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I’ve got nothing against hunting per se. If hunting helps the animal population one way or another, or if it’s hunt or die, have at it. That said, I’m not a big fan of shooting animals just because. [Note: “not a big fan” doesn’t mean I don’t understand or oppose the practice.] And there are some animals whose death at the hands of hunters disappoints me. In this case, Mr. Bell’s young ‘un shoots a tarantula with a blow gun. The thing about tarantulas is . . .

they’re not harmful to humans.

A tarantula’s number one defense against larger animals? Hide. Number two? Flick the tiny, sharp hairs off the backs of their bodies (urticating hairs) into their attacker. Bite? You’d have to work hard to get a tarantula — or any spider — to bite you (one reason they make wonderful pets). Their venom is precious cargo, saved for their prey.

And even if a tarantula did bite you, and even if it injected venom (many spiders “dry bite” in defense), a healthy adult human will survive the experience. The spider? Given humans’ usual reaction to spiders, not so much.

More than that, tarantulas do a fantastic job of pest control. Simply put, they eat “bad” bugs: animals which are not as shy and retiring around humans. Without spiders generally, our crops would be overrun by pest insects. Not to put too fine a point on it, human civilization depends on spiders.

In short, please don’t be killing spiders — unless you’re going to eat them (tarantulas taste like chicken). In which case a blowgun strikes me as a near perfect tool for the job. IMHO the same no-go goes for snakes, which also taste like chicken. Unless they’re attacking — which has been known to happen. And yes, you can train your dogs not to mess with snakes.


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  1. Good thing he didn’t get it backwards and use a shogun!
    HUH? What do you mean I’m f***ing banned?

  2. I’m all for not messing with spiders or non venomous snakes.
    They do more good than harm.
    Venomous snakes are a whole different thing, though.

    • Overall I agree. Spiders, bats and snakes are good for the ecology of our world and they eat things that are far more nuisances such as misquotes. Virtually anything that doesn’t mess with me and eats misquotes is okay in my book.

    • If I am in a rattlesnake’s house and it is not threatening me then I will leave it alone. I have seen a bunch in various states of agitation they are pretty chill. If a mocc or a copperhead is approaching my boat then I probably would blast it but if I float by it sunning itself on the shore then why?

      Other than BBQ my “live and let live” attitude extends to all creatures great and small. Omnivores got to eat, you will not see an endangered pig, cow, or chicken in this lifetime. However I don’t need to mess with a wolf or bobcat or some other predator, or spider or snake, that isn’t going to mess with me.

      • Not all predators are beneficial. Coyotes go after chickens sheep and calves. They cost farmers millions of dollars every year. In agricultural and ranching areas you shoot them on sight. They are prolific and you won’t run out of them.

        Wolves have gotten out of control in many areas and destroyed deer and elk populations. When they run short of natural food they don’t die off, they go after our food supply. Once wolf populations are well established there needs to controlled hunting to keep the population in check.

        Mountain lions and bears are a nuisance and occasionally you have to shoot them. That is particularly true for Big cats who become accustomed to humans because they will eventually attack someone.

        The purpose of hunting these predators is to make them fearful of humans so they stay away.

  3. I had a pet Chilean Rose Tarantula in college. Cost me 30 bucks at a pet shop. He was a great conversation piece at dorm parties. Hairy little fella shared a terrarium with a small gecko, since they both ate crickets and liked electric hot rocks. I think the gecko lived a stressful life though. He was too fast for the spider to catch, but he spent most of his time stuck to the glass sides of the terrarium, staring at the spider and always looked like he was breathing fast. I had to sell them both back to the pet store after a couple of months after an RA found out I had (unauthorized) pets in my dorm room, but it was fun while it lasted.

    • When I was a cadet at the US Air Force Academy (many moons ago), my squadron had a pet dog we kept in our assigned dorm area. HIGHLY against regs. He was very well-tempered and well-trained. During SAMIs (Saturday AM Inspections… when the brass comes through a few times a year and inspects each cadets room and squadron area… everything gets polished and dusted, etc) we would hide him in one of the smack’s (freshman’s) footlocker. We named the dog Dirty Laundry, so if asked what was in the footlocker, the cadet would not be violating the honor code when he answered. Also, no general wants to get his hands dirty by inspecting someones dirty laundry, so the footlockers never got looked into. Wonder what happened to old Dirty Laundry…

  4. I’ve killed hundreds of these guys with my truck driving down west Texas roads.

    I like them, but killing one is really not that big of a deal. I’ll dodge one to make up for it.

  5. I have a special place in my heart for tarantulas.

    Place: School of Infantry, Camp Pendleton, Ca.
    Reason: School of Infantry field exercise
    Situation: Having constructed fighting holes during the day, my platoon is occupying a patrol base during a night exercise. Old PVS-7B (nightvision) are passed out, one per hole. Up in the hills, dark comes quick and by 2300 hours, I am observing my Sector of Fire, I start to hallucinate. The ground is moving. WTF? Scanning 360 its the same. The ground is literally shimmering with movement. Turns out I’m not losing my mind (we are all dead exhausted). I brake out my E-Tool when one of these 8 legged bastards gets close and I scoop him up. My buddy comes up with a brilliant plan. So I flip my e-tool over my head, lofting its payload a good 20 yards to the next hole. Nothing…. Repeat a couple more times, because they are everywhere and keep coming…. Eventually, we get the results we were looking for. Good times. Good Times.


