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‘Venom hunter' explains process of capturing lethal snakes, extracting ingredients for anti-venom

Posted at 8:02 PM, Aug 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 00:46:22-04

Some call Tim Fitzer the venom hunter, but for one man, Fitzer’s the reason he’s alive today.

One of North America’s most lethal snakes is usually lurking where you’d least expect it, as one man found out recently.

“I didn't even see him, I did not see him at all. I didn't see the bite, I didn't see him strike,” said Adam Kirk.
           
Kirk says the day started much like any other, he grabbed his fishing gear for the thousandth time and headed to the water.

Unfortunately, this time leisure turned lethal.

“I don't remember the night too well, at that point I started becoming unresponsive before we got to the hospital.”

Kirk was struck in the finger while fishing and it nearly cost $140,000 to save his life.

“I was just screaming, ‘baby stay with me’ and got him into the emergency room, everybody heard us talk about what we were in there for,” said his wife, Shannon Delk.

Kirk became one of about 200 Oklahomans bitten by snakes every year. If not treated with immediate care, Kirk could have lost a limb or even died.

“So, this is the infamous cottonmouth snake, and just a drop of venom from these fangs could kill you, however, it could also save your life, but it's going to cost you.”

Fourteen vials of anti-venom, straight from the source, ended up being Kirk’s lifesaver.

Fitzer says a case like Kirk’s is something he sees quite often. In fact, he’s tracked and captured snakes for nearly 30 years. Once he captures the slithering cottonmouth, he extracts the venom to use later.