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dingermcduff

South Dakota Rattlesnakes?

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Being from an area with NO poisonous snakes, I have a question about the caching trip I'll be making to the Black Hills, Badlands, and western North Dakota areas in late May.

 

I'll be there with my wife and 4 year old...are rattlesnakes much of a problem in these areas? We'll probably hit some caches well off the road, not just park and grabs. Thanks.

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The 3 that I have saw in the past 5 years of hiking in the Hills were all in August. Seems like they are out and mad during the hottest weather. The rule of thumb is to leave them alone and give them a chance to get away. On the plus side, we do not have BEARS. We do have mountain lions, but I bet you have those too.

Edited by Acid Rain

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I have never encountered a rattle snake and I wouldn't let their presence stop you from enjoying allthe geocaches we have out here. It seems that I have heard they like hot rocky places - I may be wrong. Be careful, listen, and carry a big stick!

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There can be rattlesnakes in those areas. Just don't stick your hand in anyplace you can't see and keep your eyes open. Keep an eye on the four year old to be sure the child doesn't reach into any hidden places etc and I figure there is little to be concerned about. If you see a snake, just back away from it and find a different route. They will give a good rattle as a warning, and if you are keeping your eyes open will see them even before that.

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Thanks. I guess I won't worry about it too much...just keep my eyes open.

 

Mountain lions are extremely rare in northern Minnesota...we do have lots of black bears, wolves, and moose however. Skunks, snapping turtles, carnivorous plants, and walls of mosquitoes to watch out for too.

 

How are the mosquitoes in the Black Hills in late May anyway? I wouldn't think that bad, but maybe I'm wrong.

 

I'll be mostly caching in the Black Hills area, but I hope to hit a few in North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana if possible. I see that all 3 respondents have hides...perhaps I'll do some of your caches! Thanks.

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I carry pepper spray in the very remote case I run into a mountain lion. I saw two one day when I was out hiking here in the Black Hills!

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I highly recommend my Old Baldy cache. It is a fantastic hike - one of the best in the Black Hills.

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Thanks. I guess I won't worry about it too much...just keep my eyes open.

 

Mountain lions are extremely rare in northern Minnesota...we do have lots of black bears, wolves, and moose however. Skunks, snapping turtles, carnivorous plants, and walls of mosquitoes to watch out for too.

 

How are the mosquitoes in the Black Hills in late May anyway? I wouldn't think that bad, but maybe I'm wrong.

 

I'll be mostly caching in the Black Hills area, but I hope to hit a few in North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana if possible. I see that all 3 respondents have hides...perhaps I'll do some of your caches! Thanks.

 

I'm not near the Black Hills area in Nebraska, but if you get down to the eastern end of the state, let me know! In the Black Hills end, pretty much all of the Nebraska caches there are quite nice! :o

 

With mosquitos, it should be fairly tame in late May. They could be out, but not swarming. Watch for ticks though. There are less out there, but it seems to be a banner year for them in general. I suggest a bug spray with deet. Deep Woods Off has that.

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moose

If one is spotted here, our fish and game agency blasts them with a rifle on the spot. The theory is they can't be captured and relocated safely. And bears, the pioneers ate them all.

 

How are the mosquitoes in the Black Hills in late May anyway?

It's pretty arid out here, there are significantly less than MN I would guess. We don't have many (if any) natural lakes. It's all creeks and dams. On ticks, there are plenty of those to go around here, so remember to do your tick check.

 

I see that all 3 respondents have hides...perhaps I'll do some of your caches!

Have fun!

Edited by Acid Rain

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If you do happen to encounter a snake. (We did last month on a trip to the Black Hills). Back away slowly and watch where you are going. Snakes aren't out to get you and will move away from you if given a chance. Running blindly can just lead you into another nearby snake. Trying to move or kill the snake will just make it more aggresive. Use a hiking staff or long stick to probe hidden/dark areas before reaching in. They are abundant but rarely seen.

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I have encountered a rattlesnake or two in the hills. Always in rocky areas. They were nice enough to announce their presense to me first. I had a 4 year old with me once so we just backed away and picked another cache.

Mosquitoes in the Black Hills are nearly non-existent compared to my birth state of Minnesota.

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I have only seen one rattlesnake-in the Badlands,in September. However, in May there are a lot of ticks. Your 4year old walking in the grass in the hills may come home withsome one the ankles. Check the child out well when you get home.

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I just returned from my trip to South Dakota. The weather was fantastic (although the wind apparently doesn't stop blowing) and I had a great time. I did sneak in 20+ caches (though I haven't logged them yet) and I noticed that I did find caches hidden by 2 respondents to this thread--Ted's Trekkers and Acid Rain...Thanks!

 

Only one snake encounter, at the Badlands, my son almost stepped on a snake (before my wife grabbed his arm and yanked him backward) that slithered across a trail. I only saw the snake for a moment, but it was longer than 24", was sandy colored and had a pattern similar to the photos I have seen of rattlesnakes. However, I didn't notice a rattle on the tail and didn't hear anything, though again, I only saw it for a moment. Any ideas? Did we narrowly avert disaster?

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In that area, it certainly could have been a rattlesnake, but it could have also been a bull snake or other snake. There are quite a few snakes out there that look like rattlers. You wouldn't necessarily hear anything since they don't rattle unless they feel threatened etc. But the rattle on the tail is usually pretty noticeable if you get even a quick a good look. So if the tail narrowed out to a point it wasn't a rattler. No way to know for sure I guess though based on what you saw, and I'm glad you didn't get bitten to find out! :(:(

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Congratulations on a successful cache hunting trip! Sorry to hear about the snake. People say bull snakes are mean and attack people, but the couple I encountered were even bigger chickens than prarie rattlers.

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