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Turkey Hunter Survives Timber Rattler Strike With $10 Bite Kit

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April 30, 2013

Turkey Hunter Survives Timber Rattler Strike With $10 Bite Kit

By CJ Lotz

An Alabama turkey hunter was in the woods when a 6-foot timber rattlesnake bit him in the lower leg.

"[The] best way I can describe it as someone taking a full swing with a baseball bat and hitting me in my calf," Chad Cross said.

He slowed his breathing and pulled out the venom extraction kit that he’s carried in his gear for years. He used a cup and plunger to create suction and pull out the venom.

When he spoke with a doctor at the hospital soon after, he learned he would have died without the $10 kit and his calm, quick-thinking.

More from WSFA 12 News.

Comments (17)

Top Rated
All Comments
from TM wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

This marks the first time in history that someone actually used one of those kits.

Gives me hope that someday I will be vindicated for all of my emergency blankets, hand operated radios, and iodine tablets.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Well, a six foot timber rattler would be a world record (almost - record is 6'2.5"). Most timber rattlers are less than forty inches (quite a difference!). I suspect that his hunting boot probably did more to save his life than the snake bite kit. Thanks to the boots the snake undoubtedly didn't get much penetration.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Two or three years ago I come very close to setting down on a copperhead while setting up on a gobbler in the early light of dawn. This past year I came very close to stepping on a cottonmouth walking out the first evening of bow season(October 15). It'll definitely make you aware in the warm part of season and you will always make sure you have good batteries in your flashlights.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Ontario Honker: How much penetration do you need? If it was a timber rattler and not a diamondback (which are pretty rare in Alabama) it would have to be a huge one to get through pants, boots, and his skin to do the damage that it did. I've seen the pictures through a friend who hunts with Chad and the swelling on his leg was pretty sever.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Severe

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

This guy wasn't "lucky" but had the foresight to think ahead. Good for him!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Bitten on foot by a 30" copperhead evening October 15, 2008 and used the Sawyer Extractor within 5 minutes of bite. Probably did more harm than good.

Crofab would have eased/eliminated most of the very painful after-effects but is EXTREMELY expensive, especially when tied to a hospital stay. If you get a bad bite, get to a hospital that has Crofab!

The bite in question here may well have been a "dry bite" or one in which the snake decided to waste very little venom - the decisions on venom use and quantity is made by the snake.

Past 3 summers took 62 copperheads and one canebrake off our 2-1/2 acre yard. Biggest copperhead at 48" and the canebrake at 54".

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Brian: The effectiveness of the venom increases with depth because a deeper bite usually means the snake will be able to deliver more venom before extracting its fangs. Also a shallow bite would likely be more successfully "treated" with the gyppo suction kit because the venom would necessarily be deposited closer to the surface. There are other factors to consider, particularly whether the timber rattler retains type A, B, or C venom. I was surprised to learn there could be so much venom variation in one species of snake.

I don't hunt with snake gators when I go back to Montana every fall for pheasants but maybe I should think about it. My older lab got nailed two years ago by a prairie rattler in late October on a near-frosty night (I could see my breath in the moonlight). Pretty weird but goes to show you that anything can happen. Luckily the snake clearly only hit her with one fang and prairie rattlers aren't terribly venomous. She still had to sit on the bench for three weeks and, as you can tell by the photo of her in my profile, she wasn't very happy about that.

Always carry benydril in snake country as anaphilaxis reaction kills more often than the venom does.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Hi...

Kudukid s quite accurate in his reply. CroFab is the best (to date) antivenin (yes, that's spelled right) available. And, it is PRICEY...!!

According information from: Kaiser Permanenti, drugstore.com, WebMD, California Dep't of Fish and Game and the Utah Poison Control Center:

Approximately 20% of rattlesnake bites are dry bites (no venom injected), and approximately 25% are serious bites. Most bites occur due to trying to play with and/or capture Rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake bites are usually treated with the drug CroFab, which had FDA approval since October 02, 2000. CroFab wholesales for $4,687.76 for two vials, (as of two years ago)...!! Moderate invenomation may require 10 to 20 vials of CroFab. Severe bites may require 20 or more vials.

