In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 7,000 to 8,000 people are bit by venomous snakes each year and about five of those people die.
It was a Saturday a couple of years ago and “Bubba” and “Cletus” were at the hunting club doing a little pre-deer season maintenance. The list was straightforward enough: clear low limbs on the trails with the pole saw, check the ladder stands to make sure they were safe, clean out the shooting houses.
It was mid-October, and conditions were perfect. A late week cold front had ushered in cooler, drier air. The sky was that deep blue you see only in the fall in Alabama. It had all the makings for a good day.
Before leaving the barn, our heroes loaded up supplies on their four-wheelers. There was the cooler, of course, battery operated radio to listen to the college football games, tools, straps, a broom and two full cans of that wasp and hornet spray that shoots like 15 feet.
They had evicted enough “wausts,” as they say in the Black Belt, to come prepared. The stinging insects were usually the biggest threat to these kinds of activities.
Notice I write “usually.”
So, when they came to a shooting houses, they took turns. That way each faced the same chances of getting stung. It was climb the ladder, spray can in hand, snatch open the door, spot any nests, spray quick, slam the door, toss the can away, scamper down the ladder and wait.
Sometimes it took several attempts to completely clean out a…
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