Contributors to this thread:
My Snakebite Ordeal
Back in mid July I went on an overnight backpacking trip in rattlesnake country in PA. I was alone with no cell signal and 2.2 miles from my vehicle/help when I got bit.
This is my story. Hopefully someone will learn from my ordeal and save themselves a LOT of pain and suffering!
I started out on July 19 from the little town of Benezette, PA. I chose the Elk Trail based on recommendations hoping to see some PA elk. Plan was to hike several miles up the trail and make camp around dinner time, then watch for elk in the evening.
Here I am at the trailhead- the calm before the “storm!”
A coworkers brother got killed by a rattler this summer playing golf. I guess we need to change your handle to OTSB.
The trail worked it’s way up the mountain for .88 miles, then joined a (closed)state forest road. I continued up the road and at 2.3 miles it leveled off and I found a large open food plot on the right side of the road. The road was the boundary between State Game Lands on the right, and State Forest on the left. I walked into the pines on the S.F. side and found a good spot to set up camp.
I hate snakes but ready for this ride!
After setting up camp, I needed to get water to make my mountainhouse dinner. On the way up the trail I made mental notes of water sources. I had passed one about .1 miles from where I set up camp. So I grabbed my water bladder, binoculars(in case I saw elk) and still had my gps on me(thank God).
I walked back to the swampy area just off the road that had a small stream running thru it. I was careful walking thru the tall grass, looking for snakes as I went. The grass was not thick, just tall, so it would have been easy to spot a snake.
I got down to the stream and decided to step over it to be in better position to bend over and scoop up the water in my Platypus bladder. As soon as I stepped over the stream, I see a large snake striking me high in the shin! It happened with lightning speed and absolutely NO WARNING!
In hindsight, I believe it was sunning itself on the bank of the stream in the low grass(Sun was at my back) and I must have startled it. It never rattled(even after striking) and just recoiled back into a “ball” on the bank. I must have jumped back on the other side of the stream. I must have looked at it for a few seconds as I remember seeing the markings of a rattlesnake, but did not see it’s rattle.
Scrappy- so sorry to hear that! : (
I have a bunch of nicknames now- everything from SNAKEMAN, to ‘Ol Snakebite to The Rattler! ;-)
After realizing what had just happened, I remember thinking “Oh $&@%#!!!!!!! This is BAD!” But then I remembered the recommendations I had read recently about snakebites: remain calm, don’t panic, try to keep heart rate low and get to help ASAP! (Don’t mess with snake and do not try to treat the bite- no sucking venom and NO tourniquet!)
Somehow, I was able to remain calm- I remember thinking to myself: “This is really gonna suck, but you gotta make it 2.2 miles back to vehicle/help before you either pass out or leg stops working! You don’t have much time, but you gotta keep HR low- get moving!
One of the things I didn’t realize was there are 2 color phases of Timber Rattlers- dark and yellow phase. I had seen a dark color phase 4 years ago(on another solo backpacking trip) and I spotted it a long ways off(it really stood out). Yellow phase blend in to their surroundings much better, and I think that was a factor in why I did not see it. Here is a yellow phase:
I’m hooked! Keep it coming and sorry it all happened to you.
Everyone asked was the bite painful? It really wasn’t initially- it just felt like being stabbed with 2 large bore hypodermic needles. (Thankfully, the snake released and did NOT hang on to my leg! I think if it had been hanging there on my leg, I probably would have freaked out, pulled my pistol and blown my dang leg off trying to kill the snake! ;-)
As I started walking, though I started feeling the effects of the venom- fingers and toes started tingling, lips started to swell and tingle and eventually went numb, and head started feeling “loopy”. As I walked, I would occasionally check my HR expecting to feel some arythmias, but thankfully it never affected my heart or breathing. I kept a steady pace averaging 2.2 miles per hour(took me 1 hr to walk the 2.2 miles) checking my gps frequently as I walked.
I assume you had no cell service or in reach type device?
The further I walked, the worse my leg got. It got more painful and less functional. The last half mile I was basically stumbling along the trail. I did not bring my hiking staff, so at times I was grabbing trees to keep from falling.
With about .3 miles to go, I got off the trail somehow and was about 20’ uphill of the trail. I somehow made it back down to the trail without falling, going from tree to tree trying to stay upright. At one point I had to let go of one tree and grab the next tree as I stumbled by it. I got back on the trail and resumed walking, thinking to myself “how did I NOT fall there???!!!”
This would be very ominous later when the toxicologist informed me that the venom was causing my platelets to crash, thus preventing clotting! He told me in no uncertain terms that had I fallen, I probably would have bled out on the spot! When I got to the hospital and they did the first round of blood work my platelet count was 7,000. LOW is considered below 150,000 and my last bloodwork showed I am now at 500,000(last week)
Nope- no cell service and no InReach or SPOT! : (
Were you able to drive or did someone take you to the hospital?
I still can’t believe I did NOT fall. Only way I can explain it is the good Lord was holding me up! I firmly believe that! He was with me thru this whole ordeal. Only way I made it home safely.
Here is the trail I was walking. This was on a break on the way up.
I came out at the trailhead and there just happened to be a gentleman driving in to his cabin(there were several cabins near the trailhead).
I flagged him down and told him the situation. He said he did not have cell service, but that the cabin next door could usually get a signal. So he helped me into his Jeep and drove me to the cabin. They were able to get a signal and called 911. After calling 911, he drove me about a mile to the Benezette store in town to wait for the ambulance.
In hindsight, I could not have driven had I made it to my vehicle.(leg not functioning well enough to work gas/brake pedal) I probably could have made it another .3 miles(walking)to the Benezette Hotel had the Good Samaritan not come by. But based on how quickly my leg deteriorated while waiting for the ambulance, I don’t think I would have made it much further than 2.5 miles! : (
Here is where we made the one and only mistake- we put a large bag of ice on the Snakebite while waiting for the ambulance. I’m guessing they don’t want ice because that would hinder swelling, which is actually a GOOD thing!(toxicologist stated swelling helps push venom and necrotic ie dead tissue out of leg)
Here are recommendations:
This is what the bite looked like
Wow, Rut Nut, this is extremely educational but sorry you had to be our victim to learn from. Very interested in the rest of the story.
Thanks Jaq- me too! ;-)
But somebody had to do it, and for some reason the good Lord picked me! Just hope this helps others!
They tell me there are on avg 3 venomous snake bites per year in PA. And only a little more than half the rattle snake bites are “wet”.(with venom)
Interestingly, it was a large rattler (based on observation and measurement of fang spread). Usually large rattlers don’t give as much venom as small(young) Rattlers. The young ones tend to give you their entire load of venom. Older rattlers have more control and “save” some of their venom.
But in this case, the snake apparently gave me everything it had! I ended up getting a total of 30 vials of anti-venom over the course of several days. Avg treatment is 15-18 vials.
After waiting for the ambulance at the Benezette store for what seemed to be an inordinate amount of time, the Good Samaritan(Gerald) decided to start driving in the direction the ambulance was coming from. He started up the road, and eventually we could see flashing lights in the distance. We slowed down and Gerald started flashing his headlights and we waved out the windows. One vehicle and then the ambulance drove right past us. At this point Gerald stopped in the road. Fortunately, the volunteer fireman bringing up the rear saw us and stopped. He then radioed the ambulance to turn around.
Dang! I've been around rattle snakes quite a lot as a kid and ran into them while out hunting antelope and deer. I'm glad your ok. Like stated quite the educational post.
As soon as I saw the spread of the fang marks on your leg I knew it was a big one that hit you. However, until I read your next post I also figured that it hadn't given you all it had, but from what you stated it did and then some! I was lucky last year on our antelope hunt in Wyoming when we sat down in the grass so my buddy could use his shooting sticks to take a nice buck we had been stalking for almost an hour. John heard a noise and thought it was the wind moving the grass, but when he looked ahead of us there was the biggest prairie rattler either of us has ever come across all coiled up and ready to strike. We just eased back away from it on our butts and it stayed put. I'd show a picture of it, but I have no idea how to post a picture on this website. We were lucky it didn't strike since he could have nailed either of us in our upper torso with us sitting down and being so close!
You reminded me Bowboy- I’ve seen a few rattlers (sidewinders?) years ago out West. But only have seen 2 in PA. Both Timber Rattlers-which is the most common. There is also another kind the Massasauga- but it is localized to NW PA and up into Ontario. The only other venomous snake in PA is the copperhead.
Through my research and talking to the Dr’s, Timber Rattlers have 2 distinct differences between the other type of rattlers. 1) they tend NOT to rattle when approached and 2) their venom causes the body’s platelets to crash(thereby hindering the blood’s ability to clot). This is unique to TIMBER Rattlers.
TopGun- that gives me chills just thinking about it! Glad you and your buddy got out of there unharmed!
After reading about the Timber’s reluctance to rattle, I often wonder how many times I have come close to one and never knew it?!
This is where the story gets interesting! Right where we stopped in the road there was a large pull off on the side of the road. Gerald pulled over there and waited for the ambulance to turn around. Now mind you, there is not another pull off on this road in either direction for miles! And on top of that, it was the site of the old Benezette School, and therefore had a large grassy field behind the pull off. We soon found out that the Medevac chopper was en route to that very spot! What are the odds???!!! Coincidence? I think NOT! ;-)
So I was put into the ambulance, IV started and medical info gathered and then put in a stokes type litter to be carried to chopper.
