GRAPHIC: Atoka noodler attacked by cottonmouth snake
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ATOKA COUNTY, Okla. – A man in Atoka County is recovering at home after he was bitten by a venomous snake while noodling.
Destry Mitchell, 20, says he was enjoying a day in the sun, noodling with friends behind a cove on McGee Creek Lake.
That’s when he was bitten by cottonmouth snake over three feet long.
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.”
After pulling the snake off, Mitchell alerted his friends and drove to the hospital.
He arrived at an area hospital but was transferred to OU Medical Center.Mitchell said, “It automatically feels like somebody has a hammer, just beating you in the hand with a hammer over and over again.”
He says that’s when he realized the severity of the injury.
Doctors told him the bite could have been deadly.
Mitchell said, “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. 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’s mother was shocked to hear the news.
Tamara Edwards said, “That’s the worst thing any mother in the world could hear. So it was scary.”
He says all he could focus on was his 3-month-old son.
Mitchell said, “That’s the only thing that was going through my mind was my little boy; you know, playing catch with him, teaching him how to fish with a rod and reel.”
After his near-death experience, Mitchell says he’s not sure if he will ever noodle again.
He said, “Noodling is a very, very dangerous sport. when you go in there and check your holes, make sure your rocks are stable. You go under, make sure your surroundings are fine. Make sure there’s no snakes on rocks.”