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Guest adventuretom

Wildlife and Liability

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Guest adventuretom

In one of my logs today someone noted that they had seen a poisonous snake(copperhead) on the trail. Considering the area we live in and the location of the cache that's not a terribly unusual thing. We have a lot of snakes and they tend to show up quite a bit if you walk a lot in the woods. After reading his log I started to think. Geocaching is no doubt bringing a lot of "green" people into the woods. In other words, people that aren't real used to the wilderness and don't necessarily know how to act. If one of these people (or anyone) stumbles across the local wildlife and becomes hurt, am I liable for leading them there? Do I need to place disclaimers on all my cache pages? Just what is the legal precedent for this?

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Guest brokenwing

sclaimer up? Well it wouldn't hurt, but I doubt someone that got bitten by a snake while hunting your cache would be able to prove you contributed to such an injury.

 

In the case of the cache in question, since the log mentions that a copperhead has been seen, you should be pretty well covered. All cache seekers should have known that poisonous snakes were seen in the vicinity of the cache, so cannot claim you failed to tell them.

 

Just my opinion, your mileage may vary...

 

brokenwing

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by adventuretom:

If one of these people (or anyone) stumbles across the local wildlife and becomes hurt, am I liable for leading them there?


 

No more than the Tourist Bureau that says, "Come To North Carolina". I doubt if someone could win a case by saying that they were "lured" there to be bit by a snake. icon_wink.gif

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by adventuretom:

If one of these people (or anyone) stumbles across the local wildlife and becomes hurt, am I liable for leading them there?


 

No more than the Tourist Bureau that says, "Come To North Carolina". I doubt if someone could win a case by saying that they were "lured" there to be bit by a snake. icon_wink.gif

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

Fortunately, whoever gets bitten by a Copperhead most likely won't be suing from their grave. The toxin in a copperhead's bite is one of the least harmful of all poisonous snakes. Survivability rate is WELL over 99.5%!

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Guest wildman

If I placed a cache in an area where I knew there were poisonous snakes, I'd move the cache.

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by wildman:

If I placed a cache in an area where I knew there were poisonous snakes, I'd move the cache.


 

Well, I guess you'll be moving all your caches to Ireland? icon_wink.gif

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by wildman:

If I placed a cache in an area where I knew there were poisonous snakes, I'd move the cache.


 

Well, I guess you'll be moving all your caches to Ireland? icon_wink.gif

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Guest jc364

Seems like most people missed another point. Most caches are placed in public parks where you are encouraged to hike the trails. I have run across 2 snakes so far while caching, both were on the trail. So wouldn't the park officials be liable for creating this enviroment and inviting us in? As a side note, you should always carry a snakebite kit while in the woods.

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Guest botrytisfree

I think someone else has covered this in another forum before, but since it has come up again: I think the latest recommendations for snakebites say to leave the "kit" at home. Definately do NOT cut open the wound and suck out the poison. I have also read recently not to use the "suction" type of device that is also available for snakebites. I think the most widely recommended treatment is to remain calm and get to a hospital. Another note: If you are bitten by a snake (At least in our area) it does not matter what kind of snake. Here in Charlotte, any poisonous snakebite will take the same anti-venom. I am sure this is not the case elsewhere, but it is true for most of the Eastern U.S. I will say that from my experience, as long as you watch where you step and don't step right on one, you should have no problems with snakes. They would rather run away than bite you. BTW, I don't think there are any poisonous snakes in Hawaii either.

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Guest WJJagfan

I'm a claims adjuster not a lawyer, but brokenwing has about summed it up. I'd just like to answer some questions and perhaps add some food for thought.

 

Can you be sued? Yup!! No problem there. As BW pointed out, you can be sued for just about anything.

 

Can they win? Yup!! A bit tougher, but get the right jury, and they'll soak you.

 

Why? Well, you knew or should have known or it was foreseeable that there was a hazard (poisonous snakes) in the area where you placed your cache, and you failed to warn the ignorant masses. It's pretty much left up to the jury to decide if the foreseeability is reasonable or not. Plaintiff attorneys are rich for a reason.

