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  #31  
Old 09-01-2010, 03:49 PM
Knothead Knothead is offline
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I worked with a fellow here in Cleveland that almost died from a rattlesnake bite. I teach in my Hunter Ed classes that non-poisonous bites can become infected and cause some major problems. Only seen one rattler in over 10 years; only seen three snakes in that timeframe.
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  #32  
Old 09-01-2010, 04:00 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Having stepped on a copperhead a few weeks ago near the west prong of the lr and seen 3 timber rattlesnakes in the last 3 years I think they are pretty common in the smokies. I expect the population of snakes will be going way up too since this winter was so harsh with such deep snow that I believe it killed off a very large portion of the wild hogs in the mountains who were culling out the snakes some in the recent past.
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  #33  
Old 09-01-2010, 07:06 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Adam--Along with the weather culling hogs, the Park is working on them too. You won't hear or read much about it, but in addition to a long-term trapping program they have employed what I guess you could call hog snipers to shoot 'em.

As for snake numbers, and I've probably posted this before, they are but a pale shadow of what numbers were like when I was a kid. A float down lower Deep Creek this time of year, especially after a heavy rain got the creek up, would have you seeing literally dozens of water snakes dropping from limbs into the water. As for rattlesnakes and copperheads, I probably averaged seeing at least a dozen a year as a boy. I've seen exactly three in the last five years, and none were in the Park.
My brother covers a lot more ground than me, and he's seen one copperhead and no rattlesnakes in the Park.
Incidentally, since this thread is entitled "bushwhacking," I would mention that he has a hike planned tomorrow which will find him starting out just above the million-dollar bridge on Straight Fork, heading from there via the Beech Hollow Trail to Hyatt Ridge, down the Hyatt Ridge Trail a ways, then off trail via the old Breakneck Ridge manway down to Three Forks. I'm going to be really anxious to hear his report.
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  #34  
Old 09-02-2010, 08:25 AM
Rebelsoul Rebelsoul is offline
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The most hog signs I've seen have been in the Tellico region,I would hate to run up on a bunch of them late in the evening.
I saw a show on tv called "The Hog Bomb" or something to that effect...it covered the wild hog problem we have here in the South and it's amazing how fast they spread and reproduce,there's a town in Georgia somewhere that's overrun with hogs.
Like Jim said,in one of those places the cops ride the roads at night and shoot every hog they see.
This has gotten away somewhat from bushwhacking,but it all fits together. In the woods everybody needs to be aware of dangerous animals and situations,there's way too many misinformed folks out from the suburbs who think going fishing in the GSMNP is like going to a city park,or any other activity they are interested in.
A friend of mine who is a hiker in the Smokies and Rockies has said a Ranger in the Yellowstone area told him tourists have actually asked him,"When do you let the animals out to walk around?"
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  #35  
Old 09-02-2010, 08:52 AM
Knothead Knothead is offline
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Quote:
"When do you let the animals out to walk around?"
That is the epitomy of stupidity. People watch too many nature shows that don't contain one milligram of truth. I would rather camp in Yellowstone or the Smokies rather than drive through some areas of many towns or cities.
SWMBO and I saw a lot of hog activity at one of the homesteads in Cade's Cove. Looked like the ground around the barn had been plowed.
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  #36  
Old 09-02-2010, 09:30 AM
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Rog 1 Rog 1 is offline
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I have bumped into one of the hog "snipers" before up above Elkmont...this ranger was dressed in full cammo with a rifle equiped with a night light....he was coming off the Cucmber Gap trail and had been out all night....after answering all our questions he asked for our licenses...always on the job.
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  #37  
Old 09-02-2010, 11:07 AM
Carlito Carlito is offline
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Where do I sign up for "hog sniper" patrol!?! A buddy I used to work with did that for a whole summer in the 50s. We bumped into a ranger on our way to #23 year before last. He was carrying an semi-auto assault rifle decked out with camo and a supressor. He said he was up there putting up game cameras to monitor bear/boar traffic. I have a feeling we aren't as "alone" as we think we are up in the Park. They have game cameras all over the place up there.
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  #38  
Old 09-02-2010, 11:19 AM
Rebelsoul Rebelsoul is offline
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The "hog sniper" is interesting,also the game cameras....can't get away anywhere anymore.
I ease along like a "LURP" along a trail anyway,sometimes dressed in Tiger Stripes or woodland camo....it will make the "hog snipers" activities more exiciting,they can imagine themselves as VC looking for Carlos Hathcock.
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  #39  
Old 09-03-2010, 02:41 PM
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sammcdonald sammcdonald is offline
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the last year's rescue was of a very very experienced ridge runner and back country expert.....he got a lil confused on dry sluice gap manway and ended up about a mile east ot where he wanted to be.....so it's easy to get lost...use care...i've been places i can't go again because i'm smarter now
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  #40  
Old 09-03-2010, 04:28 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sammcdonald View Post
the last year's rescue was of a very very experienced ridge runner and back country expert.....he got a lil confused on dry sluice gap manway and ended up about a mile east ot where he wanted to be.....so it's easy to get lost...use care...i've been places i can't go again because i'm smarter now
sam
Sam--I must, to a certain degree, question just how experienced the "ridge runner and back country expert" was. Did he have a compass? Did he have a GPS? Did he have a USGS map? Did he have emergency gear and rations? I think it is quite easy to get misplaced in the Smokies, but I don't think any truly fit and truly savvy backwoodsman will get lost. With the exception of a few places, such as the sawteeth, the gorge on Raven Fork, and some of the steep places high up along the main ridge line, all that is required is to go downhill until you hit a water course (never too far) and then follow it. In time you'll hit a trail, because most Park trails either follow a stream or a ridgeline.
That being said, I think hypothermia, panic, and poor preparation are much bigger dangers.
Also, anyone in the situation that guy was in has shown one immediate index of less than stellar woodsmanship--he's off target on his intended path (whether off trail or on). I'll match my brother's back country skills with those of most anyone, but one thing he does religiously is stick to his plan. He always gives a map itinerary of where he is going and sticks to it. Yesterday was a prime example. He wanted to try to find the old manway down Breakneck Ridge to Three Forks. He didn't succeed but had enough sense not to backtrack and take the McGee Springs-Right Fork of Raven Fork approach. Why? Because he knew that if something happened he would have deviated from the mapped path (off trail) he left with me and his wife.
I'm betting the guy who had to be sought by a rescue party and neglected one or more of the points and preparations mentioned above.
Finally, I am all too keenly aware of the places "I can't go again." I don't know that I'm any smarter but I am appreciably less "catty."
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