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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
was fishing one of the delayed harvest streams in my area yesterday and started talking to a guy from ohio, he asked me if the cottonmouths were out this time of year in this part of the state. not wanting to die laughing i tried to tell him that he was not going to see one in this part of nc unless they migrate 250 miles upstream or they learn to wear little fur jackets to stay warm in the 40 degree water. after a few minutes of trying to convince the man that all we have in the poisonous snake variety are rattlesnake and copperheads, neither which are great swimmers, and that he was fairly safe, he said that it was hard to believe, and that he heard that nc was full of them.:eek:
 

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I think you are right Redfishtom and Rye. Here'a link to a page that has a map of their territory.

http://www.pestproducts.com/cottonmouths.htm

I remember as a boy I was with my grandparents in the Smokey mountains and we were high above a creek on a swinging foot bridge. Looking down we saw a snake swimming in the river. My grandmother called it a water moccasin. For years I thought that was what it was. Only later learning that the cottonmouth isn't in colder climates.

In fact, here's a link that claims the only venomous water snake in North America is the cotton mouth water moccasin. It had to have been a non-posionous snake we saw in that mountain stream.

http://www.wf.net/~snake/moccasin.htm

One thing to note for fisherman, they like to nest near the sdges of marsh banks (on the mainland). A mother cottonmouth is very aggressive, she will come after you if she feels her nest is threatened. So around late June/July beware if you see a snake in the water.
 

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I have stomped all over the hills in Ga, SC, NC border areas and you are right according to my experiences with 3 exceptions. I have seen 2 cottonmouths in places they weren't supposed to be. One was between the upper and lower falls on Whitewater River and the other was a few miles south of there. The other exception isn't really an exception but my sister was wading a small branch one time when we were kids and a med. small copperhead came swimming down the branch and stopped at here feet to check her out. She said he actually touched her toes with his tongue several times while he was trying to make up his mind what she was. She remained frozen in place until one of our uncles rescued her. That was in the heat of summer so that may explain why the two of them met in the branch. I have never seen any really large copperheads but I have seen one huge timber rattler that would make you call me a liar if I said how big and a cottonmouth down in Congaree Swamp that made me wonder if I wasn't being lied to by my own two eyes. He was right beside the trail when I passed the spot the first time but when I returned he wasn't there. Now that was a whole lot spookier than going by him knowing he was there.:eek: Al
 

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There are all kinds down here in Eastern Carteret County-- caneback rattlers, copper heads and cottonmouths. If you are scared of snakes, don't mess around in the trout holes down here. They are all infested with big mean snakes, but they do pull good when they are foul hooked.:D

Later, Forrest
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
not afraid of snakes in fact I have a 6 ft python, and have waded through several streams down east that were supposed to be full of cotton mouths, but have rarely seen any of them. I do have to keep reminding myself that they feed underwater. have had a couple close calls with copperheads on the trails around my trout streams, but i'm to blame for not watching my step. and most of the rattlesnakes i have seen have been around hog lots or places they have recently logged. don't think in my 35 years i've really seen an overly agressive snake:eek:
 

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Growing up in Florida, I got to deal with all kinds. Everything from Rat Snakes and Corn Snakes to Rattlers and corals. The "mocassin" as we knew it hten was really a banded watersnake. We called a Cotton mouth as such. Had plenty of them too :)

I've been fortunate enough here in NC to only come across a hanful of venemous snakes. 04 Deer season, I came inches from steping on a canebrake Rattler while trailing a deer I'd shot. He moved right bfore I stepped on his back. I've seen several Copperheads, God bless their souls ;) , while in the woods, and many many, rattlers up in Washington Co.

I was educated early as how to handle a snake encounter. Sinker, yer sister did it just about perfect. If they are that close to you, freeze, they'll move on when thye are ready. If they are a distance, back up slowly and go around them :)

I have a rule about venemous snakes. If saw him this time, I will dispatch him because I may not seem him next time. :) black racers, garter snakes, corn snakes, rat snakes, king snakes, etc. No worries... we'll just go around each other ;)

Rye
 

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There are many watersnakes in the western NC trout streams, all insideously evil looking and completely harmless. Y'uns better watch out stepping over that log on the way down to the crik. Thar's plenty of copperheads up in these mountains.
 

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Funny story, I'll try not to make it too long...Biggest cottonmouth I've ever saw was frog giggin' with my Uncle Scott. He'd just aquired a new "grabber" gig. It had 2 grabber blades with dull round teeth that were folded back and locked into position to reveal a 3 prong trigger mechanism. When the trigger was activated by the gigging action & striking the intended target, it grabbed the frog (or whatever was struck :rolleyes:). You would then simply place the head of the gig in your burlap sack, reach into the sack and reset the grabber blades with your hands to release the frog.

Everything's great until Uncle Scott spies the tell-tale sign of the serpentine wake while we're crossing a small foot bridge on the golf course. Of course, you just gotta see how well that new gig will grab a snake :eek:! Unfortunately, it worked GREAT! When he lifted the gig out of the water, the head of the gig was at my eye level, the tail of the snake was touching the bridge and he had gigged it 8 -10 inches behind the head. The snake kept striking the gig head. I told him he was own his own opening those grabber blades. He wound up pinning the snake's head down with the heel of his boot and dispatching his quarry. It was 6+ feet and thick as my forearm. Now we know there weren't any frogs in that pond ;).
 

