Jonah: The great python hunt in Florida wasn’t all that successful, and to top it off, the state is taking the “Fast and Furious” route for snake eradication:
A new prize in the Florida python hunt has been announced and everybody wins.
The two men who caught the giant Burmese python collected a $1,000 prize. The giant snake was released back into the Everglades. And Florida wildlife experts expect the python — outfitted with a pair of transmitters — to show them where to find the thousands of snakes hiding in the wild and lead them to breeding females.
Two other pythons were also implanted with transmitters and sent back into the wild.
“It’s breeding time and females attract males and we have three eager young lads sitting out there with radio transmitters on them who can lead us to the breeding female and we can catch her,” Frank Mazzotti, professor of wildlife at the University of Florida who helped organize the challenge, told ABC News.
The Florida Python Challenge ended on this weekend with the round up of a mere 68 snakes.
And once they find the pregnant female, maybe Governor Scott can order a drone strike on the terrorist serpent? Of course, a snake lays eggs so killing the mother snake would have to happen before it lays its eggs. Good luck.
One thing that’s wrong with this entire scheme is that the state is stopping hunters from going after the snakes. Here are the rules for hunting the snakes from the official “Python Challenge” website:
Can I hunt Burmese pythons without participating in the Python Challenge™?
Yes, people may hunt Burmese pythons on the same four wildlife management areas designated for the Python Challenge™ during any established hunting season and the Python Challenge coincides with small game season. Those that want to hunt pythons during the timeframe of the Python Challenge™ but do not want to participate in the competition need a valid hunting license and management area permit.
But that’s not exactly true. Bureaucracy reigns supreme, via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s “Python Permit” page:
FWC issues permits that allow people to capture and remove Burmese pythons and other exotic reptiles from Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA, Rotenberger WMA and Holey Land WMA. Permit holders may also capture and remove pythons on certain properties managed by the South Florida Water Management District. Applicants must be Florida residents, possess a digital camera and GPS unit, and have experience capturing wild snakes, handling aggressive snakes and working in remote areas.
Permit holders may sell the hide and meat, thus providing a type of compensation (note: Burmese pythons from Everglades National Park have been found to have very high levels of mercury and may not be recommended for human consumption).
All conditional reptiles and tegus may be taken under this permit. The snakes can be captured by hand, with nets or snares, or with firearms on some properties. Pythons may be euthanized onsite by humane methods, taken to a veterinary office for euthanizing by a veterinarian, or dropped off live at several approved facilities. All python removal permits expire Dec. 31 each year.
Be Florida resident
Possess a digital camera and a GPS unit
Have experience capturing wild snakesHave experience handling large constrictors
Be knowledgeable about proper and humane methods of euthanizing reptilesHave experience working in remote areas
Photograph and mark GPS locations of captured snakes
File trip reports with the FWC within 36 hours of capture
*The FWC is currently not accepting applications for the Python Removal Program. We are working with the South Florida Water Management District to address program improvements and enhancements during the first part of this year. New applications may be available as soon as early April.
Why not just open the areas with the snakes to hunters year round, that is, once they decide when to allow hunting of the snakes again? Heck, get the History Channel in there with a show called “Snake Hunters” and limit hunters to Joe-Biden-approved shotguns. I’d watch.