Funny snake bite story

After reading the thread on the fella in the park, I reflected back upon my worst snake encounter in the badlands.  So I figured I would share it with my online friends.

I grew up in New Town and that is kind of on the fringe of rattler country, nonetheless, snakes are and should always be a concern when in the Badlands or even the fringe areas during the witching months of May through late Sept. Don't let them keep you from enjoying the place, but you have to be realistic in how crappy it could be to get bitten far and away from help.

Long, but a funny story from a few years back. I was bowhunting by myself south of Medora several miles in the rough stuff. Spotted a pretty nice buck and some does as they bedded down on the side of butte about 1.5 - 2 miles away. Odd thing was they bedded down with the wind in their face and the top of the butte at their back, so I was pretty sure I could sneak around and come up over the top of the butte and get a good shot at him.

So about an hour and a half later, I find myself working along the rim of the butte and I could see the top of the tree that marked their location. Slowly I snuck towards them, thinking I was already within range if they popped up as I stepped over the rim. Only about an 18 inch ledge, so I had slowly stepped just one foot over when I felt unbelievable pain in my right calf. Still moving slowly I had a brief WTF moment as I peered over the edge and saw a rattle, an unmistakeable rattlesnake rattle protruding out from underneath my boot.

My heart literally stopped beating as I could clearly see my pickup parked 2 miles away on the top of another butte, remember it took me well over an hour to get to this point. The pain just wouldn't stop and it was obvious to me (in this span of 0.0003 seconds) that I was in trouble. My truck is a damn long ways away, and because I have stepped on this rattler, he has not yet let go of my leg!!! So I am now thinking I am going to have to reach around and grab this SOB to get him off of my leg. Not liking the prospect of also getting bit in the hand, I started to slowly pivot my leg so I could see and grab him.

As my leg came back into view, lo and behold that "rattler" on the back of my leg was nothing but a rather large prickly pear cactus buried to the hilt. Yet another WTF moment, I looked again and yep that is still an unmistakeable rattlesnake rattle protruding out from under my damn boot, but I can't see the frigging snake. Slowly I retrieved my leg from over the bank and once my boot was no longer in the way I took another look. I had stepped on a perfectly coiled up skeleton of a rattlesnake. Maybe only a 2-2.5 ft one, but a skeleton nonetheless.

It wasn't until after I unsunk the damn cactus from my calf that I even thought about that nice buck. Despite me thinking I had remained perfectly quiet the whole time, the deer were long gone. Not even sure they were there during my snake experience as muleys often move often in the heat of early Sept, but never did see that buck again.

After that little experience and the very definite feeling of dread having thought I had been bitten, I now own a pair of snake gators. Don't wear them often, but if it's early Sept and I am hunting alone and a long ways from civilization, you damn right I do. It was a very bad feeling thinking I had been bit, even if it is by the wuss of the rattlesnake family.

In hindsight, I wish I would have brought home the snake skeleton. It was perfectly intact and I don't think I even crushed it as I never put much weight on it. Oh well, I wasn't in a particularly adventurous mood after that little hike.

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nmariner
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Joined: Sunday, October 21, 2007 - 11:20am

Ive had two rattle snake encounters in two years...first one me and a few friends canoed down the little missourri in late may.  We decided to get out stretch our legs the rest stayed by the canoes while me and a buddy decided to climb to the top of a butte..  The only way up it was a steep little ravine in between two steep clay side about 15 feet from the top it got steeper and turned to loose clay instead of grass we had climbing the ravine.  Two small ledges/paths let parralel to the slope one in each direction.  I took one he took the other after rounding the corner I had a dead end so turned around.  Right before I get back to the flatter area from where I started a rattler comes out of the bush and tries to slither up the hill beside me so close I could have grabbed him(mind you Im leaning against a steep slope on a small path with a near vertical 40-50 foot drop below me) well he tried to climb and couldnt and fell back down to the path at my feet.  I had two option back up and hope he didnt take the path or jump over him onto the flatter ground...I took the latter.  All of this was done bare boot in shorts with no shirt on.

The second time was bowhunting with my uncle.  We were working our way back to the truck along a long ledge thinking the finger would lead us back to the truck.  We came to a point in our decent where the finger turned to a clay point with a narrow steep slope down about 4' wide and drop offs to each side.  There was no way down but a controlled slide so down I slid.  After about a 20' drop in height it flattened out with a big pretrified rock right at the bottom.  I hit the rock and bounced down onto my feet I turned around to wait for my uncle when I hear rattling like crazy.  Sure enough there are two rattlers sunning themselves right in front of my feet.   I had to grab a stick and move them to clear a path for the uncle(shaking the whole time).

P.S. I have a deep hate for the damn things.

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Meelosh
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Joined: Friday, May 26, 2006 - 1:14am

I ran into them all the time when I worked for the park . They really don't bother me. What scared me was the bison. You get bit by a snake, you got 4 hours to get the antivenom. A big old bull decides to go after you, and its over in seconds. One day, we ran into 7 rattlers. My supervisor stepped on a 4 footer for number 6. Number seven was a little freaky though. I stopped in some thick brush to relieve myself. I zipped up and took a half step/turn and the grass started rattling not 12 inches from my foot.

Is it impious to weigh goose music and art in the same scales? I think not, because the true hunter is merely a noncreative artist. Who painted the first picture on a bone in the caves of France? A hunter. Who alone in our modern life so thrills to the sight of living beauty that he will endure hunger and thirst and cold to feed his eye upon it? The hunter. Who wrote the great hunter's poem about the sheer wonder of the wind, the hail, and the snow, the stars, the lightnings, and the clouds, the lion, the deer, and the wild goat, the raven, the hawk, and the eagle, and above all the eulogy to the horse? Job, one of the great dramatic artists of all time. Poets sing and hunters scale the mountains primarily for one and the same reason--the thrill of beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game primarily for one and the same reason--to reduce that beauty to possession. The differences are largely matters of degree, consciousness, and that sly arbiter of the classification of human activities, language. If, then, we can live without goose music, we may as well do away with stars, or sunsets, or Iliads. But the point is we would be fools to do away with any of them. 

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pigsticker
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Joined: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 12:28am

Same story as most, bowhunting in some clay breaks and was stalking through an area. Heard a rattle in some thick brush not more than 2 feet away. I quickly sorted out where he was then commenced to put an arrow into his coiled body. I nailed him with another arrow and pretty much had him staked down to the ground. I then took another arrow, pinned his head down and cut off his head with my knife.

I now have a nice 8 buttoner to relish from the hunt.


This is my BOOMSTICK!!!

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pigsticker
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Joined: Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - 12:28am

Meelosh Said:
I ran into them all the time when I worked for the park . They really don't bother me. What scared me was the bison. You get bit by a snake, you got 4 hours to get the antivenom. A big old bull decides to go after you, and its over in seconds. One day, we ran into 7 rattlers. My supervisor stepped on a 4 footer for number 6. Number seven was a little freaky though. I stopped in some thick brush to relieve myself. I zipped up and took a half step/turn and the grass started rattling not 12 inches from my foot.

Yes, the bison will crush you like a little bug.


This is my BOOMSTICK!!!