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The rattlesnake and the preacher

 
Dale Hodgins
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In the 1930s in central British Columbia we had a crazy religious zealot who after reading the story of Eve and the serpent determined that snakes were the devil's creature and should be eradicated. He and his congregation set out on a quest to remove rattlesnakes from a large area by killing them at their breeding sites. They did this for several years until finally the church was burned down by a group of angry farmers and ranchers who were overrun with vermin. The only person known to have ever died from the bite of this rather small rattler was a member of the congregation who fell into a pit and received numerous bites.

    It turns out snakes eat mice and rats and they are useful . They kill pests and idiots
 
Jami McBride
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LOL - ya they do 

But I prefer gofer snakes myself.
 
Tyler Ludens
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What a great story!

I love snakes and we have plenty, though I've only seen one rattler on our place.  Lots of coral snakes and other kinds, though. 

 
John Polk
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Many years ago, one of the desert communities near Bakersfield, CA had a bounty on rattlers (to make their community more hospitable).  The town was over run with field mice the following spring/summer.
 
Dale Hodgins
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    In rural Ontario we used to have bounties on foxes, wolves, raccoons and other predators. This was done in the name of protecting livestock but it led to vermin eating up the feed. Farmers were known to shoot birds of prey in the name of saving chickens and they would shoot turkey buzzards in order to prevent disease. Now many of them create predator habitat as a means of combating pests.

      My dad was fairly early to this line of thought and created a barn owl refuge adjacent to the granary and corn cribs in the 1940s. Funny that he was enlightened in that way but continued to rid his land of trees until the early 80s. Now the place is half trees, no pesticides, no herbicides. In the 1960s he operated one of the first factory farms in our area and was indoctrinated by what he read on the side of bags of chemicals. He now knows that it was all bull shit. Dad started farming with horses. By his early 30s he was driving soil crushing monstrosities which needed so much room to turn around that it became necessary to eliminate all hedgerows, shade trees and other obstacles on large monoculture fields which were regularly poisoned with whatever latest miracle cure Monsanto could provide. Now at 78 he runs a small organic berry farm, the pool has been turned into a bog garden and he thinks before he cuts. So I guess we are capable of change. Dad went from the Stone Age to the jet age and back again.


     At one time we were very short of beavers due to excessive trapping. Now in many areas with a shortage of predators the beavers are running rampant and dropping forest at a record pace. Predator numbers rebuild slowly while rats and beavers can be great-grandparents by their second year of life.
 
Tyler Ludens
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dale hodgins wrote:
   they would shoot turkey buzzards in order to prevent disease.


Oh brilliant!  Buzzards help prevent disease by cleaning up rotting carcasses! 
 
Dale Hodgins
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