The two snakes could have been a male and a female either in the ‘act’ or post act, Jensen said. Or, the snakes could have been two males that had locked in on a female’s scent somewhere else in the field. The two males could have been entwined in battle for dominance over the female, primed and ready to fight and bite.

August through October is also birthing season for pit vipers, but it is unlikely Cotton stumbled up on a birthing sight, the fang marks on his leg too big and high up on his calf. Rattlesnakes give birth only every other year. The snakes that give birth this year will breed next year. Those that bred this year will birth next season.

“The chances that he (Cotton) will get bit again are extremely low. They were low already. But, if I were bit by two timber rattlesnakes at the same time, I’d probably start wearing armor in the field,” Jensen said, jokingly.

Cotton said he watched his step very closely those first few weeks back in the fields and he wore snake boots, something he is going to require all his helpers to wear during summer. He keeps snake boots now in his truck, but Cotton on a cool October morning was back in his standard uniform: t-shirt, shorts and good walking shoes.

Pondering whether he was a lucky man or not, “I wish I could turn this kind of luck around and into winning the lottery,” he said, laughing and adding that he’d probably just get struck by lightning the next day after winning.

brad.haire@penton.com