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September 05, 2006

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A Not-So-Sad Farewell to the "Crocodile Hunter"

On September 2, Steve Irwin, the self-styled “crocodile hunter” (“crocodile annoyer” would have been more like it) was killed when a stingray barb pierced his heart. Oddly, Mr. Irwin was not pestering the ray when it killed him. I heard on the radio that since Europeans came to Australia, only 10 people have been killed by stingrays. For Mr. Irwin to meet his end like this is rather like an astronomer stepping outside his observatory and getting beaned by a meteorite.

What I disliked about Mr. Irwin (beside the fact that he was an anti-hunter) was that his antics were mostly about him, and not the animals. As was said about the demented Timothy Treadwell, he didn’t accord them any respect. Yanking a snake off the ground by its tail might have entertained him and his audience, but I doubt if the snake appreciated the honor. Snakes, and other dangerous animals, are to be let alone. Unless you want to hunt them, and it’s legal. But they are not stooges for someone who is starved for attention.

There was also a certain amount of b.s. to Mr. Irwin. According to a quote of his: “I’ve worked with more dangerous snakes than anyone in the world and I’ve never been bitten. It’s a gift.”

Well crikey, mate, I don’t think so. From 1947 to 1985, a quiet, self-effacing Floridian named Bill Haas operated the Miami Serpentarium where he milked deadly snakes (more than 60 species) 70 to 100 times a day, every day. He was bitten 170 times. There is no way of knowing how many lives he saved. And he never had a television show.


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I'll have to side with Mr. Petzal.
I do feel sorry for Mr. Irwin's friends, family, and fans.
I started out very entertained by Mr. Irwin years ago. However, as I continually watched, I began to see a man using animals that he claimed to love and respect to inflate his own ego or self worth. Mr. Irwin seemed to have self-esteem issues to me. Anyway, look at it from the wild animal's perspective, excluding the crocs. Whenever Mr. Irwin would capture one of them; they didn't know that they were part of his entertainment gag, they thought that they were about to become the meal of something farther up the food chain. This could not have been anything but hypertraumatic for these poor creatures. It was OK for Mr. Irwin to hunt and kill pigs for his crocs, but it wasn't OK with him for you and I to go hunting. Mr. Irwin was another person that wanted the world to revolve around his own personal set of rules. Please forgivr the typos and spelling. I've got a broken raught hand and I'm not near a dictionary today.

Pete Hansen

From the Billings, Montana Gazette

Snake bite kills Roundup man
By The Gazette Staff

A Roundup man died early Monday morning after being bitten by a rattlesnake while bird hunting with friends Saturday evening.

Musselshell County Sheriff Woody Weitzeil said Robert Finley, 58, saw the snake in the road and bent over to pick it up. The snake struck him twice in the hand, the sheriff said.

A friend, Brian Goddard, who is Finley's part-time neighbor, said that Finley, a recently retired, high-ranking Border Patrol official, learned about handling snakes during many years on the Mexican Border.

"He had no fear of snakes," Goddard said. Weitzeil said that the incident happened about 6 p.m. Saturday. Finley was taken to the hospital in Roundup and then flown by helicopter to Billings. He died shortly after midnight on Monday morning.

The sheriff said he understood that Finley killed the snake after it bit him.

Weitzeil said snake bites are not all that rare, but he does not remember another fatal incident.

Goddard described his friend as a "distinguished individual who would help anybody."

Finley was an independent candidate for sheriff.

Snake bite deaths in Montana don't happen often. Since 1954 there have been seven or less, said Bruce Schwartz of Montana's Office of Vital Statistics.

A search of more than 50 years of records showed that just seven deaths have been attributed statewide to venomous snakes or insects, he said. Lethal snake and insect bites are recorded under the same classification. Without checking each death certificate, he was unable to determine how many of the seven previous deaths were from snakes and how many from insects.

He said he had access to just one of the seven death certificates. That certificate gave snake bite as the cause of death.

