I found this fellow this morning. Looked like he was heading for his hole. Many large puncture wounds, and as much as I try to exculpate my snake-killing Shorthair I'm sure she is the murderer. Blaming it on a redtail just doesn't work. Knowing bullsnakes, it must have put up a good fight but I can find no wounds on Emma.
I've tried to work on Emma about snakes, but she doesn't want to get with the program. I am by no means a snake-lover. Just the opposite. But they have their place, and bullsnakes are excellent ratters and mousers. Whether or not they hunt and kill rattlers I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I was real sad to find this fellow dead. If I had my druthers this snake would have bitten the crap out of Emma and backed her off. But a Shorthair in kill-mode is just about unstoppable. My older Shorthair was a stone-killer of woodchucks and not even a Jovian thunderbolt could have stopped her once she saw one.
I'm always finding smaller garter and grass snakes (2-3 feet) snipped neatly in half around the place. I scold her but it does no good. We live in a very unusual area for the arid, deserty, high plains west: no rattlers. (I knock on wood as I write those words!) For some quirk of nature we are free of them in the large, immediate area, although all around us they abound. I'm just afraid that when we hunt in an area that does have them, Emma will be just as fearlessly stupid with them as she is with the less deadly varieties. Maybe I should look into one of these guys that has sacless rattlers for snake-breaking bird-dogs.
Anyway, this guy has passed to his reward a mite early. I stretched him out as well as I could considering his injuries and he went 56". I've seen them bigger here. The book says bullsnakes can reach 72". The record is supposed to be 100". Now that is a big snake.