So I've not seen rattlers, deep in the Appalachians? The Smoky Mountains in North Carolina? Deep in the Cleveland Forest? Brush, logs, creeks, moss, WAY in the middle of nowhere?
I don't doubt that you may have seen rattlesnakes in those places.
Of course, the Smokies and various other Appalachian ranges are mountain ranges which have a variety of habitats in (or on) them. Likewise for brush, creeks, logs and moss; all of those can be found in areas that have been clearcut after all.
A bald is just as much part of the Smokies as a forest. Even the Timber Rattlesnakes that Kentucky cites are more likely to be found on balds, bluffs, meadows, open riparian areas, talus, prairies etc than lounging on a bed of pine needles or devil's club with a Strawberry Margarita in hand.
Furthermore the Timber Rattlesnake is Endangered/Threatened/Protected in at least a dozen states because of small and declining populations. Hardly something to be scared of when you walk into a deep forest as it relates back to the original comment. I'd be more scared of other snakes anyway.
Maybe my definition, then, of "deep forest" is off from yours?
Perhaps. I would refine mine- at least within the context of the lower 48 states- to refer to temperate old or second growth forest limited to IRAs or Wilderness Areas at least 10 miles from any road boundaries. If you wanted to be skicky I'd say it is reasonable to restict it to places where forest canopy provides at least 25%(-75%) cover but I wouldn't demand that. I would exclude alpine forests, scrubland, steppelands, etc.
No a scraggly fourth growth forest of pine in Tennessee that is three miles from Billy Bob's Dollywood Area Knick Knacks and Fireworks Store does not count as deep forest. Though it might have some (relatively speaking not that many) rattlesnakes.
So I guess if you want to put it in those terms than you could count deep forest much more easily.
I suppose the crux of the matter is whether you want to look at it in strict terms or more generally. Do rattlesnakes live in forests? Yes some do, most don't. Do rattlesnakes generally live in forests? No because some do but most don't. Do some rattlesnakes spend time in deep forests? Ye some do, almost all don't. Out of those that do live in or around deep forest, do they spend most of their time in forest cover or forest openings? The latter but not strictly so that they do not enter the former. Are rattlesnakes one of the top two things to be afeared of? Well perhaps we shouldn't be rational about fears which are an inherently irrational commodity but if we were to be afeared of some things then rattlesnakes would not be (based on stats) one of the top two things of which to be afraid.
Yeah, they're more in the desert and scrubby areas (in my experience) and foothills, but they do exist in the places above. Did someone truck them in that morning or what? And place them there for my excitement?
More likely Shawn trucked them in in the hope that they would latch onto you like a two bit Nevada whore. He's devious like that.