Rattlesnakes are the most common snakes of hunting country (especially in the West), and most hunters are not prepared for an encounter with rattlesnakes or any other snakes of hunting country and rarely give it a second thought. Though rattlesnake bites are rare, they are often nasty as the story and photos below will illustrate for you.

A real account from an actual rattlesnake bite victim.

“…during the 30 minute Life Flight helicopter ride I was in and out of consciousness, having trouble keeping my eyes open.” We arrived at the hospital, where the doctor in the emergency room decided that my rattlesnake bite was too severe to treat there… the last thing I heard before going unconscious. I was taken from the Modesto hospital to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where I underwent a fasciotomy. The doctors cut my arm open from the palm up to about the middle of my biceps to relieve the extreme pressure that had built up from the rattlesnake venom.

I spent 35 days in the hospital, had eight surgeries on my arm, and finally a skin graft from my leg to close the wound. Once I was released, I went through four months of intense physical therapy, and had to fly to Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina for a follow-up vascular flap surgery. They took skin and muscle from my back, and attached its blood vessels to the ones in my arm. Two emergency surgeries were required within 24 hours on account of blood loss, but the vascular flap was a success. After six more months of physical therapy I could move each finger only 2-3 millimeters.

13 surgeries, $700,000 worth of helicopter flights, surgeries, and hospital stays (paid by my insurance), and 20 months later, my hand now has fully mobility and is about 80% as strong as it was before.

 

Rattlesnake Bite Victim

Venomous snakebite is sometimes erroneously viewed as not all that serious, because most victims survive. What is only rarely reported is the physical devastation that some survivors endure after envenomation.

The healing process is a slow one, but gradually, the injury began to improve.

The healing process is a slow one, but gradually, the injury began to improve.

Stitches and staples were used to hold the edges of the wound in place, and a surgical mesh covered the open muscles.

Stitches and staples were used to hold the edges of the wound in place, and a surgical mesh covered the open muscles.

A skin graft, using tissue removed from the victim's leg, was used to cover the opening in his arm.

A skin graft, using tissue removed from the victim’s leg, was used to cover the opening in his arm.

Follow up surgeries included a vascular flap procedure using skin and muscle from the victim's back, connecting the flap's blood vessels to the ones in his arm using microsurgery before stitching the flap to his arm.

Follow up surgeries included a vascular flap procedure using skin and muscle from the victim’s back, connecting the flap’s blood vessels to the ones in his arm using microsurgery before stitching the flap to his arm.

After twenty months and thirteen surgeries, the snakebite victim has recovered mobility and about 80% of the strength in his affected arm and hand

After twenty months and thirteen surgeries, the snakebite victim has recovered mobility and about 80% of the strength in his affected arm and hand

This is the reason you never want to be bitten by a rattlesnake or any other poisonous snake of hunting country.

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18 Comments

  1. Do you hunt in snake country? If so, what precautions (if any) do you take?

  2. Cory Glauner at 1:47 am

    I DO NOT LIKE SNAKES AND THIS IS WHY…

  3. Rick Smith Sr at 1:56 am

    3 Rattle snake encounters so far, they all turned into guitar straps, 2 years ago I sat down next to a rattler while Turkey hunting, took his head off with my 835, I was way to close to try to get away, had to kill it.

  4. Jamey Couch at 3:07 am

    There is no way that's a real picture. Rattlers don't get 9 feet long with that much girth.

  5. Rick Smith Sr at 3:34 am

    I guess the snake I killed must have been a fake one, that disappoints the shit out of me.

  6. Jeanie Pickett at 4:08 am

    Snakes are stupid.

  7. Imran Mujtaba Lakhwera at 2:02 pm

    I hate snakes…but love hunting….It always surprised me that folks spend hundreds of dollars in firearms, gear, accessories etc but reluctant to invest in good snake boots or gaiters..I have these boots, they are very comfortable and guaranteed against all snakes in N America…though I'd rather not validate the guarantee.

    http://www.kevinscatalog.com/Chippewa-Waterproof-17-Snake-Boot/productinfo/38-5110/

  8. Henry Mitchel at 3:13 am

    What?

  9. Justin Sparks at 7:32 pm

    I don't really like snakes

  10. Monica Leyva at 5:06 am

    OHHH my god!

  11. Megan Wick at 3:23 am

    Was the antivenom not available?

  12. And to think in my wild, reckless years I was crazy enough to mess with timber rattlers!

  13. Priscilla Farmer at 4:07 pm

    I am a believer.

  14. Priscilla Farmer at 4:08 pm

    If you believe that…then you may be too.

  15. Kendall Bassett at 12:19 am

    Jamey Couch That is a photography technique called forced perspective. The snake is close to the camera held by a long stick so it appears larger than it actually is.

  16. Kendall Bassett at 12:21 am

    Somehow I do not think these boots will help when being bitten on the hand.

    1. Cory Glauner at 6:04 am

      LOL… well, you do have a point there Kendall.

  17. […] Cross Country Camo, was casually calling to tell me he had gotten access to 6000 acres of thorny, snake infested, dusty, canyon country in west Texas to hunt Rio Grande gobblers. That was cool and all, but when […]

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