At this point there are 3 people on each side of the basket carrying me towards the chopper. One of them is a fireman in full turnout gear at my left foot. As we got close to the chopper next thing I know, he is going DOWN! Then the foot of the basket drops, then the whole thing hits the ground! At this point everyone starts asking if I am alright? I remember saying something like- after what I’ve already been thru, this is NOTHING! I also remember seeing the look on the fireman’s face- he obviously was quite embarrassed. Apparently he stepped into a hole and could not hang on. Once he lost his grip, the others could not hang on. Totally understandable!
Once I got to the chopper, they transferred me from the stokes to the chopper’s gurney, and the next thing I know we are in the air on our way to Altoona, PA.
This was much easier than I thought. This rascal had to be 3' to 4' long and had a huge girth for a prairie rattler. In all my 20+ years hunting in Wyoming I've only seen 2 others and they were less than 18" long with tiny girths.
That gives me the “willies” topgun! : (
Once at Altoona I am wheeled into an exam room and the first blood sample is taken. They ask me if I am SURE it was a Timber Rattler. I tell them I THINK it was based on the markings, but that it never rattled, so I could not be positive. Once the bloodwork came back, they said it WAS a Timber Rattler(based on the VERY low platelet count.).
At this point they tell me it will take about 90 min to mix the anti-venom. They also tell me that once the first dose of anti-venom is administered, I will be flown to UPMC in Pittsburgh.
Then they gave me something for the pain(which by now was excruciating! ) but it didn’t seem to help much. I remember moaning and groaning with pain which was almost unbearable. At one point I asked the toxicologist what was causing all the pain and he explained that the venom was literally eating me from the inside out! : ( He likened it to flesh eating bacteria- the venom seeks out and destroys all living tissue it comes in contact with. That is why it is SO IMPORTANT to get the anti-venom ASAP!!!!!! To try to counteract the effects of the venom.
They have a saying: “TIME IS TISSUE!” Meaning the more time that goes by without treatment, the more tissue damage. They told me 6 hrs seems to be the “magic” number. If you get the anti-venom within 6 hrs you probably will NOT die and probably will NOT have any major, permanent tissue damage. But over 6 hrs and your chances go down dramatically!
I got to Altoona within 2 1/2 hrs and had my first round of anti-venom at just over 4 hrs.
This could happen any day in Ga. and Mississippi with Copperheads, Moccasins and Rattlers. Its simply the odds. I'm am glad you remained calm and have remembered that advice for years. I'm also glad I keep an in-reach device on me due to cardiovascular disease.
Once I made it to UPMC, my leg was elevated as much as I could tolerate. IV saline was pushed non-stop (to try to “flush” venom and necrotic tissue from body), anti-venom was continued and the toxicologist said the “treatment” was to let the leg swell and help push the venom and dead tissue out of the leg. This is what it looked like the next day.
Those 3 sets of parallel lines are where they measured the girth of my leg to guage swelling. One above knee and one just above and below bite on lower leg. They measured every 6 hrs or so.
Elkster- in hindsight if I had an InReach or SPOT, I could have hit the SOS button and saved some time. I was right next to a closed S.F. road. They could have opened the gate and driven the ambulance right to me. Would have saved me time AND a 2+ mile walk. Next time I will have one! ;-)
I'm really surprised that 2+ mile walk didn't spread the venom a lot faster than it apparently did.
Very compelling story. I am NEVER without my PLB in the pack when out and away from immediate help.
I think it did TopGun, but there was just so much of it................
The second day I tried standing with a walker. Once I put my leg down towards the floor the fluid started flowing back into my leg causing excruciating pain! Felt like my leg would explode. Took almost 5 min to be able to stand. Then after standing I had to try to extend the leg and then be able to put weight on it. It was probably another 5 min before I could start walking. (The whole time I was groaning/yelling in pain!) I kept apologizing to my room mate, but it was the only way I could do it! Eventually, I would make it across the hall to the large bathroom that had a shower chair in the shower. This would be my daily routine- walk to bathroom in the morning to clean up/shower and again in the afternoon to use bathroom and stretch legs.
As the venom and necrotic tissue started draining from my leg, the back of the leg started bruising. This was day 2.
Great o hear you are ok!
Thanks for sharing.....very educational!
Here is a better pic of the bite and lower leg. The 2 marks on a diagonal just below the parallel pen lines are the fang marks.
The worst part was getting up everyday knowing exactly what was coming!(major pain!) I was a high school and college athlete who competed with injuries at both levels, and have always had a pretty high threshold for pain. But NOTHING could prepare me for both the intensity and duration of THIS pain! Just unbelievable!
Thanks for sharing your story....how long were you in the hospital and what are the effects from the bite now?
I spent the next 9 days at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh recovering. Basically keeping leg elevated when not walking, peeing in a urinal every 30 min due to the constant IV’s, walking twice a day and trying to eat as much as I could. Apparently the venom affected my appetite- the food was good(especially for hospital food) but I just could not eat much! I think I ate the same amount in that first week that I normally would eat in a day and a half. I lost 20 lbs in that first 9 days and another 5 lbs once I got home.
Map1- Thursday was 4 weeks and believe it or not I still have pain and swelling in foot/ankle and numbness on top of the foot. Been walking with a cane for the last week(transitioned from walker to single crutch to cane) and today was the first day I am confident enough to walk without the cane for short distances in the House. I just started getting movement back in the ankle a few days ago- before that I had foot-drop- inability to raise the foot up towards the knee.
One of the factors that kept me in the hospital so long was the platelet count. They started to rise the first couple days, but then crashed back to 12,000. The toxicologist said they would not release me until the platelets were steadily rising. That ended up taking 9 days! Finally on the eighth day the count was 53,000. The reason they kept me was to make sure I did not fall or injure myself somehow as I still could not clot due to the low platelets. A fall or bump to the head could prove fatal. They did not even want me shaving with a razor.
Scary, thanks for sharing the details of the whole story. Spring 2017 turkey hunting was the first time I ever encountered a rattler. Prairie Rattler. Huge. It made a lot of noise, very creepy. I went home and ordered snake gaiters. According to some, or maybe it was just one guy here, that makes me a pussy. That's fine, I'm a snake pussy.
The 4th day I had a bit of a setback. I waited to walk til my family left. They had made the 6 hr drive to visit me for a few days. I did not want them to see how much pain I was in when getting up. So I waited til late afternoon to walk. About an hour after the walk my leg started with excruciating pain and my toes felt like they were about to explode! I hadn’t felt pain like this since waiting in Altoona for the first dose of anti-venom. My pain level went from 9/10 to a 13!(YES-off the charts! ;-) Unfortunately, I was not scheduled for pain meds for several hrs. The nurse had to contact the Dr.(after hours) to get the OK for additional meds. It was almost 90 min of pure hell til I got the meds and some relief! : (
I found out the next day there apparently was some venom hiding somewhere in the tissue in the leg. The walk brought it out of hiding and it started attacking the tissue again. There was some talk of restarting the anti-venom, but it was decided it would ultimately extend my stay, and that it was better to just let it run it’s course.
Here is what my leg looked like
Peco- they tell me the guys that handle and hunt rattlers have the same attitude- UNTIL they get bit! Then they get smart and won’t touch them! ;-)
Damn ! I've had three close calls, all with cottonmouths, and all when I was a young man. I'd hate to think what a snakebite would do to me now. I'm glad everything worked out post-bite as well as it did, but I know you were in a lot of pain. I know a couple guys who've been bitten, and it ain't fun. Best wishes for continued progress.
Excellent post thanks for sharing your ordeal. I wear snake gaters when out during the summer. Had one time in the early 80s were I stepped on a rattler. He was small I was standing on his head. I had time to look at the situation over. I jumped back he went the opposite direction. Lucky break for me. We both went on our separate paths. JimH
Thanks for sharing this! I've thought about this often, especially when I stepped right over one a couple years ago. Always wondered what that process was like, what are the best things to do, and what would the timeline be.
As unlucky as you were, there is a lot to learn from a post like this! Glad to hear your recovery is going well.
Rut Nut, glad you are ok, wow something to go thru. Would snake boots have been tall enough to avoid the bite ? I wear mine every day, but often wonder if they are tall enough, we have some large snakes in eastern N.C. Forrest
Thanks guys! That’s why I am posting this. I think if guys knew what the potential consequences could be, they would take more precautions! I know I would have!
Drahthaar- I measured the bite. 13” up from the bottom of my foot. Would have had to have 17” boots!
Someone just asked me about the medical bills. I have not gotten all the bills yet, but here is an example: $286,000+ for 9 day hospital stay. $55,000+ for the 2 helicopter rides. And are you ready for this???!!!! $219,000 for 30 vials of anti-venom! (This is what my insurance PAID) The drug company wanted over $400,000!
Thank God for good insurance! To date, I have paid just under $1,000 out of pocket.
Here are a few more pics of my leg. Seemed like every couple days it changed color/pattern! ;-)
One of my Bowhunting brothers(and fellow Bowsiter)suggested I put the “Team UBP” on it!
