Sunday, July 5, 2009

We had a fun July 4th, with one exception.

Currently, my wife and I are staying with her parents as we are getting ready to buy our first home. We had some family over (2 of her older sisters, their husbands and kids), and Saturday morning, we were going to head over to take a tour of some of the local caves when my sister-in-law had a close encounter with this guy on her way to the car:

He was within 10 feet of the house, about 5-6 feet from one of the cars, and fortunately, the kids were all playing on the other side of the house. I don't even want to think about what could've happened if they had decided to run around the house.

At this point, my father in law started looking for some snake shot he has for his single-shot .22 rifle. I went to grab my 22 (Remington 597), because I was concerned that 7.62x39 or .45acp would run a greater risk of ricochet, and causing more harm to people or property than good. My mother-in-law made sure that the kids stayed far, far away, and everyone else was basically keeping a respectful distance from the snake (which made no attempt to head for the hills).

I could not find the .22 ammo I usually keep with the rifle, and my magazines were empty. I thought the ammo might be out in the trunk (and it was, but I could not find it), so I ran out to look for it, unsuccessfully, and my father-in-law could not find his snakeshot.Fortunately, about this time, my brother-in-law demonstrated that he could pitch large rocks with sufficient force and accuracy to kill the snake.

The snake, by the way, was approximately 4 feet, 9 inches long, and had 11 fully formed rattles, and was starting on #12.

Here's what I learned:

1. A rifle without ammunition on hand is virtually useless.

2. "Plinking" rifles are not exempt from the above.

3. A good rifle, while versatile, may not be the best tool for every situation.

4. While I kept my cool, and did not panic, or act like a complete idiot, I was not using all available resources--large rocks, in this case.

5. Until yesterday, I had never really been able to justify the extra expense of owning a shotgun, which probably would have been the best weapon to quickly dispatch the snake. My wife doesn't have a problem with my guns, she just doesn't necessarily think that I need as many as I think I do , but she agreed that it might be time to go ahead and get a shotgun. So here's my new Maverick 88.

Nothing fancy, 12 gauge, 3" chamber, 28" barrel, 6 shot magazine.

Oh, and Paul: seriously, nice job with the rocks!

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