Snake handling: shovel or shotgun

Published 7:26 pm Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For those of you who are not that familiar with where I grew up, let me explain.

Marlow is located in Baldwin County, and it would be kind to say that it is a “map dot.” It’s even a little stretch to say it’s an “area.”

Growing up in Marlow, on Fish River, I had the advantages offered the Tom Sawyer-kind of growing up. There was fishing, camping, swimming and canoeing.

But, what came with those enjoyable outdoor activities was the occasional snake. Regardless of whether it was the harmless corn snake or the slightly more venomous water moccasin, snakes normally caused my heart to skip a beat.

I oftentimes referred to the old adage that “they are more scared of you than you are of them.” But, that did little to comfort my slight anxiety.

I know snakes have their place and their uses. But, they are among my “top animals/insects we could do without list.” Just for the record, No. 1 on that list is a tie between spiders and indecisive squirrels.

Over the past few weeks, two submitted pictures have taken my mind back to Marlow and Fish River and my run-ins with snakes. These two photos are impressive when you think about their subject matter and the apparent nonchalant demeanor of those in the photo.

For one, Diana Carter, of Verbena, killed a 4-foot, three inch rattlesnake, described as having 14 rattlers and a button. The other, Elmer Powell, who lives on Lake Mitchell Road, killed a 4-and-a-half foot rattlesnake with 11 rattlers and one button. Both used shotguns to kill the snake. Apparently, the button on each snake was just too much for the ever-useful shovel.

These two photos put my mother’s voice back in my head, reminding me to keep an eye out for snakes.

The only problem is that a canoe oar doesn’t really carry the punch of a shotgun.