Python Hunt in Florida


spider 69
January 6, 2013, 01:14 PM
The State has Organized a "Python Challenge" with prizes to begin dealing with this invasive.

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January 6, 2013, 01:31 PM
I don't understand why all the special requirements ? These thing should be "shoot on sight " status ! Kevin

January 6, 2013, 03:05 PM
If Fl was really serious about getting rid of pythons and other non native species, the state would put a bounty of say $50. on each one. Otherwise I don't think there is enough encentive what, with the cost of gas and other expenses for this program to have much effect.

January 6, 2013, 08:54 PM
The state biologists can't find the pythons unless they've been implanted with a transmitter. I saw a TV show where the transmitter was buzzing like crazy and they said they were within 10 feet of one but couldn't find it in the heavy growth.

And they expect us to find them??? And do their work for them.

Art Eatman
January 6, 2013, 11:39 PM
There have never been any restrictions if you find a python on your land or on land where you have permission to be. The restrictions have been on state land. Granted, my personal opinion is that the state wildlife folks are overly restrictive.

January 7, 2013, 04:55 PM
south beach should make an effort to push "python" purses, boots, belts, etc... that will drive demand and price up.....then the good old boys have that much more incentive to rid FL of those buggers. Never did see one myself and quite thankful.

January 8, 2013, 02:30 AM
Goodness, I'd be more worried about violating their laws/rules then getting attacked by a python!

January 9, 2013, 12:17 AM
Can't shoot them from a levee.....

Alrighty then!

Art Eatman
January 9, 2013, 10:33 PM
I'd need an explanation about the levee thing. Shooting downward is pretty much a lot safer than shooting at any other angle, seems to me.

So here we go, hunting an introduced feral harmful species, a "varmint" and we face this worry:

"The central nervous system of a python (and all reptiles) is tolerant to low oxygen and low blood pressure conditions (AVMA 2007) and so the brain of a python can remain active for up to an hour even after decapitation, thus allowing the snake to experience pain (Barten 1994). Because the goal is to minimize the snake’s suffering, the brain should be quickly destroyed."

While I am quite happy to kill one of these doofers ASAP, I can't say that I'd worry about whether or not it felt pain.

What kind of music would a snake like? Maybe they want you to have a loudspeaker on your iPod, to play soothing sounds while you hunt and then decapitate that sucker?

January 10, 2013, 01:53 PM
ears, but might sense big low frequency vibrations.
Wonder if there is a scent that might attract them

January 10, 2013, 04:42 PM
Most levees are actually elevated roads and the only way to get around above water. Therefore shooting from a levee is a safety factor to keep a person or vehicle from getting shot. Any public hunting place in Fla. that I've been on that has levees has rules against shooting from them.

January 10, 2013, 06:30 PM
Like the man said, put a bounty of their hides and make it attractive enough and just let nature take it's course. I know in La they have a bounty on nutrias. I don't know about shooting from a levy, but if I'm shooting a python I'll probably have a 12ga. with bb shot or no. 4 buckshot so I don't see any problem with richotets.

Art Eatman
January 10, 2013, 09:12 PM
I can see worrying about a fool shooting across a levee or roadway. I don't understand how there could be danger when shooting from a levee or roadway.

Oh, well...

January 11, 2013, 08:54 AM
As most have figured out this first "python hunt" is a lot more about politics than anything else. I work in Everglades National Park when I'm guiding and have seen a few of the pythons. The real problem with them is what you're not seeing. Since 2005 the swamp rabbit population down in the Park near the only roadway has gone to zero (there's only one road into the Park and from the front gate to Flamingo... that 38 mile stretch always had lots of little rabbits at dusk and dawn.... viewing them while towing my skiff down the road was a daily event for me since my first trip down there in the early seventies...). That road used to have a terrible roadkill problem - not anymore... I can't remember the last racoon or possum carcass on the roadway, all you see now are reptile or bird remains. Pythons are literally changing the ecology of any area that they're present in. I can only imagine what's happening to the predator population. Bobcats, foxes, hawks, etc must be having a hard time of it, and now the darned pythons are beginning to migrate to where there's more food (they've been found down in the Keys and I'm certain they're quietly spreading northward as well...). When I first noticed that the rabbits had disappeared I went to a Park biologist to ask about it and all I got was a shrug.... I couldn't even find out the name of someone that might be interested in looking into it. Wish it weren't so.

In short what's needed is a year 'round bounty program for every specimen brought in and the Park (all 90 miles by 90 miles of it) needs to participate. Of course the Park will resist any such thing since it goes against everything they believe in (but that's another story). Hunting the critters will be terribly difficult given where they live.... but during winter cold spells they'd be much, much easier to find on sunny afternoons. On cold days I think all you'd need is a large machete and a big gunny sack to do a bit of snake harvesting... Unfortunately I'm betting that we'll still be talking about this five years from now....

