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Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
May 22, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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May 22, 1997

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18 Thursday, May 22, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Outdoors ' Operation Game Thief: ,-800.992-3030 Operation Cal- Tip: 1-800-952-5400 Fishing Report by oM Srr N, vada Dim of Wildlge LAKE MEAD -Striped bass fishing continues to improve, with anglers namaing that they are catching fish in the Boulder Basin and Ove, rton Arm. Son of the bettex action for spets is taking place at north and sou Saddle Cove, Salamander Cove, Boxcar Cove and in coves from Government Wash south toward Las Vegas Wash The Mead- ows aad Meat Hole in the Overton Arm are also producing fish. Stripers are generally being caught by trolling with Bomber Long A and Sassy Shad lutes and by drifting anchovies. Latgemouth bass fishing continues to be fair with the fish being found in coves and along drop offs. Artificial worms and spinner baits are catching the fish. LAKE MOHAVE -Boaters continue to find small striped bass in the narrows above Cottonwood Cove while the action remains slow in the Willow Beach area. I.,argemout.h bass fishing is also good for fish weighing up to five po.mdS. Some of the better success is being found in coves above and below Cottonwood. The Willow Beach Hatchery is scheduled to stock 9,000 rainbow trout Thursday from mile metkers 52 to 48. WAYNE E. KIRCII WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA -. Nevada Division of Wildlife biologists report the fishing has been good at Haymeadow Reservoir for largemouth bass and rainbow trout. Bass fishing has been fair at Adams-McGili Reservoir while the trout fishing is difficult at Cold Springs Reservoir. EAGLE VALLEY RESERVOIR -The large crowd that is expected to converge at the state park for Memorial Day weekend should find fairly good fishing for stocked rainbow trout. All camp- ground spaces on the area were full as of Monday, according to the Nevada Division of State Parks. ECHO CANYON RESERVOIR -Fishing is now very good for rainbow trout, largemouth bass and white crappie. Power bait is the preferred method, for catching trout while bass are being taken with artificial worms, jigs and flies. Very small jigs are the best bet for crappie. A large crowd is expel'ted to be on hand for the holiday weekend. All camp sites in the state park are expected to be taken by Friday. SCIIROEDER RESERVOIR -Rainbow trout fishing remains fairly slow in the lake, but good in the stream below the reservoir. Snake bite blues by Ed Tomchin So you're out hiking in the desert and get yourself bit by a rattler. Congratulations. Now what? First, know that you are among a very small number of people who get bit by rattlers each year in Nevada. Your bite qualifies you to join a unique club with a very small member- ship. Whether that's something to brag about is another question. Rattlers don't usually bite people who aren't doing something wrong in the first place. But, in any case, you've been bit. All precautionary warnings are now moot. You need help and you're about to panic because you're 50 miles out in the desert plus a good two-hour hike from your vehicle. What do you do? First, try to get a good look at the snake for identification purposes. If the doctor or hospital knows what species of snake you' ve been bitten by, they can better treat your wound. Retrieving the dead snake is the best method of identification, but a glimpse of its body pattern can also helpin identification of the rattler. In the worst case, we only have three major types of rattlers here in Southern Nevada and identification is not difficult. Next, try your best to stay calm and relaxed. The more agitated you become, the faster venom spreads in your body. Do your best to relax and not get excited. Accord- ing to the Clark County Coroner's Office, no one has died of a rattlesnake bite in Southern Nevada for a long, long time. If the snake struck your boot, shoe or clothing, you may not even be bitten. You may just be reacting out of fear and shock. Check to see. Look closely at the area attacked. If you' ve been bitten, you' 11 see one, two, three or four small punc- ture wounds oozing or spurting blood. If there are no puncture wounds, the snake's fangs didn't reach you and you can go on your merry way, warned and one would hope wiser. As many as half of all rattlesnake bites are not envenomated. For whatever reason, the rattlesnake does not inject venom in 35percent to 50percent of its strikes. Your only danger in a "dry bite" is from general infection of the wound site. If you do not feel a painful burning sensation and see swelling and blueness at the wound site within a short period of time (5-10 minutes), you were likely not envenomated. However, this does not obviate the need for immediate medical treatment. Any wound can be dangerous, and a rattier's fangs are not the cleanest weapons in the world. The faster you get medical attention, the better off you are. Okay, you' ve checked, found two telltale puncture wounds, feel a burning pain and see swelling and blueness in the immediate area of the bite. This means that you've been bit and likely envenomated (injected with venom). What next? As noted above, it is imperative to remain calm. First aid is indicated and you can' t effectively give yourself first aid if you're upset, agitated or in a state of panic. Get ahold of yourself. DON'T REACH FOR THE SNAKE BITE KIT. Don't even carry one. The old field method of crosscutting the puncture wounds and sucking out the venom has proven deadly far more often