Snakes in Central North Dakota

Mr_Tibbs

New member
I'm looking at doing an early season rooster or maybe September sharpie someone in Central ND next fall. I'm looking at a general area between Minot, Parshall, and Garrison. Are there much in the way of rattlesnakes on that sode of the river? Would be looking at a mid September hunt or mid october.
 
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NDPheasant

Active member
No need to be concerned at all as long as you are on the east side of the river. I have hunted west of New Town a time or two and my hunting partner I go with and knows that country doesn't ever worry. There are bullsnakes around and those will get your heart beating a little faster. Harmless but look nearly identical to a rattlesnake a first glance minus the rattle.
 

Labs

Active member
I've lived in ND since 81' and hunted west of the Missouri River/in the Badlands just about every year. I moved to the SW corner of the state in 2018. I've never seen a rattler when I've looked for them, and seen very few otherwise. Last summer I saw a grand total of 1, and that was west of Amidon when we were trout fishing Davis Dam. You won't be hunting upland down there.

The first year I bowhunted the Badlands I was worried about snakes so I wore heavy clunky boots and spent more time looking at the ground than I did glassing for mule bucks. Next year I started wearing light boots and just minded where I stepped.

The simple rules out here go like this; Don't reach in holes. Don't step over rocks or logs w/o looking first. Mind yourself around shady, brushy areas on hot sunny days. Pay attention around p-dog towns, as rattlers hunt in them. Same with abandoned building & farmsteads.

My property SW of Dickinson is about as snakey looking piece of land as I've seen, but I've never encountered one around the house. Just the same, when I'm working in the yard I carry one of my S&W revolvers (a good habit in general to get into out here) with the first round in the cylinder being a snake charmer (a round with a load of #9 shot in a plastic capsule rather than a bullet that will flat out ruin a snake's day at 10 feet, particularly effective in 44 Magum).

That being said, every year a couple folks (usually tourists) get bit, as do a couple dogs. Every now & then someone gets bit on the Bully Pulpit Golf Course outside of Medora, why I don't know as you don't have to be a Herpetologist to see that is a mighty snakey piece of ground. If you or your dog gets bit, the hospitals in the bigger cities can treat you and the vets in those bigger cities can treat your dog as well (although it will cost you a mint, antivenin isn't cheap).

Carry liquid Benadryl in your dog first aid kit and if Rover gets bit, give him 1MG per pound (swelling that blocks the airway is the most immediate threat to survival) and get it to a vet in Dickinson, Williston, or Minot as fast as you can. Opinions are mixed as to it's effectiveness for a person who gets bit, but for sure it can't hurt. If I get nailed you can bet I'm downing about half a bottle on the way to town.

Dogs can't seem to resist the smell of a snake, so I recommend you snake proof train your dog, or at the bare minimum it's OB needs to be rock solid so it will leave a snake alone if you call it.
 
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cyrtonyx

New member
I've lived in ND since 81' and hunted west of the Missouri River/in the Badlands just about every year. I moved to the SW corner of the state in 2018. I've never seen a rattler when I've looked for them, and seen very few otherwise. Last summer I saw a grand total of 1, and that was west of Amidon when we were trout fishing Davis Dam. You won't be hunting upland down there.

The first year I bowhunted the Badlands I was worried about snakes so I wore heavy clunky boots and spent more time looking at the ground than I did glassing for mule bucks. Next year I started wearing light boots and just minded where I stepped.

The simple rules out here go like this; Don't reach in holes. Don't step over rocks or logs w/o looking first. Mind yourself around shady, brushy areas on hot sunny days. Pay attention around p-dog towns, as rattlers hunt in them. Same with abandoned building & farmsteads.

My property SW of Dickinson is about as snakey looking piece of land as I've seen, but I've never encountered one around the house. Just the same, when I'm working in the yard I carry one of my S&W revolvers (a good habit in general to get into out here) with the first round in the cylinder being a snake charmer (a round with a load of #9 shot in a plastic capsule rather than a bullet that will flat out ruin a snake's day at 10 feet, particularly effective in 44 Magum).

That being said, every year a couple folks (usually tourists) get bit, as do a couple dogs. Every now & then someone gets bit on the Bully Pulpit Golf Course outside of Medora, why I don't know as you don't have to be a Herpetologist to see that is a mighty snakey piece of ground. If you or your dog gets bit, the hospitals in the bigger cities can treat you and the vets in those bigger cities can treat your dog as well (although it will cost you a mint, antivenin isn't cheap).

Carry liquid Benadryl in your dog first aid kit and if Rover gets bit, give him 1MG per pound (swelling that blocks the airway is the most immediate threat to survival) and get it to a vet in Dickinson, Williston, or Minot as fast as you can. Opinions are mixed as to it's effectiveness for a person who gets bit, but for sure it can't hurt. If I get nailed you can bet I'm downing about half a bottle on the way to town.

Dogs can't seem to resist the smell of a snake, so I recommend you snake proof train your dog, or at the bare minimum it's OB needs to be rock solid so it will leave a snake alone if you call it.
I agree to snake training. It works, but I still had two of my setters bit around the house. The were putting their nose in holes. Trained them out of that as well, now.
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
I grew up in ND and typically only hunted SW ND with dogs late season. Some 30+ years ago I had my first Britt out in prime rattler country hunting sharptails in September. The prickly pear cactus was a major pain. Put the booties on ... not a happy dog.

We were crossing a sage flat between buffalo berry patches and we came near what I suspect was a rattler den. I picked up my dog and backed out ... the two guys I were with (both USF&WS employees) dusted 3 - 4 snakes (wanted the rattles). They had to be considerably more ... dozen plus.

Never did bring a Britt back out there. Most times it was too hot for dogs anyways on opening weekend and the cover was such that dogs did not provide much advantage.
 
Had to do the same in idaho years ago.....put a chukar down up above a short cliff face. Required a little climbing and lifting the pup to get up there.
Nice and flat up top..started looking for the downed bird....6 buzzworms,(at least) started lighting off...picked up the pup and tip toed off the hill
This was in mid oct and the previous night(I was camping) it had gotten down to 10 ...snake spot got all the afternoon sun and I figured it had to be a den location....
Nope...I did not recover the chukar...
 
I forgot to add the best part to my story...after I had climbed up and the buzzworms were lighting off...I was semi defenseless..that last chukar had been my last shell..
 

BRITTMAN

Well-known member
The rattle snakes are in more areas in SW ND than just along the river. They are not just in the clay buttes and cliffs ...

The area the story above took place was on a sage brush flat ... no creek or "badland" areas within miles.

In the fall the snakes migrate to local dens. Areas may be few and far between, but if you come across an area ...

Plenty of snakes near Flasher as an example. The local rancher pointed out the den area, but said they were wide spread in the summer and into Septmeber.

Interestingly when we hunted close to the Little Mo we did not see rattlers.
 
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BRITTMAN

Well-known member
Brittman were you in the grasslands or close to medora ? Concerning rattlers
N of 94 near Belfield.

I have hunted Killdeer to Amidon to Marmarth to Beach to Belfield ... long, long time ago now. Mostly sharptails early season.

Hunted Glen Ulin in winter. Never ever, ever saw another hunter.
 
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