Published on Wednesday, September 06, 2006.


Steve Irwin was a brave man for sure, many a night I sat with my son watching his show, I know, I will miss him.

david blumstein

Thanks Jeff, you crystalized in words what I was feeling after having read Mr Petzal's insensitive diatribe. I'm incredibly disappointed that Mr Petzal would both hate a person for being anti and then publicly celebrate his death in such a twisted, unfeeling manner. If one wasn't familiar with Irwin's TV persona one might have assumed that Mr. Petzal was glad that a child molester had finally gotten his just desserts ... Mr. Petzal needs to take a hard look in the mirror in order to understand why he hates so hard.

Richard A. Smith

Perhaps I should clarify mt above post (since this site doesn't allow editing after posting):

Petzal, you are unkind and insensitive, but right. You just worded it very harshly. Maybe a bit more diplomacy would have been a good idea, but that's not taught in the Army or at writin' school, so that's understandable. At least you know your shootin' irons, and that's why we read you (and for your sense of humor).

Matt J

You are going to end your subscription to the most well-known hunting and fishing magazine because you don't agree with one of the writers taking a hard stance on not agreeing with the Croc Hunter?? The word "hypocrite" comes to mind. Anyhow, many of folks that watch Steve Irwin's show could be compared to the Romans in the Coliseum. We were all baffled at the fact that he had cheated death (or serious injury) for so long. If you play with fire, eventually you will get burned (Unless your name is Shadrack, Meshack, or the other guy). My best to Mr Irwin's Family...


Many folks don’t realize that not all of those Irwin’s antics actual a lot had to have been staged. Anyone familiar with wild reptiles knows that when they are nice and warm they are particularly un-friendly to being handled, especially the poisonous varieties. I suspect some of these reptiles were caught and chilled before Mr. Irwin used them as props.

Rich Lars

Some of you folks need to switch to decaf! Nowhere in Dave's article did he say anything about being glad Irwin was killed or that he was celebrating it. He was just giving us his opinion. I too grew very tired of Irwin's showboating and bothering animals and stopped watching him years ago. However, it's too bad he was killed. At least he went doing what he loved. When I go I hope I have the big one on the side of a mountain during a stalk!

Dave LaFlower

For me it was never a question of if, but when. You play, you pay.



Matt J

Interesting Eric S. Potts. You're talking about Petzal right now...


Irwin was an over inflated pompous a$$ & egotistical nightmare; someone that had no idea that he was not practicing what he preached, or did not care. It was O.K. for him to harass wildlife with film crew in tote. Who knows the damage he caused to the habitat while filming. (Surely quite a bit more than a single hunter) Not to mention the undue stress on every animal caught by him. He also ran a zoo where he kept animals locked up behind bars in an un-natural confinement. All of this was for his own financial benefit.

However I do feel terrible for the family and friends he left behind. He is solely responsible for putting them in the misery they are in right now, not any of the posters here. Rest assured he will never put another one of his children in a crocodile’s way, again he did this for money!


Jeff, I'm glad your going to stop reading F+S. I don't want a bitchy little piss wipe reading my favorate magazine.
Bubba, theres a fine line between brave and just damn stupid.
And to anyone who says he did more good then bad your WRONG!
Irwin stopped a number of very needed croc hunting seasons.
And if anyones mad at me, go ahead piss n moan. you will not change the way I feel about the dip shit for getting what he has been asking for.

Ralph the Rifleman

I believe Voltaire said it best;"God is playing to an audiance afraid to laugh!"
Enjoy life,and have each other's opinion,it's part of living...where would we be without Mr.P?


First of all, Irwin was not absolutely anti-hinting as some have portrayed him and yes, many of hos shows featured him killing wild pigs. Second, as one who regular works with snakes and other reptiles and has done so for many years, "tailing" them as Steve Irwin did is a far safer way to go about it than grabbing one with a metal tong, something that really does piss a snake off. So quite your bitching about the guy and go back to attacking those who deserve it.