Call your nearest hospital to see if they carry any, and what the costs are.

The above authorities can give you more info as to how to treat venomous snake bites until you can get to a hospital.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

If a bite is serious go get some Crofab ASAP! It will work on all US rattlesnakes, moccasins and copperheads.Be prepared for hospital/doctor bills equal to a mortgage on a middle-income house.

Serum sickness with Crofab is also much reduced from the earlier antivenins made from horse blood.

Anaphylaxis is another worry. Some of the different allergy medicines may also work to reduce that risk.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Normal first dosage of CroFab is 4-6 vials intravenously. Hospitals will charge anywhere from $2000 to $4000 per vial depending on their current economic outlook.
If the bite is a copperhead, you may want to consider toughing it out with some aspirin unless you are very young or very old or in bad health.
Generally your own body will tell you quite quickly if a bite is serious. Listen.
Bad bites are definitely life threatening but only a couple result in death in the United States each year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

If I ever get bite by a poisonous snake, I will immediately pull out my Stanley tape measure and try to get the exact size on the deadly snake while he is crawling away. I may get hit a couple more times and die but at least I please everybody on this website with the proper measurement of the snake.

Give this guy a break! He was just tagged by a deadly snake and was in a little upset, in shock and pain. Stop slipping hairs!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Stop splitting hairs. sorry

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from OKFLGA wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

WOW! Modern medicine be dammed.

CUTTING and suction was proven to create more problems than any North American snake bit back in 1954. I guess the snake bit kit manufactures still like making $$.

And reporters don't check it out before publishing.

Increased hart rate, infection, shock all are compounded by cutting, with no effect on the venom distribution.

Check it out. Don't cut a snake bite.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from GENO wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

It's a better idea to get to a hospital than trying to operator yourself.... Plus, the only effect the suction cups have are negative.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

To be honest, this story certainly wasn't restrained in the telling. There are a great many variables in any snake bite. Too many to get a clear idea of what actually took place.

His doctor telling him he would have died but for using the kit makes for exciting reading but death of a big healthy man from a single leg bite is unlikely without striking a vein or artery.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike0714 wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

The reason I have camp kevlar snake chaps!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Bitten on foot by a 30" copperhead evening October 15, 2008 and used the Sawyer Extractor within 5 minutes of bite. Probably did more harm than good.

Crofab would have eased/eliminated most of the very painful after-effects but is EXTREMELY expensive, especially when tied to a hospital stay. If you get a bad bite, get to a hospital that has Crofab!

The bite in question here may well have been a "dry bite" or one in which the snake decided to waste very little venom - the decisions on venom use and quantity is made by the snake.

Past 3 summers took 62 copperheads and one canebrake off our 2-1/2 acre yard. Biggest copperhead at 48" and the canebrake at 54".

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pathfinder1 wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Hi...

Kudukid s quite accurate in his reply. CroFab is the best (to date) antivenin (yes, that's spelled right) available. And, it is PRICEY...!!

According information from: Kaiser Permanenti, drugstore.com, WebMD, California Dep't of Fish and Game and the Utah Poison Control Center:

Approximately 20% of rattlesnake bites are dry bites (no venom injected), and approximately 25% are serious bites. Most bites occur due to trying to play with and/or capture Rattlesnakes.

Rattlesnake bites are usually treated with the drug CroFab, which had FDA approval since October 02, 2000. CroFab wholesales for $4,687.76 for two vials, (as of two years ago)...!! Moderate invenomation may require 10 to 20 vials of CroFab. Severe bites may require 20 or more vials.

Call your nearest hospital to see if they carry any, and what the costs are.

