LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Some might say there’s not much better than getting outdoors with your dog. Now that it’s getting warmer, Arkansans are starting to go on more adventures, but for one UA Little Rock student, his recent adventure with his dog turned terrifying, and he has a message for people ready to hit the great outdoors.
Stephen Gossnow a UA Little Rock student went hiking in the Ozark National Forest with his best pal, his dog, Kahl Drogo.
“It was just full of rocks, cricks, and crannies all along there,” Gossow said. “Then just out of nowhere, there was just a pile of them, Diamondback rattlesnakes, just a whole bunch of them.”
They froze in their tracks, trying to stay calm and Stephen took out his phone.
“I was just checking them out, took some pictures,” Gossow said.
Stephen grabbed his dog, trying to get out there.
“My foot was right beside another pretty big rattler,” Gossow said. “All I could do was lunge forward and we went rolling down the hill.”
His buddy, bonking a rock.
“My dog got a bloody nose,” he added.
They escaped without a bite, but knew it could have been much worse. Stephen’s biggest mistake, he says, was not telling anyone where he was going.
“My wife wasn’t happy with me and my dad called and chewed me out three times,” Gossow said.
Arkansas Game and Fish says there are things you can do to avoid an encounter.
“Just leave them alone,” said Kirsten Bartlow. “They really want to use their camouflage to avoid you.”
Rattlers like to hunt in the dark.
“If you’re going out at night to put the grill cover on or go close the chicken coop, use a flashlight,” Bartlow said.
And keep your grass cut short.
“They don’t like to feel exposed,” Bartlow added.
“I learned a pretty good lesson,” Gossow said.
The next time you’re outside enjoying the beautiful Natural State, just keep your eyes and ears open for rattlesnakes. If you come across one, or a few, the best thing you can do is walk away.