P.S. Speaking of those who deserve it, guess who hated Irwin with a passion? That would be PETA. I would hate it if Dave Petzal was seen as dragging the PETA line.

Dave LaFlower

Comeon guys, lighten up on Dave. He just gave his opinion. Isn't that what we are all doing. He caused some pain, he created some good,but he had been asking for it for a long time.


Hey, I'm not defending what Steve did. Just don't celebrate a persons untimely death!!! I actually didn't like Steve's on camera antics at all, but don't celebrate this tragic event. All of us do things, that when judged by others isn't exactly what they would do. We all cause an alteration of our environment in everything we do, keep that in mind while boasting about any of our adventures. We think we might be doing good (Steve did), others might see it as bad (Dave did). Dave does not even hint at a condolence in his blog. NICE!!!!
My condolences to the Irwin family. May they never see this blog.


When you look through a tunnel, you see only a part of the world. Steve Irwin is dead and like all of us, he had his flaws. Overall, I think that his good qualities far outweighed his bad ones. He was first and foremost an entertainer and we need to realize that. I found the guy entertaining as all hell and realized that as long as he was alive, I was not the stupidest SOB on the planet. Now that he is gone......... Rest in Peace, Steve Irwin.


Jeeze....now THIS is entertainment. All Y'all prattling on and on and on!!

MR. Irwins death is NO tragedy (save his kids not having a daddy to hug and hold) the guy died doin what he LOVED!!! You and I should be so lucky to go that way. Hes DEAD!! Get over it!!

EVERYTHING that is born or hatched DIES!! He went happy as a lark. There is NO tragedy in that.

Hey Dave...you sure stired the outhouse with this one! Now didnt ya?! Good for you.........doin' what ya do best ;^)


Just hope I go doing what I love as well....when I'm at least 87. I'd like to meet my grand kids someday.
BTW Listening to these guys when they say "we know the risks" sounds like a drunk saying "I can drive".They don't think it will actually happen or they wouldn't do it.

Craig Porzondek

Is he any worse than "Buckmasters" using television to entertain hunters and put a dollar in their pocket. Regardless of what his beliefs were, he was entertaining and he did it for wildlife conservation/preservation. You have to give him a credit. I am a "Buckmasters" member but I highly doubt the millions they raise through memberships goes mostly to conservation. In fact, I bet you a buck most of it goes into their pocket.

Sincerely, from down under,
Croc Hunter



I have never read your column before, and I never care to again. Quite frankly, I think your an idiot. Unfortunately, a stingray found Mr. Irwin's heart. Possibly, one day you will find yours.


Steve Irwin and Timothy Treadwell were both enormous wildlife lovers and I respect them both

Petzal devrait se faire tuer par une raie ou un grizzly, crisse de sans coeur


First (and foremost) my respects to Steve Irwin's family and friends on thier loss.

Frankly I don't care if Steve was an anti hunter. That was his right to have that opinion and, though he was an Aussie, I would gladly stand up for him to protect that right.

As an outdoorsman and hunter I aplaud what he accomplished for conservationism. Maybe I did not agree with his means and methods but he did get the message across and due to his style, brought conservationism to a lot of people who otherwise would not have known about it.

Greg Russell

Mr. Petzal-

Can you or your defenders really claim your innocence, or your lack of decorum in belittling a mans death when the title of your piece screams-A Not-So-Sad farewell to the Crocodile Hunter?

As to your comparison of Mr. Irwin to Mr. Haas, perhaps we could entice Mr. Haas to work on you, as you sir, easily have more venom than any poisonous snake on it`s belly here in Indiana.

You and your defenders make light of the death of a man whom you dislike and disapprove of, when it`s of no consequence what you thought of the man. Every being made in God’s image has value-unfortunately, even you.

I`m with Matt Oursbourn-I wouldn`t piss on you if you were on fire.

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