A hunter in Montgomery, Ala., managed to save his own life on Sunday after being bitten by a venomous timber rattlesnake.
Montgomery resident Chad Cross was hunting turkey in the woods near the Farmington subdivision when a deadly timber rattlesnake bit his leg, local television station WSFA reports.
“I got a good look at the snake. He was about 6-foot long,” Cross told WSFA. "[The] Best way I can describe it as someone taking a full swing with a baseball bat and hitting me in my calf.”
The snake’s fangs penetrated Cross’ hunting boot, which still bears the mark of the attack. Once bitten, Cross, who was hunting by himself, began to panic.
"I was so nervous and scared. I knew I had to calm down and get my heart rate down because the faster my heart was pumping, the faster my heart was pumping I knew the faster that venom was going through my system," Cross told WSFA.
Faced with poisoned wound and no prospect of medical attention, Cross turned to a $10 venom extraction kit that he brought along on the hunt.
"I had to read the directions first because I never opened it up. I've carried it with me in my turkey hunting equipment for years. The process takes a total of 15 minutes and then it says to get someone with anti-venom," Cross said.
Cross described the process by which the kit extracted the deadly rattlesnake poison:
"This is the actual cup that I used. You got different sizes depending on your bite that you are treating. But you just insert it in. You pull the plunger out and you put it over the individual wound/hole and as you push the plunger in, it creates a suction. You can see it pulls a little bit of skin up in, but that's what pulled it all out and I think saved my life," Cross told WSFA.
According to his doctor, Cross’ assessment was correct.
"He said, if you got a full dose of venom in you. You would have died before you ever made it back to your truck if you hadn't had that kit with you," Cross said.
Eventually, Cross spent two days in a local hospital, where he received a tetanus shot, antibiotics and pain medicine, WSFA reports. So far, he appears to have escaped the snakebite without any lingering tissue or nerve damage.