  6. I never could train my pet rat snake to leave my pet mice alone.

    I wonder why? 🙂


    TTAG’s posting policy: no flaming the website, it’s authors or fellow commentators. Please address all comments about TTAG;’s editorial stance or style to [email protected]

    • Maybe because killing a harmless animal for no reason is something only a little bitch would do? I got nothing against hunting for food or trophy hunting if it promotes conservation. What is your point?

      • As an adult, I agree with TTACer. As a kid, I killed several squirrels with a pellet gun for no good reason. So I’d be a hypocrit to condemn the kid. On the other hand, I wasn’t supervised when I unleashed mayhem on squirrels as a kid, and this one seems to have been, judging from the photo.

  8. I am indifferent to the plight of spiders. As far as I’m concerned that boy can kill all the tarantulas he want as long as they don’t suffer unnecessarily.

  9. Nope. Spiders do not belong in my home. Nor does any bug. I will use any means to kill them every time I find one. And I won’t agonize or even think about it for even a second.

    Outside spiders? Killing them is practice for when they get in my house. Not even going to think about it. See bug, kill it.

    • “See bug, kill it.”

      I had a cat that lived by that philosophy. If he saw a spider on the wall he couldn’t reach, he would mow incessantly until I flicked it down to where he could eat it.

    • I just place a glass over the spider, slide an envelope underneath the glass, then walk it outside, dump it out in the bushes or flower beds out front. Not into killing things for no good reason.

      • I have a few friends that still can’t fathom why I own guns and hunt, but will go out of my way to avoid hurting anything/anyone.

  10. My nephew used to shoot grasshoppers in my driveway when he was a kid.
    Got up to an amazing hit percentage up to about 50-60′. Still under 50%, but the fact that he could kill grasshoppers at 20 yards with a blowgun was pretty surprising.

    The bad news was that he lost/broke about 200 darts in the process of getting that good with a blowgun.
    And five years later, I was still occasionally pulling a piece of piano wire (headless dart) out of a car tire.

  11. Um, I know the implement used is called a “blowgun,” but that’s hardly a “gun” in the political or functional sense of the word.

    Hence my question: What’s this have to do with actual, you know, guns? This doesn’t even rise to the level of air rifle.

  12. Snakes and insects are fine outdoors although I did have to use insecticide to chase wasps out of my mailbox. Inside the house is a different story. We have an exterminator come in every three months to spray for them and reload the boxes of mouse poison. Mice and moles are fair game everywhere. They only thing they are good for is feeding predators. Whenever our cats bring one home as a trophy, I throw it back outside to serve that purpose.

    I agree about killing feral hogs on sight. It’s not hunting; it’s pest extermination. Ditto for pythons in Florida. Unfortunately, both of them reproduce faster than we can find and kill them.

  13. Come on. It’s a bug – who cares. I kill spiders all the time, especially those in my vehicle or in my house – and yea – don’t care. I put tarantulas in the same boat. Just a big bug.

    • Arachnids are closer to crustaceans than bugs. BTW everyone should check out the mantis shrimp just because its badass.

      • If a crustacean was walking around in my vehicle, my yard, or my house, I’d kill it too – and not care. Course if it’s big enough I might grill it up – bit the only thing I’m going to care about is how it tastes.

      • If a crustacean was walking around my house, lawn, or vehicle I’d kill that too and not care about it. Well, I might care, if it was big enough, I might care what it tastes like after throwing it on the grill.

      • Agreed, anyone wants a good chuckle should check out true facts about the mantis shrimp on youtube.

      • Yes it is. It shares the same class and order as all other spiders. Spidera fall under “arachnids.” So do tarantulas.

        • I know I’m splitting hairs but the lungs are different. This reminds me I need to get a rat for my rattlesnake.

  14. The kind of work I do has me under a house 99 % of the time . I run into spiders, snakes, skunks , possums ,mice, and any other critter you can think of . I don’t kill the spiders unless they’re black widows or brown recluse as they don’t bother me . I do kill all snakes as there is not enough room under a house for us all with a snake around, most especially when it’s a copperhead, as we have had some close calls with them . Poisonous spiders and snakes gotta go . Skunks ? Well I get the homeowner to get an exterminator before we do the work if I can’t flush ’em out

    • If you are in an even halfway rural area, please kill every skunk you can find. I was told for years how predacious they were on ground bird nests, but didn’t get it. Until a biologist gave me the advice I gave you. We unleashed a jihad on them on our farm. Within just a couple of years we could see a massive difference in our quail population and the turkeys returned as well. And that’s just on a 370 acre piece of land.

