An Oklahoma man’s day of hunting for snakes almost turned deadly when he captured a 6-foot rattlesnake — but not because he was bitten by the venomous serpent.
Dennis Crow was catching rattlesnakes with friends Steve Booker and Robert Lutonsky on Saturday for an upcoming rattlesnake festival in Apache.
The 51-year-old from Cyril told Fox News the weather was perfect, explaining that snakes begin to come out of their dens mid-spring when the days are longer and the weather is warmer.
Crow said he gave up deer hunting after he first went snake hunting about five years ago.
“It’s a rush — my adrenaline gets going,” he said.
Crow and his pals were searching for serpents near the Wichita Mountains in the southwestern part of the state. At first, they weren’t having much luck. But then, as Crow was walking through tall grass on the top of a hill, “it felt like someone punched me,” he recalled.
“A [rattlesnake] popped out and grabs me on the side of the boot,” Crow said. “I jumped a little bit and turned to my side, and saw that both of his fangs were stuck in my boot.”
Crow was photographed and recorded holding up the 6-foot snake on the group's Facebook page KSNAK Live Coverage shortly before he began having trouble breathing.
“I became wobbly and short of breath. I looked up at Steve [Booker] and told him that we needed to leave — I thought it had to do with my lungs," he explained.
The snake hunters were in the middle of the wilderness at the time — roughly a mile from where their pick-up truck was parked. On the way down, Crow was “stumbling and falling,” he said, adding that “it seemed like a 5-mile walk because it was hard to breathe.”
“I asked God to help me down the mountain — I just wanted to see my wife and kids one more time,” Crow said.
Crow was able to make the hike down and Lutonsky drove him to the hospital. Doctors ran tests for the next five hours and discovered Crow had a heart attack about 20 minutes after capturing the snake.
“At that point I became very scared,” Crow said about hearing the diagnosis.
"I asked God to help me down the mountain — I just wanted to see my wife and kids one more time."
Crow was taken to Oklahoma Heart Hospital early Sunday morning and was prepped for surgery to repair a blockage in his heart.
He later learned that one of the main arteries in his heart was “99 percent blocked,” while the other was “36 percent blocked.” While Crow’s heart attack was most likely not caused by snake hunting, "it very well could've been the adrenaline that was released" that sparked the symptoms, he said.
Crow thanked his family, friends and followers for their well wishes, joking about the 6-foot snake being the trigger of his heart attack. Another video showed a fatigued Crow moments before the medical emergency.
“Ok folks. It gets serious in this video. We catch a couple good snakes but if you look you can see in body language the heart attack starting that Dennis Crow is having. He starts appearing fatigued here. A side note. That snake that I’m holding strikes and almost nails me in the arm. (Steve Booker) Whew !” the group wrote in a Tuesday post.
While he’s still “very weak,” Crow said he feels “100 percent better” — he even plans to attend his son’s national robotics competition next week. The downside? His heart doctor said he can’t snake hunt for the rest of the year.
“As for now the great snake hunt will come to a bitter end until I can mend back up,” Crow wrote on his snake hunting Facebook page.
Other snakes Crow and his friends captured Saturday will be displayed at the Apache Rattlesnake Festival, from April 19 to 22.