Fisherman bitten by venomous snake while noodling

By Kristen Shanahan, KXII-TV

If you go sticking your hand it dark places, you never know what you’ll find. One man found a venomous snake while noodling — and it bit him.

Noodling is a fishing sport where people wade or dive in murky water and stick their hands in mud banks or rock crevices in an effort to catch a fish, only Destry Mitchell caught a snake. And it nearly cost him his life.

Mitchell, 20, says he was noodling with friends at McGee Creek Lake in southwestern Oklahoma when he was bitten by a three-and-a-half-foot cottonmouth.

“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 right behind the rock,” he said. “I guess he saw my finger and he looked at that finger and just latched onto it.”

After pulling the snake off, Mitchell alerted his friends who rushed him to the hospital.

Soon, Mitchell said it felt “like somebody has a hammer just beating you in the hand with a hammer over and over again.”

Mitchell says he was taken to an area hospital but ended up at OU Medical Center. By that point he realized how severe his injury was.

Snake bite“When I first got there they were talking about death, and I was like, ‘I’m not going to lay in this bed and die over a snake bite,'” Mitchell said. “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.'”

Hearing her son could lose his life brought his mother to tears.

“That’s the worst thing any mother in the world could hear,” Tamara Edwards, mom, said.

After 14 vials of anti venom, Mitchell is alive and well — and his limbs are in tact. He says he thanks God and his 3-month-old son.

“That’s the only thing that was going through my mind was my little boy — playing catch with him, teaching him how to fish with a rod and reel.”

After his near-death experience Mitchell says he’s unsure if he will ever noodle again, but has a message for those who do.

“Noodling is a very, very dangerous sport. When you go in there and check your holes make sure your rocks are stable,” he said. “You go under, make sure your surroundings are fine, make sure there’s no snakes on rocks.”

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