      • I just got 2 rabbit hutches in my back yard with quail for my granddaughters. I got skunks mining under my fence now and I live in the heart of the bay area.

        My solution is old fashioned big ass rat traps in the undermined areas. One was triggered last night and the skunk went away, fast.

  15. My mom made fun on me when I was freaking out after walking through some webs in the woods. I am disappointed that you all are such a bunch of sissies. I think RF should ditch this crew and try to find an audience that has a pair.

  16. No. I kill spiders in my house because all spiders can bite and it often becomes infected. HaD this happen to me. Messed up my immune system for a year or so after taking the antibiotic to treat it. Outside, most are fine. Black widows I kill.

    Venomous snakes on my property are dead if I see them. I have had to kill a few Oak Snakes because they wanted to be in my house. Took one a quarter mile back on my property and he was back in my tool shelves in the morning. Some kind of reptile homing thing.

    Armadillos and such are fair game since they dig under Everything.

    Feral pigs are the most destructive animal on the planet and need to be removed by almost any means

  17. Yup I agree. I leave Spiders alone. Spiders, lizards, etc eat pests that can bring disease. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.

  18. I, for one am tired of all this pro-spider stuff being posted in the media these days. When will we stop the arachnid lobby? Look into how S.P.A.I.P.A.C. manipulates our corrupted politicians!

  19. Show me a man who kills things just because he can and I’ll show you someone who’s not to be trusted.

    • Show me a person, man or woman, who makes sweeping judgmental generalizations and i’ll show you a hypocrite with deep insecurities.

        • And there are two kinds of people in this world; those that know there are two kinds of people and those that don’t.

        • Actually, there are 10 kinds of people in the world. Those that understand binary, and those that don’t.

          (that was always my favorite variation, hehe)

    • My friend kills bugs all the time. Even puts that lawn pesticide all over his grass which kills the wolf spiders. I trust him.

  20. WTF is wrong with this kid? He should been using a lighter and a can of WD40! Youth these days have no respect for tradition.

  21. Yeah that sums it up for me, too. I would like to go hunt a deer sometime, though. Do the work myself for that delicious meat.

  22. So? 45 people responded to this spider post but 0 people responded to blue force gear?
    Tells ya something there TTAG.
    There are some good …no…i say great Americans concerned about the senseless killing of a spider.
    I’d offer maybe “the irresponsible blowgun operator of the day”
    Sarc aside for a moment ,
    In Florida we have alot of lizards, when my boys shot bb guns in the backyard range…..we always made sure the range was clear and if the boys saw a rogue reptilian….i had them call cease fire.
    No sense on shooting irresponsibly, instill good habits early and also make them develope awareness down range.
    We believe that you should only kill animals for food, you eat what you shoot and you use the entire animal out of respect for it’s life.
    Any how…that’s as much as i want to offer on this…
    Have a good one everyone! Shoot safe.
    Pray for the dead.

  23. In my experience, copperhead tastes more like fish than chicken. I know “tastes like chicken” is a popular cliche, but the texture of the meat and general flavor, again in my own personal experience at least, is much more like fish than fowl.

    I’ve also eaten gator and would say the same about that.

    As for spiders, we don’t kill them inside or out (except black widows, and I’ll wear the label of hypocrite on that one if necessary). Spiders are awesomely cool and serve an ecosystem niche that is highly beneficial to us here.

    With that said, however, I also recognize the reality that I am not going to change the world’s view of spiders. Dogmatic beliefs are nearly impossible to change and I find myself much happier worrying about the things I can control/change in my own life.

  24. Black widows and brown recluses are fair game. Blast away.
    But tarantulas are actually nice furry critters. They just look intimidating.

  25. “Boy Shoots Tarantula With A Blowgun.” What the tarantula was doing with a blowgun we’ll never know.

    • The boy just had to enact castle law on that armed tarantula. It was on his property, armed and noncompliant with requests to leave and seemingly dangerous and belligerent.

      It was probably a meth junkie tarantula.

  26. I feel similarly. My father asked me whether I wanted to hunt coyote with him last winter, and I was up for it until he explained we weren’t even going to do anything with it–make it into jerky, or even learn to tan the pelt. He just “knew a friend who had some that lived near him that he liked to hunt”. Lost interest. How wasteful.

    • The reason to shoot yotes isn’t to eat them. It’s to stop them from eating things you value.

  27. Spiders are fine, as long as they are far away from me. Spiders in my environmental area die.

    Yes, I get all the “they eat bad bugs” stuff. Don’t care. Spider, be elsewhere or die.

  28. Nope, spiders, all of em, fair game. Don’t care, f*ck em, f*ck em. Same with yotes. Kill all the little bastards. One ate my cat when I was younger. Vendetta mode: engaged.

  29. Personally, I hate spiders. They’re my one fear. So screw that thing on the end of a pin.

    That’s just me though.

  30. A little late to the party. But just for correction the person in the video is Tim Wells, not Bells. Great bow hunter. Does it without sights on the bow. There is a video of him nailing a sheep at about 100 yards or something. No sight. Awesome!

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