Timbers are indeed rare in many areas and are a species of concern of most of their range. They are one of the more problematic species I work with. I do not kill any snake for any reason all of mine get removed and relocated alive into suitable habitat away from people. I also try to help my customer address the isssues which drew the snake in the first place such as habitat in and around homes and determine what the snake is feeding on. Remove the food and shelter and the snake moves on.
The reason the timbers are problematic is that they do not relocate well. Unlike most other species timbers will have an established home territory with known shelter areas, particularly winter denning sites. This of course is more important in the northern states. Timbers once relocated are often unable to find and reestablish these shelter sites and denning areas and will wander aimlessly until the elements overtake them.
It is mainly due to this behavior combined with our disturbance of the habitat that has endangered timbers. They are just unable to adjust as well as others. Seems to be a common thread among the species that are the dominant predators in their respective ecological niches.
BTW, whenever handling timbers (especially southern ones) be very careful new research is showing that timber venom is highly variable with populations from the south most notably Georgia having particularly virulent toxin of both neuro and hemo toxic varieties. Over the whole range from north to south the venom ranges from very mild to deadly.
Ok I will probably catch grief for this lord knows I have with all the country side of my family. I killed the first snake I came across mainly because I almost stepped on it and out of reaction I killed it. I felt bad about killing the snake it wasn’t bothering anybody out in the middle of nowhere doing what snakes do.
The others I came across I just side stepped and left them. I had no way to kill them anyway at the time only thing I had on me was my game camera (but come to find out the best use for that camera was as a snack basher, but that is another story). I guess if I had come across the snakes in my yard yeah poisonous snake in the yard i will kill it, not going to try to catch and move it and end up bitten. Non poisonous I will leave alone.
Weird thing about these snakes none of them rattled. Two were first year snakes and didn't yet have rattles. The other 3 never rattled, well that’s not true the one I dropped the ditch blade on and detached his head he rattled, but a little late. The other two never rattled.
About the venom I read about the swing in potency and, from what I read, can cause huge issues for doctors trying to treat snake bites. Also read timber rattlers have large venom sacks and the largest fangs of rattle snakes