Rattlesnake 20-Feet Off The Ground In Treestand Seat!

GON Staff | August 18, 2022

We will forgive Brian for his photo being a bit blurry—it was a dicey situation! But you can see the rattlesnake’s head peering over the lock-on stand seat.

Brian Murphy was checking his Morgan County deer stands at about 2 p.m. on Aug. 13 when he encountered a snake. Now, encountering a snake in the deer woods is not unusual, but this no-shoulders was tucked in his lock-on stand seat. The stand was 20 feet up a tree. And the snake was a 3-foot timber rattlesnake.

“This is a first—and hopefully a last—for me,” said Brian, who is a wildlife biologist, the former CEO of QDMA, current VP with HuntStand and a frequent GON contributor.

“Over the past 30-plus years, I’ve climbed in and out of countless tree stands and have become accustomed to occasional unwanted guests including wasps, spiders, raccoons, owls and few other critters, but never a 3-foot timber rattler.

“I was 20 feet up a tree replacing a ratchet strap on a Millennium Lock-on stand when I eventually noticed a snake staring at eye level about 18 inches away. I had already been fiddling with the stand for a good three to four minutes, with my hands in striking range several times.

“My first thought was rat snake, but then I noticed the unmistakable shape of a pit viper head and realized it was a ‘nope rope!’ I climbed down, grabbed a limb, and went back up and extracted him from his comfy position tucked in the fold of the seat. Boy, would this have been trouble if it had struck my face while in the tree or if a hunter climbed in before daylight and opened the seat to sit down.

“Thought I’d just about seen it all in tree stands, but I never even considered the remote possibility of finding a rattler! Be careful out there.”

Brian said the snake was very docile and didn’t rattle until it was on the ground and he was taking more pictures.

Brian Murphy got this picture of the 3-foot timber rattlesnake after he coaxed it from the deer stand seat and to the ground.

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  1. eddiepost on October 11, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    i had a rattler 5 1/2 ‘ long with 11 rattles & a botton 15feet high on a fireplace chimney blow my mind how he was sticking to the bricks he was comming out of the attic of the camp house. I camped in the front seat of my truck wasn’t no way i was sleeping in that old house

  2. Hoyden on September 1, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Nuke the entire county from orbit, salt the ground afterwards. Just to be sure.

  3. hgsamples on August 26, 2022 at 11:27 am

    A friend of mine’s Aunt had one climb the tree she was in. Buck shot took care of that situation.

  4. Rory Mooney on August 26, 2022 at 7:15 am

    Over the past 15 years the rattlesnake population has spiked here.

  5. Just a Hunter on August 26, 2022 at 3:23 am

    I’ve left a climbing stand attached to a tree overnight only to find a snake enjoying my seat the next morning. This past year I saw more Rattlesnakes while hunting than I’ve seen in the previous ten years all together. Be careful when entering the woods.

  6. rush119 on August 25, 2022 at 10:13 pm

    Happened to me in screven county. Same stand, 21 ft millennium. I pulled the seat down and a snake was staring at me.

  7. Jason on August 25, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    Wow, have seen them swim numerous times but never seen one make a climb like that. Will definitely be more cautious when freshening up stands for the season.

  8. dawgdawg76 on August 25, 2022 at 8:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’m in the next county over and I would have never thought this could happen. Now I’m really nervous

  9. Rich Kaminski on August 24, 2022 at 5:02 pm

    How could a 3 foot rattler get 20 feet up in a strap-on tree stand?

    • Douglas Medlin on August 25, 2022 at 8:37 pm


    • Just a Hunter on August 26, 2022 at 3:15 am

      A mature Timber Rattler will rarely attempt to climb vertically for more than a couple feet, but a young rattler can climb rather well. I have found rattlers of this size in bushes and chest high cover on many occasions. Be careful and use caution.

  10. dawgpound44 on August 23, 2022 at 9:08 am

    I probably would have fell out of the tree.

  11. 7pt62THOR on August 20, 2022 at 6:16 am

    Brian got lucky there!

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