Alright, this story needs to be told. First to illustrate how careful we need to be. Second, to say thanks to Jerry (Mr. Cachemates to the noobies), for saving my hide, and third , just because it was pretty exciting.
Cachemates, rklmbl, and QuartzCachers (sans the much smarter one of the two), were all headed back up Ouachita County road 25 after nailing down a bunch of FTF's on some new Pshelto caches.
We were all in our own vehicles and headed back north to get back to our respective homes. I was trailing the group right behind Mr. and Mrs. C, when I saw Jerry swerve hard to the left. I knew immediately what that was about, and the tail I saw slither out from under their truck told me it was either a huge snake, or a small alligator. We got past the spot and stopped, Jerry rolled down the window and said that it was a big ol' rattlesnake. So we backed up to the spot where he had hit it, and I saw tracks in the road from where the snake had crawled out into the ditch.
Now here is the part where I temporarily lost my mind. I hate big snakes, and I think they all must die. (Apologies to my good friend OEnavigator. We differ on this point) Anyway, I jumped out of the Jeep, and stepped toward the ditch, to go finish the job. I started pulling apart the chest high weeds and looking down. I visually cleared an area where I felt that I could safely put my foot, and was contemplating just such a move, when Jerry, being much wiser and level headed, said DON'T GO OUT THERE! As he walked up, we looked down, and less than two feet from where I was gonna step, was five feet of coiled up, ready to strike, half run over, PISSED OFF, velvet tail rattler! He was as big around as my forearm, and would have nailed me good. I could have easily lost a foot, a leg, or my life, if he had chomped down on me. While the venom of pit vipers is very nasty stuff, the bacterial infections from snake bites can be as bad as the venom. That would not have been the case here, as his sheer size indicates that the amount of venom would have been substansial. It depends a lot on when he last ate. Either way, I am glad we didn't find out.
So let me just say a big ol' THANK YOU, to my good friend Jerry, for saving my hide. Also, let me just remind y'all to BE CAREFUL out there! When the weather gets nicer for you and me, it is also nicer for the snakes, and they are more likely to be crawling around when it is 75 or 80 degreees, than when it is in the nineties, so keep that in mind as the temps start to get nice.
Guess what?! I got a fever, and the only prescription...is more cowbell!!