Outdoor Life With Tess: Oklahoma Rattlesnake Hunting For The First Time

It's rattlesnake season in Oklahoma where brave hunters hit the woods in search of the venomous snake. In a heart-pounding -- "Outdoor Life " -- Tess tagged along with several pros in Pittsburg County -- for her first-ever rattlesnake hunt.

Friday, April 12th 2024, 9:14 am



It's rattlesnake season in Oklahoma where brave hunters hit the woods in search of the venomous snake.

While most people hope they never come across a rattlesnake, Health Eldridge goes rattlesnake hunting each spring with his friends and family in Pittsburg County.

“I get called crazy all the time. Some people think you're crazy because you're bringing in family, getting kids around snakes,” Eldridge said. “They know it's not a game, they could be seriously hurt. I'm always in front of them making sure there's nothing there. We have a good time, some of the best laughs will be done with this.”

Rattlesnake hunting is an adrenaline-pumping, heart-racing hobby. 

“It just starts beating really fast and I just start shaking, but it's fun,” said Eldridge’s 12-year-old son, Josiah.

Rattlesnakes start emerging from their winter dens when the weather starts warming up. And if you know where to look, you can find a lot.

“We've seen as many as 50 snakes between this whole length of this den before at once,” Eldridge said. “A lot of them will get up on that ledge and they may not come down, they'll just stay on that ledge and sun.”

When Eldridge finds one, he uses a special grabber to pick up the venomous snake safely, then he quickly puts the rattler in a bucket or sack and moves on to the next den. The snakes blend in no matter where they are, so the number one rule of rattlesnake hunting is -- watch your step.

“Don't get in a rush. Every step you take, make sure you're looking down and around you,” he said. “They could be lying around here and you won't even see them.’

One den housed three rattlesnakes, along with three coachwhips, which are a non-venomous black snake that is easier to spot. Eldridge said when he finds one of those, a rattlesnake is always close by. It took some work, but Eldridge and his buddy caught all three rattlers.

Then it was News On 6’s Tess Maune’s turn to catch one they found hiding in plain sight under a rock right next to where she had been filming.

With a long grabbing pole and the guidance of several pros, Tess snatched up her first rattlesnake.

“You'll get a whole new segment of people that'll really call you crazy whenever they see this video, I can promise you,” Eldridge said.

Crazy or not, there are reasons for hunting the venomous creatures, some people eat them (and say they taste like chicken), some sell them, and others just want them off their property. 

“I've had people that call me to come simply remove them off their place because they've got kids that run around or they just don't want them on their place,” Eldridge said.      

This type of hunting is certainly not for everybody, but if you try it, it's an adventure you'll never forget.

“There's a lot of things you be challenged with when it comes to hunting, but I think this really takes the cake,” said Eldridge.

It will also teach you to trust your eyesight and your instincts.

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