Still Paiute Mountain, late Thirties, early Forties
We only met two rattlesnakes that were really mean. One of them, I don't know what had gotten into him. He was beside the road and something must have gotten him upset. We were walking beside the road minding our own business and he coiled up. Then he started to come towards us. We rarely used a gun for a snake. It was a waste of ammunition. We broke their backs with a stick and then cut off their heads with a knife. We all carried knives.
Another time a rattlesnake had been trying to eat something, trying to swallow it, and apparently it wasn't warm enough. A cold blooded animal's temperature depends upon ambient temperature, and they have to have a certain temperature to eat. You can't put something into a cold oven. Apparently this snake had swallowed it and threw it up, and he was really pissed. He came after us, so we did him in.
Usually the snakes tried to get away. Fritz stepped on one once. It started to rattle and then stopped, like it was embarrassed and shouldn't have done that. We used to tell visitors that the first person in line wakes the snake up, the second person makes it mad, and the third person gets bit. In all of our years up on Paiute, no one we knew, let alone us kids, ever got bit.