Thanks for posting Rut Nut...glad you are on the mend! Having hunted the west all my life, I've encountered lots of rattlers in different hunting/scouting situations...but luckily none have ever tried to strike me. The details of your injury makes me extremely thankful I've never been bitten. I too (like many other Bowsiters) carry a PLB with me while in the outdoors...sort of like an imaginary friend for that "time in need" I hope I never have. Hopefully an SOS from a beacon speeds up response time if I ever activate it in an emergency! Again, thanks for giving us this important information to keep in mind while in snake country...especially the "what not to do" if you do get bit. Best of luck on your recovery...hope you're back to normal soon. Kevin
Thanks for the thread. Very informative. I carry my InReach with me all the time. I can leave for the mtns from my house and in 15 mins I won’t have cell service for 1 1/2hrs driving up the canyon.
You can never just plan for an emergency
WOW....what an experience. This is the main reason I will never sleep under a tarp. I always have a tent and never leave it open. I read a story as a kid about someone getting into a sleeping bag with a snake in it....still gives me the willys.
I’m with you Franklin! Just ANOTHER reason to choose TENT over tarp!
Holy cow- what a crazy unfortunate deal! Stinks you had to go through this. Thanks for the education and info. I'm glad I purchased the goods snake chaps based on your suggestion!
Wow, what a story, hate that you had to go through it in order to have it to tell though. All the best in continuing recovery.
Thanks guys! Although the Dr. warned me it could be 5-6 weeks for the swelling to go down, I expected the recovery to be much quicker!
This pic is from Aug 3rd(15 days after the bite). It was the day I went from walker to crutch. Was still VERY difficult to walk.
Damn man when I first read you were bite and wished you a speedy recovery I was simply under playing everything...
Unreal story... what a horrible experience, thank you for taking the time to share.. so sorry you had to experience this... sounds excruciating
Thanks so much for sharing this. I've lived in rattler country my whole life and had several close calls, and developed a sort of cavalier attitude. When hunted two weeks in Australia around many of the deadliest snakes in the world, most of it hunting alone, I was careful not to step on any but still pretty casual. Probably should have been considering how many there were. My hunting buddy down there told me what happens if one bites: "Oh mate, ya just die.."
This is why I carry a SPOT year round, everywhere. So glad you are recovering and hopefully won't have any lifelong debilitating effects. Please keep us posted as you continue to recover. You might save someone's life.
I had NO IDEA how insidious Timber Rattler venom could be! And of course the sooner you get anti-venom, the better. And it also depends on the amount of snake venom you receive. So there are a LOT of variables that can affect the outcome. Some are fortunate and have much less effects than I did! Of course, some are NOT as fortunate as I, and never recover. Is very rare, but does happen. We had a fatality back in 2015 in PA. First one in like 25+ years.
I am just thankful I was not alergic to the snake venom- that can cause anaphylactic shock which is usually fatal. Also heard of another unfortunate individual that got bitten in an artery- the snake venom travelled right to his heart, and even after receiving his first dose of anti-venom he went into cardiac arrest during the med-evac flight! Was DOA. : (
Wow!!! Glad your healing well and thank you for sharing.
I think most of us tend to be cavalier just because of the extremely low odds of getting bitten. I know I was!
BUT NOT ANYMORE!!!!! ;-)
Geez and I thought my cat bite was bad! :( Glad you are on the mend and thanks for sharing. Rough way to diet tho! :) Kevin
Wow, glad you made it. Snakes freak me out when in the area, if I see them I'm ok. It's the ambush I hate lol. So now, is it true that you can't eat rabbit after being bit?
LOL Kevin! I call it the SNAKE VENOM DIET. VERY effective! But trust me................you DON’T want to try it! ;-)
LBshooter- I sense there is a joke there?
Wow what a story! Really glad you’re recovering and thanks for the eye opener. Keep healing well
Thanks Bad Karma!
I would like to say at this point............................BOWSITERS are the BEST! One of my friends posted a PRAYERS FOR RUTNUT thread in the PA forum. Many thoughts and prayers were felt thru this whole ordeal! And even though I was several hundred miles from home, I never felt alone due to all the texts, calls, PM’s and posts on here! AND even a couple visits from some Western PA BOWSITERS! : )
Rust4brains and his son Mitch brought me some “survival food” and reading material!
A break from the hospital food!
And reading material- well played Pat! : )
Also had a visit from my good friend and whitetail guide Horsethief! ;-)
I'm glad you recovered! Thank God for that. Trail runners and even mountain bikers are bit around here all the time. Painful ordeal for all.
I wear snake gaiters from the first of April through early November when I'm hiking below 9,000 feet in Colorado. They protect my feet and leg just up to below the knee. I'm hoping that they are enough protection. Your thoughts?
I don’t know the statistics on height of snakebites, but I would think the majority are BELOW the knee. I believe I stepped right next to the rattler that bit me- hence the 13” high bite. I am planning to get the gaiters that are knee high.
Rutnut, you're welcome at Shiloh Ranch when i'm down there....they have copperheads but I've never seen any. Please recover and be at full strength for the whitetails.
Thanks Kevin! That’s my goal! ;-)
I follow the Shiloh Ranch threads- definitely on my bucket list! : )
We have a trip planned late March......
Thanks Kevin, but it won’t happen this year. The medical bills make an already tight budget even tighter! ;-)
Maybe once my son is done with college.............
Holy wow...First, glad you’re on the mend! Second, thanks for a great write up on the whole ordeal...
Thanks for sharing everything glad to hear your going to be OK. Also glad you have great insurance I have heard of some peoples Insurance not covering helicopter rides, and some not covering Anti-venom. One thing I will mention is having a Inreach, or a new Spot with two way communication can really speed things up. Now you can press SOS and chat back and forth to let them know what happened before they even head your way. My old Spot I had just pressing SOS would get them coming but they have no idea what they are heading your way for.
Headed to Utah next week to chase Elk in snake country and this thread helped me plan for the "what if"
And I have to say after reading your story your very lucky and it must not have been your time.
Holy crap....what a story! Glad you survived, Rut Nut, and thanks for sharing the whole ordeal. I had no idea how bad a snake bite could be! Dang!
Wow glad you are getting better and thanks for sharing. A very eye-opening story.
Rut Nut, thanks for the reply on the 13" bite, I wear 17" Chippewa snake boots and feel better, BUT I think snake chaps to go along with them would be even better. Hope you have a fast recovery. That medical bill was unreal . Forrest
Don- yes, the new devices with 2 way communication are the way to go! And yes- I am definitely very fortunate- the good Lord did not let me die on that mountain!
Glad to hear eyes are being opened! ;-)
Glad you are feeling better, Rut Nut! Thanks for posting. Very informative. Just wondering if Gerald ever reached out to you, or vice versa, afterwards. I'm sure he would be happy to hear you made it.
BTW - when I first saw one of the follow up pictures, my initial reaction was "Holy-crap! That doesn't look good. I hope he doesn't lose the leg.... " Then I realized it was a pizza photo. LOL. Best wishes for the rest of your recovery. Hope you are able to get back into the woods soon!
Snake gaiters are cheap insurance I will be wearing mine this deer season in AZ.
So glad to hear you are healing up, you have our continued prayers and good thoughts!
Thank You for sharing, and God Bless!
CHEAP insurance for SURE, Scar!
Andrew- LOL on the Pizza pic! : ) Gerald kept in touch with me while I was in the hospital. He kept an eye on my car at the trailhead until my family could pick it up days later. He also hiked up the mountain and looked for my camp several times. He never found it, but did run into a nice young couple that ended up finding it and bringing it out. Turns out the husband was planning an Elk Hunt in the future so he checked out all my gear real good! We laughed about that on the phone, and I gave him suggestions on gear. LOTS of GOOD people helped me out- I’m SO grateful! : )
Any snake info in that Backwoods survival guide? So how do you feel about walking around the woods now? Even with gaiters, do you think it will take a while to be comfortable hiking the mountains without fear of being bit at every step?
We’ve had more rattlesnake sightings near town this year than I can remember in almost 25 years living here. 20 year old girl was bitten on the toe in flip flops. Ugh
We’ve had more rattlesnake sightings near town this year than I can remember in almost 25 years living here. 20 year old girl was bitten on the toe in flip flops. Ugh
Thanks for sharing this. It definitely puts things into perspective and gives a useful guide for what to, and not to do. Keep yourself on the mend.
We have lots of those buzzworms where I live and I certainly have been lucky not to get bit. I've stepped over or near them on a few occasions. We have lots of them but if they are feisty enough to bite they usually rattle or leave first. Thanks for the lessons. Truly sorry you had to deal with this!
Peco- my family thinks I am nuts for even thinking about going back there! But I’m already planning to go back next Summer to “finish” the trip! ;-) I will probably be a bit apprehensive walking through the woods, but I WILL have snake gaiters and a SPOT device if I go alone. When you think about the extremely LOW probability of getting bitten, it puts your mind at ease somewhat. Remember- I have been walking, hiking and hunting the woods of PA for 45+ years and I have only seen 2 rattlesnakes in PA in that time.
Rut Nut it's kinda like in MN. I've hunted the SE corner a lot and have always known the timber rattler is there. Never ever seen one or even thought about them while hunting (maybe once while turkey hunting in WI) I have a friend that offered to take me to a couple known dens in MN but I've never had an interest. Here's a pretty good link about timber rattlers in MN and good info about them in general,
That’s interesting Butternut- especially the distribution. Never realized that Michigan was the only state in the Midwest NOT to have them.
Thanks for sharing your story! Dang you're lucky, I think my heart would went into overdrive after getting bit!
And I find this even more interesting:
“The coloration and pattern of timber rattlesnakes is highly variable across its range. The dorsal coloration may be yellow, tan, brown, reddish brown, or, rarely, gray.”