 

Are juries reasonable? Let me just spill some hot chocolate on my lap from McDonalds, and I'll let you know after the trial. icon_wink.gif

 

WJJagFan

 

[This message has been edited by WJJagfan (edited 06 August 2001).]

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Guest WJJagfan

I'm a claims adjuster not a lawyer, but brokenwing has about summed it up. I'd just like to answer some questions and perhaps add some food for thought.

 

Can you be sued? Yup!! No problem there. As BW pointed out, you can be sued for just about anything.

 

Can they win? Yup!! A bit tougher, but get the right jury, and they'll soak you.

 

Why? Well, you knew or should have known or it was foreseeable that there was a hazard (poisonous snakes) in the area where you placed your cache, and you failed to warn the ignorant masses. It's pretty much left up to the jury to decide if the foreseeability is reasonable or not. Plaintiff attorneys are rich for a reason.

 

Are juries reasonable? Let me just spill some hot chocolate on my lap from McDonalds, and I'll let you know after the trial. icon_wink.gif

 

WJJagFan

 

[This message has been edited by WJJagfan (edited 06 August 2001).]

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

you need to clean a wound, and get a Sawyer extractor if you'll be where there's snakes.

 

Happy & Safe hunting,

 

Chris... a wilderness EMT

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by WJJagfan:

Well, you knew or should have known or it was foreseeable that there was a hazard (poisonous snakes) in the area where you placed your cache, and you failed to warn the ignorant masses. It's pretty much left up to the jury to decide if the foreseeability is reasonable or not.


 

So, my best chance with a jury is to list the following hazards for my caches in California. icon_wink.gif

 

1. Snakes

2. Spiders

3. Scorpions

4. Poison Ivy and Oak

5. Mammals (Bear, Mountain Lion, Bob Cat, Skunk, Squirrel, etc.)

6. Earthquakes

7. Cacti and other Sharp Plants

8. Loose Rocks

9. Various Road Hazards on the way to the Cache

10. Dangerous Terrain - Uneven Ground Surface, Loose Rocks, Falling Rocks, Cracks in Rocks, Sharp Rocks, Slippery Rocks, etc.

11. Sunshine - Possible Skin Damage (Sun Burn, Melanoma, etc.)

 

I know there's more, but I'm getting scared just making this list. icon_wink.gif

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by WJJagfan:

Well, you knew or should have known or it was foreseeable that there was a hazard (poisonous snakes) in the area where you placed your cache, and you failed to warn the ignorant masses. It's pretty much left up to the jury to decide if the foreseeability is reasonable or not.


 

So, my best chance with a jury is to list the following hazards for my caches in California. icon_wink.gif

 

1. Snakes

2. Spiders

3. Scorpions

4. Poison Ivy and Oak

5. Mammals (Bear, Mountain Lion, Bob Cat, Skunk, Squirrel, etc.)

6. Earthquakes

7. Cacti and other Sharp Plants

8. Loose Rocks

9. Various Road Hazards on the way to the Cache

10. Dangerous Terrain - Uneven Ground Surface, Loose Rocks, Falling Rocks, Cracks in Rocks, Sharp Rocks, Slippery Rocks, etc.

11. Sunshine - Possible Skin Damage (Sun Burn, Melanoma, etc.)

 

I know there's more, but I'm getting scared just making this list. icon_wink.gif

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Guest brokenwing

I think this is the link about snakebite kits that botrytisfree was referring to. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/995_snakes.html It seems to suggest that the kits can do more harm than good, and there is little data to suggest that they help any. I used to carry one, but now I'm not sure if I'd use it or not.

 

brokenwing

 

 

[This message has been edited by brokenwing (edited 06 August 2001).]

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Guest wildman

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

Well, I guess you'll be moving all your caches to Ireland? icon_wink.gif


 

Yeah, funny. I assume you knew what I meant, that is, seeing snakes or a snake in the immediate vicinity. Of course, a snake can be there anytime, I just wouldn't leave it in a place with frequent sitings. There are virtually no poisonous snakes in my area, the Adirondacks.

