I was watching swamp people last night and they had a bad day hunting gators so they went out into the swamp at night to collect snakes. They collect the snakes and then sell them to the local college for research. Apparently, the non venomous snakes they collect and the cotton mouth look similar, but they just put on a pair of tube socks on their arms for protection from bites from the non venomous snakes.
Then they just stick their hands into the murky water and pull out a snake without know if it is poisonous or non venomous. They just hope for the best. Just crazy if you ask me. I did the same as a kid, but I was just a stupid kid with no sense of death. These are adults that ought to know better.
They grab catfish doing that same thing, without know what else may be in the holes... other than getting snakebit, I would worry the most about Alligator Snappers... these are BAD DUDES that get very big.
People think of turtles as being fairly benign - there is nothing benign about one of these... they are big, strong and aggressive.... and they are as quick as a cat.
At any rate, I will pass through the swamps at night and will even wade / swim out at night if I have to - but I am NOT sticking my hands in any holes and grabbing anything... there are too many things that bite back down there.
We have seen deer that we shot in swamps at night get "taken" by gators before we could get to them... we recovered one deer one time, shortly after nightfall - and the gator(s) had already eaten one of the rear legs - which was odd... typically, the stash the animal under logs and let him rot for a day or so before dining on him... that makes me think it may have been several but we did not see them so we were unsure.
My wife does not understand my way of thinking, but the swamp as you describe it makes it sound appealing and exciting. It is a place I'd love to visit and hunt. Yes, my wife thinks I am nuts, but I like to be challenged by the environment.
I have never worn them. I will tell you this though. I went coyote hunting over my deer's gut pile from this muzzleloader season and they were everywhere that night. I had to hike off a nasty steep ridge in the dark and they seemed to be everywhere. I just took my time and placed my feet where there weren't snakes. If a pair would have fallen out of the sky that night, I would have put them on for sure. But I am not going to go through all the hassle of dealing with them all the time. Just be cautious and you will be fine.
I guess that is the key, know that they are out there and be careful where you step. I think the problem is when people forget or don't know that there are snakes out there that can bite them and just walk as if they are on the sidewalk. In which they will get bit and no doubt sue the government for not telling them.
I used to run into them quite often when I was working in western and southern Utah. I remember one time when I climbed down from a telephone pole and steped into a small sage bush. I felt something hit my boot and looked down to see a piece of the bush moving and just figured that it had fliped up and hit me. I then felt it again and looked down to see about 10" of a rattlesnake sticking out from under my boot. I don't know who left the fastest, me back up the pole or the snake after I got off of him. I threw everything that I had in a tool bag into that bush but never saw that snake again.
I started wearing a pair of Basspro snake boots while stationed in Florida. Quite a few rattlers and a huge amount of water moccassins in some of the swamps I hunted. Good thing to as once I was walking through a new area that had quite a few palmettos, as I stepped over one particular palmetto i felt a thump, no rattle or anything, but low and behold, when i looked down a rattler had its right fang stuck on my boot. Well a quick knee jerk reaction and the snake was off and about 7 feet away, and I was checking my drawers so to speak. Also wore them while on a scouting trip out here in nevada, which is where I am now stationed, and although I havent had any real close, I have seen enough to justify them. I dont want to be in a position where trying to climb out of a canyon with a snake venom pumping through my veins. A sure way to kill you. Working your way up a canyon, getting that blood pumping.
One time I saw a freshly shed rattle snake skin that I wanted to take home. I was about halfway bent over to pick it up when it occurred to me "Hey - IDIOT - look for the SNAKE!" Sure enough he was under an overhanging rock about 2 feet away from where I ALMOST put my hand!
If you look closely at the attached pics, you can see part of the snake under that rock in back and the edge of the shed skin in the forground of the second picture.!
God is good. Even to those of us not used to being around snakes....
I learned this the hard way last year. If you're hunting in an area with lots of bear activity, it's a great idea to stash your food and water up in a tree. I like to wrap everything in a tarp and tie it between two trees. Don't just tie it up in one tree but tie it in between two trees at least 15 feet in the air. I thought I had my backpacking camp's food supply stashed pretty well last year. I returned to camp during the first weekend of archery to find all my food destroyed. Make sure...