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Neta's Snake Tale

by Neta Rhyne

"Wanted Live Rattlesnakes" will pay $6.00 per pound.
Our oldest daughter started college in 1989 and since employment opportunities are few and far between in remote west Texas I began looking for ways to make money. One evening while reading the local paper I came across a want ad which read "Wanted Live Rattlesnakes" will pay $6.00 per pound. Now catching live rattlesnakes was not on my list of things I wanted to do but considering how many rattlers there are in these parts I figured this could be a profitable enterprise.

Darrel made me an 8-foot long snake stick out of PVC pipe with a cable through it and a noose on the end. The concept was I could catch the rattlers by placing the loop around the snake's head then pulling the noose tight.


The hunt was on, the first night out our middle daughter, Tammie, was my hunting partner. "Mom we can do this, piece of cake" she told me. Well as Murphy's law goes the first rattler we came across was HUGE. With knees shaking I jumped out of the truck and while Tammie was holding the flashlight on this monster of a snake I placed the noose over its head and pulled the noose tight. "What the *&%#!" was the snake's response to being noosed by the neck and before I knew what was happening it had wrapped itself completely around the PVC pipe.

Now we had a problem, here was this HUGE rattlesnake wrapped around my stick and I had no clue how to get him to unwind so I could drop him into the trash can which Darrel had placed strategically in the bed of the pick-up. With the trash can being in the pick-up bed this meant I had to lift this killer reptile at lease 10' into the air, unnoose it into the trash can, get into the bed of the truck (with the snake looking up at me out of the trash can) and fasten the screen wire cover around the can with a bungee cord.

I immediately realized this was not a good plan of action to take while juggling a rattler on a bendable joint of PVC pipe. As luck would have it the snake managed to get loose from my death grip and dropped to the ground right in front of Tammie and I, this was one mad rattlesnake. As soon as we realized he was free I dropped the snake catcher and Tammie ran one direction and I ran another. It just so happened we were on a bridge when we caught him and after he was free he jumped over the side of the bridge. I knew this because we could hear him rattling in the bushes under the bridge 15' below. We felt sorry for him and left him there hoping he would forgive us and not send the word out about the two crazy women snake hunters. Tammie named him "he who gotta way".


Tammie remained my snake-hunting partner until she married. After hunting snakes for so many years I now have a healthy respect for them. My 10 year old grandson is now my snake hunting partner and nowadays our hunting consists of shooting with a camera lens and hunting with the intention of looking, admiring then leaving the desert dwellers in their natural habitat.


Neta Rhyne, June 2002

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