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Guest wildman

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

Well, I guess you'll be moving all your caches to Ireland? icon_wink.gif


 

Yeah, funny. I assume you knew what I meant, that is, seeing snakes or a snake in the immediate vicinity. Of course, a snake can be there anytime, I just wouldn't leave it in a place with frequent sitings. There are virtually no poisonous snakes in my area, the Adirondacks.

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Guest adventuretom

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I'll put a warning that a possible poisonous snake has been sighted in the area and a more general warning that you should be cautious in the wilderness at all times. Hopefully people won't stop visiting the cache, that would be too bad as I have been on this trail two dozen times and have seen only turtles. Though I know snakes are there watching me icon_smile.gif

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Guest adventuretom

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I'll put a warning that a possible poisonous snake has been sighted in the area and a more general warning that you should be cautious in the wilderness at all times. Hopefully people won't stop visiting the cache, that would be too bad as I have been on this trail two dozen times and have seen only turtles. Though I know snakes are there watching me icon_smile.gif

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

quote:
Originally posted by brokenwing:

I think this is the link about snakebite kits that botrytisfree was referring to. http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/995_snakes.html It seems to suggest that the kits can do more harm than good, and there is little data to suggest that they help any. I used to carry one, but now I'm not sure if I'd use it or not.

 

brokenwing


 

I'd use it. No one in the article comes out and specifically says no and that using an extractor is harmful. It does say the American Red Cross suggests it.

 

With many wounds and illnesses, treatment is based on the situation i.e. how close you are to help - backcountry where you're hours or even days away from a hospital vs. a suburban area.

 

If you can get to a hospital in a relatively SHORT period of time, there'd really be no need to use a Sawyer.

 

If you're further away from help, as many people do tend to get, use the Sawyer Extractor because that's what it was made for. It is included in most larger backcountry medical kits because help is not nearby.

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Guest brokenwing

EyezOfTheWorld, I see your point. To summarize, this is what the red cross says:

 

  • Wash the bite with soap and water.
  • Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.
  • Get medical help.
  • If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.
  • A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.

What not to do:

  • No ice or any other type of cooling on the bite. Research has shown this to be potentially harmful.
  • No tourniquets. This cuts blood flow completely and may result in loss of the affected limb.
  • No electric shock. This method is under study and has yet to be proven effective. It could harm the victim.
  • No incisions in the wound. Such measures have not been proven useful and may cause further injury.

 

I think the thing folks were concerned about was the cutting part that most snakebite kits used to recommend. Does the Sawyer Extractor you mentioned still say to do this? If so, do you recommend this step be omitted?

 

Thanks,

brokenwing

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

quote:
Originally posted by brokenwing:

I think the thing folks were concerned about was the cutting part that most snakebite kits used to recommend. Does the Sawyer Extractor you mentioned still say to do this? If so, do you recommend this step be omitted?


 

The Sawyer Extractor has a razor so if you need a shave while you're in the woods, there you go! Actually it's for removing any excess hair around the bite (if needed) but there is no scalpel or knife, NO cutting.

 

As time goes by, often old techniques are deemed unsafe and new techniques are discovered. I guess in older "snake bite kits" it was common to have a blade to cut into the wound. The Sawyer is the new (well, latest) and recommended technique for a backcountry (or not-close-to-a-hospital) poisonous snake bite.

 

Hopefully someday there'll be consumer anti-venom or it'll be available to EMT's to bring into the wilderness much like an Epi-Pen for severe allergic reactions. Until then: Sawyer, wrap, immobilize, evacuate icon_smile.gif

 

Chris... wilderness EMT, geocacher, backcountry hiker & decorated Admiral in the Royal Tibetan Navy icon_wink.gif

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

quote:
Originally posted by brokenwing:

I think the thing folks were concerned about was the cutting part that most snakebite kits used to recommend. Does the Sawyer Extractor you mentioned still say to do this? If so, do you recommend this step be omitted?


 

The Sawyer Extractor has a razor so if you need a shave while you're in the woods, there you go! Actually it's for removing any excess hair around the bite (if needed) but there is no scalpel or knife, NO cutting.

