Sparked by my run-in with a rattler this weekend in Harriman (and a few previous run-ins), I'd like to propose that we start a thread that can hold reports of rattlesnakes in NY & NJ. If you see one, post the location of that sighting here - (or if NJHiking prefers a better spot, then that's ok with me).
The object would be to get a better sense of where these critters are living (and breeding) and how wide-spread they may be.
I'm in Sussex County with woods behind my house, and I started to wonder what my dogs would do in an encounter. And it definitely has crossed my mind about hiking with them.
here's the first report:
One spotted in Harriman on 9/7/13 on Diamond Mountain (Diamond Mtn Tower Trail)
Was this a close encounter? Did the snake scurry off at your presence or did you have to go around it? I've only seen basically water snakes, but will report any rattlesnake encounters here.
I'll all for a bear census too!! I've seen 0 on the trails!
Well, close enough. In my opinion any time I spot one is too close. It saw me before I saw it; about three feet away. He (not sure of the sex, but 'he' seems appropriate) rattled and moved a foot or two, but his body was still blocking the trail. We had to skirt him ...around the tail end, to be sure.
Oh yeah, the bear was sighted earlier. Only the second one I've seen in Harriman.
We've haven't seen a rattler in several years. Most of the times they've been sunning on a rock smack dab in the middle of a trail and we've just given them a wide berth (after getting our hearts to stop pounding).
But once we did have a close call coming back from Sunfish Pond on the AT with my brother, his wife, and their terrier mutt. She was leashed and only a few feet off the side of the trail when she surprised a rattler... who started rattling. Everything was fine, but we had a moment of panic trying to determine if she'd been bit.
I somehow recall hearing that the snake doesn't rattle when striking...not that would matter much. And I'm not sure if that's folklore or fact. But if you retreat as soon as you hear the rattle........
I just found this link to a pdf document from the State of NJ, concerning rattlesnakes.
Seems like good info:
Saw this one last Thursday on the AT near the Catfish Mt. fire tower. I walked around him,and he didn't seem concerned at all. Timber rattlers are said to be quite shy and non-aggressive. So am I, and we parted with no hard feelings.
Jeez I'm hitting all these spots next week when I attempt the NJ/AT section from DWG to Greenwood. Bad timing on reading this thread! Next you guys are going to tell me there's bears out there too ;-)
Paul - Not sure if the first set are Rattlesnakes or not, but this was the entirety of my snake encounters while hiking the AT, thankfully! I will note that reading the trail journals at the shelters, in June and July when the bulk of the NoBos came through, there were many reports of rattlesnakes.