Art Eatman
January 11, 2013, 11:28 AM
Eons ago I lived in Florida--in one of my other lives :)--and have kept at least a casual eye out for what goes on there. I'd read about the loss of "snake food" in the Glades.

Is there much noise from the "We Love Snakes!" people?

January 11, 2013, 12:45 PM
Eons ago I lived in Florida--in one of my other lives :)--and have kept at least a casual eye out for what goes on there. I'd read about the loss of "snake food" in the Glades.

Is there much noise from the "We Love Snakes!" people?
Most people don't believe it but there is a big contingent of reptile lovers who don't want all these controls on pythons. My son-in-law is non-vocal about it but he loves reptiles. He has a bearded dragon and tries to catch and play with snakes whenever he can. Yet, he is terrified of spiders. Go figure??

January 11, 2013, 04:49 PM
Art, we've had much the same experience with deer levels since the coyote population began to spike..........particularly in the Ocala area. Once it was common to jump multiple deer....six to eight in a bunch.....since the yodel dog invasion, coupled with the over protected black bear population, one rarely see's more than one, perhaps two at a time.

Now the yodel'lers are an invasive species, brought in by fox hunters. the bear issue is one that fall's squarely on the back of the FWC folks.....they've refused to deal with it and minimize conflict issues at every turn. I rather suppose that the approach you're seeing relative to the super sized mobile sausage population in the Glades will be handled in the same adroit fashion!

January 11, 2013, 07:26 PM
Reptile lovers have begun to lower their profile a bit down here in south florida... One too many big snakes have been found with someone's family pet inside. By and large most folks don't think much about them at all until the news media finds something sensational to report.

Like I said before, the real damage these snakes are causing is to the local wildlife population. They're busy eating themselves into migrating.. literally.

By the way anyone that thinks the FWC can be a bit difficult should try dealing with the national park service... Those folks have rules for their rules and never seem to be in a hurry over much of anything... I have to purchase an annual guide's permit for the 'Glades each year and I try to limit my involvement to only that.

spider 69
January 12, 2013, 07:15 AM

Once it does we may get serious.

January 12, 2013, 08:47 AM
There actually has been one fatality here in Florida involving an infant and a python.... but that one, up in central Florida involved a family pet that got out of its cage... Can't cite the particulars but remember that the pet owner had some serious legal difficulties over it.

January 13, 2013, 12:40 PM
There actually has been one fatality here in Florida involving an infant and a python.... but that one, up in central Florida involved a family pet that got out of its cage... Can't cite the particulars but remember that the pet owner had some serious legal difficulties over it.
In that case the two parents were both convicted and sentenced for child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. The father was sentenced to jail and the mother is on probation. It happened in the county I live in.

The pet albino python got out of the fish tank they had it in with only a blanket covering the top. Authorities believe that it wrapped around the child (about 2 yrs. old I believe) to keep warm but maybe for food too. The little girl was bitten and strangled.

January 14, 2013, 02:58 AM
I'm a reptile lover but I'll destroy any introduced reptile I see if I'm out in the scrub.

I won't kill any of our native reptiles and even our most venomous will flee if they aren't crowded.

Here in Australia we aren't allowed to own ANY exotic reptiles AT ALL.
Not Corns, Ball Pythons or Boa's and there are massive fines attached to being caught with exotic reptiles in your possession.

The best time to find those sorts of pythons is when the females come into estrous because males will be attracted to the female and they form a vast ball as the males try to dislodge the successful male for a chance to breed.
There can be up to 10 or more males wrapped around a single female in breeding mass.

Sav .250
January 14, 2013, 08:18 AM
The present cool weather will keep the snakes in-doors while the "hunters" get some much needed exercise out-doors.

January 14, 2013, 09:40 AM
I watched about 2 minutes of a tv show on the month-long Python hunt with a $5k prize. They were interviewing the expert, the first guy licensed, etc., etc.

He estimated that these 800 hunters won't get a total of 25 pythons in a month.


January 19, 2013, 02:26 AM
I was watching a program on cable about the snake problem in Florida. They were showing a anaconda that had been tagged with a radio transmitter . This was an adult female and it almost got them! It was a much bigger snake than the pythons . I would think there would be a much better &bigger program to get rid of these snakes! The eco system & the potential loss in livestock not to mention the danger to people! Put a real bounty on them & in today's economy they might at least control their spreading across the whole S.E. USA!

January 19, 2013, 10:32 AM

They started on Saturday the 12th. And the first week's total is...

"21 harvested Burmese pythons were received by the University of Florida as of Friday, January 18. The pythons are being processed and logged by UF for the 2013 Python Challenge™. Additional updates on the number of snakes harvested will be posted here on a regular basis on Tuesdays and Fridays."

Art Eatman
January 19, 2013, 01:35 PM
Only a few thousand more to go! :D

January 19, 2013, 03:35 PM
Never under-estimate mans ability to hunt a species to near extinction. All man needs is a little motivation. Example: Bison and their hides.

