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Another crisis in the boon docks

Posted Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 7:20 AM

This photo reveals only the tail of the snake which is the subject of my boon dock story. For reasons known only to myself, I choose not to reveal the rest of the creature.
What a way to end a library meeting!

I'm sure you city slickers are getting tired of all my blogs about life in the country, but it takes a stout heart to live out in the middle of the boon docks.

Last week we had to break up a library board meeting, so that I could go help my BFF dispatch of a copperhead in my driveway.

Several conditions made the task tricky. For one thing, my cell phone kept sending his calls to my voice mail, as he stood in the dark and watched my three dogs bark at the striped critter.

"Oh," says you. "Why didn't you just let the snake crawl off on his way? Leave him alone!"

"Yeah?" says I. "You don't know much about copperheads, do you?"

Most country folk hereabouts would rather have to face a rattlesnake than a copperhead. Everybody knows that a rattlesnake will take off, if you give him a chance. Believe it or not, they're not fond of confrontations--unless you corner them.

The copperhead, on the other hand, never seems in a hurry to vacate the premises--despite barking dogs or screaming humans, or anything short of a shotgun blast. A friend of mine once said that a copperhead would crawl right up in your bed with you, if given a chance.

The snake in my driveway was going nowhere.

Another thing that made the situation tricky was the fact that our brilliant orange friend was lying about a foot from my friend's pretty red Jeep!

I stood on the porch with my shotgun, thinking, "Okay....How do I shoot the snake and not the car?"

Oh, it was the old familiar pattern, but this time I at least had good light in the driveway, since my buddy has fixed all my motion sensor lights. I've been in worse situations, for sure, trying to avoid the snakes in the dark.

How did it turn out? Well, I'll tell you. That snake made a strategic mistake. It moved forward in front of the right front tire.

I can't tell you how this confrontation turned out, for several personal reasons...but, suffice it to say that the crisis was avoided.

I hope our next library meeting will not conclude under such dire circumstances!

From the boondocks of Southeast Missouri, this is your rural reporter Madeline, thankful for another another day of life.

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Well, thank you for the compliment, Swift! While I'm relatively familiar with copperheads and rattlesnakes, I have no experience with water moccasins, and I hope I never do! Since I have a pond close to my house, there are plenty moccasins in the area, but they usually stay around the pond. My son and his father-in-law once had to fight the snakes off the fish they caught, when they were in the boat.

I've heard of the horrid snakes climbing right in the boat with fishermen.

-- Posted by Madeline1 on Fri, Apr 27, 2012, at 7:07 AM

Madeline, I'm one city slicker who loves your country blogs! Hey, I'm glad I left the big city of Pomona, California in 1989 and Springfield, MO in 1996. It's good to hear first hand from someone like you who knows this area.

I'll be real honest, in all my hiking of nature trails at Crowley Ridge and Holly Ridge conservation areas, I've never come across a snake. Back in '83-'85, we lived in Superior, AZ. I'd go hiking out in the desert many times but never saw a rattle snake. Maybe I'm lucky. I just hope I nver come across a water moccasin!

-- Posted by swift on Thu, Apr 26, 2012, at 3:44 PM

I saw more than my share of copperheads tramping around in MO woods as a kid. (My share, by the way, is any number greater than zero.)

Water moccasins are the snake I try to avoid down here in FL. I was riding along the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail one night when my bike headlight picked up a shadow across the trail. When I got closer, I saw it was a water moccasin. He was only about three feet long, but he was as big around as my wrist.

I was able to pass behind his non-business end. I'm glad I didn't hit him in the middle and have him flip up into the pedals. There wouldn't have been room enough on the bike for the two of us.

They are an aggressive snake. On another ride, I saw one chase two burly fishermen up the side of the dike.


-- Posted by ksteinhoff on Thu, Apr 26, 2012, at 8:56 AM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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