This picture of a MN rattler shows a different coloration than both Timber Rattlers I have seen in Pa.
Grunter- NOT luck- GOD! ;-) No way I could have done what I did in my own power/strength! HE was talking to me the whole way telling me what to do, telling me I could make it and keeping me calm.
Tip of the cap to you for this article and another tip for your recovery.
Thanks for posting, RutNut, and I'm glad you survived that ordeal!
Deer Season opened out here this Weekend, and after hearing about this last month, I've been wearing gaiters every time I'm out and about. Also noticed I'm extra "vigilant" when I'm stepping over a log/ rock, or crossing a stream.
Can't seem to get your story out of my head, I guess it's a good thing!
Wow! That's just a wrong step at the wrong time. Glad you're here to tell your story, Perry. Continued healing.
Jeff- I can’t get it out of MY head either! ;-)
Glad you were finally able to get the story up and out. You said u hoped to increase awareness and id say you dead centered the 12 ring on that one.....
One thing I forgot to mention.................... the toxicologist said I was definitely brought to the right hospital(s). If I was taken to a local community hospital not experienced in snakebites, the treatment might have been a lot different. He said they would probably THINK they would know what to do, but they would “mess me up!” He said if a general surgeon had seen the swelling in my leg, he would probably start cutting- trying to open the compartments in the leg to relieve the pressure/swelling. When that is exactly what you DON’T want to do! Swelling is actually a GOOD thing and helps to push the venom and necrotic(dead) tissue out of the leg. Cutting the leg would only cause complications and increase recovery time, not to mention being dangerous with such a low platelet count! Speaking of platelets................he said the Dr.s would probably give me platelets trying to boost the count. But all this would do is give the venom more platelets to attack causing more necrotic tissue to have to get rid of. Again, it would not boost the platelet count and ultimately cause complications.
So even though it may seem counter-intuitive, the best course of action is to let the leg swell, elevate the leg to let it drain of the “bad stuff” and wait for the platelets to rise on their own. That is what is happening in this pic.
Holy smokes, you are lucky. I took the same snake out of my hotel in Clearfield PA last year. I had no idea how dangerous it was!
Holy $h!t Perry!! What an ordeal. So glad your recovering well and thank you for sharing your experience with us. The good Lord definitely had his hand on you. Sooooo your not hunting elk in 2 weeks....? Lol. Sorry bad joke. Get well buddy.
So if a person were on blood thinners, no bueno! You hear about snake bite treatments, but to actually see a person going through it is a whole new ball game...Damn!
Im really sorry this happened to you.
Ike- YEP! Anybody on blood thinners for sure! Probably even diabetics and anybody with a cardiac history! That venom just messes up your whole system!
I don’t think MANY people realize the possible consequences! Until you go thru it, you can’t even fathom..................
Lungshot- LOL! No, I’m trying to make our annual early season deer hunt in about 4 weeks- THAT is the goal! Hoping to be able to use my climber, but if need be I will hunt from a blind.
You have really brought to light the severity of a poisonous snake bite! Although all bites are not equal I have gained much more respect in avoiding any dangerous snake if encountered. Best of luck going forward in the healing process and upcoming hunting season!
Bummer about the bite, and I hope that you make a full recovery. It might be best to get the platelet count fully up before you risk climbing even a ladder stand.
Reminder to self: get gaiters
The ONLY rattler I've seen in 59+ years in Pa was back in 2006. I was headin' east on 414? from Cherry Springs to Waterville on 2 wheels. Headin' down the mountain, rounding a turn banked over, I saw it in the middle of my lane. There was no stopping or swerving, so I ran directly over it. After getting stopped and turned around, I went back to see if it was dead and cut the rattles off. It was a yellow phase about 3-1/2' long and fatter than my forearm, and only had a button! It was split open and I left it right where it was.
Wow! Happy you’re around to tell the tale! Great info and Thanks for that, hope your recovery is ??. Mother Nature can be a bitch!
Thanks for sharing. I'm glad you're on the mend.
Thanks for sharing and best of wishes for a continued and full recovery
Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery.
As I read your story I couldn’t help but think how lucky Pat was with his Mamba encounter. I don’t think those are in the viper family.....and their bite affects the body in a different way.
I’m going to read up on poisonous snake bites this week. North America & Africa.
Thanks for the well wishes guys!
Eric- my last bloodwork I was over 500,000 on the platelets, so I’m good!
Bill- I don’t wanna even THINK about a black mamba bite! Thankfully, I had no cardiac or respiratory issues from my bite. But sounds like it would be a different story with a mamba! : ( The good Lord was surely looking out for Pat that day!
“Fatalities from black mamba bites have been documented to occur within as little as 20 minutes after injection,” said Viernum. “However, most known fatalities have occurred within 30 minutes to 3 hours or longer. When a black mamba bites it, injects a highly toxic, fast-acting venom into your blood stream called dendrotoxin, which can kill in as little as 20 minutes. Symptoms from a bite include a rapid onset of dizziness, cough or difficulty of breathing, and an erratic heartbeat.”
So nut ....
If you saw a Mamba ... you wouldn’t poke it with a stick? :)
Bill- I was a sprinter/hurdler in college. All you would have seen is a big cloud of dust speeding across the Savanah! (AWAY from that blind! ;-)
Something like this
Something like this
Thanks for sharing! My first and only close experience with a rattler was antelope hunting in southern Id. walking through the sage brush back the the truck and he buzzed about 4 ft in front of me. Instinct stopped and reversed me instantly. Sure glad he buzzed. I would have walked right into him.
Thanks for your post. You can never let your guard down. I guess I'll be wearing my snake boots from now on. They're hot so I don't like to wear them. But that kind of discomfort sure beats going through what you went through. You definitely had the Lord's blessing.
After my "ordeal", fall from a tree stand, I carry a Inreach PLD. You never know if you'll need it. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
This really can happen anywhere. 3 years ago I was meeting a friend at our archery range. Our range is located next to a Sheriff's Youth's Ranch which is next to some undeveloped land. I went early so I could weed wack the range. The grass wasn't thick, just high. As I was wacking I looked down and saw that I was wacking a 6' diamondback.
They say to back away slowly. Well, I levitated immediately. Why that thing didn't strike, I'll never know. Apparently, it was just not my day.
Y'all be careful out there.
Wow! That's one heck of an experience. One I'm sure you will never forget. So glad that you have recovered and thanks for sharing your story with us.
Glad you are recovering, hope you make a full recovery with no lasting problems.
I’m getting snake boots this week!
Yeah, they know the third Wed in Sept I’m OFF for 3 days for our early season doe hunt. (Every year ;-)
Glad you are on the mend. 9 years ago I was living in SE KS and was moving a mower with my small tractor. It was dark and I had shorts on, and I was hooking the mower up and felt something whack me on the back of the leg twice. I jumped and then touched my leg and it was all wet. I went to the headlights on the tractor and could see a little blood and what looked like fang marks. I went to the house and my daughter looked and said it looked like snake bites. The fang marks were close together, maybe 1/4" or so apart, so for sure a small snake. One bite barely penetrated the skin, the other had a little bit of blood and had gotten slightly deeper. That would explain why my leg was all wet, it was the venom! I had minor swelling and my toes and foot got a little tingly, but I cleaned out the bites and never went to the doc. I was very, very fortunate.
My dog was bit the following spring in the face twice. I had walked by the snake working fence 3 times and never saw it, the dog saw it and stuck her nose in it. Those marks were close to 3/4" apart. She survived the initial bite, but later died as a result of complications.
Snakebite is nothing to mess with. So glad you will be OK!!
Very sorry for your ordeal, but thanks for sharing story and pics.
Rut Nut, I read where you are going to get snake boots, Chippewa are the most comfortable snake boots I have owned, and they will out last 10 pair of most other brands. Forrest
Rut Nut, thank you for posting and helping remind us that anything can happen when were in the woods. I have a whole new respect for vipers now. Glad you are in full recovery. Best of luck on your deer hunt this fall.
Glad to hear you are recovering. Thanks for sharing your story.
Ironbow- that’s some story as well! Glad it wasn’t worse. Sorry about your dog.
Drahthaar- thanks for the recommendation!
One of the unexpected consequences of the 25 lb weight loss was a significant loss of upper body strength. I got a real shock when I went out last week to shoot my compound and could not pull it back! Tried 4 times- NO go! : (
It has been set at 62 lbs for years, and I had no problem pulling it prior to the Snakebite. I went out again yesterday and almost got to full draw (3 times). About 1” shy of “rollover”.
My appetite is getting better and I have gained about 3 lbs the last week, so I am confident I will be able to pull the bow back soon. But it was just a real shock when I could not come to full draw! Something I never even gave a thought to.
Hey Rut, Glad to hear you are recovering. I might have missed it but how did you get your gear back home?
Thanks Mike- the Good Samaritan(Gerald) who drove me to the ambulance hiked up the mountain twice looking for my camp. He never found it, but ran into a nice young couple who he told. They ended up finding it several days later. They packed everything into my backpack and carried it out and dropped it at the local police station. They then contacted Gerald who contacted me to let me know it was found. I was grateful as my wallet was in one of the zipper compartments. When my family came out to visit, they stopped on the way home to pick up my gear and vehicle.
3 lbs in a WEEK? I gained 3 lbs this morning just THINKING about lunch.....;^). Lol
You'll get there brother! If u can walk 2.3 miles in an hour after being fed on by a rattler, you will find a way to get that bow back in a month.....
