NY: Rattlesnake bites Morris man during roundup
Monday, June 13, 2011
MORRIS -- A snake hunter was injured Saturday morning at the 56th Annual
Morris Rattlesnake Hunt, a rarity at the event. Unless your last name is
Alvin Osborn, 51, of Morris was bitten on the left hand by a timber
rattlesnake he was trying to capture it about five miles southeast of Morris
in southern Tioga County, Pa. Osborn was treated initially at Soldiers and
Sailors Memorial Hospital in Wellsboro then transferred to Geisinger Medical
Center in Danville. Later, doctors shipped him to a Harrisburg-area
hospital, where he remained in satisfactory condition on Monday.
His father, Amos Osborn of Morris, was snake-pit boss at the event for 50
years. In 2003, a feisty shakeytail in his grasp whipped its head around and
whacked him on the hand. Amos spent days in the hospital -- and returned,
undaunted, to the pit in 2004. Then, in 2006, lightning struck twice and
another rattler got him.
That time, he received 20 vials of antivenin and his kidneys nearly
Amos' wife Jo Ann interceded and his snake-handling days were over.
All went well between Osborns and reptiles -- until Saturday, when Alvin
tried to remove a rattler from a gap in its fieldstone lair.
"Alvin had the snake just above the rattles with a (mechanical) grabber,
and he was trying to pull it out," said Scott Henry, who was hunting with
Alvin. "But the snake wouldn't budge. So he reached above the grabber with
his bare hand to try to ease it out without hurting it and pulled, and the
snake whipped around and got him."
Alvin's fellow hunters radioed the situation to emergency workers, who
immediately provided medical attention. His left hand and arm began swelling
rapidly. By Monday, the swelling had lessened considerably, Jo Ann Osborn
said. It was likely that Alvin would be transferred back to Soldiers and
Sailors in the very near future for observation.
Whether Alvin returns to the snake hunt remains to be seen. A lot depends
on whether Jo Ann gets her way.
"I talked to my other son in Louisiana," she said. "I told him the next
time he texts Alvin to tell him I found some more gray hairs on my head."
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