27 rattlers over the line
You know how it goes: You’re wandering around in scrubby country, you’re a little hungry, and a little low on cash. You see a rattlesnake.
Pretty soon you’re back in your apartment at the hotel with a bucket of 27 rattlesnakes, eating some snake-on-a-stick, hoping to sell the rest of the serpents to science, when the wardens bust through the door without even phoning:
A Malta, Idaho, man found himself in a bit of trouble after he wrangled 27 rattlesnakes into a five-gallon bucket in hopes of finding someone who would buy the reptiles.
Terry Brian Teeter, 38, was issued two Idaho Fish and Game misdemeanor citations for possession, transport or shipment of wildlife on May 25, after Fish and Game officials found him and the Western rattlesnakes in his apartment at the Sunset Motel in Malta.
Teeter said he originally had 32 snakes but gave a couple away. He also skinned a couple, put them on hot dog sticks, cooked and ate them.
“They taste like chicken,” Teeter said.
Teeter has hunted rattlesnakes for 15 years but said he was unaware that a license was required to hunt rattlers in Idaho, or that a hunter may only take four rattlesnakes each year.
Teeter’s attorney, Don Chisholm, said most people seem to be unaware such regulations exist.
That’s from a story from over the weekend by reporter Laurie Welch, in the Times-News MagicValley.com, which covers news in the Twin Falls region.
Welch quotes Teeter, who has hunted rattlesnakes since age 15, as saying, “Everybody out here fears [rattlesnakes] for their cows, their horses and their kids. I hate the things. I have nightmares over them all the time.”
Rattlesnake collecting, killing, and eating is an old endeavor of our American brethren in the West and Southwest. This story, however, presents an interesting combination of succinct factors: personal tradition, hunger, psychological disturbance, and entrepreneurship. If you’re a cultural anthropologist, Freudian psychoanalyst (are there any of them left?), or economist, Teeter could serve as a day’s worth of lecture.
Personally, I wonder why we’ve never seen Mrs. Smith’s Snakes-on-a-Stick in the freezer section of our favorite grocery stores.
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Note: Welch’s story doesn’t specify what species of rattler Teeter caught and ate, but they were probably Western diamondback rattlers. A photo accompanying the article depicts Teeter with what appears to be a small diamondback. The snake in the photo here is an Eastern diamondback