DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - State officials are warning South Georgians that snakes, especially venomous ones, are active right now.
Many hunters will be in the woods this weekend, and they need to use caution.
South Georgia landowners and hunters tell us they are seeing more and bigger snakes, especially rattlesnakes. And that can lead to tragic injuries or death.
Callie the English Pointer is recovering well, despite losing her left eye, when she was struck by a rattlesnake Friday. Tom Sanders was taking her out for exercise at Bell Plantation in Calhoun County. The snake bit her before they even got out of the barnyard.
Sanders said "A rattlesnake had taken up residence in a hole beneath one of the pieces of farm equipment, and the snake reached up and bit her."
Sanders' family has owned the plantation for 150 years, but he says this fall is different.
Sanders said "I've been out on this property all my life. I have never in all my years seen as many snakes as we've seen this year."
Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Biologists say they are hearing about snake activity.
Wildlife Biologist Brent Howze said "The late summer to early fall is rattlesnake breeding season, so a lot of times people will see more rattlesnakes this time of year."
Many deer hunters are using ground blinds, and many are finding snakes moving in them.
Howze said "Absolutely, that's a great place for snakes to hide."
So state officials urge hunters to check blinds and stands before getting in and watch where you walk.
Callie is recovering nicely from her rattlesnake encounter, despite the loss of her eye.
Sanders said "It kind of remains to be seen whether or not she is going to adjust, the depth perception she is going to need to be able to hunt going forward. We hope so, she's a good hunter."
Callie had received a rattlesnake venom vaccination, and vets told Sanders that saved her life.
Wildlife biologists say you might want to invest in snake boots or chaps to protect yourself if you plan to hunt or hike in the next few weeks.