Field and Stream

“A Taste of Death”

- —Keith McCafferty, July 2006

John Davis had tasted snake before. While on maneuvers out of Fort Carson, Colo., where he was stationed as an Army medic, he had once stunned a scout unit by catching a prairie rattlesnak­e barehanded, biting it behind the head, and skinning it with his teeth. Davis had roasted the snake over a sagebrush fire and thought it tasted like alligator. But on November 4, 2005, it was not flesh he tasted. There was a metallic tang in his mouth, the flavor of venom that in a few heartbeats had pumped from the bite on his right calf to the roof of his mouth.

“My lips started to chatter like I had hypothermi­a,” he recalls. “I started to quiver and shake everywhere.”

 ??  ?? A western prairie rattlesnak­e lies coiled against the rocks, poised to strike.
A western prairie rattlesnak­e lies coiled against the rocks, poised to strike.

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