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Your Uncle is a brave man! If it were me, I would have declared victory :D and claimed the "grabber" gig was a one time use item :rolleyes:, leaving the snake and the grabber to their own devices at the bottom of the pond. (I have a healthy respect for cottonmouths after having one of my dogs bit by one and another one chase me off my own bank).
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
sorry guys but i just don't have the heart to kill a snake. have an ongoing argument with a friends dad about snakes. he will release a carp but will shoot every snake he sees. ( according to him , everyone he sees is a "copperhead") :mad:
 

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Just like gators too. We had Wildlife management pick up a 6 ft aligator from our backyard year before last. Called the Harnett Co sherriff and they thought my neigbor was crazy when he called it in. they sent a deputy out to our neighborhood (11 acre pond across the street from me) and he came up on it half layin in the road and half in the ditch on my side. he thought it was a prank or joke until the gator spun around on him and he drew his sidearm, He then radio'd back to find out how to handle it and his dispatcher said they (the sherriff) were not to shoot it due to it being a federally protected animal and that it wasnt creating any danger to anyone at that time.

Well,,, needless to say... I was shocked!!! I never thought twice about my dog, son or us being out in the yard and having to beware of an alligator, at least not in Harnett County North Cackalacky....

So anyway, the sheriff just let everyone know the presence of a gator and left it to go on it's merry way. They called wildlife management folks and they came out the next day when road workers working on the 87 N hwy widening came runnin out of the back of my property onto the off ramp pointing into some high grass back by my fence/ditch... they showed up with a dog box (we were all laughin at that...) then sent for a horse trailer and wrangled it up into that and then drove the gator south to let it loose in the cape fear river somewhere in Fayetteville.

So,, yes there's plenty of cotton-mouths (AkA water moccisons), seen my share of coperheads while hunting,, and seen one rabid beaver trying to eat my outboard once,, but they dont scare me as much as comin unexpectedly on a alligator here in NC.
 

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It's pretty hard to step on a gator by mistake :D. I have to agree with Rye. Poisonous snakes, when found, are usually diposed of when I'm calling the shots. But, I do make real sure it's one of our few venomous varieties before the bush ax falls. I would not be opposed to live capture and turning over to the wildlife folks. And I always relocate the non-venomous "Mr. No-Shoulders" when I find them.

One day in late Summer, last year, I look out the living room window onto the front porch. Sitting there on the back of the rocking chair was an enormous black snake. I believe it had climbed up there and was trying to figure out a way to get to the baby wrens nesting in one of the wife's ferns. So I went to the garage and grabbed my playmate flip-top cooler and a putter from my golf bag. I went out to the front porch and proceed with what the wife calls my Steve Irwin impression ("Krikey, she's a beaut!"). I grabbed the tail with my right hand and kept the head at a distance with the putter in my left. The tail had wrapped twice around my wrist and I still had to lift my arm way above my head to get the snake's head in the cooler. Closed it up and took a little ride.
 

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I am a pretty big snake fan, and I will usually try and capture one if I know it's not venomous. Well one afternoon, about a year ago, I was fishing around a small pond behind my house. The pond had plenty of brush around it, and a whole lot of cover. Walking up a small hill to get to a cove, I stepped right beside a small blackish gray snake. It was coiled up and didn't seem scared at all, I stepped away and it slithered off closer to the area I was going to. I put it on the back burner and kept fishing, only to hear the leaves behind me rustling. I turned around and I saw the snake stretched out to about 3 feet long. I looked at its head and saw that it wasn't making the leaves rustle, so looking back at it's tail I notice a rattle. One of the scariest moments of my life, and knowing that I was just 6 inches away from actually stepping on the thing. The good Lord was with me that day.
 

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Well since the subject is reptiles now, I'll throw this out for a heads up. I have na aunt and uncle that have a place near Hampstead at the intersection of 17 and 210. They came home one evening to find the wildlife folks parked in their driveway. The commotion was across the road but they said that the wildlife guys were trying to catch a 5' crocodile. Not a gator they said but a Crocodile! They later found out it had come right out their driveway and crossed the road. No wonder their puppies had sterted disapearing. Hampsteadfishing may know more about the notion of crocs in North Carolina but it makes me wonder if they are adapting to a cooler climate or what? I still don't know what to think about what I heard. It seems that this wasn't a first time occurence in the area. AL
 

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I don't know Al, sounds like a croc to me......a 'crock' of what, I'm not sure :p!
 

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sinker man said:
I have na aunt and uncle that have a place near Hampstead at the intersection of 17 and 210. They came home one evening to find the wildlife folks parked in their driveway. The commotion was across the road but they said that the wildlife guys were trying to catch a 5' crocodile. Not a gator they said but a Crocodile!
Wow - I missed that. Was that recently?

Second question - you mentioned they lived on the corner of 17 & 210 - you related to the Smith Family (Atlantic Seafood)?
 

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I remember back in my Air Force days, I was stationed at Shaw AFB, in Sumter, S.C. I had a 14 foot Jon boat that I used to fish the Santee-Cooper in. It had a 25hp Evinrude and stick steering so I could see all those stumps. Well, one evening I was running up the river channel (out of Pack's Landing) and I see a Cottonmouth swimming across in front of me. Being from Pennsylvania, I had never seen one so I pulled up beside it to take a closer look. Just about then the snake gets the idea to leave and disappears around the back of the boat. I looked for it to come around the other side but it never showed. I figured it was gone and headed on up the river. Getting that creepy feeling that something wasn't right I looked back just in time to see that critter flop into the boat. Now, I'm not normally afraid of snakes but one in the boat is not my idea of a good time. After about a half hour of trying to flip it out of the boat with my back up paddle and him striking at it and getting madder all the time, he finally got tired of me and climbed back out the way he came in. I spent the rest of the day looking over my shoulder. After that, I always promised myself that if another came in the boat that I would throw him the keys and registration on my way out. I'll take my chances with the gators.
 
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