What a story, glad you made it through that ordeal. I guess I too have been pretty cavalier about snakes. Actually, had rattlesnake strike at me when I was about 17 years old. It had just finished swallowing a mouse, never rattled. I was shooting a 3D course near Hailey, Idaho. I went to pick up my arrow, and out of the corner of my eye something went flinging towards me. I jumped, as a reaction, and it's head landed right next to my shoe (van's skateboarding shoes). Not sure if it had any venom left, but when I got back to my car, the battery was dead, and I damn near had to walk the 5 miles to town. I had cut it's head off after I shot it with a broadhead, and I remember that head kept biting at me for hours afterwards in my girlfriends garage, and the heart was still beating hours later as well. Crazy critters.
AmazIng. Glad you are OK.
Perry, WOW X 100! So glad you are ok and are able to continue your life in the out of doors which I know means a lot to all of us. One hell of a story of your experience with the SNAKE and then the story/pictures, visual recovery, will change how a lot of us walk in the woods.
I just recently returned from Pronghorn hunting on the eastern prairie of Colorado. The rancher stated he had seen 3x more rattle snakes this year than in past years. Walking to and from the blind I was very careful and before I got into the tent blind, I would bang on the blind and and the look inside before stepping in. No encounters but I will keep on looking from now on.
my best, Paul
Thanks for the well wishes guys!
Stick- you must have been thinking about TOTS! ;-)
Dan- man, you must be QUICK! Those things strike lightning quick! Glad it didn’t get you!
Paul- glad to hear you are being more vigilant. I hope this story changes a LOT of folks’ behavior in snake country!
That is incredible. Thanks for sharing. What an ordeal. You have a great attitude about the whole thing.
Glad you’re on the road back. I’m embarrassed that I even got bit by a copperhead now
Matt- when you go thru something like this it tends to give you a different perspective! ;-) I almost broke down in church on Sunday during one of the songs- something about what HE does for us and how HE takes care of us.
Connor- don’t be embarrassed- just be THANKFUL it wasn’t a rattler! : )
Rut, I may just make that trip with you next year!
Perry - thanks for sharing your whole ordeal with us here on bowsite, you've done more good than you can imagine.
We've only killed copperheads here in MO. Thankfully we haven't had to deal with any rattlers. Does make me wonder how many I've walked past while elk hunting in Colorado and Idaho though...
WOW! Now that's a story. I am glad to hear that you are recovering, that is just wild. Thanks for posting, I think I am going to get some snake gaiters now.
That would be great Pat! Hopefully I can start a PA ELK VIEWING thread next summer.(Instead of a snake thread! ;-)
I heard Turtle Skin snake gaiters are now backordered 6 weeks. I wonder how many of them are for BOWSITERS?! : )
Will there be any long lasting effects?
Glad you are recovering and thanks for sharing your story. Like many others I have had some close calls and had a pretty cavalier attitude...You've got me doing some thinking...
Keith- I’m in the waiting room now - about to see the toxicologist for my follow up. Originally, they said 5-6 weeks for swelling to go down. I still have swelling and Thurs will be 5 weeks. They also said no significant permanent tissue damage. Maybe just slight weakness in the leg. Hopefully that is still the case! ;-)
I started looking for a pair of snake gaiters. All the models stop just below the knee.
And I’ve been looking for a model that goes to just below my arm pits.
Bill - when I lived and hunted around Pensacola Florida I bought a pair of snake chaps that attach at the belt and cover the whole leg. It gave me peace of mind while I hunted, but boy were they hot. I've still got them in a storage tote somewhere. Haven't used them in 20+ years.
Mitch, I guess that’s the trade off. Anything that keeps the snakes out.... keeps the heat in.
From: Bill Obeid21-Aug-18
I started looking for a pair of snake gaiters. All the models stop just below the knee. And I’ve been looking for a model that goes to just below my arm pits.
LOL Bill! I’m looking for a snakeproof SUIT, but haven’t found one yet! ;-)
One thing the odds of it happening to you again are pretty slim kinda like lightning.I had a 6 footer almost slam me in S.C. in the seventies it was close and we were on an island across the intercoastal.He is now sitting next to my desk double-forked fangs and all.Glad you are on the mend Lewis
Big deal, Perry....so ya got nibbled a little by a tiny snake, and ya high jack the entire Bowsite for a month. Next your gonna tell us you got some kind of movie deal from the Hallmark Channel! LOL!
I'm glad to hear you're doing better, especially after hearing all the horrific details. You sir, are incredibly lucky, and definitely had your guardian angel with you during all of this. I still can't fathom how you we're able to keep calm and kept your heart from beating out of your chest. I would've been going crazy! Just continue to recover, build those bow muscles back up, and you'll be ready for the upcoming season sooner than you think. I'm looking forward to catching up with ya' at the 5C doe hunt....and I promise I'll leave my snakeskin boots at home! Thanks for sharing your story, and hopefully we all learned a little something from it.
Glad you are healing up Rut Nut. That is a crazy story. I HATE snakes!! Thanks for the info.
Nut, I showed my wife a picture of your leg. She told me to look for snake coveralls with a matching hat and gloves. But , for reference , she gets her nails done weekly and she calls my Kuiu tee shirts. “ tops”!
Lewis- odds of me getting bit in the first place were VERY slim! After this experience I’m not taking ANY chances! ;-)
Josh- LMBO! This is NOT the way I wanted to become a Bowsite “celebrity!” ;-) I have NO IDEA how I remained calm and rational thinking- only thing I can tell you is when you are faced with a situation like this, you just do what you HAVE to do! I remember thinking: this is what I HAVE to do so that my family does NOT find me dead on the trail in a couple days!
LOL Bill! : )
Can’t fault you for that those things pack a wallop Lewis
Perry, WOW! And to think it was in Pennsylvania! I am near the PA line in Ohio and I never give them a thought....just copperheads. So glad to hear you will be ok. At least you realize WHO was watching over you ....no doubt about that! With your platelets that low did you receive any transfusions along the way?
Steve- we have lived in the Poconos for 27 years. We have them in our area, but not to the extent they have them out in Benezette. I have never seen one in the 27 yrs we have been in the Poconos.(did see one copperhead)
No- they do NOT give platelets as part of treatment. The toxicologist said it will not bring the level up and will only cause complications. Just have to wait for them to rise back up naturally.
Got good news at my follow up today! I got clearance to start PT, start driving and can go back to work in a couple weeks. Toxicologist said I am progressing as expected. He said it will probably be several more months until everything is back to “normal”, but that I should have no permanent damage. Just what I was hoping to hear!
That's great to hear Perry
Great news on the checkup. Keep on keeping on!
Thanks for conituing this. Im Still following this thread and have been doing my own research on my insurance and coverages.
I did find out that 'Ambulance' can be vehicle or air. And Emergencies typically considered In-Network
I would encourage everyone to look into what coverages, deductables, and max out of pocket your plan has.
That’s good advice cnelk! I never really checked into my coverage in detail until this happened.
Rut Nut's Link
Great news! What a blessing and what a story to tell!
Well, I just came across a WILD video while researching snake boots. THIS guy is friggan NUTS!!!!
I just found this thread for the first time and read through it. Amazing story and a great reminder that we need to always be on the alert and mindful of our surroundings.
I'm glad you are okay and things are returning to normal!
That was a bad experience to say the least. It is good to know things are working out for you and you will be able to hunt this fall. Good luck to you!
Feild workers in the old South used to dip their pants from the knee down in paint for protection actually knew some old former workers in the 60s that had done it Lewis
That’s interesting Lewis! I wonder if polyurethane or even epoxy would work even better?
Well, today was my first day back to work(2 days shy of 7 weeks). It was great to be back, but was kinda rough as expected. Not used to being back on my feet for 8+ hrs and I could feel my foot/ankle swell a little as the day went on. I elevated it at lunchtime which helped, but it was still pretty swollen by the time I got home. But nowhere near what it was a couple weeks ago.
PT is going well, although painfully slow. Strength is getting better but the range of motion is taking much longer. The venom apparently attacked the tendons more than we realized. Still not a lot of motion at ankle and can barely bend big toe. Tendons are very tight and sore- even with PT 3x/wk. However, the walking has improved enough to get rid of the cane. Just have to be careful and can’t walk real fast. Gotta just keep reminding myself I AM making progress, even if it is not as fast as I would like! ;-)
Dang Nut ! Those snake bites are wicked bad. I hope you cheat that snake...... and live a long happy life
Keep diggin bro, u’ll get there!
Glad you are recovering and sending prayers.
I have encountered many rattlers pronghorn hunting in WY and NM. Probably encountered more than I heard or saw but saw quite a few. Most rattled. I let them be as was never near camp. I only got freaked out once and that was near sunset as I decided to speed up my hike to the SUV so was barreling through some waist-high sage rather than walk around them. These sage patches were perhaps half the size of a football field and while dense in spots were open in others so could see the ground. I got about 5 nice strides into one of these sage patches and hear a distinct rattle. I freeze. Hear it again. And again. Very close. I wear hearing aids and the breeze that evening caused some hissing so I could not pinpoint the direction of the rattles. I could not see the ground enough to find the snake. What seemed like a while but maybe 20 seconds passed from freezing to me jumping 180 degree spin and out of the sage in an Olympic-qualifying worthy version of hop/skip/jump. I then picked up a rock and tossed and right away another long rattle. Never saw the snake. Might have been a small one and maybe not near my feet but since never saw that snake it haunted me the rest of the hunt to the point I avoided every sage patch and would not sit to glass if was large rocks with gaps under them.
