Spiders down there then I am of the snakes. I was bitten by one, and ended up in the hospital. Not a pleasant thing to go through. I thought I was going to die before I got to the hospital.

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Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Hello Paddy, I am with Dusty on this. ALL snakes are deadly. If I did not die from snake bite, I would die from a heart attack.

Come on back to Texas, there is so much building going on we are running the snakes out of the state and voting the 2 legged ones out of office.

PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Howdy ma'am

Snakes have that effect on a lot of people. When I was a little lad, we lived next to a huge swamp. That was the playground for a lot of us kids. Every time I would return home from playing in the swamp, my mother would make me empty my pockets. The snakes could not stay! Back to the swamp with ya! Good to hear from you again Movie Master. Wouldn't surprise me if I came up with another story or two about the ranch. I had a lot of good experiences there.

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Movie Master 3 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Pat - can't imagine seeing a dozen a more snakes together, not a sight for me!!!

Loved the story, hope we get to hear more about Dusty and the ranch!

All the best, Lesley

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PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Good morning Ghaelach

Yes sir, I know there are millions of people in this world that can't stand snakes. I am the same way with spiders. I guess it would be a boring world if we all acted and thought the same way. I guess the creator made me in the snake loving style.

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Ghaelach 3 years ago

Morning Paddy.

Nice little story.

Never mind horses not being a lover of snakes, I'm just the same.

LOL Ghaelach

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PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan Author

Howdy Gus

Yes sir I do. There are times I would like to go back and visit, but I know that nothing ever stays the same. I was on Google earth once and found the ranch,but it wasn't a ranch anymore. there were driveways and houses all over it. Talk at ya later brother.

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GusTheRedneck 3 years ago from USA

Patrick (Paddyboy) -

Yep - horses are not fond of snakes - especially rattlers. Glad you didn't choke Rusty out-of-breath. By the way - you miss Beeville any?

Gus :-)))

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