I firmly believe if there were a price on every python brought it, we could successfully hunt them out of the Everglades and south Florida. What we need is a savvy sales-person to create a market for their hides, heads, jaws, meat, etc. and then we'll see REAL snake eradication take place.

Is there a market in Asia for them for meat or medicinal purposes?
Any Chinese buyers for herbal/holistic purposes?

January 19, 2013, 08:13 PM
The problem with these snakes is they have no predators. They eat gators along with anything else they can find. I too think a high enough bounty would help. Only time will tell. Maybe someone will come up with a way to attract them. I have heard that they have decimated the everglades.

January 20, 2013, 10:14 AM
I'm telling you, create a market for python purses, wallets, boots, belts...etc. There is the bounty!! Cletus and Billy Bob then sell their dead pythons to some wanna-be french Yo Yo fashionista at some swanky boutique in South Beach.

Problem solved...

January 20, 2013, 02:27 PM
Python leather products have been available for many years from a wide range of makers. (Limited availability in California.)

Here's a nice Gucci bag for $3900.

January 21, 2013, 08:50 AM
A few additional items about the "hunt".... Everglades National Park is off limits for the "hunt". Since it's just about python central that means any snakes taken during this political event are only a fraction of what's out there. You know it's a political deal when one of two senators in our state gets a photo op as he joined the "hunt"....

As some have suggested a year 'round bounty system with no areas off limits (particularly the Park, since it stretches from Key Largo all the way west to Everglades City...) is the best way to go. Since these animals have pretty much eaten all the small mammals in the area of the Park they infest (east and west of the only road in the Park from the front date down to Flamingo). They're now spreading out of the Park. I know that Park officials are probably dead set against any active hunt for them on Park grounds, but until they do something all of the rabbits, possums, racoons, and anything else that comes into contact with one of these snakes will come out on the short end of things....

If they did institute a bounty system I'd advise anyone interested to wait until the last two months of the dry season (we only get two seasons down here - a wet and a dry) and target the coldest days possible when there's also really great sunshine... Like every other reptile they'll be laying out anywhere they can sunbathe (and they're not able to move too fast, particularly early before they warm up properly...).

Art Eatman
January 21, 2013, 12:02 PM
Many factors in play in this mess. To begin with, the management of the parklands can't admit that they don't know how to deal with the problem. Obviously they don't know how, or they'd have been doing something years ago when the problem first surfaced.

Next is the notion that "civilians" don't know how to do anything. "Civilians" means anybody not a government employee.

I may be wrong, but I see no solution other than some sort of bounty system and unlimited killing by any possible means, anywhere by anybody, anywhen.

January 21, 2013, 03:23 PM
The pythons don't just eat coons and rabbits. They also eat, or try to, gators, hogs and deer.
If I remember right, this deer weighed 75 lbs.

January 21, 2013, 07:49 PM
Maybe instead of hunting them, they should call in the live bait fisherman. The guys who fish for big sharks off the beach should be able to figure it out.

Scroll to the bottom for the good pics... like a 9' 4" lemon shark.


January 22, 2013, 07:17 AM
I'm one of those "live bait fishermen" (but we also do it every other way possible including using lures and even flies....) and sharks are daily fare for my anglers when I'm guiding. Funny thing, years ago when I first worked as a mate on charterboats (early seventies before I went into police work) we killed every shark we encountered since they were headed for the taxidermist. These days every shark is very carefully released in good condition (guys who fish the beaches haven't gotten that message from what I've seen). Most folks on the water these days are very conservation minded.

That's why I'm so hot to see the pythons gone -they're doing terrible damage to the Everglades. If we don't do something now you'll be hearing about wild pythons up in central Florida in a few years... they just don't have any natural enemies and small and not so small animals have no defense against their slow hungry progress.

Art Eatman
January 22, 2013, 11:55 AM
"I'm one of those "live bait fishermen"..."

Poodles? Chihuahuas? Other yip-yaps? :D:D:D

Oops. Sorry. I digress. It's a character flaw.

January 22, 2013, 12:15 PM
Mostly ladyfish where I am. We use them live, dead, in little pieces and chunks bigger than your fist. Everything in the backcountry eats them (and unlike someone's pet... the ladyfish are so abundant that we catch however many we need each day and never keep them overnight). In most places along the coast between Cape Sable and Lostman's River we're a bit disappointed if a chunk isn't picked up in less than five minutes - it's that kind of place.... I'll quit here -next thing I'll be posting pictures and a brochure.

January 23, 2013, 11:34 AM
running some numbers here...

$3900 for a purse..... I figure the average python can produce 2 or three of those at a minimum - probably a lot more, but let's say 3. that's almost $12,000 at retail. let's say it costs 1/4 of that in man hours and overhead to skin, tan, and stitch (that seems very conservative). that's $3,000 to handle a full python from start to finish. So hunters could be looking at sizeable amounts of cash and retailers could still make a killing.

$1000 per python doesn't seem unreasonable.

Even better, the state just has to give the OK for a market. Then the market takes over from there. No state funds needed.

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