Man Bitten by Venomous Snake While Noodling
I consider myself to be a somewhat daring person. I've gone rock climbing, rappelling, scuba diving, surfing and paragliding. But when I had the opportunity to go noodling with some of the Realtree editorial team last month, I balked. I had every intention of giving it a try. I put on my bathing suit and headed out in the boat with the rest of the group, but when it came time to get in the water and stick my hand into a deep, dark hole where no telling what lurked, I just couldn't do it.
Two fears kept me plastered in my seat. The first was that a gigantic catfish would latch on to my hand and hold me beneath the surface until I drowned. The second was being bitten by a venomous snake. Realtree editor Will Brantley assured me that neither tragedy was likely to happen.
After reading about a man from Atoka, Okla., who almost died after getting his finger bitten by a cottonmouth while noodling, I see that my fears were not completely unreasonable. In other words: Brantley, I told you this could happen.
According to a News12 KXI interview, Destry Mitchell, 20, was noodling with friends behind a cove on McGee Creek Lake when a 3 ½-foot-long cottonmouth bit him on the hand. Check out the gruesome images of his badly damaged finger if you dare.
Mitchell said, "There was a rock sticking up out of the middle of the water, so I put my hand on it to move around it, and there was a snake I guess right behind the rock, and I guess he saw my finger, and he looked at that finger and just latched onto it.
Mitchell's friends rushed him to the local hospital, which then, because of the seriousness of his condition, transported him to OU Medical Center.
"When I first got there they were talking about death, you know, and I was like I'm not going to lay in this bed and die over a snake bite, you know, and then they were like 'well sir you're probably going to lose your hand', and I said you can take my hand that's fine," Mitchell said.
After 14 vials of anti-venin, Mitchell, who has a 3-month-old son, survived with his hand, and even his bitten finger, intact. When asked if he planned to ever go noodling again, he said he didn't know if he would. I guess no one can blame him for his uncertainty.
Will and his wife Michelle go noodling almost every weekend during the season. They love it, and their pictures do make it look like a ton of fun. Who knows, maybe I'll give it a try at some point. Afterall, just about anything fun requires a little bit of risk.
Have you ever been noodling? Have you ever been hurt or come close to drowning while doing it?