Leaving the Yellowstone: More people die from animal-related causes in Texas than any other state. Good luck, Jimmy. You’re gonna need it.
When Paramount Network announced their Texas-based Yellowstone spinoff, 6666, they did so with the promise of seeing Jimmy Hurdstrom (Jefferson White) become a true cowboy as part of America’s most historied ranch. Much of Yellowstone Season 4 was devoted to setting up this story, too. John Dutton (Kevin Costner) even goes as far as to refer to Jimmy as “Jim” for the first time – marking him a man after his initial Lone Star State journey.
But is Jim
my truly built for the life of a Texas cowboy? If John sent Rip Wheeler (Cole Hauser) down to work up a relationship with the legends of 6666, no one would bat an eye. Hurdstrom, however, has about as rough a track record with responsibility as any character on television. Especially when it comes to animals. Hell, he fell prey to a Texas red-headed centipede mere hours into his tenure on the 6666. And let’s not get started on how many times he’s been broken by a bucking bronco.
Which brings us to some cold hard Texas facts. According to an extensive report by Outforia, 520 people were killed by animals in Texas from 1999 to 2019. That’s almost twice as many animal-related deaths as the second closest state during the same period, California (299).
And while Texas holds a menagerie of truly deadly snakes, a whopping 201 of these deaths came courtesy of mammals. To this end, this wildlife tech of an Outsider has gathered the top five most likely animals to kill Jimmy Hurdstrom down in Texas; whether based on statistics or the habits of Yellowstone‘s gripping fiction. Let’s get to it.
5. Striped Bark Scorpion
If your first thought for Lone Star animals is “they’re all bigger in Texas,” scorpions fit the bill. Striped bark scorpions are abundant in the state, and adults can reach almost 3-inches in size. They pack a sting that triggers swelling, vomiting, and respiratory shutdown in mere minutes, too.
All it would take is one of these little buggers (which, like spiders, are arachnids, not bugs) hiding out in Jimmy’s boots to give him an immediate life-threatening experience; something Texans say they’re prone to doing. One such encounter with this scorpion will be enough to make Hurdstrom wish he were still in Yellowstone‘s temperate Montana.
And if he manages to fall prey to several stings at once, or is allergic to their venom? It’s bye bye Jimmy.
4. Mountain Lion
Firstly, yes, it does snow in Texas. And secondly, yes, mountain lion sightings are on the rise in the Lone Star State.
Historically, these big cats are found in the Trans-Pecos region of the state. They’re known to inhabit southern Texas’ Hill Country and brushlands, too. But the 21st century has seen a steady increase in mountain lion sightings; something 6666 could use as an easy (no less frightening) allegory for Yellowstone‘s Montana wolves.
Whether Jimmy calls them cougars, panthers, or pumas, a brush with a mountain lion is one many victims never see coming. And the species’ return to central Texas in recent years means 6666 wouldn’t be out of line having one prey on poor Hurdstrom, either.
3. ‘Yellowstone’ Staple: Venomous Snakes
Much of America contends with venomous snakes. But few states hold the sheer diversity and population numbers of Texas. From copperheads and cottonmouths to coral snakes and rattlers, Jimmy’s going to have to adopt an entirely new way of thinking to avoid meeting his end at the fangs of these deadly serpents.
By comparison to the dozens of venomous snakes in Texas, there’s only one venomous species in Montana: the prairie rattlesnake. They’re not something the Yellowstone cowboys would have on their minds as a result. Or, at least not to the extent that any Texan has to. Texas copperheads, specifically, can kill with a well-placed, purposeful strike in a matter of minutes. Cottonmouths, known as water moccasins in the Deep South, are every bit as deadly, too.
And then there’s coral snakes, which are actually North American cobras. These vibrant, beautiful snakes are just as deadly as their Asian and African counterparts. Just remember the ol’ saying, Jimmy, and you’ll be fine: “Red touching black, safe for Jack. Red touching yellow, kill a fellow.”
2. Texas’ Many Rattlesnakes
But if there’s one family of snakes Jimmy will have to keep a constant eye out for, it’s rattlesnakes. Over 100 species of snakes call Texas home, and the majority of the venomous ones are rattlers.
Texas is home to a whopping six different species of rattlesnakes: Western diamondbacks, timber rattlesnakes, mottled rock rattlesnake, banded rock rattlesnakes, blacktail rattlesnakes, Mojave rattlesnakes, and that ol’ Yellowstone fiend: the prairie rattlesnake.
And if there’s one animal you don’t want to be bitten by, it’s any of these rattlers. Whether the species packs a hemotoxic or neurotoxic venom, both can prove deadly. Some even possess both in a single bite. Neurotoxins specifically, like those seen in Western diamondbacks, can shut down the human body rapidly – and well before help arrives.
If #1 on our lists shocks you, it shouldn’t. According to Heifer International’s statistics, cows alone kill more than 20 people in the United States every single year. That’s more direct-caused deaths (not resulting disease deaths like mosquitoes) than any other animal.
That’s right: cows and fellow livestock (like horses) are the most deadly animals in America. The cause of death? Blunt force trauma to the head, neck, or chest by trampling, ramming, or accidents. The majority of victims are ranchers, farmers, cowboys, and sportsmen and women who are overcome by livestock. Rogue killings are less likely, however, with Stanford University research pinpointing cows and horses specifically as more deadly to American humans than dogs, wolves, cats, and bears combined.
And we all know Jimmy’s track record with livestock. So good luck leaving the Yellowstone, lad. You’re gonna need it.