Snake Reminders on Alabama Timberland
Spring is here and the weather is starting to warm as we move into late turkey season in Alabama. As a turkey hunter, we are all aware of the dangers involved with venomous snakes. This time of year it is important to stay on top of our game and use a little more caution than normal as we walk through the woods. Most of the time it is pitch black when we walk to our favorite places to try and locate a gobbler before he flies down for the morning. Snakes are very active in the spring and fall and we are getting reports of numerous sightings and encounters on a daily basis. Early this week a hunter was bitten by a big timber rattler while turkey hunting. This man was very lucky and was able to remain calm and get to help even though it was a long way away and he was hunting alone. The hunter was bitten on the leg and the snake had no problem penetrating his muck boots and socks. The snake was large and injected a high volume of venom with this bite. Another hunter this week almost sat on a cottonmouth but was able to see it at the last second and avoid a bite. When you are hunting Alabama timberland this time of year-it is not if you encounter a snake – it’s when.
The most common venomous snake we will see is the water moccasin or cotton mouth. These snakes will be in wet areas around flooded fields or timber. They will also be in wet grass in pastures as well. The moccasin is sometimes very aggressive and will bite readily when tempted or surprised. Timber rattlers or Canebreak rattlers are responsible for some of the worst bite cases in our state. These snakes can choose the size of the dose of venom that they give during a bite and have very dangerous bites. They frequent any area with small mammals and are hard to see in the woods. I like to always try and hunt with a partner this time of spring. Also a good pair of snake boots is a must. They will protect you and also give you a little peace of mind as well. If you are bitten the most important thing to remember is to not panic. Depending on where the bite occurred-you should have some time to get to help. Remain calm so that your heart rate doesn’t elevate and pump the venom through your body as fast. Call or walk out and immediately find a hospital or doctor that can provide anti-venom. The best thing though is to make sure you use a little extra caution and watch where you step. Most snakebites occur when we can’t see the snake or the snake doesn’t see us.