Wow! Glad you're recovering! Last Oct in Wyoming I was watching my dad stalk a pronghorn and felt something brush against my boot. I looked down to find a burrow under the yucca at my feet, and inside the burrow was a coiled rattler. I counted myself VERY lucky that morning, I think it was too cold out for him to even rattle and let me know he was there.
Bill- I never DREAMED it could be this slow or painful of a recovery! But It sure beats the alternative! ;-)
Surfbow and Treewalker- WOW! Those are some close calls! Glad you guys made it out unscathed.
I can certainly identify with being skittish after a close encounter. I was walking thru the backyard last week and spotted a few sticks that looked like snakes- almost made me jump several times! ;-)
Wow! You survived one wild experience. Thank you most of all for sharing it with us. There is no doubt that your sharing the experience will help a number of Bowsiters.
Thank you especially for sharing the details (bruising, 6 hrs for antivenom, timber rattlers don't usually rattle, no cutting/draining, and many others) that allow the seriousness to be remembered by all of us.
RutNut, what an ordeal, I am glad you got through it but what hell it has all been by the looks. I have has three close encounters with rattlers, one of which actually touched my boot. Two of them I nearly stepped on. One I was walking between the rails on the Deschutes River railroad at night with my pants rolled up, and I heard a buzz behind me. I shined the light and there coiled on the base of the rail was a small rattler that I had just walked by within a foot of. Talk about lucky, I killed that one and ate it. My buddy walked up onto a pile of rocks in Oregon once, and about flew away when it started 'buzzing' loudly, full of a nest of snakes. My mom went to pick up a bungie cord in her boat in FLA once and just about touched it before she realized it was a coral snake. She and her friend also had a cottonmouth swim at their boat and try to get in. Crikey!! So, I tend to stay in the more northern climes and avoid these things. NY has very few where I live, or none. I like it that way.
Rut Nut. Progress has nothing to do with speed. It's simply a matter of gaining ground. Stay determined and never ever give up. Failure simply is not an option. You will get there.
Prays for your full recovery.
September is the month for timber rattlers in Alabama. Here is my granddaughter with a roadkill last Saturday.
Man what a story! I've been crawl and stalking through the prairie for speed goat and those rattlers have been on my mind nonstop.. well and the cactus I can't keep out of my hands and knees! Good info here and glad you made it!
Rut Nut thanks for your story and all the info on what not to do. Very important. Glad you are giving the praise to the Lord God for taking care you and even using doctors to help. Our season opens up in Maryland this Friday and probably goin out bow hunting the Swamp donkey (Sika) in Blackwater. If am fortunate enough to get one would consider it a honor to process it and share half with your family. Its the only type of Elk hunting this man can afford. Just PM me let me know. Lord only knows how many people here are more prepared for an emergency. thanks to your story. THANK YOU Have a God Day Harold
Thanks for the well-wishes folks!
Elkstabber- I was hoping something good would come out of all of this- and apparently it did by all of the responses. That makes me feel better knowing I did my part to show what can happen and warn folks of the potential consequences.
Trapper- it is also apparent that there are way more close encounters than you would expect- judging by the responses here. Just another reason to be prepared and have some type of snake-proof "defense".
EMB- I hear ya! That's why I am working so hard in PT! (The PT always looks for my reaction when he is pushing on my ankle/foot/toe trying to increase the range of motion- I just bite my lip and give him a blank stare and tell him to "do what he needs to do"! ;-)
loprofile- your daughter is a cutie! The snake........................................not-so-much! ;-) And thanks- that picture just made my skin "crawl!" : (
Harold- thanks for the kind words and generous offer! The good Lord got me thru this ordeal- HE gets all the credit! ;-) And I've gotten a lot of help from Bowsite over the years- just glad I can return the favor!
I had two run ins with rattlesnakes last week. Both ended well. To say I was on the lookout after reading this thread prior to heading to Arizona would be an understatement! Glad you are healing well!
Thanks Jeff- glad to hear your encounters ended well!
Wow, thanks for sharing, glad to hear you're ok! I've had several rattle snakes in uncomfortable positions while hunting in southern CA. I hate to admit it but I've even picked up (and released) a few. Stories like this make me want to stay FAR away from them! About 10 years ago I had just gotten on my hands and knees to begin a stalk in central CA when the bush two feet to my right started rattling. That stalk was over quickly!
Thanks Andrew! Take my advice and stay as far away from them as you can! ;-)
Well, My snakeboots arrived Friday and I walked around the yard over the weekend getting used to them and breaking them in. I can say that just wearing them made me feel better and now maybe I can go back in the woods without being a “nervous wreck!” ;-)
BTW, the Turtleskin Snake Gaiters That were recommended were on a 6 week backorder. So I figured I would get the boots NOW and then get the gaiters for next season- then I will have options.
Well, I’ve come a long way in 9 weeks(praise God!)
Got up in my stand on Thurs for our annual early season doe hunt. I thought to myself I don’t even need to see a deer- I’m in my tree, hunting with my buddies- life is good! : )
Then yesterday I watched a beautiful sunrise from my stand- it literally brought tears to my eyes! God is Good! : )
he wont say it, but not only did he find his way to a stand, but he also lowered the deer population by 2 over the first 2 days of that hunt.
Its as if you’ve become a cold blooded killer......;^)
^^^ hahaha.... That's awesome man. Glad to see your back in the saddle, err.... I mean tree! Good job on the kills!
LMBO Justin! : )
Thanks Deerslayer- I am blessed beyond belief!
Rut Nut, I'm so happy for you. I luckily have never been bit, it was because of cold temperature because I stepped right next to a rattler turkey hunting one morning. I about messed my shorts. Another time bow hunting for antelope in Montana while taking down blinds after finishing hunting walked past a rattler twice before seeing him, I was less then a 12 inches from him both times, I was pure lucky. So glad to see you up a tree and in the woods. Good luck!
David- it is simply amazing reading about all these close calls! Glad you were one of them and did not join me in the "other" club! ;-) Thanks so much for the well-wishes and good luck to you as well!
Know that feeling life is good have a great year Lewis
Thanks Lewis- same to you!
Mike- the Doc said I would just go thru the same thing all over again. You can, and would get the anti-venom again if it would happen. I think you are either allergic to it(venom) or not. Some are VERY unlucky and get anaphylactic shock from the venom and usually do not make it.
Glad to hear you're doing well. Welcome back! I've oiled up my Snake Boots and getting ready to go myself.
It's better to be thinking about God while hunting than sitting in church thinking about hunting.
Wow! That is quite the story. I'm just reading it for the first time now. So glad you made it out of the whole situation. I have also heard that some insurance companies won't cover the costs for anti-venom. Can anyone confirm this? I suppose it is something I should check with my insurance company about. I just came back from an antelope hunt this weekend. On my way back from the hunt, I talked to the landowner and he asked if I saw any rattlesnakes. He said he forgot to tell me that they have been seeing a lot of them lately on that particular property.
Why does it take 90 min to make up the anti-venom?
Glad that the recovery has gone as well as it has.
Martin- I would be surprised if the insurance company refused to pay- it is a medical necessity. Without it, you die. Maybe what you heard is the insurance company refused to pay what the Drug Company was charging? That was the case with me- the drug company wanted $14,000 per vial or $420,000(for 30 vials) My insurance company paid $219,000 or about $7,300 per vial.
Phil- the toxicologist said they mix it for each individual incident based on 3 factors- A) weight of victim B) amount of venom received and C) time of year(toxicity of venom apparently varies by season)
Wow that was a head bunner. Thanks for sharing
You're welcome Rick. Hopefully lots of folks see this and learn from my misfortune.
So we had a 2 day inservice at work last week. We were told on day one that we would have to tell a personal story about ourselves in a small group on day 2.
Just about everybody was stressing out trying to think of a story to tell the next day. I just smiled and said: “I got this.........................” ;-)
Yeah.... could have been 2018 Bowsite story of the year.
Rut nut I have told your story to many. This is a very informative thread and all the more reason why I don’t care for snakes.
Funny thing was they gave us guidelines for our story: 1) Don’t try to “outdo” anyone.................... : )
T Mac- hopefully it is also a testimony to God’s goodness, mercy and grace! I am still amazed when telling the story....................without HIM by my side, I certainly would have been a dead man!
I think your story is going to definitely “outdo” everyone else’s, Perry! You definitely had a guardian angel on your shoulder, and God showing you the path to safety. Hearing your whole ordeal in person, was even more chilling and surreal. For those who don’t know Perry, he is perhaps one of the friendliest, caring, and most giving personalities you could meet, and he is a man of deep conviction and faith. He is also one of the luckiest fellas I’ve ever met, and being able to survive this snakebite ordeal makes him one of the most strongest and resilient. Rumor has it, Chuck Norris asked Perry to teach him how to fight, after hearing his story! Glad I got to shake this man’s hand at last months United Bowhunters of PA Disabled Hunters Program. Perry’s story is one that should make us all more aware of our surroundings while we do the things we love in the great outdoors, and inspire us and give us hope that we can persevere should we find ourselves in his shoes (now snake boots) someday.
