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Terrier wasn’t just barking up the wrong tree
by Gary Kent
Mar 27, 2014 | 156 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bee Development Executive Director Joe B. Montez holds up the diamondback rattlesnake he killed not far from his front door Thursday night. The encounter caused him to miss most of the University of Texas basketball game on television.

Contributed photo
Bee Development Executive Director Joe B. Montez holds up the diamondback rattlesnake he killed not far from his front door Thursday night. The encounter caused him to miss most of the University of Texas basketball game on television. Contributed photo
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BEEVILLE – Joe B. Montez had just settled down in front of the television at his rural Bee County home Thursday night when he heard his Jack Russell terrier barking near the front door.

Montez, the executive director of the Bee Development Authority, was ready to start watching his alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, play against Arizona State University in the NCAA tournament.

But the dog kept barking, and Montez could tell that whatever the terrier had found, it wasn’t the usual frog.

So he thought he’d step outside quickly to see what the dog had cornered.

What he saw sent him running back into the house to grab a shotgun.

There, not 20 feet from his front door, was a large diamondback rattlesnake.

“It had it’s head up in the air like a cobra, and it was trying to bite the dog,” Montez said.

Fortunately, the energetic pup was quicker than the deadly reptile.

Montez said as soon as he got the gun, his wife joined him outside. Montez started firing at the snake, and the creature tried to slink off at first. Then the snake went on the attack.

“It was striking at Josie and me,” Montez said.

The homeowner said he kept firing, but the snake persisted in its attempt to defend itself.

When Montez fired the last shell from the shotgun he went for a shovel and started hitting the snake with that. Finally, the snake quit moving.

Montez wanted to make sure the reptile was dead, so he called his brother, Ruben, to come help him with the intruder.

Ruben arrived, and the two men finally felt it was safe enough to check the critter out and make sure it was no longer a threat.

“We found out four shots had hit it,” Montez said. But the snake apparently was a tough one. The shotgun wounds seemed to just make the snake even more determined to strike back at its attackers.

Montez said the ground is dry around his place right now, and his wife had been outside earlier in the evening watering the plants. He figured that was what attracted the slinky intruder.

After they figured out that the venomous creature was no longer a threat, Montez headed back to the living room to watch the rest of the basketball game.

“There were only two minutes left,” he said. The battle with the deadly reptile had kept him away for most of the game.

Still, Montez got to see his Longhorn team win with a buzzer-beating shot.

But he had a word of caution for Bee County residents Friday morning, especially for anyone who lives out in the country.

“They’re out there,” he said. Anybody who ventures outside for the next six months or so needs to be careful where they step. Rattlesnakes can kill.

Montez also has a new respect for his dog. In spite of the numerous attempts made by the snake to strike the animal, the dog was quick enough to get out of the way.

The next time the Jack Russell barks, Montez will be a little more careful about checking to see what he has found.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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