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Fisher and Rattlesnake in Southeastern WI

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P.I.K.E.
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4/20/09 4:41 PM CST
A good friend told me he had heard that the fisher and rattlesnake (not sure which species) has been introduced to southeastern Wisconsin. Walworth county for sure. He asked someone in the DNR if this was true and they said yes.

I really don't know what to think of introducing rattlesnakes. I know the whole "leave them alone and they'll leave you alone" thing but is this really a smart move? What greater good for will this achieve? Rodent control? Is it worth someone getting bit and possibly die? Probably not. I'm not a "hater" of this move but I guess I would like some kind of explanation of what benefit this give Wisconsin. It would be neat to while out hunting but I have mixed feelings on this.

After some quick research I'm guessing that it is the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake. They were native here at one time.

As far as the fisher I think that would be pretty cool to see one while sitting in the deer stand some day.

What does everyone else think?

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Leviathan
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4/28/09 9:16 PM CST
I have those Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnakes by me and I never knew it untill my cat killed a tiny one he brought it home and I never seen a pattern like that, then on a closer look I noticed a little rattler on the tail so I checked into it and found they live in wetland areas like where Im at so Im hopeing he dosent try this anymore on the bigger ones!

1234567890
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4/28/09 11:48 AM CST
As a person who has once been bitten by a rattlesnake, I would like those damn things as far away from where I live as possible.

Bowbuckman
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4/28/09 10:40 AM CST
Don't need snakes to keep the turkey in check! The fisher will do just fine. Wait and see what that little creature can accomplish! Wink

Fishbrain
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4/26/09 10:45 AM CST
I heard the rattlesnakes were introduced to take care of the Asian beetles. Or was it the other way around? Darn I wish I could keep these things straight! Doh!

One shot one kill
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4/23/09 4:30 PM CST
My land is central Wi , well over 100 miles from IL . Looks like oak savanna to me on the map.

Myth_buster
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4/23/09 1:16 PM CST
In SE WI a lot of land owners and organizations are converting their land back to what it used to be historically: prairies and oak savanna.

In the counties boardering Illinois it was.

Here is a link on pre-settlement vegitation.

A fair amount of that was actually oak forest or oak forest with openings which I suppose could qualify as oak savanna.http://dnr.wi.gov/landscapes/pdfmaps/state/finleys.pdf

[This post was last edited on 4/23/09 at 1:19 PM]
flyfisher309
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4/22/09 5:48 PM CST
Its better to think of the rattlesnakes in terms of ecology rather than the idea that they should serve some sort of human benefit oriented purpose. Their historical range has not changed very much, but it is thier preffered habitat in SE wisconsin that is changing. SE wisconsin used to be predominatly prairie and oak savanna before the settlers settled here. Both of these habitats are the preffered living space of the timber rattler as well as deciduous forests. Wisconsin is now 50% forest due to conservation efforts. In SE WI a lot of land owners and organizations are converting their land back to what it used to be historically: prairies and oak savanna.

Due to the conversion of land to that of the historical landscape, I would presume that SE WI could become part of their natural range. They are probably planted because these "wild" areas being converted are broken up by cities and suburban areas. They would probably not be able to disperse naturally on thier own due to the "islands" of habitat that exist within our cities.

As far as saftey goes, people would have to be careful and hospitals would have to start carrying anti-venom. Perhaps the DNR would have to make an announcement about snake saftey to the public.

We can't just extirpate the snakes after they have been introduced based on human saftey. With all of the land converted, certain animals would dominate. In prairies, small mammals and birds would dominate. Without any predatory control other than hawks, the ecological balance could be compromised.

I also think that WI needs more wild places and native plants and animals.

It would be a battle between human saftey and ecological integrity, but that is for the DNR biologists and the public to decide.

Just my thoughts, Fly.

buckbrush
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4/22/09 4:43 PM CST
Rumors we are hearing up this way is that the DNR planted the snakes in order to assist in controlling the Turkey.

I'd like to hear your best explanation of how rattlesnakes would be used to control turkey populations.

lawdog616
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4/22/09 2:01 PM CST
Rumors we are hearing up this way is that the DNR planted the snakes in order to assist in controlling the Turkey. Not that allowing more hunting of turkey could not accomplish this....go figure..

Greenheads4Ever
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4/22/09 1:43 PM CST
I actually do remember an episode of Crocodile hunter where the late Steve Irwin was catching rattlers in Western Wi. They didn't say where but it was aired obviously a long time ago. I may be wrong it might have been MN. but these were all naturally occurring snakes too.

Bigsilverkiller
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4/22/09 12:30 PM CST
sounds like one for the "ask a warden" thread!!!

i doubt they introduced them but knew about the ones that were already here! I also have a house in Wautoma and never heard about a release there!

canine_trapper
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4/22/09 8:31 AM CST
Rattlesnakes released by Wautoma to control the turkeys, dang I've been looking for the wrong snake, I heard that it was copperheads that were released.

I really doubt that rattlesnakes were released in southern Wisconsin. There are however, naturally occurring populations of timber rattlesnakes in the bluff region of western Wisconsin. But their numbers are low and they are in areas that people don't frequent often. I also saw on a nature show on Animal Planet (couple of years ago now) that O'Shea was catching timber rattlesnakes near Granite Peak. They didn't come out and say thats where it was, just showed the view from the top peaks and said it was near a good size city in central Wisconsin. They commented about how that population was living so close to so many people, yet most people have no idea what is living in the rocks near them. And that they didn't want to disclose the exact location as it could negatively impact the snakes.

The only rattle snakes I know of that have been released was Masasagras in the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. They released around 2 dozen, all with inserted transmitters for tracking. Out of those, almost all were killed by hawks, etc. within the first summer. The last couple survivors were caught and taken back out of the wild before they were also eaten by hawks. I know this as my dad was trapping in there that year and they gave a letter to the trappers that were trapping in there, so that they could watch out for them in the marshy areas that the snakes like to frequent.

STEVE WHITE
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4/22/09 12:23 AM CST
I kinda doubt either one was done. Did hear that the DNR released rattlers around wautoma a few years back to control turkey populations. Think that was BS as well. Fishers were stocked to help with the porky population in the north. Their numbers are now way down due to disease. Could see it as the porky's are coming back.

Rattlers would be plain stupid anywhere!


White's Woods & Waters
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4/21/09 11:48 PM CST
A friend said that someone in the DNR said...

Heck,I lie occasionally to the very-gullible,too. Everyone needs a hobby.

IceFishBaby
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4/21/09 3:02 PM CST
I thought that the timber rattlers were introduced to save the timber from logging, giving deer a place to stay safe from hunters, and hence help the deer population so that we can still earn a buck. I guess I was wrong.

Doesn't sound right at all. Wrong type of environment for rattlers. We see them a lot in SE Minnesota in the bluffs. Don't think I would be too worried about it.

Mike

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