For those who live in Central Oregon near Madras, I'd like to hear some thoughts.
My wife and I have located some BLM land not very far from the Madras Airport. In fact, according to Google Earth, it's about a couple miles.
My wife (and I, to a lesser degree) have an understandable fear of being bitten by rattlesnakes. One 'Doom and Gloom' article I read (through a link here on CN) was that all the hospitals in the Central Oregon area have significantly upped their supply of rattlesnake antivenom.
We're tent camping with a rather elaborate telescope setup, as I'm shooting for the Eclipse Megamovie project.
What would be our odds be, of actually having being bitten? I wouldn't suspect it would be that much, however I'd like to ease my wife's concerns and fears, as she has expressed some strong hesitation of coming down for the eclipse as a whole.
The majority of rattlesnake bites that ER's see involve alcohol, ie, people doing bad things, not the snakes. I've run into dozens of rattlers, and they all just want to be left alone. On wide open BLM land, with scrub brush, you are not likely to run into rattlesnakes that can't retreat, or come across them by surprise. When I see them, it's walking in sandy washes where they have been hunting lizards, and they will retreat more often than not, the dangerous situations come about hiking in narrow gullies without good sightlines, and turning corners or climbing up or down ridges with overhangs and surprising them.
If you have a camping spot picked out, flat and open, any snakes will see you and avoid your camp. I wear high top boots just to give me a few couple extra inches of protection. Just keep your eyes open and looking out for them, and you'll be OK. One thing to remember though, is that at the height of summer, they are likely to be out at night, so given how dark it will be, if you are walking away from your immediate camping area, use a good light on your path, if you are trying to preserve your night vision, keep nocturnal strolls close to your camp. And of course, all the standard advice, don't put your hands or feet anywhere you can't see, move logs and rocks with a shovel or similar tool if they are big enough to hide anything venomous, etc.
Anecdotal, but one ER nurse said they she'd only seen 1 rattlesnake bite that didn't involve alcohol, and that person later admitting they had been drinking.
(er, I don't live in central oregon, but I know rattlers)
All you have to remember is that these snakes have rattles for a good reason -- to warn off potential trouble. After all, if those snakes were being ornery and hunting humans for a big happy meal, they'd turn off the switch for those rattles and do silent running.
So you have to LOOK and LISTEN.