than the snakebite itself. This is an old cowboy's tall tale and nothing more. Taking an average sample of 100 snakebites, about 50 won' t have injected any venom so crosscutting merely opened more wounds in the victim's body. Another 25 will have injected the venom so deep that cross-cutting and suction won't reach it. Out of the remaining 25, the efficacy of cross- cutting and suction is of doubtful benefit, and the danger of cross-cutting far outweighs the potential benefit, if any. Dr. Thomas G. Glass Jr. of the University of Texas Medical School, documented a case where a rattlesnake- bitten child was hospitalized with over 12 crosscuts, many of which were infected. The snake had not injected any venom. COOL THE BITE SITE. Ice, if you have it, or a cold compress, applied to the puncture site will slow the venom's spread. This is more effective and far less dangerous than the infamous tourniquet, which easily cuts off blood circulation allowing the rapid onset of gangrene. Far more limbs have been amputated because of an'improperly applied tourniquet than have been lost due to a rattler's bite. Crushed ice, chemical ice packs, or even a wet cloth if nothing else is available, used in conjunction with a LIGHT tourniquet above and below the wound, are the most effective form of first aid in slowing the spread of rattler venoq in a limb. When using ice, be careful to unpack the ice from around the limb frequently in order to prevent cold trauma to the flesh, such as frostbite. It would be embarrassing to lose an arm or leg to frostbite in the desert in August, to say the'least. DON'T ELEVATE THE INJURY. More than likely you were bitten in the leg, foot or arm. These are the locations of the vast majority of snake bites for obvious reasons. Gravity works on snake venom in the same manner as it works on anything else. Elevating a bitten arm or leg will only hasten the spread of the venom. Keep it lowered (below the heart) and lie still. If you are alone and have no choice but to make it back on your own, do so at a slow but steady pace, and move toward medical assistance. Walk slowly back to your vehicle and calmly drive to the nearest hospital or doctor. It is extremely rare that anyone dies from a rattlesnake bite within the first 24 hours, even if there has been no first aid or medical treatment. USE TOURNIQUETS SPARINGLY. As noted above, more permanent injury has been inflicted through the im- proper use and application of a tourniquet. Too tight and it will cut off blood flow, allowing the onset of gangrene and other infections. Venom and swelling travel up and down a limb at the same rate. Therefore, a LIGHT tourniquet applied above and below the wound site can effectively prevent the spread of the swelling. Remember, the tourniquet must be LIGHT. Rubber bands are an excellent choice, and if placed im- mediately above and be- low the bite wound will be most effective to pre- vent spread of the swell- ing. If in doubt about the tightness or efficacy of a tourniquet, it is better to forego the tourniquet entirely. , Finally, if you must use a tourniquet, make sure to loosen it every 10 minutes to assure you do not impair blood flow in the limb, inadvertently causing gangrene. RUMORS DEFLATED. In recent years the application of electric shock to a snakebite wound has been touted about with great enthusiasm. Avoid this tout. Although the rumor started with an article in a 1986 issue of the British medical journal, LANCET, it has since proven false and potentially very dangerous. It has been reported that some people have used Tasers and other defensive weapons in such a manner. The potential for harm is far greater than any alleged preven- tion from such treatment. Deep vacuum or suction, as that produced by a number of extractor vacuum pumps for snakebites available in the market, have the potential for inflicting far more soft tissue damage from the extreme suction, than any potential benefi- cial effect from the minute amount of venom that might be withdrawn from the wound. HOME BREW REMEDIES. Over the years, numerous home and "natural" remedies have been postulated for a rattlesnake bite. None of them have ever proven effective, and in some cases, they have been more deadly than the bite. Some of the more popular, but ineffective remedies are poultices and applications of spider webs, kerosene, stale bread, and tobacco juice. Except for their folk tale curiosity, none of these remedies have any value. TRANSPORTATION. While it is advisable to get medi- cal attention as soon as possible after a rattlesnake bite, you should take as much time as reasonably needed to SAFELY get to medical attention. The primary concern is that you stay calm and relatively non-active. It is rare that anyone dies within the first few hours of being bitten. Of course, if you have to hike two hours to get to your vehicle, then that's what you have to do. Just do it slow and easy. No exertion, no agitation and above all, don't panic. ANTIVENIN. Antivenin is actually needed in only a few snakebite cases. Doctors are also reluctant to administer antivenin since it can cause an allergic reaction (it's made of envenomated borse serum) which can be far more deadly than the snakebite. In most cases, a skin test is given before-hand to determine if you might have an anaphylactic reaction. However, this test is to be given immediately before being given the antivenin. Otherwise, the skin test might make you dangerously sensi- tive to the serum. RECOMMENDATION. Don't get bitten. That's the best advice. Be careful where you walk and where you put your hands. The few simple precautions detailed in an earlier article can prevent over 90 percent of all rattlesnake bites. (See P.V, Gazette, April 24, 1997.)