McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK


July 12, 2008

Large rattler found on trail

Most people walking up on a coiled rattlesnake would freeze or run in the opposite direction — not 28-year-old John Hardy.

Rattlesnakes strike — luckily, not the rattlesnake Hardy came face to face with.

Thick green weeds, above his head, grew along pipeline he was walking, on a small trail leading back to Hardy’s truck, just about one half mile away.

“I was at work, in late June, walking down a pipeline heading back to my truck,” Hardy said. “I was popping the weeds out of the way with a stick I had in my hand when I came up on the rattlesnake laying in the trail. She (the diamondback) was coiled up on the trail in front of me.”

The coiled up rattler was nearly dormant after the heavy, cold, rainfall. The drop in temperature allowed Hardy to easily grab the snake.

Hardy, said there was no visual signs of a threat from the rattlesnake. The snake was cold and trying to stay warm, according to Hardy.

“With the stick in my hand, I put it on the her head real slow and picked her up,” Hardy explained.

“After walking about a half mile back, I put her in a backpack that was in my truck and sat her in the cab so she didn’t get too hot.”

“The snake was pretty secure in the pack,” Hardy said. “There wasn’t much room for her to move around or rattle.”

Hardy usually keeps a tote sack in his truck, just for rattlesnakes. He hunts them in the springtime, when breeding season begins. Hardy thinks it’s the best time of the year to hunt.

“It’s an awesome adrenaline rush,” Hardy said. “After carrying the rattlesnake a half mile to my truck, then finally getting her into the backpack, I was shaking pretty good after I got her out of my hands.”

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