Funny thing was they gave us guidelines for our story: 1) Don’t try to “outdo” anyone.................... : )
Tell them you didn’t have to “Try”
LMBO Josh! : ) I don’t know about all that, but thanks for the kind words! And thanks for donating those great arrows- I was glad to be the winning bidder and hope to get some turkey blood on ‘em soon!
It is simply AMAZING what you can do when you have the Good Lord watchin’ over you and knowing your life depends on it! If you would have told me before it happened that I would get bit by a rattler alone, no cell signal and 2+ miles from help, I would have said I am a DEAD man!
Good read (again)... in the informative category. Glad you're well and doing good, Perry. Thanks for the information because many of those things "not to do", we would do.
Crazy to read this again!
Thanks Embry! Yeah, STILL a lot of mis-information out there- in fact they still sell snake-bite kits, even though conventional wisdom is NOT to use them...............
Still amazed by this thread and story. Wow :0
Thanks for sharing it and glad you are doing well!
Yeah, it would definitely be tough to top your “crap, that ain’t nuthin!” story, Perry!
Do you have any lingering issues/problems now? (Caused from the snakebite, of course) ;-)
Thanks Hawkeye- me too! I wake up almost every day asking myself “Did that REALLY happen???!!!” Then the pain in my leg says..........YEAH, DUMMY! ;-)
April 19th was 9 months and believe it or not, I still have constant pain 24/7. Not anything like it was, but still there. Also have numbness on top of my foot going part way up the leg and intermittent nerve pain that shoots down the leg into the foot to the big toe. Functionally, I am pretty good, but my balance is still slightly Impaired and also have some weakness. Doc says eventually I will get back to normal, but I believe it will be longer than the year as he suggested.
I have my pant leg pulled up to the bottom of my kneecap in this pic- that is the front of my lower right leg and you can see towards the outside the bulging area. It disappears when I relax my leg.
I have my pant leg pulled up to the bottom of my kneecap in this pic- that is the front of my lower right leg and you can see towards the outside the bulging area. It disappears when I relax my leg.
I noticed something kinda weird a few weeks ago. I now have a “knot” or lump the size of a deck of cards where the snake bit me. It only appears when I dorsiflex the foot(bring my foot/toes up towards my knee). Not sure you can see it in this pic, but it is obvious when you see it in person. I think it is scar tissue from the tissue damage caused by the venom, since it is in the location of the bite site. It disappears when I relax my leg. Kinda freaked me out when I first noticed it!
Glad you're up and about Rut, I would imagine you'd have a giant clump of scar tissue in there, and just knowing about the AT I've used to get rid of other scar tissue one would imagine it would have a pretty big effect until it is gone which would take time. Glad to see you're upright and in good spirits!
Thanks Adam! Looking at that picture it actually looks like the back of my leg, but you are actually looking at the front(shin). And towards the bottom of the pic you can see how much muscle tissue I lost.
Yes, it has slowed me down a bit, but am grateful I am still breathing! ;-)
Glad you're feeling better Rut. I too have had a couple of close calls over the years and was bitten by a Copperhead in my hand when I was 12. I experienced many of the same things you did but I don't remember it being to the extremes of your symptoms. My arm swelled up like a whiffle ball bat and turned black and blue. I spent a couple of days in the hospital and several weeks in a sling. No antivenom either, just LOTS AND LOTS of IV fluids. It drove me crazy having to pee every few minutes for days.
Good luck on your continued recovery sir!
Thanks Robert! They tell me copperhead venom is not as bad as Timber Rattler venom, but I guess it would be like getting shot with a .22 as opposed to a 9mm................I wouldn’t want to be “bit” by either one! (especially at 12 y/o! ;-)
I wasn't home last August and somehow missed this.
It's the first time I ever hear a snake bite victim's experience first hand. I thank you very much Perry for such a detailed and informative account. I'm relieved that you made it through all that and also that you're able to resume your outdoor lifestyle.
Holy Moly, that was some rollercoaster! glad you made it through to tell the tale
Thanks guys! Every day is a gift..........................................I don't even want to think about what it would be like if I could not go back into the outdoors.................................
I've shared your story a bunch of times.........
RutNut - what is the suggested procedure if struck by a venomous snake.?
Thanks for the info I learned a lot from your ordeal pray for a speedy recovery.
Matt- basically get to Help ASAP! First responders have a saying: "TIME IS TISSUE!" In other words, the quicker you can get help and get the anti-venom, the less tissue damage. SO- don't mess with the snake, don't mess with the bite, just get to an ER ASAP!(or call 911)
ALso- if you are not sure what kind of venomous snake it is, it would probably be a good idea to take a pic of it on your phone(from a SAFE distance ;-)
Rut Nut's Link
I posted this earlier in the thread- you might have missed it
That is actually a screenshot from SNAKEBITE911 which is a (FREE) APP from the makers of CroFab(anti-venom). Lots of good information and it actually has an algorithm that walks you thru exactly what to do when you are bitten.
Thank you so much - I recalled seeing you post this before. Thanks again for the information and wishing you continued success in your recovery.
Thanks for all the info and sharing your story
No problem guys- hopefully nobody has to go thru what I went thru, but if so, hopefully this helps.........................................
DO HAVE GOOD MEDICAL INSURANCE
I saw an article in our local paper recently with an interview by a local reptile "expert" who was quoted as saying a Timber Rattlesnake bite could cost you $100,000. I e-mailed him and told him that probably would not even cover the anti-venom! (@$7300/vial and 15 vials being the avg treatment)
My 9 day stay in the hospital cost $286,000+ anti-venom was $219,000 (what insurance paid- drug company wanted $420,000) 2 medivac chopper rides $55,000 With follow up dr. visits, labwork and P.T. the total was well over $600,000 I'm still paying off the nearly $7500 that was NOT covered by insurance...................
Rut Nut! GREAT to hear you are still improving. Man, what a ride for you. Driving through PA a week ago, my wife said: "Hey, isn't this where the guy on Bowsite got bit by a rattle snake"? That story stuck out so much after I told her, that she remembered months later! Happy to report to her you are gaining on it. And hope you are looking forward to a good year afield here!
Thanks Will! I am known around town and at work as "THAT guy!" I tell everyone I can........................ NOT to be THAT guy! ;-) It's amazing how many people don't realize there are Timber Rattlers in Pa, and in the Northeast for that matter!
I'm looking forward to spending time in the turkey woods this Spring and lots of hiking and camping in the SUmmer.(with snake boots) I had plans to go back to where I was bitten this summer and finish my trip. But after much consideration I have decided to give my family a break and not do any backpacking this year. I'm just starting to fully comprehend what I put them all thru, and for once in my life I think I will take it easy and not worry them.
You still have a little time left to fall into an electric fence and become “The Rattler” .We always could use one more Avenger.:)
Wow. For $55K you could just about buy your own helicopter and hire a pilot to fly it!
I don’t think so John..................you ever see inside one of these medivac choppers? I doubt you could buy all the medical equipment in there for $55k!
Glad you are "OK" I never gave much thought as an episode I saw on a western diamondback wasn't anywhere near this serious. I developed a cocky attitude. Are the Western Diamondbacks any more or less toxic than the Eastern Timber ? - thanks
Thanks Mark! Not sure about the diamondbacks. From what I read about the timber Rattlers, there can be a lot of variability in toxicity depending on location, time of year and size of snake. Also, speed of anti-venom treatment is a BIG factor. The sooner you get the treatment, the less tissue damage as a rule...............
Just found this about toxicity
Here’s what they say about Western Diamondbacks
Have seen and poked/killed "rattlers" at 6,200 feet on the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada of CA. Not taking a chance or being eco-friendly Subaru with them anywhere near camp, dogs, kids, beer drinking etc.
I don’t blame you! I now carry a Taurus Judge when I’m in the woods- it shoots .410 shotshells and .45 Colt. It’s loaded with three .45’s and two .410’s.
You’re not gonna believe this.........................
I work at a VA Hospital and this morning they found a Copperhead in the office next door to our clinic! It was coiled in the corner of the room when the clerk walked in.
Never thought I would need my snakeboots at work- especially INSIDE the building! ;-)
Gonna start to call you the snake whisperer, Rut.
I was thinking more like.................snake MAGNET! : (
Rut Nut's Link
Rut, copperheads must like people. Last year on the news here there was an article about a copperhead that was hanging out in a potted plant literally just outside a hotel door - right in that area you would walk into the building to register for a room. We are the far northern range for them, and this one was not to big - going on the TV images - but I remember thinking it would have stunk if the dang thing had slithered inside!
Don't know about that Will, but I heard about this one on the news a few weeks ago in Patterson N.J. In case you don't know, Patterson is NOT in the "boonies"..................it's basically a suburb of NYC. Not the place you would expect to find a Copperhead!
Yikes RutNut. I couldnt remember much about that story I noted above, but turns out someone was bit, but I never saw anything else about it, hopefully they were fine. Here's a snippet. https://boston.cbslocal.com/2018/09/15/braintree-snake-bites-man-hotel/
Oh geez! Boston???? Wow- hope he’s ok!
My buddy told me a woman in Reading, PA got bit in her basement last week. It was all over their local news. Spent a couple days in the hospital and got a secondary infection from the bacteria on the fangs. On antibiotics now.
My neighbor got bit in the heel here in Ca. He had some kind of allergic reaction that caused his entire leg to swell and turn black. They were talking they might have to amputate his leg at the hip. Doctors from a lot of western states were flying in to see this. Good to hear your story and recovery. You’re right about being cavalier about rattle snakes. I’ve been that way with them and black widows. I wonder how things ended for people that made the ax’s with the old snake bite kits. I bet they lost a lot of blood.
