APACHE, Okla. – From March right on through the 1st of June, you can find Dennis Crow and Kevin McCray in one of two places: hunting snakes near town or working at the local co-op.
“We are hunting western diamondback rattlesnakes today,” Crow said. “We have a good time doing it.”
For the better part of a decade, the two have hunted out the dens where rattlesnakes hibernate. The best hunting occurs just after the weather is warm enough for them to emerge.
Conversations with snake hunters inevitably turn toward close calls and, sometimes, practical jokes that only snake hunters can fully appreciate.
“We gig each other a lot,” Crow said.
But, it’s taken a full year now for Crow to come to terms with how close he came to dying on a snake hunt. Last March, he was walking through tall grass and a rattler, the biggest one he ever caught, tagged him first.
“Both his fangs were lodged in my boot,” he said.
The snake poison missed Crow, but the scare didn’t.
“I had no idea what was going on with me at the time,” he said.
Ten minutes after Crow’s monster snake was safely secured in the bucket, he started feeling funny.
The cause was a major heart attack.
The big snake almost got Crow another way.
Do Crow think the snake caused his heart attack?
“It’s hard to say,” Crow said.
“That’s probably what broke the plaque loose that got to you,” McCray said.
“It probably did,” Crow said.
Doctors in Oklahoma City put a couple of stents in Crow’s heart. He lost some weight, too.
Crow and McCray are both back hunting again this year, chasing down snakes and adrenaline.
“The adrenaline rush you receive, you cannot imagine,” he said.
Their Facebook page is full of adventures. KSNAK-TV bites on followers all over the world.
“Katching Snakes Near Apache Ko-op,” Crow said.
Truth be told, McCray is a heart patient too. He suffered his own heart attack just prior to snake season in 2018.
Both insist they have a new appreciation for this country and what’s most important in life…
“Kids and snake hunting,” Crow said.
The annual Apache Rattlesnake Festival takes place April 20-21.