The Schmitt's Camp on Tounge Mountian, Lake
George New York.
Excerpt from the Family Log Book - written by Roland W. Schmitt
July 12, 1963 Friday
Had never before seen a rattlesnake on Tongue Mountain, either in camp or on hikes even though the camp was purchased two years ago. On this evening we arrived at camp around 8:00 P.M. with John and Maureen Owen, their daughter Stephanie, a French girl Marie-Chantel and Pam Cook. Our son Larry away at camp for two weeks missed the following excitement, but nine year old Brian was there.
We opened windows, made beds put the youngest ones -Henry, Alice and Stephanie- to bed and then decided on a swim. About 10:30 P.M. Maureen started up the stairs from the dock, followed by John. Watching her feet because of our earlier warnings to do so, she spotted the snake on the third step from the top moving to the left toward the underbrush. She shouted to John, "Rattlesnake". He replied "Keep it in sight, I'll go tell Roland" and dashed back to the dock to call me. I ran up to the spot while Claire, Brian, Marie-Chantel and Pam, still on the dock, slowly realized what was going on. Brian soon followed, crowding behind me.
Maureen pointed it out to me when it was at the second position on the drawing, draped over the edge of the walk, barely visible through the underbrush in the beam of a flashlight. There it paused momentarily, presumably surveying it's own plight. I shouted to Brian "Go get an oar". Whereupon he ran back to the boathouse and brought one of our best oars. "No, an old one", I shouted again. Back he went, soon returning with a suitable weapon. The snake meanwhile had moved a bit and as it passed in front of the beam of the flashlight, the coloring was clearly that of a timber rattler. But, when it's tail appeared, I could see no rattles! Barefooted, without glasses, in the darkness except for the beam of the flashlight, with Brian jumping and shouting behind me, I was momentarily confused over wether it was realy a rattler or not.
Meanwhile, with slow deliberation it was moving on. When it got to position 3 in the diagram above, I decided to take no chances and struck, hitting it with the edge of the oar blade in mid body. Wounded, it now rattled! Several more blows left it motionless. However, knowing their powers of recovery and of the persistent reflexes for a while after death we debated over what to do with it. John suggested drowning as a positive method of insuring death. After a bucket of water was discarded because it has no top, we settled on a large glass container, filled with water, and with a screw top. The snake writhed in this for approximately two hours.
Rattlesnake #2: July 12, 1963 - To be continued.......
(Note - at the current time rattlesnakes are protected and are no longer killed at the camp.)