A quickly moving snake met it's end recently. I dislike wasting anything, so for future reference... Are there snakes that are poisonous to eat? Is there a location best to aim for on a venomous snake? (X inches form head to avoid venom sacks.. as I prefer to live life without altering reality.) Other recommendations?
All are safe to eat, while some are rather small, they may good soup stock. Larger tropical varieties may have some "muscle worms" (var. ssp) but these would roast out in almost all situation and are to the best of my knowledge "species specific endoparasitic."
Venom is just an advance enzymic fluid (aka spit) and you are as toxic as most of the snakes found in the U.S. if you had a delivery system to get it into someone blood stream...I promise you (having been bitten several times by both) I would take another copperhead bit over a human bit any day...
The venom is harmless if ingested unless you have bleeding ulcers or some other majorly open lesion in your mouth or digestive tract. In Asian, venom drinking is common practice as a "health tonic.
As for "dispatching to harvest" (I don't like killing snakes in general unless for this reason...) then I actually recommend a good walking staff. Few wacks on the head area does the mission fast. They (even huge species like python-boa) have very sensitive head structures that do not resist blunt direct trauma to this region well at all...
You will find the heart on most species between 1/3 and 1/4 the animal proportional size down from head. However, heart shots in snakes do not stop them from biting...and...neither does "killing them!!" The absolute worse bits are called "dead bits" as the animal is discharging in a reflexive response. This is why leaving them alone is much safer in most cases...unless going in with a set plane and with confidence.
Strike to the head several times...
Wait for body to stop moving and become fully limp so that the animal with draped across the staff without...any....movement at all when shaken.
Remove head and fully destroy with repeated compressions of a heavy object for the safety of others and curious pets/livestock.
If wanting to harvest a full skin including head...The head region must be treated as alive if doing a fresh skinning. These means all the procedures to handle a venomous snake alive during the operation of separating the skin from the head, and the removal of the venom sac, duct under running water...OR...freeze animal first, but this can affect meat quality...
Good luck...they are tasty...no doubt about that...
Location: Officially Zone 7b, according to personal obsevations I live in 7a, SW Tennessee