Well known Oklahoma rattlesnake hunter dies from snake bite

OKEENE, Okla.-- Rattlesnake hunting was in Tony Felder’s DNA.

“I think it was the thrill and comraderie,” said his dad, Anthony Felder.

His dad and grandfather both did the sport.

They didn’t think too much about what could happen.

“No, I didn’t worry about that any more than I did about … we’re all invincible you know when we’re doing stuff. It don’t matter what it is,” said Felder.

Felder wasn’t hunting the rattlesnake that bit him.

He came across the reptile while counting cattle, put it in a bucket and took it home.

“And when they were coming back, the snake was crawling across the road. And when they seen it was a big snake, they were like, well, we’ll just take him home and take some pictures of him. So then they put him in a bucket and took him home. And then when they got home and opened the bucket instead of the snake having to reach him in and get him out with a tong or something, came out and got him straight in the hand,” said Felder.

His dad believes the fang went straight into a blood vessel and quickly transported the venom throughout his body.

Tony Felder started rattlesnake hunting when he was just a kid.

He hunted the snakes and provided them for the annual rattlesnake roundup in Okeene.

“I guess we all just think that won’t ever happen, I guess. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s a passion that once you’ve got it, it don’t go away,” said friend and fellow rattlesnake hunter, Dave Wilson.

Wilson says Felder will be remembered for his passion.

“Full of life and love, all the way. And always just trying to have fun, enjoying life,” said Wilson.

And he says despite what happened to Felder, he will continue to hunt.

“Tony would not want me to change, no,” said Wilson.

The family has set up a gofundme account to help with funeral expenses.

If you’d like to help out, you can visit the page here.