Wow! Sorry to hear that Dave! Will say some prayers- amputation above the knee is rough! : (
Just curious- do you know how it happened?
He was walking down to a river on a trail in flip flops. He thought he stepped on some star thistle that has cactus like spines. They got to the river and discovered two holes. As they walked back up the trail there was one flat rock he stepped over. There it was coiled up under the rock. This was some time back and he recovered. I was hunting and just as I was about to put my foot down one started buzzing right where I was going to step. I went straight up and did a 180 in the air. Musta looked crazy.
Oh, ok. I thought this was recent. Glad to hear he recovered! I take it with NO amputation. Did he have much tissue damage?
That I don’t know. He continued his job as a prison guard in the old part of Folsom Prison. That houses the Lifers and is a very tough place to work. He isn’t a very imposing figure but must be tough as nails.
Late prayers sent for full recovery, looks like you've been talking to him. Good to see the recovery!! You might take a look at Turtle Skin Gaiters, snake proof, light weight and can be used to protect above the knee.
The Timber Rattlesnake has the largest fangs of any venomous snake in the US. They're long, thick, and have a very large venom canal.
"My 9 day stay in the hospital cost $286,000+ anti-venom was $219,000 (what insurance paid- drug company wanted $420,000) 2 medivac chopper rides $55,000 With follow up dr. visits, labwork and P.T. the total was well over $600,000 I'm still paying off the nearly $7500 that was NOT covered by insurance..................."
Before the great ponzi scheme to buy electoral votes by giving away free medical for those who couldn't afford, or refused to pay for their medical treatment a vial of anti-venom was less than $500 dollars and $7500 would pretty much cover the total cost of a snake bite.
Thanks Thumper! Yes, I now have the Turtle Skins too! : )
Happy to see you went with the Turtle Skins! Very happy to see your back out doing what you love!!
Prayers your way for a full recovery brother!
Thanks Scar! You CAN'T keep this country boy "OUT-da-woods!" ;-)
GOD IS GOOD! : )
I don't know how I missed this thread until now. What an amazing story you have to tell, thanks so much for all of the information. I have no doubt that someone out there will benefit at some point from your sharing of these events. We have timber rattlers in Illinois, but mostly in the extreme southern part of the state. More common are cotton mouths and copperheads and I've only seen one of those in my life. I've never seen the word "envenomation" in print, sends shivers up my spine!
Sorry if already shared. Read this today about a guy who withstands snake venom. Gives me the creeps.
Rut Nut.....maybe you could defray some of your out of pocket expenses by doing a little constrictor wrangling down in the Everglades! They’re non-venomous...just sayin ;-)
T-roy- with my luck I’d trip and hit my head on something and be knocked unconscious...............then be awakened by that giant Burmese python in the video trying to swallow me whole! ;-)
deerhunter72- Thanks! Me too! : (
Hawkarcher- Thanks for posting! That guys is Friggan NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn’t read the whole thing yet, but that guy is BAT $&%# CRAZY!!!!!!!!! Trying to build up immunity by getting bitten or injecting venom hundreds of times???!!! NO THANK YOU!!!
TTT for some Bowhunting friends that have not seen this thread.
you wouldn't believe how often I think about your story when I'm in the mt!. I'm waaay more cautious since your ordeal.
Glad to hear it Steve! I hope "being more cautious" includes some type of snake protection! (boots or gaiters ;-)
Well today was exactly 13 months since the “incident.” This weekend I went to the PA Elk Expo at Benezette. I have to say It felt a little weird driving up the road into town. Was not quite sure how I would react. But I’m glad I went. Didn’t plan to, but ended up meeting the ambulance crew that worked on me while waiting for the lifeflight. They were working the Expo. It was a little emotional, but I’m glad I got to thank them in person after the fact.
And after talking to them, it became apparent that I might not have been as “with it” as I had thought at the time! ;-) The spot on the side of the road where we met the ambulance and waited for the lifeflight did not look anything like the memory I have of it. Also one of the crew did not look anything like I remember. And so I am thinking maybe I DID tell my wife I drove myself to the hospital in Altoona like she has been claiming for months! (I just assumed she was so upset when I called her that she mis-heard me or her mind was playing tricks on her. Now it appears I was more than just a little “loopy!” : )
Ur loopy alright....;^)
Super cool u got to thank those that helped u. Im sure it meant something to them to get to see you as well!!
Yeah, they actually thanked me for stopping and taking the time to introduce myself and let them know how I was doing. They said many times they don’t ever hear what happens to folks after they treat them.
I felt it was the least I could do after what they did for me- I would not have felt right walking out of there without stopping!
Ok- now to lighten things up.....................they sold out of the Elk shirt I really wanted! BUT....................this one caught my eye and I just could not resist! ;-)
I was thinking about you just this weekend. I had my foot half-way down and backed up on auto-pilot. Had to look for a beat or two before I realized why, and then a gorgeous 5+ footer materialized right in front of me.
Timber, and not aggressive, lucky me!
A quote from exactly one year ago:
"One of the unexpected consequences of the 25 lb weight loss was a significant loss of upper body strength. I got a real shock when I went out last week to shoot my compound and could not pull it back! Tried 4 times- NO go! : (
It has been set at 62 lbs for years, and I had no problem pulling it prior to the Snakebite. I went out again yesterday and almost got to full draw (3 times). About 1” shy of “rollover”.
"My appetite is getting better and I have gained about 3 lbs the last week, so I am confident I will be able to pull the bow back soon. But it was just a real shock when I could not come to full draw! Something I never even gave a thought to."
How does a full year change things for you?
GF- THANK GOD it was not aggressive! Glad to hear it was just a close call................
Kevin- How has life changed in the last year? Well, I am just recently beginning to feel some sense of normalcy- both physically and psychologically/emotionally. It's just in the last several weeks that I have noticed some relief from the constant pain. It went from a constant, IN YOUR FACE, there from the time I wake to the time I fall asleep pain with intermittent more severe shooting pain, to more of a dull ache that is there most of the time, but at times now dissipates for very short periods where I almost forget about it. Still have some more severe shooting pains, but less and less every month. Still have some swelling(mostly at the end of the day) and numbness on the top of my foot, but even that is starting to dissipate.
As far as the appetite goes, unfortunately it is back to "normal" and I have gained all the weight I had lost(and THEN some! ;-) I actually need to lose a few pounds and do a little more cardio than I have been doing. But thankfully strength is back and I now have NO problem drawing the bow.
I think the biggest change is in my attitude. I have often read that things change drastically after a life-altering event, but until you go thru it you just can't fully comprehend! I now Literally THANK GOD for every day! Every sunrise is a blessing and those moments you spend with your family and friends just become so important to me now! I got to watch my daughter's first varsity swim meet, got to watch her relay team win the district championship and go on to States. I remember sitting in the stands at Bucknell U. with a tear running down my face, so GRATEFUL to be there watching and taking part in my daughter's special day! I also remember joining my bowhunting brothers last Sept for our annual early season deer hunt. Just to be able to sit in a stand and watch the sunrise, hunting with my buddies....................................I didn't even need to see a deer! I sat there again with tears running down my face thinking how BLESSED I am! It really is true how often we take these things for granted!
I now have just about every snake protection you can get: (hunting)Boots, gaiters(to wear with my backpacking boots) and even rubber snake boots for the swamps and rainy weather. And I am hyper-vigilant now when in the woods or anywhere snakes might be hiding. I usually have a hiking staff to poke around anywhere I have to reach and to use in front of me as I hike. This was recommended as the snakes usually strike at the first thing that moves near them.
ANd I never was a real emotional person, but now something will trigger me at times and the tears will start flowing, but they are tears of JOY! It usually happens in church when singing. A few weeks ago I was singing the words: " I HAVE BREATH................I HAVE LIFE..............YOU HAVE SAVED ME..............................." ANd I thought to myself............................LITERALLY! THANK YOU GOD! : )
Great reply. Truly amazing how a snakebite to the leg can have such a profound effect on the heart and mind. Hopefully some day you'll use that leg for a special dance with your daughter. Thanks for the inspiring update!
Rut, I had forgotten about your ordeal until this thread surfaced again. Glad you’re healing up and things are looking better for you.
Thanks for the kind words and well wishes guys!
Kevin- I had no idea what was in store for me as I lay in that hospital bed. The physical challenges were just a part of it. I never really gave a thought to the mental/emotional side of things. Those things slowly started to emerge over the weeks and months.
I can’t say I don’t have tough times or rough days now, but when I do, the Good Lord tends to remind me it could be a LOT worse! ;-)
Say hello to my little friend!
GF - am I crazy or are you in CT? I know there are some down there, and always wondered if I'd see one (or a copper head) while hunting, I'm amazed you saw that thing!
Good to hear you are mending and getting stronger and stronger Rut!
GF- hope you “zoomed in” on that pic! That looks like you were within striking distance. Amazing the color variations on those Timber Rattlers! Looks different than the 2 I’ve seen!
This was the dark color phase I saw 4 or 5 yrs ago(not the exact snake- but looked the same)
THANKS City! Glad to see you back on Bowsite! ;-)
My favorite color phase is the dead color phase. It’s the best one
This species is extremely dangerous but luckily the one's i have encountered have not been aggressive towards me! Anyone hunting Az should be careful esp if u have a dog in your camp!