The above authorities can give you more info as to how to treat venomous snake bites until you can get to a hospital.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Ontario Honker: How much penetration do you need? If it was a timber rattler and not a diamondback (which are pretty rare in Alabama) it would have to be a huge one to get through pants, boots, and his skin to do the damage that it did. I've seen the pictures through a friend who hunts with Chad and the swelling on his leg was pretty sever.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Brian: The effectiveness of the venom increases with depth because a deeper bite usually means the snake will be able to deliver more venom before extracting its fangs. Also a shallow bite would likely be more successfully "treated" with the gyppo suction kit because the venom would necessarily be deposited closer to the surface. There are other factors to consider, particularly whether the timber rattler retains type A, B, or C venom. I was surprised to learn there could be so much venom variation in one species of snake.

I don't hunt with snake gators when I go back to Montana every fall for pheasants but maybe I should think about it. My older lab got nailed two years ago by a prairie rattler in late October on a near-frosty night (I could see my breath in the moonlight). Pretty weird but goes to show you that anything can happen. Luckily the snake clearly only hit her with one fang and prairie rattlers aren't terribly venomous. She still had to sit on the bench for three weeks and, as you can tell by the photo of her in my profile, she wasn't very happy about that.

Always carry benydril in snake country as anaphilaxis reaction kills more often than the venom does.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

If I ever get bite by a poisonous snake, I will immediately pull out my Stanley tape measure and try to get the exact size on the deadly snake while he is crawling away. I may get hit a couple more times and die but at least I please everybody on this website with the proper measurement of the snake.

Give this guy a break! He was just tagged by a deadly snake and was in a little upset, in shock and pain. Stop slipping hairs!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from OKFLGA wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

WOW! Modern medicine be dammed.

CUTTING and suction was proven to create more problems than any North American snake bit back in 1954. I guess the snake bit kit manufactures still like making $$.

And reporters don't check it out before publishing.

Increased hart rate, infection, shock all are compounded by cutting, with no effect on the venom distribution.

Check it out. Don't cut a snake bite.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from TM wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

This marks the first time in history that someone actually used one of those kits.

Gives me hope that someday I will be vindicated for all of my emergency blankets, hand operated radios, and iodine tablets.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ALJoe wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Two or three years ago I come very close to setting down on a copperhead while setting up on a gobbler in the early light of dawn. This past year I came very close to stepping on a cottonmouth walking out the first evening of bow season(October 15). It'll definitely make you aware in the warm part of season and you will always make sure you have good batteries in your flashlights.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian Jackson wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Severe

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 2Poppa wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

This guy wasn't "lucky" but had the foresight to think ahead. Good for him!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 50 weeks 3 days ago

Well, a six foot timber rattler would be a world record (almost - record is 6'2.5"). Most timber rattlers are less than forty inches (quite a difference!). I suspect that his hunting boot probably did more to save his life than the snake bite kit. Thanks to the boots the snake undoubtedly didn't get much penetration.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

If a bite is serious go get some Crofab ASAP! It will work on all US rattlesnakes, moccasins and copperheads.Be prepared for hospital/doctor bills equal to a mortgage on a middle-income house.

Serum sickness with Crofab is also much reduced from the earlier antivenins made from horse blood.

Anaphylaxis is another worry. Some of the different allergy medicines may also work to reduce that risk.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Normal first dosage of CroFab is 4-6 vials intravenously. Hospitals will charge anywhere from $2000 to $4000 per vial depending on their current economic outlook.
If the bite is a copperhead, you may want to consider toughing it out with some aspirin unless you are very young or very old or in bad health.
Generally your own body will tell you quite quickly if a bite is serious. Listen.
Bad bites are definitely life threatening but only a couple result in death in the United States each year.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Gary Devine wrote 50 weeks 2 days ago

Stop splitting hairs. sorry

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GENO wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

It's a better idea to get to a hospital than trying to operator yourself.... Plus, the only effect the suction cups have are negative.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

To be honest, this story certainly wasn't restrained in the telling. There are a great many variables in any snake bite. Too many to get a clear idea of what actually took place.

His doctor telling him he would have died but for using the kit makes for exciting reading but death of a big healthy man from a single leg bite is unlikely without striking a vein or artery.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mike0714 wrote 50 weeks 1 day ago

The reason I have camp kevlar snake chaps!!!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment