One of the most beautiful snakes [Copperhead season: What NOT to do if bitten, May 18] we have in Virginia. It is easy to stay safe.
When in nature, in places where they live, don’t act like you are in your living room. Don’t put your feet or hands in places where you cannot see. Look first. Don’t try to handle, harm or kill them. Those activities account for the overwhelming majority of bites.
If you want to shoot them, do it with a camera. They are beautiful, amazing creatures, and important components of their ecosystems.
Have no fear of them ‘coming after you.’ They will not. If you do not harass them, they will do one of two things: they will stay still, depending on camouflage, so as to be overlooked, or they will flee.
Timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) will do the same, only they are even more docile. However, you are much less likely to see one. Their ranges are much more constrained than copperheads.