Darren Doyle, story:
A local man got an eye-opening surprise today (again) when he stumbled upon a large timber rattlesnake on his farm in the Ollie community while tending to a deer feeder.
Craig Browning of Chalybeate said he was ten bags deep into filling the feeder when he looked down and saw the rattler just three feet away.
"I'm usually very cautious when I'm tending to the deer feeder this time of year," he said. "When it's hot and dry, you gotta keep an eye out. But I hadn't seen anything all summer so I guess I gotten pretty relaxed. I normally carry a .38 special with rat shot, a homemade forked walking stick, and snake boots. Well, today, I didn't have any of that stuff."
Browning said he took a couple steps back and regrouped. He said he knew if he left the site to get his gun that the snake would be gone when he returned. Luckily, he had a camp hatchet and he was able to go a short distance to the edge of the woods, get a limb, and cut a makeshift forked stick.
"The snake was still there when I got back," he said. "I called my son-in-law and put him on Facetime. I told him he was my backup 911 in case something went wrong," he said with a laugh; however, he said trying to kill a giant timber rattler with a stick and a camp hatchet didn't seem funny at the time.
"I forked the snake, but the forks were a little long, so he was able to squirm out a little bit, but a good knock on the head got him."
The snake measured out close to 60 inches and had 9 rattles. Browning killed almost the same exact size snake 4 years ago, on August 13, 2017, also shared with the Edmonson Voice.
"It was almost identical to the snake I killed four years ago, and within 20 feet of the same spot," he said. "This one pretty much scared me the same amount as that one did, too."
Browning, a very accomplished hunter and outdoorsman, said people often question him about his secret hunting spot where he regularly kills trophy deer.
"I'm raising trophy rattlesnakes," he said.
He said he plans on skinning the snake and displaying on a board in his hunting room.