Killed this guy on our patio this morning. Last summer my old bird dog barely survived being bitten by a rattlesnake in our yard. I decided to test the aggressiveness of the rattlesnake by moving the shovel increasingly closer to the snake. The snake started rattling while we were still 5 feet or more away. It made itself appear very aggressive as it rose up into a coil while rattling profusely. I moved the shovel into it's face and back and forth within inches of the snakes head and it never struck, but continued it's aggressive posture. I didn't touch it with the shovel except for the fatal strike behind the head. In the end, I felt bad dispatching the snake since it obviously was doing everything in it's power to avoid striking. Still, you can't have a poisonous snake in your yard with two young kids and an old bird dog that can't see or hear very well. I suppose I could have caught and released, but what if I read a story of someone fatally bitten while hiking near where I released the snake? We have a tremendous mouse/desert rat population around our house and so snakes are very much welcome outside the venomous variety. We have bull snakes, rat snakes and others that cruise through occasionally. Wish it didn't have to turn out like that. I leave them alone in the wild.