 

As time goes by, often old techniques are deemed unsafe and new techniques are discovered. I guess in older "snake bite kits" it was common to have a blade to cut into the wound. The Sawyer is the new (well, latest) and recommended technique for a backcountry (or not-close-to-a-hospital) poisonous snake bite.

 

Hopefully someday there'll be consumer anti-venom or it'll be available to EMT's to bring into the wilderness much like an Epi-Pen for severe allergic reactions. Until then: Sawyer, wrap, immobilize, evacuate icon_smile.gif

 

Chris... wilderness EMT, geocacher, backcountry hiker & decorated Admiral in the Royal Tibetan Navy icon_wink.gif

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Guest celts
Originally posted by brokenwing:

EyezOfTheWorld, I see your point. To summarize, this is what the red cross says:

 

  • a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.

I know whatever the Red Cross says is the right thing to do---but can someone tell me what wrapping 2 -4 inches above a bite will do to aid in slowing the venom? especialy if it's loose enough to slip a finger under? Physiologically, I don't see the benefit. Just wondering. Celts,RN

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Guest Jebediah

That's old advice too. The wrap is now contraindicated for U.S. rattlesnake bite as it tends to concentrate hemotoxic venom in one area. This is bad. Note how many people who get bitten in a small restricted part of the body (finger, for example) end up losing the digit.

 

Never rely on any first aid device to prolong evacuation, improve rescue communications instead. The hospital (most of them, anyway) has the only effective treatment: modern antivenin, ICU care, surgical treatment to reduce swelling and pressure.

 

[This message has been edited by Jebediah (edited 07 August 2001).]

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by EyezOfTheWorld:

Hopefully someday there'll be consumer anti-venom. . .


 

I have a prescription for anti-venon. Just visit a doctor who is outdoor minded.

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Guest jeremy

It's antivenin, by the way. Anti-venom is a bizarro comic strip villan.

 

Jeremy

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Guest ecbaatz

quote:
. BTW, I don't think there are any poisonous snakes in Hawaii either.[/b]

 

Not only are there no poisonous snakes in Hawaii. There are no snakes exept for the Zoo or special licensed handlers.

 

------------------

Eric

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

quote:
Originally posted by c.mathis:

I have a prescription for anti-venon. Just visit a doctor who is outdoor minded.


 

After becoming a WEMT i went to a doctor and got an epi-pen prescription explaining I was qualified to use it if I needed to administer it (not like it's brain surgery but these aren't to be given like Tylenol.) No problem. Now you say you can get anti-venom/venon/venin? I did not know this. From what I understand this stuff has a short shelf life, needs refrigeration, and is pretty expensive. Just like my Epi-Pens I'll probably never need it but those are light weight and doesn't hurt to have in my medical kit. I'll have to look into it. It's really available?

 

 

[This message has been edited by EyezOfTheWorld (edited 07 August 2001).]

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Guest EyezOfTheWorld

No need to look into it then... i had a feeling. If it was available i wouldn't expect it to be the cure to a bite, just something to administer inbetween bite and hospital. Maybe someday.

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Guest c.mathis

quote:
Originally posted by Jebediah:

No, it isn't available.

The old horse-based antivenin, with all of its serious side effects, has finally been replaced in large measure with Cro-Fab, developed in Arizona. The new stuff is $750-=$1000 a via...


 

Mine was made from horse serum and has long expired. I haven't tried to get more lately, so it may not still be available. It did come with a test to see if you were allergic to the serum. It had a 5 year shelf life.

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Guest logscaler

c.mathis,

You forgot about the other drivers on the road. If somebody is involved in a auto accident on thier way to/from your cache, are you responsible? If they stop and get some food and get sick from it, are you partly responsible? TTFN

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Guest BigFig

I always carry a snakebite kit - it's half a pint of good Kentucky bourbon. My wife, however, does not seem to buy the "I got snake bit" story every weekend.

 

O.K. - it was a corny joke. Let's not start the "GCUI" thread (you know, Geocaching under the infulence). On a serious note, the best defense against snake bite is to know where they like to hang out and watch where you step.

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